Friday, October 7, 2011

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

Federal-State Task Force Releases Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Restoration Strategy For Public Review
On October 5, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force released its comprehensive preliminary strategy for long term Gulf of Mexico ecosystem restoration. Entitled "Gulf of Mexico Regional Ecosystem Restoration Strategy (Preliminary)," the strategy will be available for public review and feedback through October 26.

The strategy calls, in part, for working in the Gulf of Mexico and upstream in the Mississippi River Basin to reduce the loading of nitrogen and phosphorus into the Gulf "by supporting state nutrient reduction frameworks, new nutrient reduction approaches, and targeted watershed work to reduce agricultural and urban sources of nutrients."

According to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) press release, the strategy represents an opportunity to address "long-standing issues contributing to the decline of the Gulf’s critical ecosystem." The Task Force is an advisory body comprised of lead officials from the five Gulf states, and from 11 Federal agencies and White House offices. It is chaired by  EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. The Task Force will release the final version in December 2011, following review of public input received during the current comment period.

The strategy will be available to the public for review and feedback at the Task Force Home Page, through October 26. Comments can be submitted by email, fax, first class mail or in person as described on that page.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week 

Agriculture -
  • Researchers: farmers running out of time to diversify crops before climate change has irreversible effects
  • Bipartisan group of farm state Senators introduces Aggregate Risk & Revenue Management program farming bill
  • National Research Council: US will fail to reach cellulosic bioethanol mandate unless producers innovate significantly
  • Reps. Goodlatte/Costa co-sponsored biofuel bill would sharply cut usage mandates that underpin ethanol industry
  • Sen Lugar/Rep Stutzman (both R-IN) co-sponsor bill to cut ag by $40B overall & farm conservation by $11.3B
Farm Bill-
Water Quality -
  • Very informative webcast & testimony: Tues Sen. Environ & Public Works Subcomm hearing on nutrient water pollution
  • KY Gov. Beshear (D) asks Obama to spur EPA issuance of Clean Water Act coal mining permits (PDF of Beshear letter)
  • Environmentalists reach settlement with Arch Coal Co. over selenium pollution violations at several WV mines &
  • Water Chief  Stoner to Senate EPW Subcommittee:  EPA working with states to fight water pollution (testimony PDF)
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Flooding, etc.) -
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • WI State Journal editorial: speed up Army Corps study on separating Great Lakes from Mississippi River watershed
  • Interior Dept report: 62,300 acres of US wetlands disappeared over last 5 yrs - at slightly faster rate  (PDF)
Federal Budget -
  • House passes spending stopgap bill funding federal government through Nov 18, sends to Obama
  • Committee for Economic Development releases set of 6 standards Fed debt Supercommittee must follow to succeed (PDF)
Gulf Coastal Area-
  • Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force: Coastal states must work together to restore Gulf of Mexico
  • Comprehensive Task Force prelim strategy for long term Gulf Coast ecosystem restoration available for public comment:
  • Save Our Gulf collaborative releases "The State of the Gulf: A Status Report" (re: BP oil spill impacts)
  • Gulf Coast US House Members agree to introduce bill to target 80 % of BP spill funds to Gulf Coast restoration
Resource extraction -
  • KY Gov. Beshear (D) asks Obama to spur EPA issuance of Clean Water Act coal mining permits (PDF of Beshear letter)
Events -
  • October 28 briefing; Washington, DC: New USGS Water Quality Management Tool 
  • Nat Conf on Ecosystem Restoration (NCER) 2011 Post Conference Speaker Presentations Available online
  • Farm Foundation Forum, Washington, DC , Oct 11: Future Role of Federal Government in Agricultural Risk Management
Other news-
  • Combined EPA & State Annual Enforcement Actions Map is newest EPA "Enforcement and Compliance History Online" update
Political Scene -
  • Rep. Jerry Costello (D-IL) will not seek another term in US House of Representatives next year adds to Dem workload
  • Rep. Kinzinger kicks off re-election campaign in IL redrawn 16th district vs. fellow sitting GOP Congressman Manzullo
  • Democrat Tomblin wins WV Governor's special election
  • IL Democrats target five GOP US House Members for defeat in redrawn Congressional maps
Last Word -  "Why can't we work out our differences? Why can't we work things out? Little people, why can't we all just get along? " - President Dale (Jack Nicholson) in the 1996 film, Mars Attacks

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