Friday, July 30, 2010

Mississippi River Water Resource News for the Week

Nutria Control and Eradication
On July 27 the Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the "Nutria Eradication and Control Act of 2009" (H.R. 3850) to bolster the Department of Interior's efforts to control and eradicate nutria, an invasive rodent from South America that eats primarily the roots of marsh vegetation. Their voracious appetite for wetland plants has lead to the loss of wetland habitats in coastal Louisiana, as well as the Chesapeake Bay region and Pacific Northwest.  The bill was introduced by Representatives Frank Kratovil (D-MD-1st) and Charles Boustany (R-LA-7th), and aims to bring nutria under control in the Louisiana coastal area (where the rodent first entered the country) and to eliminate nutria from the Chesapeake Bay and the Pacific Northwest regions.  The bill would authorize up to $12 million annually for nutria control, including $4 million each for Maryland and Louisiana, and $1 million each for the states of Delaware, Oregon, Virginia and Washington.

Possible Targeted Changes to EPA's Water Quality Standards Regulation
On July 30 the Environmental Protection Agency announced in today's Federal Register its "plans to initiate national rulemaking to make a limited set of targeted changes to EPA's water quality standards regulation."  The announcement includes ways in which the public can provide input to EPA on the topics.  EPA is considering clarifications to the water quality standards regulations related to:
  1. Antidegradation Implementation Methods
  2. EPA Administrator's "Determination" Process
  3. Designated Uses for Waterways
  4. Variances to Water Quality Standards
  5. Triennial Reviews of State Water Quality Programs
  6. Three Clarifications to Reflect Court Decisions
Here are links to the Federal Register announcement: (pdf) and (text).
2010 Water Resources Development Act: To be or not to be?
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed a $6B Water Resources Development Act bill on July 29, although many agree with this writer that passage of a full WRDA bill in 2010 is an extreme long shot. Here are the T&I Committee bill summary and Committee Chair Oberstar’s introductory statement
concerning the bill.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week:

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