Friday, August 17, 2012

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week  

Click to see 
full size USDA Drought Designation map 
National Climatic Data Center: drought in lower 48 US states eased last week from 62.5 to 61.8% coverage
NOAA: "Exceptional drought conditions" expanded over the last week in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma
Return of the Dust Bowl: parched Midwest prairies face a natural disaster not seen since 1930s 'dusters'
Nature Climate Change article confirms climate model predictions-future US droughts will be more severe
Map of USDA 2012 Secretarial Drought Designations to Date (PDF file):


  • Wired Science Blog: Why King Corn Wasn't Ready for the Drought
  • Oil companies desperately seeking water amidst Kansas drought
  • Drought prompts USDA reductions in US crop forecasts and
  • National Crop Insurance Services: too early to tell how large farm industry’s drought losses will ultimately be (PDF)
  • Army Corps predicts Missouri River flow this year will be at about 85 percent of average due to drought
  • Cooler weather and rain in Midwest slow crop deterioration but won’t make much of a difference
  • As US farmers plan upcoming planting of 2013 winter wheat crop, concern mounts re: when and if drought will ease
  • NBC News: 2012 drought has humbled mighty Mississippi River as barge industry gets stuck
  • Mississippi River saltwater intrusion prompts Chalmette officials to declare state of emergency; buy New Orleans water
  • Mississippi River Is Drying Up As Massive Drought Continues
Federal Policy
  • Arkansas, North Carolina Governors ask EPA to waive ethanol fuel mandate; issue rife with political implications
  • Federally mandated ethanol quota debated by corn farmers and meat industry in light of drought
  • USDA designates 172 additional counties in 15 states as primary natural disaster areas due to drought and heat
  • Drought and climate skepticism abound in corn belt and thwart climate policy changes
  • Omaha World-Herald editorial: while politicians bicker, agricultural producers left to cope with drought
  • Contract awarded to build saltwater barrier protecting Mississippi River drinking water
Farm Bill-
We could post plenty of tweets here on the status of the U.S. Farm Bill but they would all basically say the same thing:

  • "The (Senator/House Member/President) said during the meeting that it is crucial that a comprehensive five-year farm bill be passed as soon as possible and it is a shame that it hasn't been passed yet. (He/she) stressed that (he/she) is willing to work with the other side, but that it is the (Republicans/Democrats/President) who (is/are) simply shirking (their/his) responsibility by (going on recess/playing politics) while farmers suffer."
Agriculture -
  • Survey: Agricultural researchers find it difficult to communicate findings; communication needs support
  • Report: Corn ethanol waiver's effect on corn prices uncertain
  • Despite drought, some of best US corn-growing land still selling for more than $10,000 an acre
  • InvestigateWest: "Agriculture is nation's biggest water polluter but usually goes unpunished"
Water Quality -
  • Lowest Minnesota River summertime flow in 24 years provides unique water quality research opportunity
  • New Method to Remove Phosphorus from Wastewater (ScienceDaily)
  • Patriot Coal reaches agreement with environmental groups re: selenium pollution from WV mountaintop mines
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Scientists intently studying health of Minnesota wetlands
  • Scientific American: Farmers deplete "fossil water" around the world
  • April 14, 1956 Southeast Missourian photo essay: Mississippi River viewing before flood wall
In the States -
  • Federal and Ohio state officials defend safety of "fracking" waste disposal via injection wells
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • New study: North American freshwater fish species extinction rate highest ever observed
  • They're coming! Asian carp invasion encroaching on Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahela rivers and their tributaries
  • Editorial: time for Ohio River states to demand Federal effort to keep Asian carp out of Ohio River system
  • Emerald ash borers spread south of Minneapolis, MN
  • Interior Dept. Survey: Wildlife-related recreation rebounds after 20-year decline (PDF)
  • Minnesota Public Radio: Losing wetlands to crop production could greatly affect wildlife
  • Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge approved by DOI; runs from Wisconsin into Illinois
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • Questions linger re: Louisiana ability to administer BP-funded Gulf restoration-nation's largest ecosystem project ever
Resource Extraction -
  • Plans for Western KY 692-acre strip mine reveal shifting alliances between environmentalism and community-building
  • Environmental orgs decry Kentucky coal producer agreement to export 9M tons of coal/yr to India over 25 years 
  • 5th Annual Upper Mississippi River Conference: "Make Room for the River" Sept 26-28, Stoney Creek Inn, Moline, IL
  • America's Great Watershed Initiative Summit, Sept. 26-27; St. Louis, MO
  • Security and Sustainability Forum's Food Security in an Urbanizing World webinar; Sept 5; 1:15 - 2:45 PM EDT
  • Save the date: Annual Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference; Dec 9 - 12, Wichita, KS - Call for papers now
  • EPA Schedules Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Meeting, Aug. 30 in Arcadia, Iowa (EPA release:
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
Other news-
  • EPA seeking feedback on beta version of Community-Focused Exposure and Risk Screening Tool
  • Volunteers on front line in protecting Ohio's 14 scenic rivers
  • "Top 8 State Parks in America" include four in Mississippi River Basin (MN, OK, TN, KS), and River's source
Political Scene -
  • New Gallup poll: one in 10 Americans approve of job Congress is doing - an all time record low
  • Former WI Governor Thompson wins Wisconsin's GOP US Senate primary; will face Rep. Baldwin in fall
  • Former US Rep Nolan wins Democratic nomination for MN 8th district US House seat; to face freshman Rep. Cravaack (R)
  • State Rep. Mark Pocan (D) wins primary race to fill Rep Tammy Baldwin's WI-2 US House seat (Baldwin running for Senate)
  • KY state lawmaker’s potential gain from massive Kentucky-India coal deal raises concern
Last Word-
"Mr. Peabody's coal train has hauled it away." - From "Paradise," a John Prine lament over the destruction caused by coal mining in Kentucky's Green River valley (this, in light of the announcement this week of a deal to strip and ship 225 million tons of Kentucky coal to India).

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