Friday, November 2, 2012

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Stream Nutrient Reductions from Conservation Practices Not Consistently Detectable
Click Figure to Enlarge
Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently published the results of a National Water-Quality Assessment Program-supported study finding that the effects of land conservation practices meant to reduce nutrient loss to streams were not consistently detectable in 133 large-scale watersheds in agricultural areas across the country. The study analyzed stream monitoring data in relationship with conservation practices designed to reduce soil runoff and nutrient loss from farmland (specifically, conservation tillage and the Conservation Reserve Program). The study authors speculate that the lack of correlation could be due to an increase in dissolved nutrients from areas in conservation tillage, where fertilizer, manure, and crop residues are not fully incorporated into the soil, or to changes in water quality lagging behind the implementation of conservation practices. The article detailing the study, entitled "Relating management practices and nutrient export in agricultural watersheds of the United States," can be found at this Journal of Environmental Quality website. A USGS press release summarizing the study can be viewed here.

Army Corps of Engineers Launches New Missouri River Recovery Program Online Tool
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has launched a new "Missouri River Basin Explorer" Internet site; an interactive tool designed to "provide insight regarding the river's natural environment and the efforts of the Missouri River Recovery Program." To read more of the new site and the Missouri River Recovery Program, go to the Missouri River Basin Explorer Internet site, or read our earlier blog post on the topic.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week  

Water Quality -
  • Iowa is preparing report that will detail plans to cut sewage plant nutrient loading; farm fertilizer runoff
  • Catch-22: Midwest's agricultural livelihood feeds Gulf of Mexico's "dead zone"
  • Missouri Coalition for the Environment; state and others preparing a plan to reduce Kiefer Creek watershed pollution
  • Fertilizer regulations in Iowa might lead to easing nitrogen pollution in Gulf of Mexico
  • Gulf of Mexico "Dead Zone" - flow of nitrates down Mississippi River has increased along with average dead zone size
  • USGS: Stream Nutrient Reductions from Conservation Practices Not Consistently Detectable Across U.S.
  • Phosphorus levels in Illinois River falling
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • New study confirms slow-moving Atchafalaya River beats Mississippi River at building wetlands
  • National implications: Army Corps wants exemption from SC permit for deepening of Savannah River shipping channel
  • Mississippi River barge traffic at Minneapolis, Minnesota port could end by 2013
  • High Plains (Kansas) farmers reluctantly starting to reduce their water use, fearing a dwindling supply
  • Army Corps of Engineers develops interactive online tool for exploring Missouri River Recovery Program
  • Mayor monitors rising Ohio River at New Cumberland Lock and Dam
  • Familiar Mississippi Basin refrain: local NE U.S. officials feared restricting development; spending $ on flood planning; preparing
    Click to Enlarge

  • Hurricane Sandy rains bring drought relief to Eastern third of U.S. but other areas remain parched
  • U.S. drought reverses traditional grain movement patterns; trains and barges shipping corn into-not out of-Corn Belt
  • Dust Bowl lesson: Care for and conserve land for future generations
  • Department of Agriculture says efforts to help producers rebound from drought include conservation on >1 million acres
Farm Bill-
  • Farmers fertilize fields; order seed for next growing season, while uncertain of agricultural policies in their toolbox
  • Op-ed: In the Spotlight: Link crop insurance to conservation compliance
  • Policy assessment: Obscure conservation compliance provision key to protecting taxpayers and privatizing crop insurance
  • Lobbyists: Cantor remarks mean, at best, that modified farm bill could be wrapped into another lame-duck bill
Agriculture -
  • National Wildlife Federation releases roadmap for increased cover crop adoption; release: report:
  • Novozymes has developed a new enzyme that allows more ethanol to be produced from the same amount of corn
  • Scientists: further studies are needed on the impact of bioenergy production on marginal lands
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture: Farmland rental rates shot up a record 20 percent in Iowa this year
  • Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research: new weather patterns will challenge commodity production
  • Water and land degradation: What can smallholder farmers do? (video) 
  • New technologies to aid in farm nutrient management and research were outlined during recent Illinois conference
Forestry -
  • New forest-focused project will review potential impacts of changing climate conditions on Northern Wisconsin
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Tiny cave-dwelling fish could have a big effect in Perry County, Missouri if it is added to the endangered species list
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • Gulf of Mexico shrimpers fear long-term harm from dead zone but most doubt much can be done about it
  • Main mission of scientists aboard 116-foot research ship is to track patterns of Gulf hypoxia (low oxygen)
Resource Extraction -
  • Northeast Iowa residents speak out against frac sand mining proposal
  • As sand mining intensifies across Wisconsin and Minnesota, county regulators hired away by the industry
Federal Budget -
  • Wall Street Journal produces a short, but informative, video looking at the Federal budgetary “fiscal cliff”
  • eARThworks exhibit proceeds benefit Missouri Coalition for the Environment; Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis, MO
  • Six November and December Citizens Forums across state will lead up to February 2013 Minnesota Environmental Congress
  • Upper Mississippi River Basin Association meetings scheduled for November 27-29 in St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Call for Proposals (11/8 deadline): 2013 International Congress for Conservation Biology; July 21-25; Baltimore, MD
  • EPA to host Nov 13 Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program stakeholder meeting (remote access available) 
Other news-
  • Davenport, Iowa's Credit Island bicycle-pedestrian bridge over the Mississippi River has its official ribbon-cutting
Political Scene -
  • Have you lost hope that political satire still lives in our post-Mark Twain world? Joss Whedon takes a shot at it 
  • Mississippi River Network's election night summary of Congressional races for Mississippi River districts /states (Excel spreadsheet) 
  • Partisan politics and changed district boundary haunt U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert in Illinois 
  • Two Minnesota 8th district polls show different pictures of race between Rep. Cravaack (R) and former Rep. Nolan (D) 
  • House Agriculture Committee Member Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-4) is facing “big trouble” with re-election prospects 
  • Polls: former Democratic governor and senator Kerrey closing on GOP Nebraska state Sen. Fischer in U.S. Senate race 
  • U of VA Center for Politics analysts call House for Republicans; Senate for Democrats; President "too close to call"
Last Word
"And now we're back where we started 
Here we go round again
Back where you started
Come on, do it again
Do it again
" - The Kinks

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