Friday, October 19, 2012

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

National Research Council: Army Corps Faces "Unsustainable Situation"
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers faces an "unsustainable situation" in maintaining its national water projects at acceptable levels of performance, according to a new report released this week by the National Academies' National Research Council (NRC). A pre-publication copy of the NRC Committee report, "Corps of Engineers Water Resources Infrastructure: Deterioration, Investment, or Divestment?" has been made available by the authoring NRC "Committee on the United States Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Science, Engineering, and Planning" through the NRC report web site. For more information, you can read this recent blog update.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week  

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  • The week's storm system spread significant rain amounts from Oklahoma to Upper Great Lakes, moderating drought a bit
  • Six week animation of extent of drought in the U.S. (September 11 - October 16)
  • Drought that ravaged the United States this year does not appear to be abating and may spread through the winter
  • Rivers and rainfall approaching record low levels; MN officials want homeowners to eliminate nonessential water use 
  • Effects of scorching weather this summer in the Midwest now hitting restaurants 
  • EPA to decide by early next month whether to reduce the amount of corn-based ethanol in gasoline because of drought 
  • Welcome Midwestern U.S. rains are forecast, but so are severe storms
Water Quality -
  • EPA launches new website for information on U.S. lakes, rivers and streams via smart phone, tablet or computer
  • USGS and IL EPA "multi-parameter, water-quality super station" recently implemented on Illinois River at Florence
  • EPA's monthly "Success Spotlight" stream is Turkey Creek, Oklahoma for sediment and nutrient control
  • Extreme weather turns out to be a "mixed bag" for aquatic "dead zones"
  • New York Times Q and A with marine ecologist Nancy Rabalais: Tracking a Worrisome Dead Zone
  • Abandoned underground salt cavern blamed for sinkhole; aquifer contamination in sparsely populated Louisiana swampland
  • Illinois Attorney General's office files air; water pollution complaint against owner of Douglas County mine
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Deputy Commissioner commentary: Important (water quality) change isn't spontaneous
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • NRC reports on status of operations, maintenance and rehabilitation of Army Corps water resources infrastructure
  • "Pros and cons about improvements to (Mississippi River system) locks and dams"
  • Public able now to weigh in on issues related to re-licensing of two WV Ohio River basin hydroelectric projects
  • Army Corps releases findings regarding remaining "vulnerabilities" in Missouri River Basin following 2011 flood
  • Missouri River levels are showing extreme variation: jumping up higher and dropping down lower than ever before
  • Army Corps: more Missouri River system repairs, research, monitoring needed to mitigate future high flow damage
Farm Bill-
  • Op-ed CEO of Ducks Unlimited: Farm bill delay endangers wildlife
  • Des Moines Register editorial: Farm subsidies a tougher sell now
  • Vice-chair of House Agriculture Committee confident 2012 farm bill will be approved before end of 2012
  • Democrats try to use angst over farm bill passage failure to gain Midwestern seats in November 6 election
Agriculture -
  • BioRisk journal: surplus lands' productive capacity and potential use for biofuels may be greatly overestimated
  • Missouri farmers work with state and National Park Service staff to restore old fields on NPS land
  • According to a new analysis, genetically-modified crops have led to a significant increase in herbicide usage
  • 'Vertical farming' advocates say growing crops in urban high-rises will eventually be both greener and cheaper
In the States -
  • Minnesota DNR making $225,000 available for grant proposals to restore native aquatic habitat; November 9 deadline
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • BBC: Scientists say billions required to meet globally agreed conservation targets by 2020
  • A very nice video overview of aquatic invasive species, especially for introducing the subject to the uninitiated
  • Grafton, Illinois Asian carp processing plant still on track to start construction within a month
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • Negative impact of nutrients on coastal ecosystems: environment begins 'falling apart' in less than 7 years
  • Gulf Coast U.S. senators want Obama Administration to ensure that BP spill deal is fair
  • Gulf coastal restoration task force: Mississippi River "land building" diversion "is working better than expected"
  • Controversial sediment and freshwater diversion near Mississippi River mouth to remain open for at least ten more years
Resource Extraction -
Federal Budget -
  • Four environmental groups argue case for avoiding sequestration cuts in new report (PDF file)
  • National Park Service "State of the River” Mississippi River Forum, October 26, Minneapolis, MN
  • Big River Lives Leadership Forum; December 6, Hilton St. Louis, MO information: registration:
  • Society for Ecological Restoration 5th World Conference on Ecological Restoration; October 6-11, 2013, Madison, WI
  • Excellent Horinko Group annual summit yesterday on "Next Generation of Environmental Compliance and Enforcement"
  • Louisville, KY proclaims and holds official day of celebration for the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act
  • Basin Alliance for the Lower Mississippi in Minnesota (BALMM) will meet Wednesday, Oct. 24
  • ASFPM's 2013 Annual National Conference presentation proposal submittals are due October 31 (floodplain management)
  • Forum takes aim at threats facing the Mississippi River
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
Other news-
  • Major dust storm closes down Interstate 35 in North-central Oklahoma
  • Louisville, Kentucky begins efforts to adapt to harsher climate, including flooding, intense storms, sewer overflows
  • Teacher guide wins award: Our Mississippi: Educational Activities about the Upper Mississippi River
  • UN warns of looming worldwide food crisis in 2013 due to low reserves, unstable climate and rising prices
Political Scene -
  • In Louisiana, Rep. Landry vs. Rep. Boustany (member-vs.-member) U.S. House race is heating up
  • New Democratic Sen. McCaskill internal poll shows her U.S. Senate (Missouri) race lead expanding over GOP Rep. Akin
  • An internal Bob Kerrey (D)  poll has State Sen. Deb Fischer (R) leading the former U.S. senator by five points in the Nebraska Senate race
  • Sen. Inhofe (R-OK): upcoming EPA Regulations postponed until 2013 "spell doom for jobs" and economy
Last Word
Politics is the fine art of deciding what's next best when best is not available.” – Joan Chittister, OSB

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