Friday, April 19, 2013

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~
Two Mississippi River Basin Rivers Are Among the Year's Ten "Most Endangered"
On April 17, the river conservation organization American Rivers released its annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers list, "a list of ten rivers facing urgent threats that call for our immediate, decisive action." In the Mississippi River Basin, the Little Plover River (in Wisconsin) and Niobrara River (in Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming) were highlighted among the top-ten threatened rivers. The over-used and drought-depleted Colorado River topped the list.  To read more about the reasons for those streams' listing, and about the entire list, you can go to this American Rivers web site, or see our earlier blog summary.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week
Water Quality -
  • EPA releases Nonpoint Source Program and Grants Guidelines for States and Territories for Clean Water Act 319 grants
  • Both WV chambers pass bill to create new, likely more lenient selenium standard for regulating waterways discharges
  • Mississippi's state nutrient limits for wastewater treatment plants delayed; implementation still unclear
  • World Resources Institute: Can Nutrient Trading Shrink the Gulf of Mexico's Dead Zone?
  • National Geographic Magazine: "The Curse of Fertilizer-If we don’t watch out, agriculture could destroy our planet"
  • EPA "success spotlight" shines on Minnesota's removal of the Credit River from its list of impaired waters in 2012
  • Grain Processing Corporation of Muscatine, Iowa, agrees to pay $129,000 for Clean Water Act violations
  • Tennessee Valley Authority being sued by Alabama Dept of Environmental Management over Tennessee River pollution
  • Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet works on plan to control pollution that affects Gulf of Mexico dead zone
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Mississippi River locks 16-22 to close due to flooding according to Army Corps of Engineers
  • West Central Illinois residents along Illinois River should be wary of minor to moderate springtime flooding
  • Rain prompts Mississippi River basin flood worries in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa
  • Davenport, Iowa residents and businesses start in earnest to prepare for yearly Mississippi River flooding
  • Quad-City (IL-IA) officials keep close eye on Mississippi River as it moves toward flood stage
  • Swollen Missouri River expected to hit just over 23 feet in Jefferson City, MO
  • Photo series: Illinois River flooding forces evacuation of Marseilles residents
  • Barge damages Illinois River lock floods close 3 others
  • Flood-fighting intensifies on Mississippi River
Other News
  • Arkansas water supplier to ask ExxonMobil for plan to move oil pipeline from Little Rock area from drinking water source
  • State wetlands and floodplains groups oppose WRDA streamlining provisions; news coverage
  • State water and floodplain associations submit letter to Senate requesting major WRDA  bill modifications (PDF file of letter)
  • Webinar recording available: Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization: Implementing the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012
  • South Dakota officials urge Army Corps of Engineers to conserve water in Missouri River reservoirs
  • Army Corps' Morganza-to-Gulf hurricane protection system plan receives Mississippi River Commission recommendation
  • Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District considers last-ditch proposal to save a struggling rural water system
  • Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) getting swamped with advice as he drafts new WRDA bill to fund nationwide water projects
  • Army Corps project costs and red tape are issues as the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee starts its work on WRDA
  • Bismarck Tribune Editorial: Re-calibrate Missouri River purpose
  • Los Angeles Times Op-Ed: US needs a better disaster plan: use federal money for prevention, not just clean-up
  • Corps of Engineers awards $614.8 million contract for permanent pump stations at mouths of New Orleans canals
Farm Bill-
  • House Agriculture Committee Chair will move ahead a farm bill markup May 15 despite calls to delay
Agriculture -
  • Farm belt’s soils recharged by melted snow and spring rains; farmers anxious to start working fields and planting seed
  • New manure-spreading methods on Wisconsin farms are a conflict flashpoint among farmers, neighbors, environmentalists
  • USDA Secretary Vilsack: climate research; drought mitigation and adaptation will be agency priorities
Climate and Weather -  
    Midwest Drought Monitor Map
  • Drought update: Storm system brought beneficial moisture to parts of central Plains; western Corn Belt last week
  • Federal study: Last year's Plains' drought was natural aberration not caused by human-induced climate change
  • Scientists predict busy Atlantic and Caribbean hurricane season
  • Agricultural meteorologist: the lack of moisture in lower levels of soils is leaving mid-US crop yields vulnerable
In the States -
  • Tennessee Clean Water Network releases it's 3rd TDEC Division of Water Resources report on enforcement
  • Minnesota State House passes bill to monitor groundwater; fight aquatic invasive species
In the Cities -
  • Green Infrastructure Pilot Provides Valuable Lessons for Kansas City, MO in its effort to control stormwater overflows
  • Nashville, TN prepares for largest and possibly lengthiest stormwater and sanitary sewer infrastructure overhaul in its history; local jobs eyed
Forestry -
  • U.S. Forest Service FY 2014 Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Cost Share grant program
  • PNAS paper: Planting crops more closely could raise costs of forest conservation
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • BBC video and narrative of jumping invasive Asian Carp in the Illinois River; great close-up and slow motion video
  • Wisconsin DNR urged not to remove Blanding’s turtle from endangered species list
  • Groups explore using culverts to alleviate flooding, protect human safety, and provide fish and wildlife corridors
  • Invading fig buttercup plant takes over Beargrass Creek flood plain in Kentucky
Gulf Coastal Region- 
  • New Mississippi River diversion project later this year may move more freshwater through Barataria Basin
  • New research indicates Mississippi River diversions to rebuild Louisiana wetlands could actually harm the marshland
  • Louisiana coastal scientists say criticism of plans to build large sediment diversions is unfounded
  • Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality performing dye testing on Bayou Lafourche to study contaminant flows
Resource Extraction -
  • Drillers back out of Ohio amid flagging Utica Shale oil prospects
  • Ohio, Texas and Utah officials tell Congress that Federal hydraulic fracturing rules aren't needed 
  • Surveyed experts agree on the priority environmental risks related to shale gas development
Federal Budget - 
  • Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) may move this week to create a House-Senate budget conference committee
  • There’s no prospect of appointing a House-Senate conference to try to resolve Congress's $91 billion budget gap
  • The Senate on Monday evening sent its 2014 budget resolution to the House for consideration
Events -  Information on all past and future events listed here can be viewed in the on-line calendar on this Blog page and here as a stand-alone calendar
  • To celebrate April 20-28 National Park Week, volunteers sought at various St. Croix National Scenic Riverway locations
  • EPA, USDA, state partners to discuss priority Mississippi River Basin water pollution Issues; April 18-19
  • Northeast Nebraska volunteers sought to help remove trash, debris from Missouri River banks, sandbars
  • Webinar: A Study in Collaboration: Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts; April 30; noon CDT
  • Water infrastructure Summit re: the need to reinvest In US water infrastructure
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
  • The Nature Conservancy's April Great Rivers Partnership E-newsletter, including Mississippi River coverage
  • Weekly Newsletter from the Office of Water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: "Water Headlines"
  • Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy's latest (April 16) and archived WaterWays e-newsletter links here:
Other news- 
  • Missouri Sedimentation Action Coalition finally has a headquarters (near Yankton, SD) after 12 years in existence
  • Illinois Gov.; Louisiana Lt. Gov. call on nation to set a course to sustain the Mississippi River
  • Scientific American: part 1 of a 2-part series on limits of human economic growth on Earth highlights food-water issues
  • Scientific American: part 2 of a 2-part series on limits of human economic growth on Earth highlights food-water issues
  • A look at the Science Museum of Minnesota's St. Croix Watershed Research Station and its work
  • Ramsey County, MN purchases largest Superfund site in state for $28 million: Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant
  • Has Wisconsin's proud pro-environment tradition faded?
  • Worldwatch Institute annual report: "State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible?"
  • Grants available to Wisconsin and Missouri teachers for field trips focusing on Upper Mississippi River; its resources
Political Scene -
  • "Bipartisanship" is still largely a pipe dream in both chambers of the U.S. Congress
  • Iowa Lt. Gov. Reynolds continues to hint at her Republican run to fill retiring Sen. Harkin's US Senate seat
Last Word
The most regular thing about ‘regular order’ in Congress these days may be the regularity of its disarray." - Reporter David Rogers in an April 16, 2013 Politico article

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