Friday, May 31, 2013

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Next Week on Capitol Hill
Following a week off for the Memorial Day recess, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to resume its Senate floor Farm Bill consideration on Monday, with Senate leaders trying to forge a so-called time agreement in order to wrap up the legislation by the end of the week (and move on to take up immigration legislation).  Here is a link to a more complete farm bill update, and here a link to a listing of the other activities currently scheduled for next week in the House and Senate that could impact   Mississippi River Basin and Gulf Coast region natural resources.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
  • Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) investigating need for "framework" to support interstate water quality nutrient and sediment trading
  • States and others argue that EPA's survey of national water quality conditions is flawed; cannot be used to justify new regulation
  • Scioto River in central Ohio among six rivers in statewide algae fight tied to the Gulf dead zone and Lake Erie
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency board approves reissuance of MS4 permit regulating urban stormwater discharges
  • Louisville (KY) Sewer District pays $161,000 fine for 135 million gallons in illegal sewage overflows
  • Lawsuits allege that reclaimed mountaintop removal mining sites are still polluting West Virginia waterways
  • Environmental groups file lawsuits over water pollution from closed West Virginia mountaintop mine sites
  • Three-year OSU and USDA Ohio study to track phosphorus in rainwater runoff from 30 farm fields across the state
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to award grants for reducing pollutants in lakes and streams; June 11 deadline 
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • New Orleans port terminal expands to receive oil and fracking gas by rail, ship to Gulf and up Mississippi River by barge 
  • Comment on draft assessment for Army Corps proposed Glover’s Point Bend Habitat Project (Missouri River) until 6/24 
  • CEQ extends comment period on draft interagency Guidelines for Federal water resources development projects: June 27 
  • The latest casualty of the U.S. drought may be Midwestern and Plains aquifers
  • Floodplain Science Network launches new website to provide relevant information addressing Midwest river challenges
  • National Weather Service flood warning issued for Mississippi River at St. Louis, MO, Alton Lock and Dam, Chester, IL
  • As soggy period continues, Central Iowans bracing for the first significant floods in three years
  • Recent rains ease drought, swell rivers; Army Corps believes it has Missouri River reservoir capacity to limit flooding
  • Parts of Iowa, Missouri and Illinois are bracing for yet another round of flooding as rivers rise
  • Illinois River again under flood watch; strong thunderstorms forecast Friday; possibly Saturday
  • Threat of flooding looms across Iowa; closing roads, cutting power, tainting drinking water, disrupting recreation
  • Floods close Mississippi River locks, halt barge shipments
Farm Bill-
  • The next five-year Farm Bill is progressing in the U.S. House but possible obstacles loom
  • Heritage Foundation political arm paints House farm bill as thinly-veiled Obama food stamp agenda bankrolling device
Agriculture -
  • Applications due by June 14 from farmers, ranchers, forestland owners interested in Conservation Stewardship Program 
  • Ohio cropland values and cash rental rates are projected to increase from 6.8% to 15.4% in 2013
  • UN panel: Decline in biodiversity of farmed plants and livestock breeds is gathering pace
Climate and Weather -
Click to Enlarge
  • U.S. Drought Monitor: Midwest drought eases significantly; Plains conditions split between improving and worsening
  • Three-day cumulative rain graphic illustrates just how inundated the U.S. Midwest has been this week:
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • MN Department of Natural Resources boosts number of inspectors; money spent to slow aquatic invasive species spread
  • US Fish & Wildlife Service estimates 18-yr cost to save small southeast Missouri cave-dwelling fish at $140,000-$4 million
In the Cities -
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • Corps of Engineers officer: Louisiana missing its chance at federal cost-share money for coastal restoration projects
Resource Extraction -
  • Illinois House passes legislation to regulate horizontal hydraulic fracturing in the state; bill moves to Senate and
  • Illinois counties can do little but brace for fracking's impact in wake of hashed-out legislative compromise
  • Federal officials begin taking public comments on proposed regulations for hydraulic fracturing on public lands
  • Nebraska poised to require disclosure of fracking chemicals used by drillers
Federal Budget -
  • White House to agencies: submit 2015 discretionary budget proposals 5 percent below 2014 enacted levels
Events -  Information on all past and future events listed here can be viewed in the on-line calendar (here as a stand-alone calendar)
  • National Water Quality Monitoring Council Webinar: EPA’s Water Contaminant Information Tool; June 4; 1 PM EDT
  • Save the date; 10th Biennial Conference on University Education in Natural Resources;  Auburn U, AL; Mar 13-15, 2014
  • USFS Webinar: Forest Plan Revisions & the New Planning Rule: Considerations for all-lands & open space; June 5, 2 PM
  • “Making Change Happen for the St. Croix River" workshop; July 17; 5-9 pm; aboard the Grand Duchess, Hudson, WI
  • New Orleans' 5 May-July Workshops on “Urban Water Series: Strategies That Work” - flier with workshop dates & descriptions (see report under "Cities" above)
  • 4th Annual Choose Clean Water Conference: Choose Clean Water; June 4-5, Tremont Plaza Suites Hotel, Baltimore, MD
  • Capitol Hill Briefing June 3-Water Resources Development Act: Reducing the Risks and Costs of Future Flood Disasters
  • EPA Webinar: Using Interactive GIS to Plan Nutrient Reductions and Track Implementation; June 5, 11-12:15 EDT (log on as "guest")
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Watershed Network News for May 28
  • Weekly "Water Headlines" Newsletter from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Water
  • The Army Corps of Engineers' Spring edition of "Our Mississippi" magazine is now available (pdf file)
Other news-
  • Industry groups stepping up efforts to win the right to intervene in so-called “sue-and-settle” suits involving EPA
  • "Paddling Theatre" experience is nothing of the sort ever offered before on the Minnesota River
  • Owner of Mississippi environmental testing lab convicted of falsifying wastewater discharge reports
  • More than 140 kayakers from across country participate in 72-mile journey down Missouri River to Sioux City
  • Majority of humanity will live with severe pressure on fresh water resources within the space of two generations
  • Wal-Mart Stores pleaded guilty Tuesday to improperly dumping hazardous waste in California and Missouri
  • A timely article from the Union of Concerned Scientists on "Reinvigorating the Role of Science in Democracy"
Political Scene -
  • New Congressional Research Service report: about 20% of Federal laws passed in recent years were for naming post offices
  • Free-for-all anticipated in the Republican primary for Nebraska’s open U.S. Senate seat
  • Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN-6) announces in that she will not seek reelection in 2014
  • Republicans pressing Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR-4) to run for US Senate against Sen. Mark Pryor (D)
  • Businessman McFadden becomes first Republican to challenge Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) for the first-term senator's seat
Last Word -
"Fresh water systems across the planet are in a precarious state. Mismanagement, overuse and climate change pose long-term threats to human well being." Declaration signed by over 350 top water scientists from around the world last week at the close of the "Water in the Anthropocene" conference in Bonn, Germany.  You can watch a telling "Water in the Anthropocene," three-minute film charting the global impact of humans on the water cycle here.

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