Friday, January 6, 2012

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

NRCS Issues Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative Request for Proposals
In a January 3 Federal Register article USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) issued a Request for Proposals and announced the availability of Fiscal Year 2012 financial assistance in the amount of (up to) $36.74 million through its Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI). The funding is available for new MRBI farm conservation proposals within 54 designated focus areas in 13 Mississippi River Basin states. The projects will be funded through the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative ($11.74 million) and Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program ($25 million). All proposals must be received on or before March 19, 2012. See more details, including a map of the focus areas and applicable states, here.

Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee to Hold Illinois River-Focused Meeting
The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee has announced an upcoming meeting on the topic of "Fishing Down the Bighead and Silver Carps: Reducing the Risk of Invasion to the Great Lakes." The meeting will include an overview of Aisan Carp prevalence in the Lower Illinois River and the possibilities of their control in that River stretch.  The meeting, co-hosted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Southern Illinois University will be held at the Northwest Indiana Forum, 6100 Southport Road, Portage, Indiana, on Wednesday, January 11, 2012, from 8:30 AM – noon (Central Time), and will also be webcast live. To see the meeting agenda and webinar link information, see here

"Family Farms, Rural Landscapes and the Farm Bill" Webinar
The Horinko Group's Water Division is hosting a "Family Farms, Rural Landscapes, and the Farm Bill" webinar on January 18, from 1:30 – 3:00 pm (Eastern).   The webinar will explore issues and opportunities tied to moving the nation forward on a path of sustainable agricultural practices, while strengthening small family farms, diversifying rural economies, and fostering livable rural communities. Webinar panelists include  Dick Warner, Professor Emeritus of Natural Resource Ecology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Robert Stewart, Executive Director of the Rural Community Assistance Action Project (RCAP); Mark “Coach” Smallwood, Executive Director, Rodale Institute; and Mark Gorman, Policy Analyst, Northeast-Midwest Institute.  To register for the free webinar, visit this web page

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week 

Agriculture -
  • Lack of corn seed could mean the second year in a row of tumult for US corn market
  • Center for Agricultural & Rural Sustainability, U of AR researcher defines "sustainable agriculture" in presentation:
  • EPA Extends Public Comment Period for Proposed CAFO Rule
  • Save Our Rural Environment alarmed about potential impact of confined animal feeding operation on LaMoine River &
  • Oct. NRCS Managing Water, Harvesting Results (ag drainage water management) slides, videos & itineraries now on-line:
  • NPR: Congress allows era of ethanol subsidies to lapse
  • NRCS: ranking period cut-off date for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is Jan. 13
  • USDA blog takes "A Closer Look At the Benefits of Farmers Markets"
  • Deadline for USDA 2012 Conservation Innovation Grant Pre-proposals is Jan. 31; nutrient management is program priority
Farm Bill-
  • American Farm Bureau convention delegates expected to engage in spirited debate on 2012 Farm Bill safety net
  • Senator Grassley (R-IA): new farm bill needs to be done by mid-summer; if not may not get done until after election
Water Quality -
  • PennEnvironment, Sierra Club announce Clean Water Act lawsuit against PPG Groups re: Allegheny River pollution
  • USGS Cooperative Water Program posts new web pages on water availability, hazards & quality, ecosystem health, etc.
  • Human-sourced nitrogen from fossil fuels & fertilizer found in world's most isolated lakes
  • EPA releases 2012 draft Recreational Water Quality Criteria; accepts comments until Feb 21 &
  • Environmental groups file federal lawsuit vs coal company for alleged KY Clean Water Act violations (Se contamination)
  • 2 US senators & US Rep try steering development of federal water-quality standards for Illinois River (Oklahoma)
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, etc.) -
  • Army Corps: raising levees along Mississippi River west bank will not put east bank residents (New Orleans) at risk
  • Mississippi river: Political reality swamps ecologists' restoration dreams
  • Billions needed to upgrade America's failing water & wastewater infrastructure
In the States -
  • 3 weeks after MN environmental oversight group head was fired, mystery remains over what led to dismissal
  • MN Pollution Control Agency announces public meetings on its new impaired waters listing (list available there)
  • MN Pollution Control Agency releases the list of 16 waterways that don’t meet state & federal standards (news story:
  • Louisiana businesses fined $2.5 million in pollution penalties via 1,803 enforcement actions during 2011
  • Wisconsin issues proposed biennial "impaired waters" list; now available for comment
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Several consecutive years of Missouri River high water boost rainbow trout populations
  • Statewide NGO "Minnesota Waters" to expand its training portfolio to include aquatic invasive species monitoring
  • New 2012 Kansas rules designed to prevent Asian carp & zebra mussel invasion concern some Kansas anglers
  • Snowy owls migrating into the upper Midwest this winter - a previously rare phenomenon
  • Mississippi River Eagles bring out bird watchers for miles around
  • All eyes are on US bald eagles as national survey begins:
  • Army Corps releases "Inventory of Available Controls for Aquatic Nuisance Species - Chicago Area Waterway System"
  • North Dakota man charged with transporting Zebra Mussels to Minnesota's Rose Lake
  • Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee Announces Illinois River Asian Carp Meeting (webcast available)
Gulf Coastal Area-
Resource extraction -
  • Louisiana oil & gas industry is fighting back against claims fracking is threat to drinking water
  • Mountaintop removal in Tennessee prompts Appalachian Voices to open office in Nashville
  • Ohio State University economists: economic boon of shale gas is overblown
  • 12th National Conference on Science, Policy & the Environment: Environment and Security, Jan 18-20, Washington, DC
  • Aquatic Invasive Species Legislative Summit to convene in Minnesota on January 14 (re: MN lakes)
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
Other news-
  • Ohio earthquake linked to wastewater injection well
  • Groups release report on potential impact of increased federal spending on water & wastewater infrastructure projects
  • USDA’s Economic Research Service releases useful report: “Major Uses of Land in the United States, 2007”
Political Scene -
  • Dems on House Committee on Energy & Commerce say House was "most anti-environment" in history of Congress
  • "Must-do" list of business on the president’s 2012 congressional agenda very short [welcome to the election year]
  • There are few 2012 US House races  more uncertain than Minnesota's 6th district held by Rep. Michele Bachmann
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R) announces he’ll seek re-election in Illinois’ redrawn 16th district
  • State Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington (R) becomes 1st to announce campaign for retiring Rep. Geoff Davis’ (R-KY-4) seat
  • Federal three-judge panel rules against redrawn West Virginia congressional map
  • Federal three-judge panel implements new Mississippi Congressional map, essentially unchanged
Last Word -  "Shortsighted men . . . in their greed and selfishness will, if permitted, rob our country of half its charm by their reckless extermination of all useful and beautiful wild things." - President Theodore Roosevelt

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