Friday, June 25, 2010

Mississippi River Water Resource News for the Week

Bill Roderick, the EPA’s acting Inspector General earlier this month released a report concluding that the agency’s authority is too fragmented to adequately address the nation’s environmental issues; that the EPA is in dire need of a new, comprehensive, national environmental protection policy and that the EPA needs to improve coordination with other Federal, and with state and local officials. I would contend that Mr. Roderick’s findings could be equally applied to each of the more than 20 Federal agencies who share a piece of the legal authority over and involvement in the Mississippi River system’s water resources. The full report can be read here (pdf file).

The University of Washington's Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence, Norman B. Rice, former mayor of the City of Seattle, suggests that the following five core principles underlie a strong community engagement process (something key to any sustainable watershed initiative):
  1. Center the engagement on policy rather than politics
  2. Have meaningful civic engagement or no engagement at all
  3. Hyper-communication is key
  4. Civic engagement requires political will
  5. Civic engagement should look beyond governance
Read more about these principles here.
(with thanks to Patrick McGinnis of The Horinko Group for passing this on to us.  See more about The Horinko Group's work at

A recent U.S. Geological Survey study examined state and federal fish-monitoring data for trends in mercury levels in fish from 1969-2005 in rivers and lakes (see the USGS mercury web page here and article summary here).  An article summarizing the study, entitled, "Mercury trends in fish from rivers and lakes in the United States, 1969-2005," is published in the journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment and is available online.  The study found that concentrations of mercury in fish generally decreased in the 1970s and 1980s, as indicated by samples collected at 50 sites across the Nation. Trends were more variable from 1996-2005, during which data were assessed for eight states in the Southeast and Midwest. More upward mercury trends in fish occurred in the Southeast compared to the Midwest, which may be attributed, in part, to a greater influence of long-range global mercury emissions in the Southeast.

Notable @UpperMiss tweets for the week:
  • Gap between Sen. Reid’s ambitious legislative agenda & legislative calendar seems to be growing
  • Power generated by burning biomass facing increased scrutiny and opposition
  • RT @DSchvejda: Unleash Mississippi R To Stop Gulf Oil Invasion
  • Wilkinson Creek (TN) bacterial contamination blamed on beaver & leaking & unlicensed sewage pump station
  • USDA: Corn ethanol goes from 'energy sink' to 'substantial net energy gain' PDF file -
  • Good morning from banks of the Mississippi & the America's Inner Coast Summit (last day) will post blog update Friday
  • RT @rewealth: $2.8 Million now available for Indiana farmers to preserve & restore wetlands.
  • Wisconsin DNR Wardens Educate Boaters About New Invasive Species Law
  • House Ag Committee Chair Peterson: for next Farm Bill “we’ll probably have less money"
  • World Wetland Network announces International Wetland Awards to recognize best & worst cases of wetland management
  • Senate Judiciary Committee passes bill requiring mandatory restitution for Clean Water Act violations
  • Northern Wisconsin region suffering long dry spell
  • MNDNR tells of the enormous struggle to protect state lakes
  • Cold treatment technology working against invasive curly-leaf pondweed in MN lake

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