Friday, January 14, 2011

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

University of Minnesota's Water Resources Center Releases Minnesota Water Sustainability Framework Report
On January 12, the University of Minnesota's Water Resources Center  released a report designed to protect and preserve Minnesota's lakes, rivers, and groundwater for the 21st century and beyond.  Entitled "Minnesota Water Sustainability Framework," the report was completed in response to a charge by the 2009 Minnesota Legislature, and is meant "to serve as a legislative road map with time lines and benchmarks for future investments in water resources, including the estimated $86 million a year dedicated for the protection of water as a result of Minnesota’s Clean Water, Land and Legacy Act," according to a Center media release. In preparing the Framework, its authors surveyed Minnesotans’ attitudes and beliefs about water through more than 4,500 surveys and during nine listening sessions around the state.   
The Framework contains specific recommendations to help assure a sustainable water resources future, including:
  • A comprehensive survey of Minnesota's ground water resources to understand what's available and how our current withdrawals are impacting the long-term supply;
  • An overhaul of the state's water permitting process that would include an electronic database and a method of calculating the ecological impact of water withdrawals;
  • A mandatory statewide plan to decrease nutrient runoff from agricultural sources—a key to the plan being farmer-led, performance-based Agricultural Management Areas organized along the state's 45 watershed districts that would provide technical resources and incentives;
  • Promotion of "green" chemistry through incentives for industry and consumer education and advocacy to prevent future water contamination;
  • Integrated water and land sustainability planning at the watershed level; and
  • The restructuring of municipal water pricing to more accurately reflect the ecological, as well as infrastructure, costs of water use.
The report is available at this University web site, and can be downloaded as a 36.8 MB-sized pdf file here.
Through January 31, the public can provide comments and feedback on the Minnesota Water Sustainability Framework report on this web site

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

In the States -
  • Minnesota Organic  Farming Conference Set For St. Cloud this Friday and Saturday
  • Minnesota Corn Growers Association urges farmers to pay attention to U of MN framework for improving water quality
  • National Weather Service report: forecasting errors occurred related to deadly 2010 Nashville, Cumberland River floods
Floodplains, Dams and Navigation -
  • Wall Street Journal: Deferred Army Corps lock maintenance hampers river shippers nationwide & economy as a whole
  • Consultant: Coon Rapids Dam (MN) upgrade could turn dam into barrier vs Mississippi River Asian carp migration
Agriculture -
  • Farm Bureau: EPA Chesapeake Bay plan will ruin regional agriculture & become model for similar restrictions nationally
  • Farm Bureau sues EPA over Chesapeake Bay cleanup
  • Sen Ag Comm Chair Stabenow (D-MI) to work w House Republicans & address agribusiness environmental regulation concerns
  • Farm Bureau leaves annual convention without making major suggestions on Congress cutting 2012 Farm Bill spending
  • MN Assoc of Soil & Water Conservation Districts honors Scandia couple for conservation efforts
Water Quality-
  • Commission on BP Oil Spill & Offshore Drilling identifies hypoxia as a major impediment to Gulf of Mexico's recovery
Events -
  • EPA Watershed Academy Webcast: "Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution and Harmful Algal Blooms in Lakes” Jan 26
  • Clean Water Network's "Clean Water Week" March 1 - 2; Washington DC
  • August 2011 National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration extends abstract submission deadline to January 21
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
Other news-
  • La. coast among top 10 at-risk global environments; mismanagement of Mississippi River one cited reason
  • Global Risks 2011 report highlights global inability to cope with interconnected risks tied to water, food & energy
  • Valero - Iowa’s largest corn based ethanol producer - commits to MI cellulosic ethanol plant
Political Scene -
  • Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) is new GOP ranking member on Senate Agriculture Committee (1/2 way thru article)
  • GOP appropriators plan to craft a spending-cut appropriations package for floor action at end of January
  • Illinois’s State Legislature approves 66 % increase in state’s income tax rate in response to fiscal crisis
  • EPA "desperate for some friends in the Senate" on issue of limiting EPA's authority

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