Friday, April 8, 2011

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

Budget Discussions Roil in DC While Life Elsewhere Moves On
While many eyes were focused on the breakdown of the Fiscal Year 2011 continuing resolution negotiations and the looming Federal government shutdown, hearings continued on Capitol Hill this week on the President's proposed budget for the 2012 Fiscal Year, which begins in less than six months, on October 1 and the House Budget Committee passed Rep. Paul Ryan's 2012 budget plan.  The budget news for both fiscal years is outlined in the "Federal Budget" section, below.  But lest we forget the rest of the happenings in and out of the River Basin that impacts water resources, it's been a busy week in that regard.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week:  

Agriculture -
  • Washington Post editorial board: "case for direct federal subsidies of agriculture has never been weaker"
  • US drought monitor forecast represents consensus of federal & academic scientists (regional & state predictions too)
  • USDA ERS State Fact Sheets Provide Agricultural Economic and Conservation Information
  • RT @DonEWG: Insightful @JournalStarNews analysis of challenges facing Conservation Reserve #farmbill
  • House Budget Committee Chair Ryan: Reducing spending includes reforming agricultural subsidies
  • Production of Bioenergy Crops in the Midwest report looks at economics of perennial grass biofuel production
  • Higher grain prices put pressure on farm Conservation Reserve Program
  • House Ag Committee Chair: members of his Committee will write next farm bill, GOP budget proposals just suggestions
Water Quality-
  • US District judge allows environmental groups to continue lawsuits vs WV coal operators re: selenium mine discharges
  • USGS National Water Quality Assessment Program Quarterly Highlights, April 2011
  • Congressional USGS briefing on high urban lake PAH levels; April 14, 10:30 AM; H137 Capitol Bld, DC (background:
  • U of MI ecologist studies why biologically diverse streams are better at cleaning up pollutants
  • Water Environment Federation releases first edition of "The Stormwater Report" with stormwater tech news 
In the States -
  • WI Supreme Court: state does not have authority to determine if state-issued wastewater permits comply with federal law
  • Move to put Iowa agriculture dept in charge of DNR key water quality programs sparks intense debate
  • MN state wild rice pollution & other bills reflect fundamental shift in legislature's environmental philosophy
  • Bills to limit CAFO liability in pig odor lawsuits; give CAFOs "permanent nuisance" status move to MO Senate
  • EPA awards $343,200 to AR to participate in National Ecoregion Monitoring Program (Wetlands Survey Project)
Flooding, Floodplains, Dams and Navigation -
  • Upper Mississippi River shipping season now underway
  • Recap and prognosis on flooding and flood coverage in the Upper Midwest on River Life blog:
  • Nat Research Council's Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Science, Engineering & Planning meeting today
  • Army Corps Missouri River rehabilitation offers opportunities for U of Nebraska at Omaha grads
Federal Budget -
  • Senate Budget Comm Chair Conrad urges Obama & congressional leaders not to cut farm prog funding in spending bills
  • Senate Maj Leader Reid: Dems will not accept riders in House GOP spending bill that block EPA from implementing rules
  • Federal budget talks take turn for the worse as accusations fly between Democrats & Republicans
  • House GOP leaders decide to try soon to implement two-year congressional budget process
  • Disagreement on Changes in Mandatory Programs (cuts-some to farm conservation programs) holding up Federal budget deal
  • Wondering what the fuss is about CHIMPS, the Federal budget debate & the 2012 Farm Bill? See here:
  • Obama: no budget deal has been reached but he expects "an answer in the morning"
  • Senate Majority Leader Reid: Environmental cutbacks at heart of Hill shutdown drama
Events - 
  • Celebrate 100 years with the St. Croix River Association; April 14; Phipps Center, Hudson, WI
  • Aldo Leopold and His Almanac, 2-part class, April 21 & May 26; Cable & Barnes, WI
  • Community-based Green Infrastructure free webinar; Watershed Management Group; Wed, April 27, 4:00 pm PDT
  • Minnesota Ground Water Association√≠s spring conference; May 4; University of Minnesota, St Paul
  • Congressional USGS briefing on high urban lake PAH levels; April 14, 10:30 AM; H137 Capitol Bld, DC (background:
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Minneapolis city leaders want Federal and state funding to prevent Asian Carp invasion
  • Weed management associations protest Obama-proposed Aquatic Plant Control Research Program elimination
Other news-
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison limnologist Stephen Carpenter awarded 2011 Stockholm Water Prize
  • Pew Research Center poll: 43% of US adults know John Boehner is House Speaker; 38% aware that GOP has House majority
  • RT @troutheadwaters: Alternatives to Riprap - Biotechnical stabilization is not a new concept:
  • Gallup poll: widest margin in nearly 30 years in US prioritizing economic growth (54%) over environment (36%)
  • UC Davis Integrated Regional Water Management paper presents comprehensive discussion of theory behind IRWM
  • Oklahoma sees driest 4 months since Dust Bowl
  • New House bills take aim at EPA coal ash rules
Political Scene - 
  • US House seat Iowa redistricting plan will probably gain enough support to pass state legislature
Last word 
With the clock ticking toward a possible Federal government shutdown at midnight tonight (and for a much-needed "mental coffee break" for everyone), here is a wonderful version of "Time," by Pink Floyd, in a live performance at Earls Court, London, from 1994.  Enjoy and have a good weekend!

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