Friday, March 9, 2012

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

Mississippi River Asian Carp Control Bill Introduced as More Carp Are Caught in Upper River Waters
On March 6, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Al Franken (D-MN), and Representatives Keith Ellison (D-MN-5), Erik Paulsen (R-MN-3) and Tim Walz (D-MN-1) introduced legislation that would attempt to curb the invasion of Asian Carp in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. The bill, as introduced in the House (see on line here) is called the "Upper Mississippi Conservation and River Protection Act of 2012" or the "Upper Mississippi CARP Act" (the companion Senate bill has yet to be made available on-line). It seeks to stem the migration of the invasive Asian carp beyond Minneapolis by authorizing the Army Corps of Engineers to "take actions to manage the threat of Asian carp traveling up the Mississippi River in the State of Minnesota." The bill introduction follow closely on the heels of the March 1 catch of two Asian carp species - a silver carp and a bighead carp - in a seine net by commercial anglers in the Mississippi River's Pool 6 near Winona, Minnesota, approximately 120 land-miles downstream of St. Paul. Additional bill details and background on the Asian carp migration and control attempts can be read here.  And for additional news coverage of this issue, please see the several other links, below, under the "Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives" header.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week 

Agriculture -
  • USDA Secratary Vilsack on new Conservation Reserve Program Initiative to restore grasslands, wetlands, wildlife
  • USDA to offer higher farmer payments in attempt to slow exodus of millions of acres from conservation programs
  • KC engineering firm settles with NW MO farmers over hexavalent chromium-tainted fertilizer use
  • American Soybean Association highlights some of its policy priorities for 2012-13
  • U of MO Food and Agricultural Policy Research Inst: US farmers to have record 2012 corn crop; will bring down prices
  • High farm commodity prices and profits having a negative impact on South Dakota’s natural resources
Farm Bill-
  • House Ag Committee Chair Lucas: Farm Bill in doubt if we "don't sing off same sheet of music"
  • House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Peterson (D-MN-7) optimistic about chances for passing farm bill this year
  • Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE) launches webpage for constituents interested in learning more about next farm bill
  • Congressional Budget Office will come out with USDA "budget score" March 13; needed to work up Farm Bill $ limits
  • Farmers Union calls for reestablishing link between crop insurance and compliance with conservation requirements (PDF)
  • American Farmland Trust one-pager on “Re-Linking Conservation Compliance and Crop Insurance” (PDF)
  • Union of Concerned Scientists releases policy brief on US food and farm policy with 2012 Farm Bill focus
  • Coalition urges Congressional focus on water quality & conservation in farm bill YouTube video:
Water Quality -
  • Whitewater Watershed (MN) farmers take lead in water quality improvement through Farmer-Led Council
  • Farm Bureau concerned that new EPA-Corps Clean Water Act guidance will allow expanded definition of waters of the US
  • University of Louisiana - state DEQ partnership expected to help fill Gulf dead zone research needs
  • MN-based driveway coating national leader to stop using coal-tar-based sealants to help curb stormwater pollution
  • EPA to provide $15 million for training and technical assistance to small drinking and wastewater systems
  • Rep. Gibbs (R-OH) urges water leaders to support bill to create Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority
  • Over 160 water utility leaders address Congress on water infrastructure financing proposal
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, etc.) -
  • J of Soil & Water Conservation: Effects of 2011 Ohio and Mississippi river valley flooding on Cairo, IL area
  • Federal appeals court finds that Army Corps' shoddy shipping channel work was responsible for Katrina flood damages
  • Army Corps-Vicksburg receives $140 M more in funding for Mississippi River dredging, levee, channel and O&M projects
  • Proposed MO River environmental project $17 M spending hike upsets those who say flood protection focus is needed
  • Appeals court affirms 2008 EPA veto (to save wetlands, water quality, habitat) of Yazoo River, MS flood-control project
In the States -
  • Illinois sustainability and environmental groups hope state won't follow Iowa's lead on law protecting CAFOs
Forestry -
  • Cellulosic biofuel company (Virdia Inc) to build wood-to-ethanol plants in MS with state/fed help
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Bill seeks to halt Mississippi R Asian carp spread by requiring inclusion of rivers N of IL in Federal carp strategy
  • Proposed new U of MN research center to focus on aquatic invasive species like zebra mussels and Asian carp
  • Sens. Klobuchar & Franken, Reps. Ellison, Paulsen & Walz introduce Upper Mississippi River Basin Asian Carp legislation
  • New bill in Congress requires inclusion of all rivers north of IL in strategy to keep Asian carp out of Great Lakes
  • MN Lake advocates pressing for Legacy money to battle zebra mussels
  • MN Gov. Dayton: state working to stop Asian carp from advancing up Mississippi River into Minnesota
  • Hunter pressure causes MN to reassess its hunting/deer population goals
  • A few of the invasive species control measures being considered to stop migration in IL waterways (jpg figure)
  •  Novel manufactured "dead zone" invasives control a possible barrier between Great Lakes-Mississippi watersheds
Gulf Coastal Area-
  • Mississippi River Delta Restoration Campaign (7 organizations) voices strong support for draft 2012 Coastal Master Plan
  • Urban Waters Federal Partnership launches Ambassadors Program; will have Lake Pontchartrain (New Orleans) component
Resource Extraction -
  • With potential oil and gas boom on the horizon in southern IL state lawmakers want to update drilling law
Federal Budget -
  • Republicans are at odds over how deep discretionary spending cuts should go in Fiscal Year 2013 Federal budget
  • House Budget Committee Republicans intensify push to overcome differences and produce a 2013 budget resolution
  • Under increasing pressure from conservatives, House GOP leaders poised to lower budget levels significantly
  • Agriculture Comm Ranking Member Peterson: agriculture repeatedly asked to bear disproportionate share of budget cuts
  • House Agriculture Committee adopts letter outlining committee's USDA FY 2013 budget recommendations; cuts $23B/10 yr
  • Save the date - June 23 Tennessee Clean Water Network Annual Membership Meeting; Nashville
  • EPA Webcast March 20: Low Impact Development?Green Infrastructure Design Competitions: Tools for Encouraging Innovation
  • Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference; Oct. 29-31; La Crosse, WI - call for abstracts:
  • Call for abstracts: 2012 Kentucky Stormwater Association Annual Conference; August 8-10; Florence, KY; Inquiries to:
  • Nebraska Floodplain & Stormwater Managers Assoc 4th Annual Conference; July 12, Kearney, NE; call for abstracts: (PDF)
  • Clean Water Network develops a new Google "Power of Water Campaign Calendar" with events nationwide
  • Illinois RiverWatch schedules 11 workshops for new volunteers (covers entire state)
  • For DC friends: Washington DC's 20th Annual Environmental Film Festival; March 13-25; numerous venues
  • March 22 presentation examining the past and future of Upper Mississippi Riverfront in Minneapolis, MN; 4 PM CDT here:
  • Mississippi River Fund’s March 19 St. Paul, MN meeting ”Asian Carp: What Can We Do Now”
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
Political Scene -
  • Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich (R) eyeing US Senate run against vulnerable Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
  • GOP efforts to recruit 4th candidate for possible run vs. Sen. McCaskill (D-MO) serve to highlight a weak GOP field
Other News -
  • European insurance think tank urges governments and insurers to take threat of extreme risk events more seriously
Last Word
"I hate that people think compromise is a dirty word. It's not a dirty word." - Former First Lady, Barbara Bush, at a Southern Methodist University conference on the influence of the nation's first ladies. Refering to the current presidential campaign cycle, she went on to add, "I think it's been the worst campaign I've ever seen in my life." Source: Dallas Morning News 

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