Friday, September 14, 2012

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Mississippi River City Mayors Kick Off New River-Focused Organization
Source:   KMOX/Brett Blume
At a two-day meeting this week in St. Louis, Missouri, the mayors of dozens of Mississippi River cities and towns from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico formally launched their new Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative ("MRCTI") to help create a strong and influential voice for the Mississippi River by organizing around matters of mutual concern (see regional news coverage of the event herehere and here). One of MRCTI's primary objectives is to dramatically increase demand throughout the River Basin and in Washington, DC for effective River protection, restoration and management by articulating and helping to drive multi-stakeholder solutions to nagging federal and state policy problems that currently impede such solutions. Questions or suggestions regarding the Initiative can be directed to Colin Wellenkamp at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (telephone at 202-464-4008 or email at

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

  • Worst drought conditions in the lower 48 U.S. states expands for the third week in a row
  • Click Map for a Larger Version
  • Here are the the U.S. Drought Monitor report and map: (September 11)
  • Drought; rising temperatures force water managers to produce same power amount from hydroelectric grid with less water
  • Blistered by drought, Wisconsin farmers face decisions this fall, including whether to remain in business or quit
  • After worst Midwest drought in 76 years, soybean reserves will be their lowest since 1973 by March
  • Weather service warns of fire danger in Central Minnesota region and rest of state
  • Isaac's rain helped some stressed trees in the Midwest, but was too late for some
  • 2012 Drought Effect on Corn Yield on one Indiana farm
  • Update on Mississippi River shipping - openings/slow-downs - due to hurricane and drought.
  • Continuation of summer's hot, dry weather patterns could next shrink global supply of wheat
Federal Policy

  • 13 farm groups ask Senate leaders to "refrain from supporting" the House-passed agriculture disaster bill
  • 30 organizations send letter to Congress rejecting farm conservation cutting to pay for short-term disaster assistance
  • Thousands of farmers filing insurance claims after drought and heat burned up crops across U.S. Corn Belt
Farm Bill-
  • Hopes for 5-year farm bill in near future fade as Congress to act on other bills that emphasize political agendas
  • Congress headed toward short-term extension of existing Farm Bill programs and passage of limited drought-relief bill
  • Six-month stopgap spending bill could be vehicle for extension of federal farm programs set to expire September 30
  • Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-1) files discharge petition on 2012 farm bill after procedural hurdles overcome
  • Complete, periodically updated list of lawmakers who have signed Rep Braley's Farm Bill discharge petition available
  • Divisions continue among House Republicans over their leadership’s decision to block five-year farm bill action
  • Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Stabenow plans no move on interim disaster aid until House moves on Farm Bill
  • Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Stabenow: one-year extension of current farm bill "unacceptable"
  • House leaders seem to have dropped the idea of passing farm bill this year in favor of one-year extension
  • Good turnout for Farm Bill Now rally (photo - via @DonEWG)
  • Frustration high at farm bill rally in a "last, bittersweet attempt to sway Boehner"
  • Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN-7) Addresses Farm Bill Now Rally: (audio link)
  • Congressional agreement on a stalled farm bill seems increasingly out of reach
Agriculture -
Water Quality -
  • DTN Progressive Farmer: Stopping the Nitrogen Flow-Drought Reduces Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone at Least for a Year
  • USDA official: Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force taking actions to address nutrient runoff; other hypoxia contributors
  • Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force announces plan to monitor nutrient reductions throughout basin
  • No easy fixes seen for Minnesota River erosion, pollution
  • EPA releases enhanced AQUATOX model-predicts fate of nutrients/organics in water; direct and indirect biotic effects
  • Topeka city crews monitor pollution levels in Kansas River after sewer main overflows
  • Des Moines, Iowa, Selected for Green Infrastructure Design Assistance by EPA
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources assisting in Mississippi River Regional Ambient Fish Tissue monitoring
  • "States Implement Innovative Approaches to Combat Nutrient Pollution" (V&E Environmental Law Update)
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Think smaller: Mega-dams and massive government-run irrigation projects are not key to meeting world’s water needs
In the States -
  • Industries pay farmers to curb nutrient laden runoff under new Wisconsin regulatory regimen
  • MO DNR drafts plans to address bacterial pollution from sewer overflows and urban runoff; cities object to expense
  • MO DNR: Cleanup of St. Louis-area creeks will take time
  • EPA awards Oklahoma $2,059,773 to control nonpoint source pollution and protect water quality
Forestry -
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Sen. Tester (D-MT) introduces bill package to improve public land hunting/angling access; promote wildlife conservation
  • TransCanada submits second revision of Nebraska portion of route for its controversial Keystone XL pipeline
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service video teaches how to identify invasive Asian (bighead and silver) carps
  • Native species can cause ecological / economic impacts that rivaling invasives by spreading within historical range
  • New research: Drought alters the structure and functioning of complex food webs (J. Nature Climate Change)
  • Great Lakes-Mississippi basin separation for invasives control would require multi billion $ replumbing of Chicago
  • Barge & tour boat operators concerned about proposals to permanently separate Great Lakes from Mississippi River system
  • Phragmites: the "worst" aquatic invasive plant
  • EcoMyth or Fact?: Asian carp's destructive impact on an ecosystem
  • 100 most endangered species: priceless or worthless? – in pictures (via @guardianeco)
  • Reuters: Experts plea for protection of obscure but at risk plants and animals
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • Hurricane Isaac turned Mississippi River delta cattle country into brackish floodwater stretching for miles
  • Louisiana AG says proposed settlement relating to 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill is insufficient for spill victims
  • Obama signs Executive Order to get RESTORE funds flowing to Gulf Coast:
Resource Extraction -
  • India $7 billion coal deal with Kentucky may be in jeopardy according to Indian news source; KY officials disagree
  • America’s Wetland Foundation: Gulf of Mexico coastal restoration needs investment of billions of dollars
  • Ohio activists push for local government control of oil and gas well fracking
  • West Virginia groups urge Gov. Tomblin to temporarily stop issuing new Marcellus Shale formation drilling permits
Federal Budget -
  • House passes pass six-month Continuing Resolution after GOP and Dems play blame game (news coverage)
  • US House passes H.J.Res. 117 - Continuing Appropriations Resolution, for fiscal year 2013 (PDF of bill)
  • US Congress poised to kick difficult Federal spending decisions down the road . . . again
  • Fiscal cliff: no deal-making going on; none of top Congressional leaders or their aides in serious negotiations
  • White House CEQ and USEPA to host September 20 green infrastructure conference  and
  • Tennessee Oil and Gas Board hearing on proposed hydrofracking regulations; September 28; Nashville TN
  • Appalachian Public Interest Environmental Law Conference; October 26-28, Knoxville, TN
  • Planners' Workshop: Planning Flood-Resilient Communities; October 10,  Kansas City, MO (Register:
  • 32nd International Symposium of the North American Lake Management Society; November 7-9; Madison, Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin Wetlands Association's 18th Annual Wetlands Conference; Sheboygan, WI, February 12-14, 2013; details here soon:
  • 9/12 Presidential Forum on Agriculture; Iowa Public Television, repeats 9/16 1 PM and 9/19 8 PM CDT
  • 'State of the River' Launch (re: Mississippi River health); September 27,  Science Museum of Minnesota (St. Paul, MN)
  • EPA webinar: revised Section 319 Nonpoint Source Program; Grants Guidelines for States & Territories; Sept 20, 2 pm EDT
  • 2012 Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference–early bird registration ends Sept 14; La Crosse, WI; Oct 29-31
  • 4th annual Upper Midwest Stream Restoration Symposium; La Crosse, WI; Feb 24-27, 2013 (oral abstract deadline 9/28)
  • Assoc. of State Flooplain Managers Annual National Conference, June 9 -14, 2013, Hartford, CT - call for presentations
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
  • Tennessee Clean Water Network's September 7 e-newsletter is out
  • Latest bimonthly edition of Association of State Floodplain Managers "News and Views"
  • Association of State Floodplain Managers Foundation Summer 2012 newsletter released (with Nebraska focus) (note: not the same as above ASFPM "News and Notes")
  • America's Waterway September River Currents Newsletter is out with Mississippi River news highlights and summary
  • New Growing Blue blog broaches various subjects illustrating importance of water to economic and social growth
Other news-
  • Vote before 9/19 on Chase Community Giving page & support Clean Water Network's efforts to protect U.S. water resources
  • Submission period open through Oct. 15 for MGA video contest, "America's Smartland" re: unique Midwestern qualities
  • Op-ed: Growth fallacies: continuous economic growth could in theory, and probably has in fact, become uneconomic
  • St. Louis gathering of River mayors marks beginning of plan to bring national attention to Mississippi River’s problems
  • Mississippi River Cities  and Towns Initiative meeting has goal of focusing national attention back on the River
  • Researchers find Tennessee will be hard hit by climate change without an adaptation plan
Political Scene -
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) suggests Senate won’t be in Washington too long this fall
  • Todd Akin not quitting MO Senate race; believes once Sept. 25 deadline passes, more money will pour into his race
  • House Budget Chair Ryan (R-WI-1) running for House seat re-election even as he simultaneously campaigns for VP
Last Word -
For a long time now, words like compromise have been considered to be dirty words. And there are people on the right and the left who think that if you compromise you’re a coward, you’re a facilitator, you’re an appeaser.” - Steven LaTourette (R-OH-14), a prominent moderate Republican House Member; said in announcing that he will not seek a tenth term.

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