Friday, October 8, 2010

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

EPA Fiscal Year 2011-15 Strategic Plan Sets Objectives Related to Nutrient Loading in the Mississippi Basin
On October 7, EPA issued its fiscal year 2011-15 Strategic Plan.  Part of the plan relates directly to implementing nutrient-reduction strategies throughout the Mississippi River Basin, since one of the strategic initiatives is to "protect the quality of rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands on a watershed basis, and protect urban, coastal, and ocean waters" is to "Restore and Protect the Gulf of Mexico."  Specifically (on page 56 of the Plan), EPA sets the goal of reducing, by 2015, "releases of nutrients throughout the Mississippi River Basin to reduce the size of the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico to less than 5,000 km², as measured by the 5-year running average of the size of the zone. (Baseline: 2005-2009 running average size is 15,670 km².)"

Under Goal 2 of the Plan ("Protecting America's Waters"), EPA highlights the water quality issues prevalent in the Nation's waterways, stressing the critical nature of nonpoint source pollution by nitrogen and phosphorus.  On page 13 of the Plan, EPA notes that "pollution discharged from industrial, municipal, agricultural, and stormwater sources continue to be causes of water quality problems, but other significant contributors include loss of habitat and habitat fragmentation, hydrologic alteration, the spread of invasive species, and climate change. For many years, nonpoint source pollution, principally nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediments, has been recognized as the largest remaining impediment to improving water quality. Recent national surveys have found that our waters are stressed by nutrient pollution, excess sedimentation, and degradation of shoreline vegetation, which affect upwards of 50 percent of our lakes and streams."

EPA's press release regarding the Plan can be found here; and a pdf download of the 72-page Strategic Plan, itself is located here.  

Webinar: Civic Engagement–A Tool for Optimizing Community Water Resources
On October 20, the Security and Sustainability Forum is hosting the second of a free, three-part water resource webinar series. The second webinar, entitled "Civic Engagement–A Tool for Optimizing Community Water Resources," will cover strategies to overcome barriers to water system solutions.  The webinar will be led by the founder of America's Waterway, Anne Lewis. Webinar panelists will include Robyn Colosimo, Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), White House; Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, Founder and President of AmericaSpeaks; and Tim Bonnemann, founder and CEO of Intellitics, Inc.  The 90-minute webinar starts at 2:15 PM Eastern time. The third and final series' webinar will be held in November (Raising Water Resource Awareness and Engaging Next Generation Water Leaders). The Security and Sustainability Forum web page can be visited for more information: You can register directly for the webinar here.

"Healthy Watersheds Initiative" Inaugural Webcast
EPA's new "Healthy Watersheds Initiative" will be hosting its first initiative webcast, entitled "Protecting Our High Quality Waters and Watersheds," on Wenesday, October 13 from 1:00 pm until 3:00 pm (EST).  The webcast will focus on the tools that EPA is developing to help promote Healthy Watersheds and on what the states of Virginia and Washington are doing to protect high quality watersheds.  Webcast presenters will include Laura Gabanski, Healthy Watersheds Initiative Lead, in EPA’s Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds; Rick Hill, Planning and Policy Manager, in Virginia's Department of Conservation and Recreation; and Stephen Stanley, Project Manager, Puget Sound Characterization Project, of Washington's Department of Ecology SEA Program.
Persons interested in participating in the webcast must register in advance to attend, and can register at the Watershed Academy Webcast web site.

Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Sustainability Policy
The US EPA has issued a Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Sustainability Policy with the goal of "increasing the sustainability of water and wastewater infrastructure in the United States." According to an EPA news release, "The policy encourages effective utility management practices to build and maintain the level of technical, financial, and managerial capacity necessary to ensure long-term sustainability." More information can be found here, and you can download the five-page policy as a PDF file here.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Floodplains, Dams and Navigation -
Agriculture -
  • EPA announces new Farm, Ranch, & Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee members
  • Dalhousie U researchers: Livestock production unsustainable; will push Earth's limits
  • Research: transgenic insecticidal proteins widely distributed & persistent in Corn Belt headwater streams
  • USDA set to distribute ~ $1.6 billion in annual Conservation Reserve Program rental payments CRP enrollment =31.3M AC
  • RT @Johann3216: No penalties likely in Iowa manure spill
  • Organic farming continues to grow in MN, ND, SD and WI
In the States -
  • 325 McCullom Lake, IL residents sign up for vinyl chloride well water testing; related to Rohm & Haas plant & lawsuit
  • Ongoing story: USEPA finds IL to be "in serious noncompliance" with requirements of Federal Clean Water Act
  • EPA outlines $26.5M plan for PCB & TCE contaminated East St. Louis, IL site; debate continues
  • Unidentified purple liquid flows from IL dairy construction site into Apple River tributary, prompting response
  • EPA's Jackson to enviro leaders: it's up to Gulf Coast residents to set their own restoration agenda
  • Large coal slurry spill into stream from OH pipeline that leaked in 2005
  • Sunken towboat leaking fuel into Mississippi River near St Louis
Stormwater and wastewater -
  • EPA sends mandatory questionnaires to 3000 owners/developers to collect info to help create new stormwater rules
  • EPA issues Clean H2O & Drinking H2o Infrastructure Sustainability Policy to increase infrastructure sustainability
  • EPA releases new edition of NPDES permit writers’ manual: the main training tool for new state & EPA permit writers
Wildlife and Invasives -
Events - 
  • Oct 20 webinar: Civic Engagement–Tool for Optimizing Community H2O Resources; Security & Sustainability Forum link:
  • Controversial Mississippi River "Troubled Waters" film opens at U of MN to a crowd of 650
  • Ecosystem restoration presenters invited to submit abstracts for poster or oral NCER '11 Conference sessions
  • Webcast: EPA's Healthy Watershed Initiative: Protecting Our High Quality Waters & Watersheds Oct 13 1-3 pm EST
  • 25th International Congress for Conservation Biology call for proposals open thru Dec. 10
 Mississippi River Basin politics -
  • New poll: House Transprt & Infrastructure Comm Chair Oberstar (D-MN) has 3% lead over Cravaack (R); 45-42%
  • Mississippi River Basin politics Challenger Boozman (R) leads incumbent Sen. Lincoln (D) by ~20% in AR U.S. Senate race
  • Article covering IA Congressional race btw incumbent Leonard Boswell (D) & Brad Zaun (R) w focus on ethanol
  • Mississippi River Basin Politics: IL polls: Republican leading in Governor's race; US Senate race a dead heat
  • But new Suffolk University poll has Pat Quinn (D) leading Bill Brady (R) 43 % to 37 % for IL Governor
Other news -
  • New American Rivers report evaluates US water infrastructure (specifically green infrastructure) investment
  • Founder, Council of Canadians: at least 36 US states could face H2O shortages in 10 yrs &
  • 18% more H2O flowed into oceans from rivers & melting polar ice sheets in 2006 than 1994, as predicted by UN IPCC
  • Press release on climate change influence on global water patterns (publication this week in NAS Proceedings)
  • President signs Executive Order officially forming Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force
  • Latest issue of EDF's "Delta Dispatches" w/ news on coastal Louisiana restoration:

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