Friday, July 5, 2013

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News of the Week

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

USGS, State Officials To Brief Congress, the Public on Assessment and Health of U.S. Streams
The Northeast-Midwest Institute and the Water Environment Federation will co-host a public briefing at the U.S. Capitol on July 19, on new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) findings about the ecological health of the Nation’s streams. During the briefing, USGS National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program and state officials will describe the results of a national assessment of stream health, along with challenges and successes related to assessing aquatic life impairment and restoration. The presentations will emphasize the importance of assessing various stream health indicator and stress factors, and the implications the study findings have for establishing protection and restoration priorities.  According to a USGS release announcing the briefing, the national survey was "unprecedented in the breadth of the measurements that were made - including assessments of the condition of three biological communities (algae, macroinvertebrates and fish) as well as streamflow, pesticides, nutrients and other factors."  To read more about the study and its findings, and briefing details, follow this link.

Capitol Hill Next Week - What to Watch For
Following a week off for the Fourth of July recess, the U.S. House and Senate will be back in session next week, and here is a listing of activities currently scheduled for the week relating to Mississippi River Basin natural resources (the page will be updated throughout the remainder of the week).

No "Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News of the Week" Next Week
Your FNB ("Friendly Neighborhood Blogger") will be vacationing ocean-side next week, and no River-related news will be happening at all.  So, the Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News of the Week will take a one-week hiatus, along with the FNB.  River Basin news will resume the following week, along with a July 19 "News of the Week" summary of those events.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week
Water Quality -
  • William & Mary Environmental Law & Policy Review: Could Endangered Species Act Help with Nonpoint Nutrient Pollution?
  • EPA amends 2009 determination requiring numeric nutrient criteria for Florida (nationwide implications)
  • Mississippi River makes Weather Channel's list of "World's Most Polluted Rivers"
  • Record nitrate spike tests Des Moines, Iowa water supplies
  • Des Moines (Iowa) Water Works may sue government if state and USEPA fail to limit surface water source nitrates
  • House and Senate Appropriators Are at Odds Over Clean Water Act Jurisdiction Rules
  • EPA may suggest new rules to help guarantee state revolving fund borrowing for green-infrastructure projects
  • Blue-green algal bloom hits Kentucky's Taylorsville Lake
  • Mississippi River beaches in LaCrosse County, Wisconsin tested "unsatisfactory" for bacteria seven times during June
  • Minnesota officials and environmental leaders concede stopping water contamination requires a new message
  • American Farm Bureau Federation: EPA erred in regulating large-scale animal feeding operation stormwater discharges
  • Kansas DOT to pay civil penalty to settle three alleged construction site Clean Water Act violations
  • Southeast Indiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts breaking new ground in water quality trading
  • Wetter spring season could account for larger "dead zones" this year; trend could be amplified due to climate change
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Sen. McCaskill (D-MO) to introduce infrastructure bill to invest in, cut permitting "red tape" for roads, bridges, locks, dams
  • Upper Mississippi River Basin Association position paper on Investment and Key Issues for Commercial Navigation (PDF file)
  • Water policy stakeholders take different approaches in moving integrated water management and related policy forward
  • Mississippi River flooding continues in Muscatine, Quad Cities area, Iowa (video)
  • High Mississippi River waters and fast currents have officials warning boaters to be extra careful
  • Farming Carbon: Study Reveals Potent Carbon-Storage Potential of Constructed Wetlands
  • Minnesota: Restoring Wetlands is part science, art and patience
  • Water resource stresses are partly product of what we do in cities and suburbs: pricing, wasting and using water
  • Missouri River is among nation's most vulnerable rivers, along with many others Midwesterners frequent
Farm Bill-
  • Broad coalition of 532 organizations urge House Speaker to pass comprehensive farm bill before current law expires
  • House plans to take up farm bill again in July: Rep. King (R-IA-4)
  • Splitting the farm bill: Culling SNAP from farm programs gains momentum with Heritage backing.
  • Capitol Hill newspapers report House Majority Leader Cantor considering separating nutrition programs from farm bill
  • Indiana Congressman pushing to split nutrition from farm bill is finding "a lot of interest" from fellow Republicans
  • NY Times: failure of farm bill last month reflects the declining clout of farm lobby and the once-powerful committees
  • Farm lobbyists push back against drive to split food stamps and farm subsidies from the farm bill
Agriculture -
  • PLOS ONE journal research article: crop yields not rising at a sufficient enough pace to meet projected demand by 2050
  • US farmers have planted the largest acreage of corn since 1936, despite a wet, cold spring that delayed fieldwork
Climate and Weather -
July 2 U.S. Drought Monitor Map
Click to Enlarge
  • National Drought Mitigation Center, USDA and NOAA weekly U.S. Drought Monitor update (July 2)
  • International insurance think tank publishes report on ocean warming and its implications for insurance industry
  • "Nationwide Drought and Heat Wave" makes top 10 list of costliest 2012 climate disasters - $30.3 billion; 123 deaths
  • Center for American Progress: "Shelter from the Superstorm: How Climate Preparedness & Resilience Saves Money & Lives"
  • Unprecedented climate extremes marked last decade, says UN
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit seeks Interior Department Endangered Species Act protections for 10 species
  • Leader of Illinois mussel reintroduction effort pleased with progress
  • Midwestern Governors Association convenes Minneapolis meeting to discuss combating aquatic invasive species PDF file
  • EPA approves feedstocks from 2 invasive plants despite invasive potential warnings
  • EPA approves crops that environmentalists warn are invasive species for use in renewable fuel program
Resource Extraction -
In the Cities -
  • Mayors ask Congress to limit EPA Clean Water Act permit enforcement against towns making integrated water management progress
In the States -
  • Tennessee Agencies Partner To Offer Green Development Grants; Improve State Water Quality
Resource Extraction -
  • As EPA slows pace of pending impact studies and policies, environmental groups seek stricter local fracking rules
Federal Budget -
  • They said the sequester would be scary. Mostly, they were wrong
  • Senate Budget Chairwoman Murray wants GOP-Dem budget negotiations, sequester replacement before August recess
Events -  Information on all past and future events listed here can be viewed in the on-line calendar (here as a stand-alone calendar)
  • Growing Sustainable Communities Conference; Sept. 24-25; Grand River Center; Dubuque, IA
  • Conservation In Action Tour July 9-10; Indian Creek Watershed in Livingston County, IL
  • Meeting of the Advisory Group for the NAS Gulf of Mexico Program; July 24-25; New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Luncheon Seminar: “Food, Fuel and Plant Nutrient Use in The Future;” Washington, DC; July 23; details here:
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
  • Ecology Letters Special Issue: Ecological Effects of Environmental Change
  • July Newsletter of the U.S. Global Change Research Program and National Climate Assessment
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Feedlot Update - June 28 covers Ag Water Quality Certification Program; other news
  • Green Lands Blue Waters July e-news update on Sustainable Agriculture
  • EPA Office of Water Water Headlines for the Week of July 2
  • EPA Climate Change and Water News for July 2013
Other news-
  • Several conservation groups, state agencies no longer want White River to be part of a new federal "Blueway" program
  • Scientist argues in new book that as population keeps soaring, humans are the real threat to life on Earth
  • Ultra-Green Inner-City Development Uses Oldcastle Precast Stormwater Management System and Belgard Pavers
  • MN DOT conducting research; expects pervious pavement road surfaces could be in wide use in five years
Political Scene -
  • Kentucky Secretary of State decides to run against Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in 2014 for Kentucky US Senate slot
  • Democrat Jim Mowrer to challenge Republican Rep. Steve King in Iowa's fourth Congressional district in 2014 election
  • With McCarthy nomination approval delay, the US EPA enters into its longest period without a permanent Administrator
  • Senate seems likely to confirm Gina McCarthy as head of the Environmental Protection Agency in July
  • House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair calls for investigation of EPA's’s alleged "sue and settle tactics"
Last Word -
"Politicians don't always kiss babies." - Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI-1) tweet he sent last weekend, showing a picture of the U.S. House Member kissing a fish

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