Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week-Early Edition

USGS: No Consistent Nitrate Declines in Mississippi River Basin
On August 9 the USGS released news of a research effort that found there have been no consistent nitrate concentration and loading declines in large Mississippi River Basin rivers over recent years, and that, in fact, the Missouri River, upper Mississippi River and River Basin groundwater are rising sources of nitrate to the Gulf of Mexico.  The release states, in part, that "(d)espite efforts to reduce nitrate levels in the Mississippi River Basin, concentrations and transport at eight major study sites did not consistently decline from 1980-2008. These results are based on a new scientific model developed by the USGS that takes into account variation in river flows in order to gain an accurate understanding of long term trends."  The results of the new USGS study are published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology (link to the study here).

Major study findings include:
  • Nitrate transport to the Gulf of Mexico was 10% higher in 2008 than 1980.
  • Nitrate concentrations increased considerably at two sites with low concentrations in 1980.
  • Nitrate concentrations remained the same or increased at the other six sites, including those where concentrations were relatively high in 1980.
  • Increases in nitrate concentrations in groundwater are contributing to increases in river concentrations.
Federal Interagency Floodplain Management Task Force Webinar
Your are invited to attend the third in a summer series of Natural Floodplain Function Alliance-sponsored webinars on floodplain issues: the Federal Interagency Floodplain Management Task Force Webinar, hosted by the Northeast-Midwest Institute. The Federal Interagency Floodplain Management Task Force was authorized and established by Congress in 1975 to develop a “unified national program for floodplain management.”  The  Task Force works to advance that goal by promoting flood hazard mitigation and environmental stewardship of floodplains.   This webinar will present an overview of the Task Force, its history, goals and objectives, and current status.  Presenters will include Pete Rabbon, Special Assistant on the National Flood Risk Management Program with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, John McShane, National Estuary Program Team Leader with the USEPA’s Office of Water, and Dave Stearrett, Chief, Floodplain Management Branch at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Title:    Federal Interagency Floodplain Management Task Force Webinar
Date:    Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Time:    3:00 PM – 4:30 PM EDT (2:00 PM - 3:30 PM CDT)

Click here to be directed to a webinar registration page.    After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Agriculture -
  • Process of cutting Federal spending may accelerate decisions on next farm bill
  • American Farmland Trust: new set of questions could lead to farm policy transformation next year
  • Happy National Farmers Market Week everyone! Here's how to celebrate:
  • New York Times editorial board: time to end ethanol subsidies
  • USDA expanding emergency grazing into land conservation areas in 5 states
  • Cellulosic biofuel could help reverse trend of reduction of acres enrolled in USDA Conservation Reserve Program
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, etc.) -
  • North Dakota governor to broach idea of state compact to manage Missouri River
  • U.S. District Court Judge: FEMA flood mappers failed St. Louis Metro East area
  • Senators call on Army Corps to outline what it is doing to prepare for potential Missouri River flooding next year
Current Flooding -
Water Quality-
In the States -
  • WI DNR IDs nearly 2,300 "hazardous waste sites" in Marathon & Lincoln counties &
  • University of WI launches Central Wisconsin Water Initiative re: agricultural impacts on region's groundwater
  • South Skunk River fish kill (IA) traced to hog confinement concrete manure holding structure
  • MN Board of Water & Soil Resources announces $16.6 M competitive grant program to protect, restore state water (PDF)
  • US Office of Surface Mining concerns RE: Alpha Natural Resources coal waste impoundment not yet investigated by WV DEP
  • Kentucky submits new clean water rules to prevent further deterioration of state’s rivers & streams to EPA
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • DuPont to stop selling/recall Imprelis herbicide after complaints that it has killed 1000s of trees
  • Wasp may be key to saving ash trees from Emerald Ash Borer
  • MN DNR has new powers to inspect & decontaminate boats to slow spread of invasive zebra mussels &
  • AR state fisheries biologists confirm invasive Northern Snakehead breeding population in Mississippi River tribs
  • US Fish & Wildlife Service funds WI DNR mobile decontamination unit to fight aquatic invasives
  • Wisconsin Task Force takes on aquatic invasive Water Celery
  • WI DNR to recommend Mississippi River as a third waterfowl hunting zone
  • KY fish (Cumberland darter) receives protection under Endangered Species Act; at risk from mountaintop mining
  • Answers to Asian carp frequently asked questions, as it travels north on Mississippi River & threatens Great Lakes:
  • Invasive Bighead Carp found in "Iowa Great Lakes" - presence linked to recent river flooding
Federal Budget -
  • EPA employee union launches bid to battle funding cuts
  • GOP announces its six picks for Fed debt reduction "Super Committee"
  • Senate Majority Leader Reid names 3 Democratic senators to 12-member debt "Super Committee"
  • House Minority Leader Pelosi picks Reps Clyburn, Van Hollen, Becerra for Super Committee, rounding out group of 12
Gulf Coastal Area-
  • Environmental groups: more needed to mitigate Gulf of Mexico dead zone
  • Researchers document failure of 3 LA coastal restoration projects intended to reverse wetland loss via river diversion
  • EPA Administrator Jackson: Wetlands restoration/Mississippi will be major considerations in Gulf of Mexico recovery
Events -
  • Minnesota forum set on Farm Bill; West St. Paul; August 22; 10-3 (Central)
  • Save the date: Integrating Human Dimensions into Fish and Wildlife Management; Sep 24, 2012; Breckenridge, CO
  • 100-year anniversary of the butter cow at this year's Iowa State Fair
  • Free Federal Interagency Floodplain Management Task Force Webinar; August 23; 3 PM (EDT)
Other news-
  • 90 degree F Tennessee River temperature forces nuclear plant to 50% power production
  • EPA seeking public comment on draft Scientific Integrity Policy through Sept 6
  • EPA's scientific integrity policy draft skimpy on specifics, critics charge
  • House Dems want to limit loophole exempting hydraulic fracturing from Safe Drinking Water Act rules
  • USGS: Falling autumn leaves transfer as much atmospheric Hg to environment as precipitation
  • NSF-funded project launching to systematically monitor US environment on continental scale
  • CNN to explore mountaintop removal environmental issues: "Battle for Blair Mountain: Working in America" August 14
Political Scene -
Last Word "You know what's interesting? People from the Midwest, no matter their political stripe, never look like a**holes." - Jon Stewart on Wisconsin politicians during the Daily Show

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