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."

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