Friday, March 25, 2011

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

New USDA Initiative: Increasing the Adoption of the Management of Agricultural Drainage Water
On March 23, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced at an “Increasing the Adoption of the Management of Ag Drainage Water” briefing and dialogue session that it will soon be launching a new initiative to foster greater voluntary adoption of the management of agricultural drainage water by producers, especially in the Upper Mississippi River Basin.  Read more about the new NRCS project and background on drainage water management here.

USGS Seeking Comments on Report to Congress on Climate Change and Water
On March 23, the U.S. Geological Survey published a notice in the Federal Register (notice available here) providing the opportunity for public comment on the Draft Report to Congress: "Strengthening the Scientific Understanding of Climate Change Impacts on Freshwater Resources of the United States" (report copy available here as a pdf file).  The Report responds to the Omnibus Public Lands Act (Section 9506 of Public Law 111–11, Appendix A, which incorporates the SECURE Water Act) and identifies key actions to improve the Nation’s capacity to detect and predict changes in freshwater resources that are likely to result from a changing climate.  The ultimate goal of the report is to help decision-makers and water resource managers by facilitating improvements in observational, data acquisition, and modeling capabilities.

Comments on the draft report should be submitted by email to Terry Schertz ( no later than April 14, 2011.  Include "9506 Report" in the subject line of the message. Those preferring to submit comments by regular mail, should send an original and three copies of comments to:
Terry Schertz
U.S. Geological Survey
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
MS 412
Reston, VA 20192

For those interested in discussing their perspective on the report, Wendy Norton, Executive Secretary of the Advisory Committee on Water Information and Chief of the USGS Water Information Coordination Program is scheduling a WebEx for the afternoon of Wednesday April 6.  Details on that event will be publicized in the near future.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week: 

Agriculture -
  • Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Stabenow wants Senate’s work on next farm bill completed in 2011
  • Sen Baucus (D-MT): Serious crafting of next farm bill probably still a year off but cut discussions starting now
  • USDA ARS grass breeder rediscovers forage grass ideal for intensive rotational grazing
  • Rep. Jordan (R-OH-4th; GOP Study Committee Chair): "time to end" direct payments to farmers in both good & bad years
  • House Ag Committee Ranking Member Peterson (D-MN-7th): EPA farm regulations unclear & process murky
  • U of IL policy brief: “Measuring Indirect Land Use Change with Biofuels: Implications for Policy”
  • AR House Agriculture Committee to discuss bills mandating clean air & water from well fracking
  • Two-Stage Ditches Reduce Downstream Nutrient Transport from Farmland
  • Sen Lugar (R-IN) of Agriculture Committee looking to cut sugar and other agricultural subsidies
Water Quality-
  • EPA Clean Water Act interactive state-by-state Trends Map & Annual Noncompliance Report updated
  • Large Gulf of Mexico ‘slick' could be huge algal bloom fueled by Mississippi River nutrients; next stop: dead zone
  • Coast Guard: miles-long patch of "goop" in Gulf of Mexico due to resuspended Mississippi River sediment
  • Environmental Science & Technology: Nitrogen contamination of surficial aquifers--A growing legacy (USGS)
  • PA (Ohio R watershed) coal-fired power plant liable for more than 8,600 Clean Water Act violations
  • Environmental groups sue WV coal company over selenium discharges (pdf of plaintiff complaint)
In the States -
  • Natural Resources Board urges WI Gov Walker to reconsider rollback of phosphorus water quality rules
  • Pending IA state legislation would shift clean water programs from DNR to Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
  • Latest (March 22) issue of the Tennessee Clean Water Network e-newsletter
  • MN Senate approves bill repealing MN DNR authority to update development rules along Mississippi in Twin Cities area
  • River Network selects Eastern TN farmer as "national river hero" for work to decrease stormwater pollution
Flooding, Floodplains, Dams and Navigation -
  • U of MN's River Life Partnership has put together multi-platform digital flood forum to gather info from across region
  • Bipartisan Senate bill introduced "to increase capacity & generation of hydropower" (Hydropower Improvement Act )
  • RT @PAODanaClark: #USACE @StPaulUSACE employees fill sandbags to prepare for #flooding [near Onalaska, WI]
  • Study: People who directly experience flooding more likely to be worried about climate change
  • Spring Floods Begin, Expected to Worsen through April in North Central US through Midwest & Northeast
  • Window closing on buying insurance against looming floods (St Louis Post-Dispatch)
  • FEMA: Highlighting some of local efforts to battle ongoing & potential Midwest flooding
  • Modeling the Mississippi: The USACE's Physical Model
Federal Budget -
  • Sixty senators call on Obama to tackle entitlement reform
  • While negotiating 2011 spending bill with Dems, House GOP leaders plan to unveil "aggressive" 2012 budget in 3 weeks
  • Congressional leaders agree on need to reach deal to fund federal government through September (but riders are deal-breakers)
Events -
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Sen Mark Pryor (D-AR): new federal law banning transport of live Asian carp across state lines unfair
  • MN Gov & DNR Commissioner support state bill to raise $4 M/yr to fight aquatic invasive species
  • LA state waterfowl expert: Programs that flooded farmland didn't keep migrating birds away from oily marshes
  • Tomorrow US FWS will publish final rule adding bighead carp to federal injurious wildlife list
Other news-
  • Scotts Miracle-Gro Co announcing today that it will stop making lawn care fertilizer with phosphorus
  • America’s Great Waters Coalition Designates Nine New Waterways to Advocate for Restoration Needs
  • Commentary: ‘If you control water, you control everything’
  • Happy World Water Day . . . take a glass of water out to lunch and celebrate the gift of clean water!
  • Public Comment Period Open; USGS Draft Report to Congress on Climate Change and Water Resources
  • George W. Bush rulemaking expert blasts EPA's use of guidance use to change rules absent public comment
  • IG report: EPA promoted coal ash reuse without adequate risk data (pdf file)
Political Scene -
  • Number of Republicans queued to run against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) in 2012 growing
  • Louisiana’s post-census redistricting battle begins-losing one US House seat
  • New survey in 50 most competitive battleground Congressional districts: GOP House majority at risk in 2012
  • Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN-6th) will form presidential exploratory committee
Last word
"They have yet to learn what a Haley Barbour is and that will be a challenge." - Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R), quoted by the New York Times

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