Friday, July 23, 2010

Mississippi River Water Resource News for the Week

Yesterday (July 22) the Senate Appropriations Committee approved three Fiscal Year 2011 Appropriations bills: the Energy and Water Development bill (which funds Army Corps of Engineers environmental programs), Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies, and the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies bills.  The details have yet to be released; however the following subcommittee markup summaries of each of the bills have been provided by the Committee (pdf files):

Also, yesterday, the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee  approved the EPA - Department of Interior Fiscal Year 2011 funding bill, sending it on to the full Appropriations Committee.  Here are the spending bill summary table, the earmark list, and Chairman Jim Moran’s opening statement (where he mentions funding to protect great water bodies, including the Mississippi River). The bill would provide $11 billion for the Department of Interior, $10 billion for the U.S. EPA and $4.9 billion for the U.S. Forest Service.   These amounts represent "basically a flat budget" in the words of Chairman Moran, and are very close to the spending levels approved in the Fiscal Year 2010 appropriations bill.  Details beyond these summaries will be available soon.  There are three earmarks specific to the Mississippi River:

  1. Fish and Wildlife Service Land Acquisition in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in MN, WI, IA and IL ($2.5 Million)
  2. Fish and Wildlife Service Land Acquisition in the Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge in IL and MO ($500,000)
  3. National Park Service Construction in the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area in MN ($3 Million) 
Controversial flood and wind insurance bill pulled from consideration
The “Multiple Peril Insurance Act of 2009” (H.R. 1264) had been scheduled for a vote in the House on Thursday, July 22, but was pulled from the House floor late in the afternoon in face of growing opposition (see  The measure would have amended the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968  "to provide for the national flood insurance program to make available multiperil coverage for damage resulting from windstorms or floods."  The bill was introduced in March 2009 by Rep. Gene Taylor (MS-4th), and has 22 co-sponsors, primarily from coastal states.

Issues of Scale in Water Resource Management

From the abstract of a very noteworthy and relevant Environmental Management journal article, "Multilevel Water Governance and Problems of Scale: Setting the Stage for a Broader Debate" -
"Environmental governance and management are facing a multiplicity of challenges related to spatial scales and multiple levels of governance. Water management is a field particularly sensitive to issues of scale because the hydrological system with its different scalar levels from small catchments to large river basins plays such a prominent role. It thus exemplifies fundamental issues and dilemmas of scale in modern environmental management and governance. In this introductory article to an Environmental Management special feature on “Multilevel Water Governance: Coping with Problems of Scale,” we delineate our understanding of problems of scale and the dimensions of scalar politics that are central to water resource management. We provide an overview of the contributions to this special feature, concluding with a discussion of how scalar research can usefully challenge conventional wisdom on water resource management. We hope that this discussion of water governance stimulates a broader debate and inquiry relating to the scalar dimensions of environmental governance and management in general."

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week:
  • Groups Study Great Lakes-Mississippi River Split
  • IA Department of Natural Resources has failed to enforce nearly 16 state laws
  • Rules to protect MN lakeshores/limit supersized docks have sat in Governor's office for months
  • House transportation & urban development appropriations bill includes money for Wisconsin River work
  • Sept 18: annual Illinois River Sweep clean up by Friends of the Illinois River
  • US Sen. Harkin: nearly $32 million for energy & water projects coming to Iowa
  • Visitors center set to reopen at MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge
  • As many as 4100 adult silver carp per mile on the middle Illinois River
  • USFS issues national road map for responding to climate change
  • IA State U study: Little impact if U.S. ethanol tax breaks end
  • ORSANCO considering allowing more mercury in Ohio River basin water
  • Rep. Oberstar (MN) receives letters of support of Clean Water Act strengthening from Obama Administration
  • Zebra mussel discovery at MO Smithville Lake prompts Department of Conservation investigation
  • Ecologists shun urban research by a 1:6 ratio
  • New research on spatial targeting of Agri-conservation measures: Cost-Effectiveness and Distributional Consequences
  • Loons tracked by satellites will map migration down Mississippi flyway
  • New wetlands under construction at Tara Wildlife along Mississippi River to divert migrating birds from oil
  • IL River town hopes tourism may revive struggling economy
  • USDA Awards Wetland Enhancement Projects in midwest (NSAC)
  • National Farmers Union: climate change impacting agricultural community; need comprehensive climate & energy policy
  • IN Dept of Environmental Management to establish numeric standards for P levels in lakes
  • MN to have Sandhill Crane hunting season in fall for the first time in 94 years
  • IN wetland fencing attempts to block Asian Carp migration into inland lakes
  • MN DNR finds Eurasian Milfoil in Pelican Lake-one of the state’s 44 designated wildlife lakes
  • Groups challenge plan to strengthen Mississippi River levees using injected coal ash


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