Friday, August 10, 2012

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

National Research Council Completes Three-Year Review of USGS Water Quality Program
The National Academies' National Research Council (NRC) has released a pre-publication report resulting from a three-year analysis of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA). The report, entitled "Preparing for the Third Decade (Cycle 3) of the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program," provides perspectives of on past NAWQA Program activities and makes recommendations regarding the current and future design and scope of the Program (see this earlier blog post for a summary of those activities and recommendations). The study is the result of a three-year review of NAWQA by the NRC "Committee on Preparing for the Third Decade (Cycle 3) of the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program." You can view the report’s Table of Contents and read it in full by clicking this link.

Olympic News Now!  - - - "USA!  USA!"
As the USA and China battle at the moment in their London 2012 Olympic quest for gold medal supremacy, Team USA is already at the top of the leader board and bringing home medals by the corn-bushel-full on the heat and drought front.  And the USA are breaking records right and left in the process! The competition is quite literally melting away, although Russia and Brazil are giving the United States a run for its money in the unrelenting global pursuit of gold.  You can follow this article link and click on the story links under "Drought," below, to see all of the record-setting details, and to read how the climate change advocate and denial crowds have gone wild at the results (or, mad, perhaps - it's hard to tell which).  USA!  USA!

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week  

Click to see large version of
August 7 Drought Monitor map
Federal Policy
  • Bipartisan group of 14 Senators in letter to President calls for creation of Interagency Drought Task Force
  • Punishing drought has the makings of an issue that presidential candidates will soon need to focus on more intently
  • Feds announce series of small emergency steps to help farmers affected by drought
  • NRCS announces cover crop sign-up for Minnesota's drought-affected counties
  • Washington Post editorial: Don't blame heat and drought on climate change -yet- but demand Federal action
Farm Bill-
  • On PBS, Roll Call's Newhauser says only grassroots effort and "constituent anger" can break Farm Bill stalemate
  • Split widening on the Farm Bill between conservative farmers and Republicans opposed to subsidies
  • New bipartisan effort in US House to dislodge stalled farm bill facing early roadblocks
  • Conservative magazine calls for axing US House Farm Bill; calling it "worst major piece of domestic policy legislation"
  • Obama calls on Congress to pass stalled five-year farm bill and help alleviate drought impacts
Agriculture -
  • National Agricultural Library seeks public input on Water Quality Information Center Website; survey:
  • Ag Media Summit: Congress doing to farmers what it's been doing to economy; small business owners -creating uncertainty
  • Number of US farmers markets surges
  • USA Today: Local food stirring more debate as new research suggests its benefits may be being oversold
  • Ethanol groups form coalition to save federal support for biofuels
  • New environmental groups' report: Farm subsidies add to grass & wetland loss; news piece & report
  • This new Renewable Fuels Association ad touting corn-based ethanol to appear in IA and MN movie theaters (video)
  • IA Governor: ‘folks on east and west coast’ don’t know enough to know ethanol plants use very little of US corn supply
  • "Smart Water Use on Your Farm or Ranch" - primer on conservation-oriented approaches to water use
Water Quality -
  • Amid new lawsuit, USEPA appears unwilling to repeat Florida battle in Mississippi River basin; may "work with states"
  • Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio sign on to Ohio River Basin Water Quality Trading Project; largest nutrient credit-trading plan
  • Journal AWWA article: Moving From Adoption to Implementation of Numeric Nutrient Criteria (PDF file)
  • Pilot project driven by WI's new phosphorus rules will reduce phosphorous runoff, save money through cooperation
  • Mississippi Public Broadcasting: Conservation Officials Look to Farmers to Fight Gulf Dead Zones
  • Archived Webinar now available: The Clean Water Act, EPA Regulation, and the Future of Farming
  • National Research Council Completes Three-Year Review of USGS Water Quality Program
  • EPA publishes new web page on harmful algal blooms
  • EPA Clean Water Act Section 319 Program "success spotlight" highlights work on Eagle and Joos Valley Creeks, WI
  • USGS and NGWA Congressional briefing presents arguments for US groundwater monitoring system
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Experts divided on whether Keystone XL pipeline poses threat to massive Ogallala Aquifer irrigating much of central US
  • Mississippi River Commission schedules low-water inspection trip in Missouri River Basin
In the States -
  • Free water quality test kits available for small livestock producers in Iowa
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • These invasive species databases will arm you with knowledge
  • Asian carp threaten other aquatic species of Mississippi River's Pool 2; could easily spread farther upstream
  • War on aquatic invasive species ramps up in Minneapolis MN west metro lakes
  • Scientists studying climate change impacts on Great Plains grasses by simulating "super drought"
  • Agencies and conservation groups team up to protect and restore Minnesota's 235,000 acres of prairie
  • Wisconsin DNR Conducting Online Elk Restoration Surveys (Clam Lake area)
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • EPA awards $100,000 to Louisiana to shrink Gulf of Mexico "dead zone"
  • Researchers: hypoxia off TX coast sometimes due to water from local Brazos River (not Mississippi River) entering Gulf of Mexico
Resource Extraction -
  • Louisville, KY environmental attorney turns down Office of Surface Mining award, citing Obama administration inaction
  • Research suggests oil/gas field fracking poses risks to drinking water supplies
  • Yellow Spring could become first Ohio town to ban all oil and gas drilling and waste wells
  • Missouri pilot project to test potential to transform mine tailings sites into biofuel crop sites
  • Chance to experience the working Mississippi River on an authentic tug boat: (via @unifymissriver)
  • Center for Watershed Protection's Watershed and Stormwater Conference, Oct 8-10; Baltimore MD ($695)
  • Free Webinar: Covering the Drought; National Press Foundation, August 21 11 AM-noon EDT; register here:
  • Call for proposals: Conference on Protected Areas in a Changing World (Parks, refuges, etc.) 3/11-15/13; Denver, CO
  • Abstract call: Can ecotourism, biodiversity conservation & sustainable community development be merged; 11/3/12; Keene NH
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
  • Missouri Coalition for the Environment's Kiefer Creek project summer newsletter
  • National Research Council Completes Three-Year Review of USGS Water Quality Program
  • National Academies releases publication - Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative
  • Journal of Soil and Water Conservation: A holistic strategy for adaptive land management
Other news-
  • The Nature Conservancy launches Great Rivers website with Mississippi River Basin foundation
  • New study ties heat waves to climate change
  • Republican lawmakers:  Summer's harsh weather doesn't change their mind about global warming
  • WA State U researchers: fluctuating water levels behind dams and in reservoirs emit large amount of greenhouse gases
  • Ameren Missouri (power co) planning new coal waste landfills at 2 MO coal-fired power plants along Mississippi River
  • Largest US coal ash waste pond (along Ohio River) to close, but future Federal rules still undecided
  • Almost 1/4 of world's population lives in regions where groundwater is used up faster than being replenished
Political Scene -
  • Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) wins MO's hotly contested GOP US Senate primary; to face Sen. McCaskill (D) in Nov
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) widely seen as the most endangered Democratic senator in country
  • Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) beats fellow Democratic Rep. Russ Carnahan in primary battle of US House incumbents
  • In a race for the bottom, Obama and Romney battle for the pro-coal mantle
  • Plummer (R) campaign poll shows him leading Enyart (D) by 17% in US House race for vacated Costello (D-MO-12) seat
  • Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) effectively tied with state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) in Indiana US Senate race poll
  • Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL-2) staff: he will seek reelection and return soon from medically-related absence
Last Word -
"The most amazing mess." - U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) describing the state of the Farm Bill in Washington, DC's halls of Congress.

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