Friday, February 1, 2013

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Senate EPW Committee Leaders Expect New WRDA Proposal Within Weeks
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Ranking Member David Vitter (R-LA) both emphasized in a Thursday (January 31) hearing that they intend to have a bipartisan Water Resources Development Act, or "WRDA," available for the Committee's and full Senate's consideration sometime within the next several weeks.  The bill would be intended in part, Sen. Boxer noted, to fix ongoing problems related to the funding for maintenance of and improvements to the nation's harbors and inland waterway navigation system.  In Thursday's hearing (information available here), focusing on the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, a consistent theme made by most Committee members and several witnesses was that far less than all of the revenues coming into that Trust Fund were being targeted each year for harbor maintenance work around the country.  And although not an official hearing topic, the insolvency of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund was also mentioned by panel members as a problem in search of a solution in a new WRDA bill.  For more information on WRDA and the January 31 hearing, you can see this Blog coverage.

U.S. Congress in 2013: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Our series previewing the U.S. Congress in 2013 continues this week with an overview of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and possible Committee agenda items this year that relate to Mississippi River Basin water issues. The Energy and Natural Resources Committee has jurisdiction over several Federal issues important from a Mississippi River Basin perspective, including irrigation, water resource reclamation projects, including those related to flood control purposes, energy development impacts on water resources, groundwater resources and management, hydroelectric power and low head hydro power. The preview (available in full here) has complete Committee member rosters, and highlights and includes links to Congressional Internet home pages for the Committee's nine Mississippi River Basin members. To view previous coverage of the 113th Congress' Senate and House committees, see:
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
Senate and House Agriculture Committees
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
  • EPA giving communities more time to clean up waters because of financial burden of stormwater; wastewater projects
  • EPA Memo "Assessing Financial Capability for Municipal Clean Water Act Requirements" (re: Clean Water Act obligations)
  • Iowa State U: Sediment deposition rate in Iowa lakes due to erosion has increased exponentially over last 50 years
  • Barge with 80,000 gallons oil hits Vicksburg, MS, Mississippi River bridge; leaks but contained
  • U of MN study: triclosan a dominant source of forms of dioxin in lakes which receive sewage treatment plant effluent
  • Blue Spring Creek, Missouri considered sacred by Northern Cherokee Nation tribe in an effort to stop treatment plant
  • Levels of perfluorinated chemicals found in Mississippi River fish below Twin Cities area declining but remain high
  • Minnesota pollution agency finds PFCs diminishing in Mississippi River, although still at "significant" levels in spots
  • EPA announces its approval of Missouri's change to state water quality standards rules
  • WV Sierra Club; WV Highlands Conservancy; OH Valley Environmental Coalition threaten to sue EPA over alleged lax WV DEP oversight re: mining water pollution
  • Appalachian Mountain Advocates; other groups move to restart lawsuit over Bush Administration mining 'stream buffer' rule (PDF of notice)

Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Article looks at sediment transport dynamics in Mississippi River; proposes increasing dredged material beneficial use
  • Iowa flood planning goes high-tech, as new research models offer better data for future protection
  • Army Corps of Engineers seeks comments on development plans for Audubon Bend, along the Missouri River
  • New FEMA National Flood Insurance Program maps could be good news for many New Orleans-area flood-insurance customers
  • Mississippi River barge crash and oil spill occurred at one of the two most difficult turns on the river
  • More than 1,000 barges were backed up Wednesday on Mississippi River near Vicksburg, Mississippi due to barge accident
  • International Energy Agency: fresh water consumption for energy production on track to double within next 25 years
  • Senate hearing testimony from President of Associated Branch Pilots focuses on Mississippi River navigation system
January 29 U.S. Drought Monitor Map
Click to Enlarge
Farm Bill-
  • 2013 farm bill fate could come down to early February meeting between House Speaker and Agriculture Ranking Member
  • Sen. Al Franken (D-MN): passing five-year Farm Bill will be a top priority; expects House to be more open to passage
Agriculture -
  • Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) announces that he will chair the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture
  • Three senators introduce legislation seeking to extend some lapsed agriculture disaster programs
  • Federal appeals court rules that USEPA is overestimating amount of biofuel that can be produced
  • Environmental and Energy Study Institute: High Crop Prices Driving US Land Use Change at Increasing Environmental Cost
  • University of Iowa professor: Midwestern U.S. aquifers being pumped at an unsustainable rate because of corn ethanol
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency "Feedlot Update" covers Ag water quality certification program 'listening sessions'
  • MN Dept of Ag to host public meetings seeking input on proposed state Agriculture Water Quality Certification Program
  • Project aims to teach farmers how to best apply fertilizers to avoid unnecessary nitrous gases from reaching atmosphere
  • Side by side comparison of organic and conventional agriculture indicates that organic is better for environment
In the States -
  • Iowa Environmental Protection Commission approves new way of funding $15M/year in water quality improvement projects
In the Cities -
Forestry -
  • WWF's Zero Net Deforestation and Forest Degradation goal to stem forest-based biodiversity-ecosystem services depletion
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • United States Geological Survey and National Wildlife Federation map depicts spread of invasive Asian carp since 1970s
  • Wisconsin's Natural Resources Board considers which species to list as endangered
  • Annual aerial surveys show ducks making good use of Illinois River Valley, as duck use trends upward
  • MN DNR Aquatic invasive species training available for Minnesota lake service providers
  • Minnesota hunters and anglers: a warming climate is already affecting fish and wildlife across U.S. and in the state
  • Minnesota’s U.S. senators will co-sponsor new legislation to help stop spread of Asian carp up the Mississippi River
Gulf Coastal Region-

  • Gulf Coastal restoration task force approves $57.8 million for wetlands projects, begins to design four more
  • Mississippi River Delta Science & Engineering Team answers "10 Fundamental Questions About the Mississippi River Delta"
  • Pipeline construction to deliver Mississippi River sediment to Barataria Basin to create coastal land may start in 2013
  • New USGS and NOAA report outlines the extent of known science regarding climate change in coastal regions. Press release: Report: (PDF file)
  • Study designed to protect and restore Southwest Louisiana's coastline could be finished next year; nearly 3 years late
Resource Extraction -
  • Natural gas fracking is coming to Illinois; while environmental concerns and disagreement over state taxes rise
  • East Tennessee may soon find itself front and center in the growing fracking debate
  • Environmental groups ask State to prevent use of fracking drilling technique on forested University of Tennessee tract
  • University of Tennessee releases details of its controversial fracking project proposal
Federal Budget -
  • Both parties predicting that deep, across-the-board spending cuts will probably hit U.S. federal agencies on March 1
  • House GOP leaders insist that across-the-board sequestration cuts are coming, while senators scramble for solutions
  • Once unthinkable, severe Federal spending cuts (sequestration) now seem plausible
  • Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) predicts that the Federal budget "sequester is going to happen” on March 1
Events -  Information on all past and future events listed here can be viewed in the on-line calendar on this Blog page and also as a stand-alone calendar.
  • Sustainability Summit and Exposition: Sustainability: An Economic and Ecologic Imperative; March 6-8, Milwaukee, WI
  • EPA Stormwater Webcast:  Overview & Lessons Learned, Feb 12, 1-3 PM ET flier: register:
  • MN Dept of Ag to host public meetings seeking input on proposed state Agriculture Water Quality Certification Program
  • 68th Annual meeting of the Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee; March 20-22; Winona, MN
  • Eighth Annual running of the Missouri River 340 (340-mile canoe race ) is set for July 23-26
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
  • Weekly Newsletter from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Water: "Water Headlines"
  • Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee Winter 2012 Newsletter (PDF file)
Other news-
Political Scene -
  • Washington Post: The reason the makeup of the U.S. Congress hasn't really changed and won’t change (in two charts)
  • Former U.S. congressman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) is interested in replacing Ray LaHood as transportation secretary
  • Iowa Democratic US Senator Tom Harkin will not seek 6th Senate term, says ‘it’s time’
  • Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-1) exploring a bid for US Sen. Tom Harkin's seat when Harkin retires
  • Iowa Republicans lining up to vie for U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
  • New Louisville Courier-Journal poll finds that Senate Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY) has weak public support
  • Former Rep. John Boccieri, Democrat from central Ohio, will attempt to return to Congress in 2014
Last Word - "Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present." - The first sentence of a 1000-plus-page "The US National Climate Assessment Report," authored by the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee.  The draft report is available for review on-line here and is open for public comment through April 12, 2013.  Among the report's key findings: "There is increasing risk of seasonal water shortage . . . as well as water contamination due to sediment and contaminant concentrations caused by heavy downpours."

No comments:

Post a Comment