Friday, August 30, 2013

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News of the Week

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Asian Carp Observed 20 Miles Farther Upstream on Mississippi River Than Previously
Silver carp
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources scientists have observed the carcass of a silver carp on a concrete abutment just below Mississippi River Lock and Dam 5. The silver carp sighting was about 20 miles farther upstream than the previously northernmost instance of the species, indicating that invasive Asian carp continue to move upriver. The finding of the carcass on the lock and dam abutment also supports the contention by some that carp may be attempting to leap physical barriers on their movement northward. To read more details, see a news article, below (under "Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives") and this earlier blog posting on the finding.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week  

Water Quality -
  • Iowa groups' petition to issue numeric nutrient water quality criteria renews Mississippi River Basin criteria battle
  • NRCS 2012 Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative report released (PDF file of report); NRCS Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative web page here:
  • USDA report: Farmers reduced sediment loss in Mississippi River Basin through voluntary conservation (E&E Greenwire)
  • Environmental groups want EPA to take action against Indiana's coal mine water quality permitting system
  • U.S. District Court ruling: West Virginia bill doesn't shield coal companies from citizen suits
  • Environmental groups threaten lawsuit if EPA selects less stringent power plant discharge effluent limit guidelines
  • Groups press EPA to quickly release proposal requiring developers to limit new construction stormwater runoff
  • U.S. District Court Judge rules in favor of Army Corps of Engineers in Kentucky coal mining stream valley fill case
  • Federal judge holds Alpha Natural Resources Inc. liable for selenium in discharges from coal-mines into West Virginia waterways
  • Iowa Public Radio: Farmers and policymakers debate Iowa's water quality regulation needs and future
  • EPA-Iowa CAFO deal likely will sidestep question of when CAFOs have “duty” to seek Clean Water Act NPDES permits
  • Mid-Missouri Public Radio: USGS scientists detect high levels of nitrogen in Midwest waterways during spring/summer
  • Kentucky seeks to become first state to win EPA approval for new selenium water quality standard
  • Federal report blames hydraulic fracturing fluids spill for harming fish in small southeastern Kentucky stream
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Occurrences of worldwide flooding corner bulk of global insurance claims for first half of 2013
  • Proposed St. John the Baptist levee (Louisiana) would be designed to lower risk from surge in 100-year storms
  • Report commissioned by Louisiana and maritime interest coalition argues benefits of deepening Mississippi River
  • 2011 floods, 2012 drought altered aspects of shipping on Mississippi River and its tributaries and
  • NPR: "Turning Off The [Groundwater Irrigation] Spigot In Western Kansas Farmland"
  • Also see:  Kansas running out of water over long term, aquifer could be 70% depleted by 2060 and this PNAS study link: "Tapping unsustainable groundwater stores for agricultural production in the High Plains Aquifer of Kansas"
  • Army Corps: some navigable Arkansas River infrastructure critically old, modernization costs could reach $120 million
  • Army Corps' September 11 and 18 webinars to preview/solicit comments on Missouri River recovery plan and EIS
  • Billionaire in a war of words with West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection over illegally built dam
  • Rep. Loebsack (D-2-IA) calls on private support to help update outdated Mississippi River lock and dam system
  • Muskegon port development could mean barge terminal linking Michigan farmers to Gulf Coast via Mississippi River
  • New facility designed to enhance economic development, marketing, education related to navigation of Arkansas River (also see: Ground broken for Arkansas River Resource Center at Little Rock Port Authority
Farm Bill-
  • Key differences between House and Senate farm bill versions for potential Conference Committee consideration
  • Heritage Foundation falls out of favor with some conservative Republicans over farm bill issues
  • House GOP leaders still considering how to proceed with legislation establishing federal farm and food aid policy
Agriculture -
  • Natural Resources Defense Council releases a new crop loss mapping tool and
    Natural Resources Defense Council
    drought insurance report map
    drought-related crop insurance report (also see links, below)
  • NRDC report: Drought-related insurance losses could have been avoided through use of water smart strategies
  • Op-ed: Big-equals-bad equation hides inconvenient truth: Plenty of small farmers do not embrace sustainable practices
  • Groups sue US EPA over rule concerning collecting information from large-scale livestock confinement farms (Also see: EPA sued for scrapping livestock data collection
  • Groups' concentrated animal feeding operations information lawsuit seeks to reinstate EPA's abandoned reporting rule
  • IL researchers: genetically modified corn planted to try to protect crops from pests fails to ward off rootworms

Climate and Weather -
Drought Monitor Map
(click to enlarge)
  • National Drought Mitigation Center: Above-normal temperatures and rapidly deteriorating soil moisture conditions hit Midwest
  • NOAA's Climate Prediction Center monthly drought outlook -(to be published at the end of this month)
  • With little rain expected in the Midwest, July and August poised to be driest since 1936 in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana
  • Midwest growing season that began unusually wet and cold is finishing hot and dry, renewing drought worries
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • MN DNR observations suggest that Asian carp may attempt to leap dams
  • Interior Department finalizes rule for calculating costs of  endangered and threatened wildlife habitat protections
  • Sandbar spraying with herbicides (for vegetation control) to begin on Missouri River in September
  • Capoli Slough is site of latest Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge island habitat-building project
  • Fisherman angling for Asian carp solution The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL -
  • Groups sue to stop USFWS's planting of genetically modified crops in IL, IA, MN and MO wildlife refuges
In the Cities -
  • Initiative by Mississippi River mayors takes on an artistic form in St. Louis at River photo exhibition
  • Burnsville, MN rain gardens achieve about 90% reduction in stormwater runoff volumes during typical small storms
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • Restoration questions persist as Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council evaluates BP spill fine spending plan
  • Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council unanimously approves plan to restore Gulf Coastal region
  • Gulf restoration council approves initial restoration plan
  • Levee board lawsuit over alleged oil and gas industry damage to coastal wetlands roils Louisiana
Federal Budget -
  • Federal debt limit to be hit by mid-October, requiring Congressional action, says Treasury Secretary Jack Lew
Events -  Information on all past and future events listed here can be viewed in the on-line calendar (here as a stand-alone calendar)
  • Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force Meeting; September 24; Minneapolis, MN
  • Call for abstracts: National Water Quality Monitoring Council's 9th Annual National Monitoring Conference, Cincinnati, OH, April 28 - May 2, 2014
  • UNL Stormwater Management Education Team sponsoring annual Lincoln (NE) Green Infrastructure Tour; September 12
  • St. Croix River Assoc to show "The Price of Sand," film outlining "dangers of unregulated frac-sand mining" Sept. 12
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
  • Green Lands Blue Waters biweekly news update (right hand column of this page:
  • EPA Climate Change and Water News
  • Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy's WaterWays August 28 e-newsletter (Mississippi River Basin/Gulf excerpts)
  • Montana Watershed Coordination Council Watershed News 08.15.13
Other news-
  • Closed ethanol plant in Buffalo Lake, Minn., being turned over to its lender under bankruptcy court order
  • Planned Great River Road Interpretive Center will focus on intrinsic value of Upper Mississippi River region
  • Company focused exclusively on sustainability investing ranks countries on basis of sustainability in new report
Political Scene -
  • Former state director for Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) files paperwork to run for Montana's only House seat
  • Politico examines the 2014 Arkansas gubernatorial race to assess whether Democrats are "done in the South"
Last Word -
Omnishambles was one of the more printable terms used
 by Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker in "The Thick of It"
This week's "Last Word" is a new one that - given recent history - may be in vogue over the coming months in the halls of government: "omnishambles."  The word, originally coined by the writers of the political television satire "The Thick of It," is among the new words added this month to the Oxford Dictionaries online, and was voted the word of the year by the Oxford English Dictionary in 2012.   It means, "a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterised by a string of blunders and miscalculations."

Friday, August 23, 2013

Asian Carp Species Found 20 Miles Farther Upstream on Mississippi River Than Previously Observed

Silver carp
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) announced on August 22 that it's staff observed the carcass of a silver carp on a concrete abutment just below Mississippi River Lock and Dam 5, about 20 miles farther upstream than the previously northernmost instance of the species. Silver carp is one of four non-native Asian carp species threatening the Upper Mississippi River and other North American aquatic ecosystems. The other three species are bighead, grass and black carp. MN DNR scientists speculate that the silver carp found on the abutment was attempting to jump over the lock and dam structures. Such structures provide a partial physical barrier restricting fish passage along waterways. However, when locks are opened to facilitate river navigation, fish can more readily move up or downstream. Lock and Dam 5 is about 110 miles south of the northernmost lock and dam facility on the Mississippi River (Lock and Dam 1 in St. Paul, Minnesota), and three more lock and dam pairings lie between those two.

Silver carp can reach 60 pounds in weight, and impact the base of the aquatic food chain by consuming large amounts of plankton that some native fish also rely upon. To date there is no evidence that bighead or silver carp are reproducing in Minnesota waters of either the Mississippi or St. Croix rivers. However, established populations of both species are present in the Mississippi River and its tributaries downstream of Lock and Dam 16 in Iowa. Bighead carp have been found in Lake Pepin on the Mississippi River and in the St. Croix River in Minnesota, and as far north as the mouth of the St. Croix River in Prescott, Wisconsin.

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News of the Week

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Opening Word  - "Slow"
 Garrison Keillor and cast during a
live 2007 production of
A Prairie Home Companion 
"It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon," a person of note hailing from Anoka, Minnesota often relates.  And so, too, in Washington, DC.  That's not news.  August, in particular, is often quiet in the Nation's Capital, when both the Senate and House typically adjourn for their summer recess.

Some news has trickled back into town about Congressional field hearings, and member town hall meetings, or visits to farm shows, farmer's markets, county fairs and the like, particularly in the country's mid-section.   For example, all but one Congressperson on the “top 10 tally of members of Congress with the most town halls scheduled this month” represent Mississippi River Basin districts or states.   And U.S. Senator and Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow is reported to have rubbed a freshly picked hop in her hands on Tuesday during a farm tour.  But otherwise, things are Congressionally mellow.

Mellow is not necessarily a bad thing.  The August lull allows extra time to meet with Congressional staffers who are often incredibly busy during other times of the year.  It also provides an opportunity for some pre-dawn research; such as delving into the etymology of the word, "slow."  And as a public service, here it is: The adjective, slow, comes from the Old English slaw "inactive, sluggish," also "not clever," from Proto-Germanic *slæwaz (cf. Old Saxon sleu "blunt, dull," Middle Dutch slee, Dutch sleeuw "sour, tart, blunt," Old High German sleo "blunt, dull," Old Norse sljor, Danish sløv, Swedish slö "blunt, dull"). The meaning "taking a long time" is attested from the early thirteenth century. The meaning "dull, tedious" is from 1841.  "Slowpoke" was first recorded 1848.  And the verb, slow, is derived from the Old English slawian, from the same source of slow, the adjective; while modern use may be a sixteenth century re-formation.  Related: Slowed; slowing.

Congress continues its summer recess until September 9, when both the Senate and House are set to reconvene.  So the next couple of weeks, legislatively, should prove to be - in a word - slow.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency study of Mississippi River water quality begins with fish data
  • Iowa, USEPA near deal over how Iowa regulates 8,000 livestock operations under the Clean Water Act
  • Environmentalists urge USEPA Administrator to take a hard line toward Iowa's livestock permitting program
  • Iowa environmental groups push for clean water quality standard
  • Public comment period open through Sept. 17, on proposed changes to Minnesota Nonpoint Source Management Program Plan
  • Environmental concerns remain over Illinois coal-ash ponds next to the Middle Fork River and
  • Illinois EPA detected higher than acceptable levels of crop herbicide atrazine in lake source of Macomb water supply in 2012 and
  • Jury awards $5.1 million to clean up water, land in Cow Island, La., tick-dipping area
  • Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission Administrator says Illinois River (OK) condition improving thanks to interstate cooperation
  • Optical sensor technology being used by USGS in Mississippi River basin to more accurately track nitrate water pollution
  • EPA set to issue strict new ammonia water quality criteria, provides some flexibilities sought by wastewater sector
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Army Corps hears about St. Johns Bayou-New Madrid Floodway Project from local officials
  • Senate port maintenance bill would would replace Harbor Maintenance Tax with Maritime Goods Movement User Fee
  • Mississippi River navigation advocacy group says River deepening would have broad Louisiana economic benefits
  • Upgraded metro New Orleans levees designed to greatly reduce flooding, even in 500-year storms
  • Capital Journal op-ed (Pierre, SD): "Corps oversteps itself on surplus Missouri River water issue"
  • U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO-6) to talk about Army Corps' management of Missouri River at St. Joseph meeting (see related articles, below)
  • Missouri Levee and Drainage District Association testifies at Congressional field hearing re: Missouri River Management
  • Farmers emphasize value of levees, inland waterways at field hearing on Missouri River management
  • Study: Coastal flood exposure and costs increasing due to growing populations and assets, climate change, subsidence
  • Task force urges White House CEQ to craft methods for quantifying the benefits of “green” water infrastructure
  • U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-2-OK): Arkansas River locks in poor shape
Farm Bill- 
  • DTN Ag Policy Blog contains an overview of the differences between the Senate and House farm bill commodity titles
  • House Ag Committee Chair: three things affecting production agriculture short to long term: Weather, Farm Bill, Trade
Agriculture - 
Click to Enlarge
  • Long reach of last summer's U.S. drought reverses corn commodity flow direction on Mississippi River
  • EPA Administrator stresses need for farmers and government agencies to work together on environmental issues
  • USDA proposes changes in NRCS National Handbook of Conservation Practices (open for public review and comment)
  • Graphic of the week: “Farm Program and Nutrition Spending as Share of Federal Budget, Selected Years”
Climate and Weather -  
  • U.S. Drought Monitor: Moderate drought returned to parts of Corn Belt last week and
    August 20 Drought Monitor Map
    (click to enlarge)
  • Government Accountability Office: federal government must improve how it addresses the effects of climate change
  • Past two months see Iowa pivot from wettest spring on record to abnormally dry summer
  • Weather less favorable for crops, large areas of Plains, Midwest received less than average rain over last 30-60 days
  • Illinois Corn Marketing Board says 2012 drought-induced low Mississippi River cost farmers 45 cents/bushel of corn
  • Arkansas River Basin headwaters hit hard by multi-year drought
  • GOP House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders plan major climate change hearing; 13 agencies to testify
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Army Corps and Fish and Wildlife Service to coordinate to better protect three Mississippi River endangered species
  • Rare American eel discovered in central Indiana's White River
  • Interior Department says that Keystone XL pipeline project could could have long-term, damaging effects on wildlife
  • House Republicans call for greater sage-grouse Endangered Species Act field hearings in Montana and North Dakota
  • Along with some list removals, Minnesota adds 180 species to its threatened species' list
  • Kentucky Fish and Wildlife officials report at least 122 nesting Bald Eagle pairs in state, up from 56 five years ago
  • Asian carp carcass found on Mississippi River dam abutment (north of Winona, MN) and
In the Cities -
  • Major, two-year Houma, Louisiana, project to upgrade sewer pipes making progress
  • Quincy, IL Mayor Kyle Moore attends Mississippi River Commission public meeting; signs Memorandum of Common Purpose
  • Mississippi River mayors sign memorandum of common purpose with the Mississippi River Commission
In the States-
  • Wisconsin Looking for Feedback on Draft Strategy to Cut Nutrient Pollution in Surface Waters
Predicted Land Change over
Next 50 years (click to enlarge)
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • Federal-state panel releases final plan for spending BP oil spill money to restore Gulf Coast ecosystems, economies
  • New Orleans levee authority to consider placing 45-day pause on lawsuit against oil, gas and pipeline companies
  • Effort to recreate Mississippi River natural flows to save Louisiana delta sparks controversy over possible outcomes
  • Insurance institute says Louisiana has weakened its building code systems in wake of historic tropical storms
  • Forest Service will soon finalize rule to accelerate environmental reviews for water and soil restoration projects
  • US Forest Service Chief orders agency to halt spending on restoration programs, other items to fight wildfires
Resource Extraction -
  • Resources for the Future: Managing the Risks of Shale Gas: Key Findings and Further Research (PDF file)
  • In Wisconsin, county commissioner is accused of self-dealing over frac sand mining
  • Minnesota agencies roll out website regarding the mining, transportation and processing of silica (frac) sand
Federal Budget -
  • Congressional approval of continuing resolution to maintain EPA funding into fiscal year 2014 may be best, and most likely, outcome
Events -  Information on all past and future events listed here can be viewed in the on-line calendar (here as a stand-alone calendar
  • Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council public meeting August 28, 1:00 PM CDT to vote on Initial Comprehensive Plan
  • Webinar: Water Quality Standards and the new Triennial Standards Review Process September 4, 9 am CDT
  • Army Corps of Engineers' National Great Rivers Museum to celebrate its 10th anniversary this fall (Oct 11-12)
  • St. Croix River Association plans fall activities
  • WERF webinar: objectives and progress on development of Agricultural BMP Database; September 17, 2:00 to 3:30 pm ET
  • RALLY 2013: Bonnet Carré Spillway, New Orleans, La. marshland grass planting; Sept. 20 9 AM; volunteer signup, details:
  • Webinar: Engaging non-operator agricultural landowners in conservation Aug. 29, 2-3 PM EDT
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
Other news-
  • Missouri Coalition for the Environment sues Army Corps over failure to release public records on pipeline project
  • Department of Interior Landscape
    Conservation Regions
  • Washington Post opinion piece: “Ethanol mandates creating an economic car-wreck”
  • National Great Rivers Research and Education Center signs memorandum of understanding with Mississippi River Commission
  • Department of Interior Landscape Conservation Cooperatives launch new website
  • Army Corps archaeologists study Missouri River's past
  • Good lunchtime reading: "Storytellers Who Know Science, Scientists Who Tell Stories" via @RiverLifeUMN
Political Scene -
  • Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey announces hiring of former Monsanto lobbyist Mike Naig as deputy secretary
  • League of Conservation Voters accused of misusing Rep. Davis (R-13-IL) quote so he appears to be extreme climate-change-denier
  • Ohio EPA's Water Division Director says he was forced out by Ohio Gov. John Kasich Administration
  • Political unknown Dirk Adams says he’ll run against fellow Democrat Max Baucus’ (D-MT) for his US Senate seat
  • Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) picks up a 2014 Senate race primary opponent: Republican conservative Joe Carr
  • Ken Buck (R) announces he'll run against Mark Udall (D-CO) in 2014 US Senate race
  • Polls show tight race for Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) US Senate re-election in Louisiana . . . or not
Last Word
It may slip into October, but we will get it done." Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), speaking of the farm bill at the Kalamazoo, Michigan Farmers Market on Tuesday. 

"Slip slidin' away
Slip slidin' away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away" - Singer-songwriter Paul Simon

Friday, August 16, 2013

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News of the Week

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
  • Environmental Science & Technology: Water Quality Remediation Faces Unprecedented Challenges from “Legacy Phosphorus”
  • Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement: IA Dept of Natural Resources and EPA should sign strong Clean Water Act plan
  • EPA's Stormwater Calculator "should help reduce US water pollution and improve aquifer recharge"
  • Suit over when municipal stormwater dischargers are liable for permit violations could return to Supreme Court
  • Louisiana fishing industry representatives visit South Dakota ethanol plant to explore water quality issues
  • "This is why the ocean is full of dead zones"
  • NPR: "Agriculture is the central part of the story when it comes to algae blooms"
  • Mississippi River to be first of Minnesota’s five largest rivers to be focus of state's water quality monitoring effort
  • 13 outdoor sporting groups push Obama Administration to finalize Clean Water Act jurisdiction guidance
  • Industry backs conductivity standard in amicus brief in push to limit Clean Water Act jurisdiction guidance impact
  • EPA warns that industry's reading of ruling would exclude any CAFO pollutant carried to federal waterbody by rainfall
  • EPA success at integrating wastewater, stormwater infrastructure planning relies on Congress passing spending bills
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Conservation groups contend that water resources law should promote Upper Mississippi River environmental restoration
  • Izaak Walton League: Restoring America's River: Using the Water Resources Act To Mend the Upper Mississippi River
  • Southeast Louisiana officials urge FEMA to halt planned flood insurance rate increases
  • Missouri River water an option to refill declining Ogallala Aquifer or supply water for Kansas farmers, communities
  • Sequestration less painful than predicted for USGS National Streamflow Information Program; flood forecasting
  • Annual Ohio River lock tour offers Indiana farmers a look at River commodity transportation
  • Army Corps officials say federal cutbacks would drastically change how Mississippi River navigation and habitats are managed
  • Construction on massive, $3 B Ohio River Olmsted Dam will halt unless Congress increases project spending limit
  • Push to strengthen EPA's pending cooling water intake rule could also address freshwater resource demand concerns
  • Energy firm plans 80-mile pipeline to transport needed Ohio River water to fracking sites in West Virginia and Ohio
  • Union of Concerned Scientists warns that National Flood Insurance Program unprepared for climate change (Link to the report here:
  • Governor Quinn signs bill to help Illinois communities prevent flooding by "going green"
  • Amid legal doubts, key federal agencies extend talks on endangered species harms from Army Corps' nationwide permits
Farm Bill-
  • Declining US midsection bird populations are warning sign of larger ecosystem disruptions; warrants strong farm bill conservation programs
  • The Forum (Fargo, ND) editorial: “Make no mistake about it. House Republicans are to blame for the farm bill stall.”
  • Head of conservative Heritage Action organization calls for one-year farm bill extension
Agriculture -
  • USDA expects a record corn year, despite drought and floods; soybean growers less fortunate
  • Interactive map: US Corn Belt corn production (harvested acres) by state; 2013 projection with an historic context
  • Ethanol groups argue that USDA's new corn production report shows federal renewable fuel standard will not cause food price increases
  • EPA Administrator pledges to build trust with farmers who have been roundly critical of federal regulations and
  • Dearth of investment alternatives spur wealthy farmers to amass more acreage; farmland prices continue to rise (PDF file)
Climate and Weather -
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -

  • University of Minnesota butterfly expert aims to preserve monarch butterflies and their habitat
  • Fungus that causes lethal disease in bats found in two Minnesota state parks
  • Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee provides recommendations to federal agencies for listed species
  • As winters warm, the invasive and voracious rodent nutria may move north out of Louisiana's bayous
  • Iowa Great Lakes businesses want zebra mussels stopped; Iowa DNR evaluates threat
  • Asian carp control report released by Army Corps of Engineers for Eagle Marsh (Indiana)
In the Cities -
  • Quad-City mayors sign memorandum of common purpose with Army Corps to support preserving, promoting Mississippi River
  • Cape Girardeau, Missouri mayor reflects on Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative's annual meeting
  • Creating Tennessee’s first green street: Deaderick Street in Nashville
  • "Omaha by Design" design contest: opportunity to develop and implement a creative design for open space in Omaha
In the States-
  • Minnesota will require its insurance companies to discuss how extensively they’re prepared for climate change
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • Sweeping coastal destruction lawsuit in Louisiana against oil, gas and pipeline companies draws another opponent
  • New Orleans levee authority gets an earful from state lawmakers over massive lawsuit against oil and gas industry
  • Researchers warn that Gulf of Mexico stressed killifish population may be 2010 BP oil spill's "canary in a coal mine" (Original study publication here:
  • Sequestration cutting into funding available for Gulf coastal restoration and economic recovery under Restore Act
  • Proposed lower Mississippi River coal terminal has groups questioning Louisiana's coastal restoration commitment
Resource Extraction -
  • Frac sand mine raising  concerns along the Wisconsin River; Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board takes up issue
  • Franklin County becomes first Kentucky county to pass moratorium seeking to block proposed natural gas liquids pipeline
  • Conservationists try again for North Dakota ballot measure designating oil money for conservation
Events -  Information on all past and future events listed here can be viewed in the on-line calendar (here as a stand-alone calendar)
  • Missouri Coalition for the Environment celebrating 44 years with October 11 event
  • "Music Along the Mississippi River" new show At The Phoenix art gallery, Moline, Illinois (opening reception August 16)
  • Workshop -  Mapping the Food System and its Effects, September 16-17, The National Academies, Washington, DC
  • Mississippi River cleanup in Alma, WI, Buffalo City, WI, Winona, MN on September 7 (also see
  • Mississippi River Commission to conduct annual low-water inspection of lower River; hold 3 meetings; August 20-23
  • EPA Community Based Public Private Partnership Workshop for Urban Stormwater Retrofits; Sept 26, Annapolis, MD (pdf)
  • Save the date: March 28-30 2014 Midwest-Great Lakes Society for Ecological Restoration Chapter Meeting; Univ of Minneapolis, St. Paul, MN (Chapter website:
  • 2013 Clean Water Summit; September 12; 8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.; U of MN Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
Other news-
  • Interactive map: number of people in each state receiving food stamps over time through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Mississippi and Tennessee lead the country on a percentage basis; Louisiana has huge spikes following hurricanes)
  • Memorandum signing with Army Corps highlights National Great Rivers Research and Education Center's river research
  • MN DNR proposed Mississippi River land-use rule revision being greeted with skepticism in Twin Cities metro area
  • Petroleum groups formally ask EPA for relief from 2014 biofuel (ethanol) fuel blending mandate (Here is API's filed waiver request:
Political Scene -
  • Arkansas House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman announces 2014 bid for U.S. House 4th District seat
  • South Dakota state Rep. Nelson (R) announces campaign to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson (D)
  • Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) says that League of Conservation Voters is on an “environmental jihad” against him  (as a reader service, here is an overview of what the word "jihad" actually means:
Last Word -
"Get real."  - US Senator Chuck Grassley's (R-IA) reaction after the Iowa State Fair’s iconic butter cow sculpture was painted red early Sunday, including red letters, reading, "freedom for all."  A group calling itself "Iowans for Animal Liberation" claimed responsibility for the rebranding.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News of the Week

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Army Corps of Engineers to Hold Public Meetings on Controversial St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway Project
St. Johns Bayou – New Madrid Floodway Area
(click to enlarge)
Last month the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a long-awaited draft St. John's Bayou-New Madrid Floodway project environmental impact statement concerning its controversial plan to close a gap in the Mississippi River levee system in southern Missouri. On August 6, the Corps of Engineers announced that it will provide opportunities for public comment on the project at two public meetings on August 27 and 28, in East Prairie, Missouri and Cairo, Illinois, respectively. The flood control project is designed to reduce flood impacts on small communities and a large area of agricultural land behind the levee system, by cutting off the Mississippi River from the only area in Missouri where the River has significant connection with its natural floodplain. Initially proposed in the 1950s, the project has been consistently opposed by environmental and natural resource agencies, who contend that the River-floodplain connection is essential to maintain storage for flood waters, trap and filter River sediment and nutrients, and support regional and migratory wildlife and waterfowl. The Army Corps maintains that the current project is based upon "more accurate environmental methodologies, analyses and results" than an earlier proposal that was effectively halted in 2007 by federal judge's ruling. In addition to providing comments during the public meetings, written comments regarding the project may be submitted to the Army Corps by September 9, 2013. To read more details on the project and public comment opportunities, go to the Army Corps' project web site or see this summary article.

Congressional Happenings
Both the House and Senate have adjourned for their summer recess, not to return until September 9, which means that the partisanship and legislative stalemate that have befallen Capitol Hill lately have waned (or at least shifted to the 435 congressional districts around the country).  This brings to mind a recent observation by NPR News' Frank James, who noted, "The congressional recess is properly seen as a chance to reload. It's not a cease-fire."

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week
Water Quality -
Agricultural Nitrogen and Phosphrous Use
  • "Nitrogen pulse" from agricultural fertilizer impacting Mississippi River, worsening Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone
  • Community, environmental advocates want lawsuit filed to establish federal limits on Iowa farm runoff pollution
  • Des Moines River nitrate levels drop, leading Ottumwa Water Works to lift water conservation advisory
  • NRCS Chief says that USDA's focus on water quality in Mississippi River basin is having a positive impact
  • EPA urged to clarify municipal separate storm sewer system requirements re: "maximum extent" practicable standard
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Cattlemen’s Association meetings to focus on large feedlot water quality permits
  • Ohio agencies fighting numerous lakes' algal blooms with new tools to better monitor blooms, reduce nutrients
  • Environmental group's planned suit could test EPA's uncertain jurisdiction over groundwater under Clean Water Act
  • Environmental groups concerned that EPA's review of Kentucky proposal will weaken selenium water quality standards
  • Environmental groups sue mountaintop removal coal company over alleged West Virginia Clean Water Act violations
  • Groups say that EPA confirms 18 additional coal ash waste disposal sites that have polluted nearby waters
  • Peoria riverfront protesters speak out against Illinois River pollution from power plants
  • Mississippi River: 3.5 million gallons of untreated St. Louis treatment plant wastewater discharged due to power outage
  • EPA's redesigned, interactive state development of nitrogen & phosphorus water quality criteria now available online
  • Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee urges EPA to strengthen safety levels for pesticides in water
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Army Corps of Engineers to hold end-of-August St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway Project public meetings (also see above)
  • Rep. Bill Shuster: House's Water Resources Development Act will be marked up when Congress returns from August recess
  • Shuster: one of “top [September] priorities” is WRDA bill with “unprecedented water resources infrastructure reform”
  • House Republican leaders plan to begin moving version of waterways bill in September
  • Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX-27) plans to push port-expansion funding during Water Resources Development Act markup
  • Jefferson Parish, Louisiana to build 17 islands to protect Lake Pontchartrain marshes
  • Northern states enjoy a fracking-facilitated oil boom with the aid of free Missouri River water
  • Environmental group's report finds sharp decline in Minnesota wetlands
  • After 1990s Missouri River floods, Overton Bottoms went from crop fields to the Big Muddy National River Refuge
  • Rep. Loebsack (D-IA-2) hopes flooding threat outweighs partisanship in his push for University of Iowa national flood center
  • Fearing growing use, groups urge Obama administration to adopt executive order mandating annual federal water budget
  • New "Tulsa River Advocates" group hopes to see Arkansas River Corridor Master Plan implemented in Tulsa County (OK)
Farm Bill- 
  • House Ag Committee Ranking Member says Speaker will ask for food stamp vote, appoint farm bill conferees in early September
  • Farm bill negotiations to continue into September as its expiration looms
  • Farm bill stalls as lawmakers leave for five-week August break
  • House Minority Leader Pelosi (D-CA) has little faith that Congress will pass farm bill by the Oct. 1 deadline
Agriculture - 
  • U.S. farmers are poised to reap their biggest-ever corn crop, as farmers planted the most corn acres since 1936
  • Arkansas Natural Resources Commission implies there has been reduction of poultry waste applications in Illinois River basin in state
  • Scientists rewriting Ohio's phosphorus risk index to better predict risk of phosphorus moving off farm fields
  • USDA: Cropland has been shifting to larger farms; shifts have been large and ubiquitous, doubling the farm size
  • Adequate soil moisture in many areas makes this year a good one to try cover crops; improve soil
Climate and Weather -
    August 6 U.S. Drought Monitor Map
    (click to enlarge)

  • National Drought Mitigation Center: Drought continues to recede in many areas plagued by long-term drought 
  • NOAA's Climate Prediction Center monthly drought outlook - July 31 (published at the end of each month)
  • USDA announces temporary drought assistance to livestock producers through Conservation Reserve Program
  • State of the Climate report: US had its warmest and 15th driest year on record in 2012; news: report: (large PDF file)
  • Climate change "softens up" already-vulnerable Louisiana
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Midwest agricultural practices, land development contribute to potential monarch butterfly  population collapse
  • Ohio working with others to close connection between Ohio River and Lake Erie basins; blocking Asian carp advance
  • Governors: five-state conservation efforts can save lesser prairie chicken if Fish & Wildlife Service gives them time (KS, OK, TX, NM, CO)
  • Poll: Minnesota residents support closing locks and dams to keep Asian carp out of upstream waters; news:  poll:
  • Majority in Minnesota say to shut down Mississippi River locks to stop Asian carp
In the States-
  • Oklahoma Governor appoints conservation official to panel reviewing, with Arkansas, Illinois River's phosphorus water quality standard
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • Treasury Department set to target 2010 BP spill civil penalties to Gulf Coast state ecological, economic restoration
  • Gulf Monitoring Consortium report urges better Louisiana industry tropical storm preparation to avoid pollution
  • Obama’s Tonight Show gaff about port deepening and the Gulf of Mexico has not gone unnoticed
Resource Extraction -
  • Fast-growing western Wisconsin sand mining industry grapples with rising number of environmental problems, many involving water pollution
  • Keystone XL Light: 774-mile pipeline running from Patoka, Illinois, to St. James, Louisiana is likely to be built
  • Enbridge tar sands crude pipeline down Mississippi valley corridor expected to easily win regulatory approval
  • Bluegrass Pipeline opposition increases in Kentucky over property right and environmental concerns
Federal Budget -
  • Senate's bipartisan Fiscal Year 2014 spending bill with modest EPA funding increase sets up fight with House GOP
Events -  Information on all past and future events listed here can be viewed in the on-line calendar (here as a stand-alone calendar)
  • Agro-Ecology Summit: conference, regional tour and Barn Dance, Willow Lake Farm, Windom, MN; August 16-18
  • EPA Webinar: New Technologies/Methods to Identify and Monitor Harmful Algal Blooms; August 20; 1 PM EDT
  • Montana Watershed Coordination Council’s Watershed Symposium; October 15-17; Missoula, Montana agenda: (PDF file)
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
Other news-
  • EPA in lawsuit brief: Clean Water Act stormwater exemption doesn't apply to concentrated animal feeding operation (national implications)
  • Viking River Cruises reportedly will begin sailing the Mississippi River starting in 2015
  • OK Dept. of Environmental Quality's water quality head elected president of Assoc. of Clean Water Administrators
  • Janet Moreland continues quest to become first woman to complete solo kayak trip down the entire Missouri River
  • Minnesota River Watershed Alliance has nominated the Minnesota River to become a “National Blueway”
  • Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) floats down Madison River to show support for Land and Water Conservation Fund

  • Oil and gas industry meets with White House, Environmental Protection Agency to push Renewable Fuel Standard agenda
  • EPA approves much-anticipated 2013 volumes for the Renewable Fuels Standards and
  • EPA may propose first-time cut in mandated corn ethanol consumption in motor fuel, shrinking alternative fuels demand
  • Oil-and-gas industry to the Obama administration: next year be more flexible with the federal biofuel program
Political Scene -
  • Senate confirms new USDA Deputy Secretary of Agriculture; Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment
  • Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) announces 2014 re-election bid
  • Republican Tom Cotton enters US Senate race in Arkansas, running against a vulnerable Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) and
  • Jennifer Garrison is only Democrat with plans to challenge Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH-6) for competitive House seat
  • Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA-5) to retire from Congress in September; after growing weary of partisanship and
  • Candidates queue up to run in special election for resigning Rep. Alexander's (R-LA-5) vacant US House seat
  • Coffee break reading: The Hill's "Fall Watch List-100 people you can't ignore" when trying to comprehend how things work in DC
Last Words -  
U.S. Rep. Rodney 
Rather than producing tangible solutions to better this nation, partisan posturing has created a legislative standstill.” - Six-term U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA-5), while announcing on Tuesday that he won’t seek reelection in 2014.
Dorset, Minnesota Mayor 
Robert "Bobby" Tufts
"I want to be with the boys." - Four-year-old Robert "Bobby" Tufts on August 4 to his mother during a telephone interview with the media following his re-selection as second-term mayor of Dorset, Minnesota.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Army Corps of Engineers to Hold St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway Project Public Meetings

St. Johns Bayou – New Madrid Floodway Area
(click to enlarge)
Last month the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a long-awaited draft St. John's Bayou-New Madrid Floodway project environmental impact statement concerning its controversial plan to close a gap in the Mississippi River levee system in southern Missouri (here is a link to the Army Corps' project web site). Yesterday (August 6) the Corps of Engineers announced that it will hold two public meetings regarding the project on August 27 and 28, in East Prairie, Missouri and Cairo, Illinois, respectively (here is a link to the Army Corps' public meeting announcement).

Each of the two meetings will be consist of two parts: one being an open house during which people can view and ask questions regarding project information; and the second consisting of a project overview presented by Army Corps' representatives and an opportunity for members of the public to make statements regarding the project.

The flood control project is designed to reduce flood impacts on small communities and a large area of agricultural land behind the levee system, by cutting off the Mississippi River from the only area in Missouri where the River has significant connection with its natural floodplain.  It was initially proposed in the 1950s, and has been consistently opposed by environmental organizations since. Environmentalists and natural resource agencies argue that the River-floodplain connection is essential to maintain storage for floodwaters, trap and filter River sediment and nutrients, and support area and migratory wildlife and waterfowl. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, for example, noted in its project Coordination Act Report that "The project would essentially eliminate a unique landscape and ecological feature in southeast Missouri and result in loss of thousands of acres of wetlands and their connection to the Mississippi River that cannot be adequately mitigated."  

In 2007 a federal judge ruled that the Army Corps' plan would not do enough to offset its related environmental damages, effectively halting the project. However, the U.S. Congress subsequently appropriated funding for the Corps to revise the project in an attempt to overcome shortcomings upheld by the federal judge, and the Army Corps contends that the current project is based upon "more accurate environmental methodologies, analyses and results."

Persons wishing to submit written comments on the project may email them to the Army Corps of Engineers' Project Manager, Danny Ward, at or to National Environmental Policy Act Coordinator Joshua Koontz at Comments also may be mailed to Ward at Project Management Branch, 167 N. Main St., Room B-202, Memphis, TN 38103-1894. Comments are requested by September 9, 2013.  Either Koontz or Ward may also be contacted to receive additional project information.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News of the Week

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Hello From Chicago . . . There's No Place Like Home
This week's "News of the Week" is being posted from the Chicago, Illinois metro region and the Fifth National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration, where the theme of the week is "The Spirit of Cooperation." It has been a week filled with thought-provoking and professionally-delivered presentations on restoration; many regarding the Mississippi River Basin. The presentation abstracts and PowerPoint slides will be available on the NCER web site soon, for those interested in mining the rich store of information presented at the conference.  In the meantime, here is a link to the "top ten" take-away lessons from this year's conference (or at least the overarching themes that I heard emerging among the hundreds of talks, panel discussions and poster-presentations). A hint to a top ten repeating theme is in the title, above.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone Measured
Bottom water dissolved oxygen
Measured July 22-28, 2013
Coastal Louisiana (click to enlarge)
  • Large 2013 Gulf of Mexico dead zone measured, but smaller than predicted - Science Daily
  • Gulf of Mexico "dead zone" large, while smaller than predicted
  • Gulf of Mexico dead zone misses forecast size; still bigger than goal size
  • NOAA-supported scientists find large Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone, but not as large as had been predicted
  • Discover Magazine: Dead Zone the Size of Connecticut Blossoms in Gulf of Mexico
  • Prairie Rivers Network: IL top state contributing to Gulf dead zone; farm bill's conservation programs and regulation needed
  • Recr8OhioRiver website and app provide Ohio River area water quality information, river conditions for Greater Cincinnati
  • The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA) editorial: Gulf Dead Zone is still big enough to warrant concern and attention
Other Water Quality News
  • Report: North Dakota coal plants haven't caused any major pollution or issues with any major state waterways
  • 230 environmental groups urge Obama Administration to toughen concentrated animal feeding operations' water quality regulations
  • Municipal wastewater dischargers' lawyers will push to use a court "blending" ruling to change other EPA policies
  • McKnight Foundation's latest blog post, "A New Story for the Mississippi," delves into the water quality-agriculture nexus
  • Proposed EPA NPDES electronic reporting rule aim is to improve data and reduce reports
  • Environmental groups threaten lawsuit to force stringent EPA fish consumption standards
  • Precautions urged as toxic algae found in fourth Kentucky lake, spread of blooms prompts officials to issue warnings
  • New Pennsylvania legislation gives municipalities the ability to form stormwater utilities
  • Federal district court in nutrient case upholds EPA's use of draft Clean Water Act criteria in crafting permit limits
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Environmentalists, Army Corps of Engineers, lawmakers differ on floodplain, Mississippi River management
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial: Lessons of the Great Flood of '93? We haven't learned them yet
  • After Mississippi River 1993 flood, Valmeyer, IL retreated to bluffs and found future as a modern, planned community
  • Steep decline in Mississippi River water level moves downriver, reaches New Orleans
  • NEPA streamlining language in Senate Water Resources Development Act version prompts stakeholders and House Committee to look for compromise
  • Louisiana senators hint in letter to Obama of Homeland Security nominee filibuster if FEMA raises flood insurance rates
  • EPA sends final cooling-water intake rule for White House review; aimed at reducing damage to aquatic organisms
  • OMB review of EPA cooling water intake rule raises questions on Endangered Species Act study (updated from last week)
  • Resources for the Future: Floodplain Conservation as a Flood Mitigation Strategy: Examining Costs and Benefits
Farm Bill-
  • Here is our most recently updated 2013 Farm Bill News and Resources page (UPDATED August 2)
  • Senate Republicans appoint their five members to farm bill conference committee
  • House Republicans plan to push $40 billion cut to food stamp program, comlicating farm bill compromise and extension possibilities
  • Conservation groups lay out farm bill conference committee suggestions in letter to House and Senate Ag Committees
  • House will not produce legislation reforming food stamps before the August recess; delaying any farm bill movement
  • Top Iowans implore Congressional leaders to resolve their differences and approve a new farm bill
  • National Cotton Council policy vice president: Three potential scenarios regarding ongoing Farm Bill debate possible
Agriculture -
  • Gene banks missing over half wild relatives of world's most important food crops; Global network to launch search
  • Soil is in trouble, even in fertile Midwest; prairie vegitation use helps reverse soil degradation, nutirent runoff
  • Environmental Working Group study: Federal insurance spurring conversion of sensitive lands to cropland; news: EWG report:
  • St. Louis Public Radio – Danforth Plant Science Center To Grow
  • Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN-2) hosts roundtable with Indiana farmers to address issues faced by agriculture industry
  • Company claims first-ever production of commercial quantities of ethanol from wood waste, other nonfood vegetation
July 30 U.S. Drought Monitor Map
(click to enlarge)
Climate and Weather -
  • National Drought Mitigation Center: significant Plains and Midwest rains ease drought:
  • Senate Commerce Committee passes Drought Information Act (S. 376), reauthorizing National Integrated Drought Information System
  • One year after historic drought, farm fortunes change in U.S. Corn Belt
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Obama administration's $50 million Asian carp plan doesn't separate Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins
  • Long overdue updated Asian carp national strategy more a continuation of old measures that are partial, stopgap
  • Federal plan to prevent Asian carp from taking over Great Lakes includes major project (Eagle Marsh) in Fort Wayne, IN
  • Asian carp continue to be a major problem across Illinois
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune op-ed: Leaping fish? Why Asian carp must be stopped
  • Fish help in restoration of West Virginia freshwater mussel populations
  • Efforts help strengthen Ohio River mussel numbers following years of adverse impacts from high pollution
  • Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Biologists battling invasive plants on wildlife management areas
  • House passes bill to extend volunteer and community partnership programs at nation's wildlife refuges through 2017
In the Cities -
  • Conservation is driving up water rates in Louisville, Kentucky
  • Clarksville, Tennessee's aging combined sewers dump untreated wastewater into the Cumberland River
  • New Orleans planners, inspired by Dutch, now hope to rebuild with effective stormwater management in mind
  • Incubator will help Wichita, KS, Louisville, KY, other cities learn how to implement sustainability initiatives
  • The St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District shows off 1.7-acre St. Louis rain garden
  • Students take action to restore biodiversity and revitalize a Madison, WI community
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • Louisiana coastal erosion lawsuit: Attorneys explain its chances and potential pitfalls
  • Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA-1) questions levee authority's wetland damage lawsuit against oil and pipeline firms
  • Coastal restoration (550 acres of new wetland) underway near Myrtle Grove in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana
  • Louisiana coastline west of Mississippi River added to state's impaired waters list by USEPA
  • Lacking new sediment, string of La. Gulf Coastal islands have gone from teeming with wildlife to nearly non-existent
Resource Extraction -
  • Frac sand mining splits Wisconsin communities: a job creator and source of community tension
  • US Bureau of Land Management intends to open up Ohio state forest to fracking exploration (Follow-up: Bureau of Land Management's plan to allow hydraulic fracturing in an Ohio state forest has been halted
Federal Budget
  • House Appropriations Committee votes on EPA-Interior spending bill amendments, defers further votes until September
  • Senate's EPA- Interior spending bill includes more funding and fewer riders than House's cuonterpart
  • House halts Transportation spending bill vote and implementation of the budget it adopted three months ago
Events -  Information on all past and future events listed here can be viewed in the on-line calendar (here as a stand-alone calendar)
  • St Paul Army Corps official to report on Mississippi River projects; La Crosse, WI August 12
    2012 St. Croix River Association 
    photo contest's top wildlife photo (Jeff Buckle)
    River Commission meeting
  • Here is the full listing of August public meetings to be held by Mississippi River Commission in River cities (PDF file)
  • Biennial Governor's Conference on Management of Illinois River System; Oct. 1-3; Peoria, IL  and
  • St. Croix River Association photo contest to capture images of St. Croix watershed (entry deadline August 16)
  • One Water Leadership Summit: Water Sustainability in a Changing Climate; September 23-26, Omni Los Angeles, CA
  • Free Webinar: A New Way of Stormwater Management; Applying Asset Management; Sept. 10; 2 PM EDT
  • Upper Mississippi River Basin Association Meetings, August 27-28; Radisson Hotel La Crosse, WI (agendas posted)
  • 9th Annual Sangamon Watershed Celebration; August 9-10; Decatur, Illinois
  • IATP Discussion Meeting: Tar sand oil pipeline to expand in Minnesota; August 8; 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.; Minneapolis, MN
e-Newsletters, Publications and Journals -
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Industrial Stormwater Program mid-Summer Update
  • Green Lands Blue Waters update highlighting Continuous Living Cover on agricultural land in Mississippi River Basin
  • Water Environment Federation August Stormwater Report
  • The summer edition of the Army Corps of Engineers' "Our Mississippi" is now available on this web site:
Other news-
  • University of Illinois College of Engineering develops new way to crowd-source the design of green infrastructure
  • House field hearing in Southern Missouri showcases hostility toward suspended National Blueways program
  • The demographics of every congressional district, in one, new interactive US Census Bureau chart
  • House Energy and Commerce Chairman launches Committee exploration of renewable fuel standard modifications
  • There’s growing pressure on Congress to modify or even repeal the Renewable Fuels Standard or RFS
  • American Petroleum Institute seeks multi-year renewable fuel standard with ethanol cap to end 'Blend Wall' concerns
  • Oil sector and biofuel groups outline competing steps over how best to meet Renewable Fuel Standards' ethanol mandate
  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to hold hearing on contentious Renewable Fuel Standard this fall
  • Senate appears unlikely to move a House-passed bill that would replace EPA's pending coal ash disposal rule
  • Federal Permitting Improvement Act would create infrastructure project permitting one-stop shop, agency deadlines and practices
  • New Watershed Gallery at Wabasha, MN National Eagle Center showcases beauty, diversity of life in Upper Mississippi Basin
Political Scene -
  • Matt Bevin plans to challenge US Senate GOP Leader McConnell in 2014 Kentucky primary; picks up endorsement
  • Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR-4) to announce Senate challenge against Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) in 2014 and
  • Senate Committee approves Obama nominee to become NOAA's assistant secretary for conservation and management
  • White House nominates Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Connor as the next deputy secretary of the Interior
  • EPA Office of Water nominee Kopocis, two other EPA nominees, clear Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
  • WV state Sen. Jenkins will challenge Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV-3) for his congressional seat in 2014
Last Word -
The original Cheshire Cat woodcut print
from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
"But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat, "We’re all mad here.  I’m mad. You’re mad."
"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here."

- from Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," first published on August 2, 1865 ("No comparison between Washington, DC and Alice's Wonderland is either intended or implied," said the Cheshire Cat.)