Thursday, October 31, 2013

USGS: Mississippi River Nitrate Levels Continue to Increase; Signs of Progress in the Illinois River

USGS Long-term Nitrate Trends
Monitoring Sites
On October 30, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported that Illinois River nitrate levels decreased by 21 percent between 2000 and 2010, based on long-term River water quality observations at Valley City, Illinois.  Those results marked the first time that substantial, multi-year decreases in nitrate were observed in the Mississippi River Basin since 1980, according to a new National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program study. NAWQA evaluated nitrate concentrations and flux from 1980 through 2010 at eight sites in the Mississippi River Basin as part of the study. Nitrate decreases were also noted in the Iowa River during the same time period; although the decline was not as large (10 percent).  Similar declines were not widespread in the water basin, however, according to Lori Sprague, USGS research hydrologist and a study author, who noted, "Nitrate levels continue to increase in the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, including the Mississippi’s outlet to the Gulf of Mexico." The study results between 2000 and 2010 demonstrated consistent increases in nitrate concentrations in the upper Mississippi River (29 percent) and the Missouri River (43 percent), while nitrate concentrations at the Mississippi River outlet to the Gulf of Mexico increased by 12 percent. Excessive nitrate and other nutrients from the Mississippi River are major factors contributing to the extent of the hypoxic zone (or "dead zone") that forms in the northern Gulf of Mexico every summer. Additional details and a link to the report can be found at this USGS study web site: "Nitrate in the Mississippi River and Its Tributaries, 1980–2010: An Update."

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Capitol Hill This Week - What to Watch For

U.S. Capitol Building as seen from
the Longworth House Office Building
Below are the U.S. House and Senate activities currently scheduled this week that relate to Mississippi River Basin natural resources. Where available, links are provided to the relevant Committee and legislation pages on the Internet.   Many of the proceedings are webcast live (follow the appropriate link). All times are Eastern.

* Time change from originally-announced 1:00 PM EDT start.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Water Resources Bill Overwhelmingly Passes House on the Way to a Conference with the Senate
Bypassing debate on some of the potentially more contentious issues, on October 23, the House overwhelmingly passed its "Water Resources Reform and Development Act."  The vote was 417-3, with only two Republicans and one Democrat voting against the bill.  Known as "WRRDA," the $8.2 billion public works bill authorizes flood control, navigation, and water resource projects, maintenance and studies by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers across the country, with many in the Mississippi River watershed. The bill's passage sets the stage for the likely formation of a House-Senate conference committee to resolve differences between the House WRRDA bill and a companion Water Resources Development Act (or WRDA) bill passed by the Senate in May.  For a review of WRRDA from a Mississippi River Basin perspective, and of the upcoming WRDA-WRRDA reconciliation process, please see this article, as well as additional news article links, below.

Next Week in Congress
As the dust from the federal government shutdown settles, and the Senate returns from a week off, there will be some Congressional committee activity next week relating directly or tangentially to the Mississippi River Basin.  Foremost among those activities will be an opening session of the Senate-House farm bill conference committee on Wednesday (see related articles, below, under "Farm Bill", and for our latest 2013 Farm Bill news and resources summary, please see here).  For other River-related committee activity scheduled for next week, you can follow this link.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
  • U.S. Water Alliance: "Mississippi River Nutrients: Lawsuits and Workshops"
  • Private-public stakeholder coalition crafting best practices manual for dischargers seeking to trade water pollution credits
  • New study: Nitrogen fertilizer applied to crops lingers in soil and is released into water as nitrate for decades
  • Study: Traces of nitrate fertilizers can stay in the ground for decades after their first application
  • Legal analysis: "Numeric nutrient criteria in the Mississippi River:a back-handed victory for EPA?"
  • Legal Commentary: "Are you killing the Gulf of Mexico?" (AGProfessional magazine)
  • "Hypoxia issues in the Gulf of Mexico" to be panel discussion topic at annual soil and agronomy meeting
  • EPA does not appeal court ruling allowing state discretion to incorporate mixing zones into water quality standards
  • House Republicans urge EPA to share draft surface water jurisdiction rule with outside science advisory board
  • MPR news: Conservation Corps Minnesota works to fight erosion along Minnesota's river bluffs
  • "Federal Numeric Nutrient Criteria: A Tragedy in Two Acts" by Brian Glass of Warren Glass Law
  • Federal court rules that West Virginia farm's runoff is covered by agricultural stormwater Clean Water Act exemption
  • Federal judge: EPA has no right to force WV poultry grower to obtain water pollution permits for farm runoff
  • Federal court backs agriculture industry's reading of Clean Water Act agricultural stormwater permitting exemption
  • US EPA expected to approve in part, precedent-setting Kentucky water quality standard for selenium soon
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
Water Resources Reform and Development Act
  • Despite opposition from conservative groups in Washington, House passes Water Resources Reform and Development Act
  • Challenges await likely conference committee attempt to reconcile differing House and Senate water resources' bills
  • Congressional Budget Office releases cost estimate of the House's Water Resources Reform and Development Act
  • Fiscal conservative groups come out in opposition to House Water Resources Reform and Development Act Link to letter: (PDF file)
  • The Hill op-ed: "We must improve ports, waterways and water infrastructure" by Reps. Shuster (R-PA) and Rahall (D-WV)
  • White House backs WRRDA but urges changes to some of its "problematic provisions" (see White House statement, below)
  • White House "Statement of Administration Policy" on the House Water Resources Reform and Development Act (PDF file)
  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Shuster thinks Congress should pass WRDA bill every two years
  • Wisconsin State Journal editorial: Water Resources act only takes baby steps. Congress should pass a better bill.
  • Environmentalists fear water resources bills' streamlining could lead to projects like Mississippi River Gulf Outlet
Other Water Resource Management News
  • World Resources Institute releases guidance "to protect America's water and reduce costs with natural infrastructure" (The publication, Natural Infrastructure: Investing in Forested Landscapes for Source Water Protection in the United States, is available here:
  • Vote scheduled this week could re-start stalled Southwestern Minnesota Lewis & Clark Regional Water System project
  • Turbine company drops plans to place power-generating turbines in the Mississippi River
  • Late addition to Federal fiscal deal adds $1.2 billion to spending cap for embattled Ohio River waterway project
  • Sen. McConnell (R-KY) on budget bill's $2+ billion Ohio River Olmsted locks and dam provision: it saved $160 million
  • Army Corps of Engineers denies "Kentucky Kickback" was intent of spending bill provision for Olmsted locks and dam project
  • Sen. Paul (R-KY) says budget deal was only alternative to keep troubled Ohio River locks and dam project on schedule
  • Indiana Soybean Alliance : Indiana corn and soybean farmers were relieved to see Olmsted "shutdown" averted
  • Group of Kansas farmers commits to water conservation program to help save dwindling groundwater supply
  • Illinois Soybean Association at forefront of effort by coalition to improve Mississippi River freight movement
  • Kansas and Army Corps will split cost of studying potential aqueduct from Missouri River to Ogallala Aquifer
  • Drought plaguing western Kansas resurrects 31-year-old federal study proposing pumping Missouri River water
Farm Bill-
Key differences between the Senate and House
farm bill versions (click to enlarge)
  • Next week Congress is expected to revive an old but increasingly rare tradition-the conference committee (farm bill)
  • House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders announce first Farm Bill conference committee public meeting; October 30, 1 PM ET
  • Lengthy and broadly-topical Politico article on upcoming farm bill conference committee proceedings
  • Key differences between the Senate and House versions of the farm bill (PDF file) (also see photo version to the right)
  • Farm bill could get wrapped into a year-end budget deal that replaces automatic sequestration cuts
  • National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition letter to farm bill conference committee highlights NSAC's key priorities
  • National Council of Farmer Cooperatives sends bill priorities' letter to farm bill conference committee leaders
  • Two groups of House Members, Senators deliver farm bill ‘Dear Colleague’ letters to House and Senate leadership
  • Conservation groups urge conferees to include bee-protection measures in farm bill
  • Tea Party-aligned groups are making sweeping reforms to farm bill a top priority as conferencing process begins
  • Unsettled status of federal farm bill and policy makes it hard for agricultural producers to plan for next year
Agriculture -
  • Nebraska coalition against proposed TransCanada pipeline has been quiet on agricultural water contamination subject
  • Conservation assistance is available from USDA for those affected by South Dakota blizzard earlier this month
  • MPR news: Minnesota farm to school nutrition programs grow, along with challenges.
Climate and Weather -
October 22 U.S. Drought Map
(click to enlarge)
  • Widespread precipitation leads to continuing drought relief in US mid-section:
  • Annual statement by Iowa scientists says that pattern of spring floods, summer droughts fits climate change models (Also see this E&E article:
  • Army Corps of Engineers will continue drought conservation measures in the Missouri River Basin
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Fish and Wildlife Service proposes establishing Upper Midwest critical habitat sites for two butterfly species
  • Perfluoroalkyl contamination may be leading to lower tree swallow hatching rates in Minnesota and Wisconsin
  • Coon Rapids Dam gates installed to help prevent Asian carp from reaching upper parts of Mississippi River watershed
  • Fish and Wildlife Service backs five-state plan to conserve habitat for prairie chicken in southern Great Plains
In the Cities -
  • Natchez, Mississippi, Mayor Larry Brown at Mississippi River Economic Summit: “We are not getting a fair shake from Congress”
  • Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative and Delta Regional Authority announce breakthroughs during Economy Summit
  • Iowa River Landing (Coralville, Iowa) is planned to ultimately be destination spot along River and
Louisiana Coastal Region-
  • Amount of oil found on Louisiana's coast has surged this year, three years after BP's Macondo spill
  • Two major meetings dealing with coastal restoration and science held this week at University of New Orleans
  • Bygone barriers: Preserving Louisiana coastal barrier islands proving to be difficult
  • Ousted levee board member pledges to hold oil, gas companies accountable for Louisiana’s coastal wetland destruction
  • Mississippi River plume circulation played substantial role in oil fate, transport following Deepwater Horizon spill
  • CPRA and Army Corps tout plan to restore coastal ecosystem with environmentally "wise" Mississippi River management
Resource Extraction -
  • Wisconsin GOP lawmakers want to rein in ability of local governments to impose restrictions on sand mining
  • North Dakota conservationists want to start spending some of state's fracking tax income windfall on the environment
  • New Kansas fracking regulations spell out what information that companies must disclose
Federal Budget -
  • House-Senate Budget Conference Committee schedules first meeting for next Wednesday
  • The new House-Senate budget conference committee is expected to meet for the first time on October 30
  • House Majority Leader: House Republicans will not consider fiscal deal that eliminates some sequester cuts by raising taxes
Events -  Information on all past and future events listed here can be viewed in the on-line calendar (here as a stand-alone calendar)
  • Army Corps Missouri River Basin Water Management office public conference call on 2013-14 Draft Annual Operating Plan; Oct. 28; 1 PM CT
  • RESCHEDULED: Public Meeting for Proposed Water Quality Standards Regulatory Clarifications; Oct 29, Washington, DC and November 14 webinar
  • RESCHEDULED: USGS Webinar - Understanding Effects of Groundwater Pumping on Streamflow - November 20, 2 PM ET (webinar details:
  • New “Water” photography exhibit opens in New Orleans, runs through January 19; photos start in region and expand to rest of world
  • Call for Abstracts-Conference on Ecological and Ecosystem Restoration, New Orleans, La., July 28-August 1, 2014
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
  • American Farmland Trust's October e-newsletter
  • The fall edition of the Army Corps of Engineers' "Our Mississippi" magazine now available on-line:
  • St. Croix River Association's e-newsletter
  • Montana Watershed Coordination Council October 17 Watershed News e-newsletter
  • The Horinko Group "Sustainabulletin" e-Newsletter: October 2013
  • Link here to the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy's October 21 "TU Waterways" newsletter:
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's "River Connections" for October
  • Green Lands Blue Waters bi-weekly update, highlighting conservation on Mississippi River Basin agricultural land
  • U.S. Water Alliance NewsWaves October monthly e-newsletter
  • Montana Watershed Coordination Council's October 24 "Watershed News"
Other news-
U.S. Personality Region's Map
(click to enlarge)
  • Researchers identify 3 U.S. personality regions -Mississippi River Basin states' residents generally "friendly and conventional"
  • World Resources Institute: Conflicting reporting systems may hinder companies water risk strategies
  • Dam, powerhouse committee receives 2013 rural market Iowa Tourism Award for Outstanding Collaboration
  • 11-member Paddle Forward expedition reaches half way mark in its 10-week canoe trip down the Mississippi River
Politics and People-
  • State Sen. Neil Riser (R) and Vance McAllister (R) advance to runoff election for Louisiana's 5th District House seat and
  • Two-term Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR-2) announces that he will not seek a third term in the House and
  • Rep. Tim Griffin's (R-AR-2) unexpected retirement will likely spur crowded GOP primary for a competitive House seat
  • Miami University of Ohio professor Poetter (D) will challenge House Speaker Boehner (R) in Ohio's 8th District race
  • Roll Call calls Kentucky's May 20 GOP Senate primary vote "the single most important election in the country next year"
Last Word -
"This is the best bad idea we have, sir." - Tony Mendez, from the 2012 movie, Argo.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Water Resources Bill Sails Through the House - Next Stop: Conference Committee

On October 23 the House overwhelmingly passed the "Water Resources Reform and Development Act" (H.R. 3080) on a 417-3 roll call vote.  Known as "WRRDA," the legislation is an $8.2 billion public works bill that authorizes flood control, navigation, and water resource projects, maintenance and studies by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The bill's passage sets the stage for the likely formation of a House-Senate conference committee to resolve differences between the House WRRDA bill and a companion Water Resources Development Act (S. 601) (or WRDA) bill passed by the Senate in May.
Melvin Price Lock and Dam, Mississippi River
Alton, Illinois
While authorizing 23 navigation, flood protection and ecosystem restoration projects, WRRDA also includes a provision to deauthorize $12 billion worth of the oldest, most-backlogged projects, establishes a procedural mechanism to approve new, future projects, and proposes to reform existing Army Corps of Engineers' procedures, by arguably streamlining the project review process and capping the cost of project studies.

In addition to those sections of the WRRDA bill of a national scope, the House measure, like its Senate counterpart, contains several provisions that directly relate to and would impact projects in the Mississippi River Basin and Gulf Coast waters. Overviews of the two bills, particularly as they relate to those waters, can be seen here (Senate-passed bill) and here (House bill - as passed out of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee).

The House bill was sponsored by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Bill Shuster (R-9- PA) and Committee Ranking Member Nick Rahall (D-3-WV), Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chair Bob Gibbs (R-7-OH) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Tim Bishop (D-1-NY). Both Shuster and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee have expressed a desire to form a conference committee and pass a final, reconciled water resources measure before the end of 2013.

As a piece of authorizing legislation, WRRDA does not appropriate funds for the projects and programs it would authorize.  That job would typically fall to the House and Senate Appropriations committees each year.  Earlier this week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued its estimate of the House bill's cost: $3.5 billion over its first five years and an additional $4.7 billion over the next five years.  That estimate is less than the $12.2 billion ten-year cost that the CBO estimated for the Senate's WRDA bill, but would still require Congress to find  "offsets" to achieve the sought-after budget neutrality when appropriating funds for the various water resources projects.

House Bill Amendments
The House considered a total of 24 amendments to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's bill, approving 17 and rejecting five (two amendments were withdrawn).  Of the 98 amendments filed with the House Rules Committee, only those 24 were ruled in order by the Committee and allowed under its rules to be considered by the House.  Many of the amendments not considered were among the more contentious of those submitted, making for smoother sailing for the bill as a whole on the House floor.

A Mississippi River Basin-related amendment (#18) introduced by Reps. Betty McCollum (D-MN-4), Mike Kelly (R-PA-3), Brad Scheider (D-IL-10) and Daniel Lipinski (D-IL-3) that would establish a multi-agency effort to slow the spread of invasive Asian carp in the Upper Mississippi and Ohio river basins was approved on a voice vote as part of an "en bloc" amendment package.  Another invasive species-related amendment (#19), offered by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA-5) and four co-sponsors was approved in that same amendment package.  The Thompson amendment would require the Government Accountability Office to conduct an assessment on the impacts of aquatic invasive species on federal assets and current federal spending on aquatic invasive species prevention.

Language in another amendment would "request" that the Army Corps of Engineers consider the use and economic feasibility of so-called "non-structural alternatives" to the traditional flood mitigation and control techniques (such as levees) when carrying out work after a storm event.   That language, part of a manager's amendment package offered by Shuster and the other three original co-sponsors of the bill (amendment #1), was agreed to on a voice vote.

Both the Senate and House bills contain so-called project "streamlining provisions" that are notably contentious and opposed by many environmental organizations, lawyer groups, and state wetland and floodplain managers.  An amendment to the House bill offered by Democrat Peter DeFazio (OR-4) and four co-sponsors (#2) that would have delayed implementation of those environmental streamlining provisions was not agreed to (roll call vote of 183 "yea" to 286 "nay").

Two amendments (#21 and #22) to evaluate the effectiveness of the Harbor Maintenance Tax and expand the uses of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund were considered and agreed to as part of the en bloc package mentioned above.  The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund provides money for the operation and maintenance of Federal ports and harbors; primarily being used for maintenance dredging, dredged material disposal, and maintenance of jetties and breakwaters.

How the Conferencing Process Works
It is expected that the House and Senate will soon move to form a conference committee, consisting of members from each chamber, tasked to work out the differences between the two versions of the bill (WRDA and WRRDA).  If the committee can resolve the bill differences, it would report an identical measure back to both the House and Senate chambers for a vote. The conferees would also issue a conference report outlining the final version of the bill.

Usually, the conference committee produces the conference report by combining portions of the House and Senate bills into a final version of the bill. The work of the conference committee concludes when a majority of both House and Senate conferees indicate its approval by signing the conference report (the conference report also includes a joint explanatory statement of the conference committee). Once a bill has been passed by a conference committee, it goes directly to the floor of both chambers for an "up or down" vote (i.e., it is not open to amendment). In the first chamber to consider the conference report, a member may move to recommit the bill to the conference committee. However, once the first chamber passes the conference report, the conference committee is dissolved, and the second chamber to act on the bill cannot recommit the bill to conference.

The House and Senate each determine the number of conferees from its particular chamber. The number of conferees does not need be equal from the two chambers.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News of the Week

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Shutdown Ends But Budget Negotiations Continue; Amendment Authorizes Ohio River Locks and Dam Funding
Late Wednesday night Congress approved and the President signed a budget agreement that ends a 16-day government shutdown and allows the government to borrow money through February 7, 2014 (PDF file version of the bill can be found here).  Known as the "Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014," the bill passed 81-18 in the Senate and 285-144 in the House, with all of the "no" votes coming from Republicans.  The measure funds the government at Fiscal Year 2103 levels through January 15 and authorizes back pay for furloughed federal workers.  It also forms a conference committee tasked to work out a long-term budget agreement and avoid across-the-board "sequestration" cuts scheduled to take place on January 1.

Olmsted Lock and Dam in 2012
From a Mississippi River Basin perspective, the bill also includes a $2 billion increase in the construction funding authorization for an Ohio River Army Corps of Engineers project; an amendment reportedly engineered by Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell that adds funds to complete a river navigation structure known as the Olmsted lock and dam in Illinois and Kentucky. That amendment raises the amount authorized for the Army Corps of Engineers' Olmsted Lock and Dam project to $2.9 billion from $775 million. 

To read more budget settlement and Olmsted project details, you can see our summary article, here.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
  • U of MN study: cutting phosphorus in lakes reduces algae, but can lead to unintended nitrogen increases
  • Comments accepted by Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on draft Minnesota Nutrient Reduction Strategy through Dec 18
  • Seven more Kentucky lakes believed to have excessive toxic algae but officials haven't identified them yet
  • Nebraska environment quality agency says flooded Platte River no longer a public health risk
  • Over 50 WV and PA property owners sue FirstEnergy over groundwater pollution blamed on coal ash impoundment, pipeline
  • PA DEP: 160+ problems with plan to close Little Blue Run coal ash pond on Pennsylvania-West Virginia border
  • Environmental regulators in Ohio want to set limits on algal-feeding pollution in state's streams and lakes
  • Ohio seeks to set limits on phosphorus in streams
  • Iowa Environmental Protection Commission won’t require numerical standards for nutrients in lakes and
  • Researchers report that Central Illinois river otters are exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls  and pesticides
  • Wisconsin Public Radio: Minnesota’s water monitoring system may be more extensive and comprehensive than Wisconsin’s
  • Industry concerned that EPA draft study of small waters' clean water act jurisdiction determination includes groundwater
  • Three federal appeals courts set to consider whether EPA Clean Water Act waterbody jurisdiction determinations are reviewable
  • Critics accelerate push to limit EPA's authority to override Army Corps' permits
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • House will bring Water Resources Reform and Development Act bill to boost U.S. ports and waterways to floor next week
  • House Republicans plan to follow up vote to end the government shutdown with a water resources bill vote next week
  • T and I Committee Chairman Shuster says House will take up water resources bill next week
  • New York Times: Sharp increases in federal flood insurance rates are distressing homeowners nationwide
  • Group accuses Sen. McConnell (R-KY) of putting 'Kentucky Kickback' lock and dam spending authority into debt bill
  • Beleaguered Ohio River locks and dam become headache for McConnell
  • Water project advocates defend inclusion of an increase in funding for Ohio River dam project in Kentucky
Farm Bill-
  • A full House-Senate farm bill conference could begin the last week of October
  • Lawmakers turn attention once more to plowing ahead on farm bill
  • House of Representatives appoints members to farm bill conference committee. 17 GOP: 12 Dems:
  • Many see farm bill as one of the only major measures that could be approved by divided Congress during 2013
  • The Hill’s Floor Action Blog: “The House on Friday voted to go to conference with the Senate on a farm bill"
  • House votes down two motions to instruct House conferees when they meet with Senate to negotiate final farm bill
  • National Farmers Union letter to members of farm bill conference committee outlines NFU final bill priorities (PDF file)
  • American Farm Bureau Federation lays out farm bill priorities for House-Senate conferees about to begin negotiations
  • Editorial: Heritage Foundation comparison of House and Senate farm bills, with that organization's recommendations
Agriculture -
  • Ag Professional editorial: more fertilizer, nutrient management regulations likely coming for US ag retailers
  • Early blizzard has ravaged South Dakota's livestock industry
  • Weed-resistance experts warn that herbicide-resistant weeds aggressively taking hold in many areas
Climate and Weather
October 15 Drought Monitor Map
(click to enlarge)
  • Heavy to excessive Midwest and Plains precipitation prompts another round of broad-scale drought improvements
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • USGS researches use of biological weapons for targeted control of Asian carp
  • Cottonwood trees that once dominated forests along the Missouri River are in danger of disappearing
  • Ducks Unlimited restoring and enhancing several tracts along the Platte River in Nebraska
In the Cities -
  • Mississippi River mayors and Delta Regional Authority announce agreement at Mississippi River economic summit
  • Mississippi River mayors call on Congress to increase funding for infrastructure improvements, dredging
  • Mississippi River mayors present river developments at Memphis economic summit
  • Mayors of towns and cities along the Mississippi River recently hold summit to discuss river based economy and safety
  • Mississippi River mayors pitch container traffic, more in Memphis meeting
  • Mayors from Mississippi River cities meet on ways to grow the economy along the river, and prepare, plan for flooding
  • Natchez Mayor Brown talks Mississippi River economics, River Delta at Memphis meetings
  • St. Cloud, MN mayor attending Memphis conference of mayors on Mississippi River cities' economic progress
  • Cape Girardeau Mayor Harry Rediger attends Mississippi River community economic summit
Other News
  • Lakeland, MN will allow St. Croix River house that breaks setback rule over Minnesota DNR objections
  • Local Lakeland zoning change could test Minnesota's ability to regulate development along the scenic St. Croix River
  • Construction begins on Wisconsin River riverfront restoration and redevelopment in Wausau
  • Project to create green space along Mississippi River in Davenport awarded $300,000 state grant
  • Mississippi River levee bicycle and pedestrian path opens in Algiers Point, La.
In the States-
  • States say federal government shutdown is forcing them to furlough staff, scale back key environmental programs
  • Jon Hagler abruptly replaced as director of Missouri's agriculture agency
Resource Extraction -
  • Environmental groups appeal ruling allowing Peabody Energy to operate Indiana coal mine they contend fouls waterways
  • Ohio Department of Natural Resources writing new rules for construction of lagoons that hold fracking water
Federal Budget -
  • Congress votes to end shutdown and raise debt ceiling, both on a short term basis
  • EPA and other environmental agencies will need time to resume their lapsed activities after shutdown hiatus
  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Republicans: "Top Ten Reasons The Government Shutdown Isn't All Bad"
Events -  Information on all past and future events listed here can be viewed in the on-line calendar (here as a stand-alone calendar)
  • Oct 18 10:55–11:55 AM ET: The World Food Prize: leaders in sustainable agriculture speak in panel streamed live at:
  • Platte River ecosystem will be focus of Crane Trust's second annual research symposium; Oct 18; Wood River, NE
  • Webinar: The Wetland Institute Big Bureau Creek wetland and water quality trading markets project; Oct 22; 1 PM CT
  • New Mississippi River book- "Old Man River;" Meet the author at 1 Mississippi Campaign's Barge Bash Party Oct 28, Grafton, IL
  • Webinar to help local governments reduce flooding, sewer overflows using green stormwater infrastructure; October 31, 2:30 PM
  • 2013 World Wildlife Fund Fuller Science for Nature Symposium; November 13, National Geographic Society, Washington, DC
  • Ohio Stormwater Conference - Call for Abstracts Now Open; June 4-6, 2014; Akron, Ohio
  • Pathways Conference: Common Futures, Integrating Human Dimensions into Fish and Wildlife Management, Estes Park, CO, Oct 5-9, 2014
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
  • E-newsletter from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, October, 2013
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Watershed Network News-October 17, news on cover crops, nutrient management plan
Other news-
Politics and People -
  • Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) seeks to position himself in the center as he runs for Iowa’'s open Senate seat
  • 14-candidate field from both sides of aisle battle for two spots in Oct 19 Louisiana 5th House district runoff election
  • New poll numbers are in for three key Mississippi River Basin states' U.S.  Senate races of the 2014 cycle: AR, LA and WV
  • Democrat Amar Kaleka will try to unseat GOP Rep. Paul Ryan in 2014 (Wisconsin 1st Congressional District)
  • Mississippi state Sen. McDaniel announces plans to challenge six-term US Sen. Thad Cochran in 2014 GOP primary
Last Word-
Jumping Asian Carp
"Fish are doing things here that they haven't in their native distribution, which frankly scares me." -- Dr. Reuben Goforth, Purdue University assistant professor, while discussing his recent studies of Asian carp in Indiana's Wabash River

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Shutdown Ends But Budget Negotiations Continue; Amendment Adds Ohio River Locks and Dam Funding

Late Wednesday night Congress approved and the President signed a budget agreement that ended a 16-day government shutdown and allows the government to borrow money through February 7, 2014 (a PDF file version of the bill can be found here).  The measure funds the government at Fiscal Year 2103 levels through January 15 and authorizes back pay for furloughed federal workers. It also forms a conference committee tasked to work out a long-term budget agreement and avoid across-the-board "sequestration" cuts scheduled to take place in January.  Known as the "Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014," the bill passed 81-18 in the Senate and 285-144 in the House, with all of the "no" votes coming from Republicans.  In the Senate, members voting yes were 52 Democrats, 27 Republicans and 2 independents. 18 Republican senators voted no.  House members voting yes were 198 Democrats and 87 Republicans. 144 Republicans voted no.

Even though Federal borrowing can continue through February 7, since the Treasury Department can use so-called extraordinary measures beyond that date to pay bills and forestall default, the next time the debt ceiling would actually be reached might not occur until the spring, 2014.

The bill authorized the creation of a a House-Senate conference committee to try to work out an agreed-upon ten-year spending plan by reconciling separate budget documents passed by the House and Senate earlier this year.  That committee has until December 13 to come up with a compromise plan, with one goal of that agreement being to avert another round of automatic cuts to the federal budget spending cap.  From 2014 to 2021, federal spending caps are scheduled to be cut $109.3 billion in January of each year under a "Supercommittee" deal reached in 2012. But few in Congress wish to see those cuts (known as sequestration cuts) take place.  Some members of the new budget conference committee are also interested in reaching a broader deal overhauling taxes and, potentially, health-care spending, although those goals have proven to be elusive and divisive in recent years.

Both the Senate and the House named budget conferees last night before adjourning.

Olmsted Locks and Dam in 2012
Olmsted Lock and Dam Funding
From a Mississippi River Basin perspective, the bill also includes a $2+ billion increase in the construction funding authorization for an Ohio River Army Corps of Engineers' project; an amendment reportedly engineered by Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell that adds funds to complete a river navigation structure known as the Olmsted locks and dam in Illinois and Kentucky.  Specifically, the applicable Section 123 of the bill states, "Section 3(a)(6) of Public Law 100–676 is amended by striking both occurrences of "$775,000,000" and inserting in lieu thereof, "$2,918,000,000"."  That language amends the language in the Water Resources Development Act ("WRDA") of 1988 that originally authorized Army Corps' spending for the project at the $775 million level.

The Olmsted Lock and Dam project is located on the Ohio River between Ohio and Kentucky, about 20 miles upriver from the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. The project was originally authorized 25 years ago and at an estimated cost of $775 million. But the project has been beset by delays and cost overruns.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News of the Week

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Not Much "Go" in Government
Talk was plentiful, rough and cheap this week in Washington, DC when it came to the Federal government shutdown, spending bills and the soon-to-be-faced debt ceiling.  But none of that talk led to substantive progress on resolving any of those issues.  By the end of the week, Republicans and Democrats had agreed to keep talking.

Not much was moving legislatively on other fronts, either.  The House's Water Resources Reform and Development Act, once rumored to be on that chamber's agenda for this week, has now been pushed back on the House schedule until after settlement of the government's money issues.  And the Senate still awaits a decision from Speaker of the House John Boehner on which members he will appoint to a farm bill conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.  There are indications that Speaker Boehner will appoint conferees as early as today (October 11) (latest news here and below, under "Farm Bill").  In the meantime, we've compiled all of the Mississippi River Basin news of note below, just to assure ourselves that there are plenty of things not shut down across the country.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week  

Water Quality -
  • EPA weighs options for how to integrate municipalities' wastewater and stormwater control permit requirements
  • Sunfish Lake, Minnesota has a phosphorus pollution problem more complicated than others
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency: "Minnesota agencies collaborate to send cleaner water downstream"
  • Kentucky wrestles with how to deal with toxic algae at five popular lakes
  • States ask EPA to review Clean Water Act guidance on relative source contribution re: human health protection limits
  • West Virginia poultry farm Clean Water Act permit litigation tests scope of agricultural stormwater runoff exemption
  • EPA, Iowa concentrated animal feeding operations deal expands inspections but punts on permit mandate issue
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency water quality report for Mississippi River-Twin Cities shows need for improvement
  • Report: Mississippi River has poor water quality in Twin Cities, Minnesota metro area
  • Groups appeal federal district court decision upholding U.S. EPA's Chesapeake Bay watershed cleanup plan (national implications); American Farm Bureau Federation media release:
  • Federal court rejects suit seeking to subject some agricultural irrigation systems to Clean Water Act permitting
  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources: there are restrictions on eating certain species of fish in the Rock River
  • Illinois groups are working together to reduce harmful algae blooms, combat Gulf "dead zone"
  • ORSANCO delays for two years a controversial ban on Ohio River wastewater discharge "mixing zones"
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Insurance, real estate industries asks Congress to force Federal Emergency Management Agency to delay or phase-in flood insurance rate rise
  • Dozens rescued after heavy rains cause flooding in Kentucky
  • Crews repair levees along the Ohio River (Evansville, IN) to maintain certification
  • High Platte River flows may allow power officials to continue diversions into irrigation canals, reservoirs, wetlands
  • Ducks Unlimited is restoring and enhancing wetlands and native grasslands along the Platte River in Nebraska
  • Sen. Blunt (R-MO) urges Army Corps to halt Missouri River project intended to create endangered fish habit
  • Record Black Hills snowpack to help refill Missouri River reservoirs
  • VIDEO: Army Corps' Mississippi River environmental restoration program makes progress
Farm Bill-
  • House Agriculture Committee Chairman Lucas makes case against Conservation Compliance-Insurance linkage in farm bill
  • American Farm Bureau Federation withdraws support for linking conservation requirements to crop insurance
  • House Ag Committee Member Kristi Noem (R-SD) indicates that House farm bill conferees may be named on Friday
  • House Speaker will reportedly appoint conferees within next week to House-Senate Farm Bill conference committee
  • Senate Majority Leader proposes to include farm bill in a much larger budget package
  • Farm bill talks picking up on target price issue: House bill would raise target prices for rice, barley and peanuts
  • Conservation groups urge Congress to finish farm bill; restore lapsed conservation programs and
  • Economist suggests that new farm bill insurance program could cost billions; give farmers "windfall gains"
Agriculture -
  • Irrigation efficiency in row-crop operations is a major concern in the Mississippi Delta and at Mississippi State U
  • Report looks at conservation implications of farmers use of cover crops
  • South Dakota county considers moratorium on Concentrated Animal Feeding Units
  • Illinois Agricultural Economist blog re: ethanol production, corn prices: “Ethanol Prices Drive Corn Prices, Right?”
  • EPA considering roll-back of both corn ethanol and advanced biofuel targets for next year
  • Reports of cattle losses mount in western South Dakota as ranchers make their way into blizzard-raked pastures
October 8 Drought Monitor Map
(click to enlarge)
Climate and Weather -
  • Heavy to record precipitation along northern Plains and Midwest brought widespread drought improvement last week
  • PBS: The new climate normal: coming soon to a city near you
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Advance of Asian carp in western Wisconsin remains slow — for now
  • Asian carp expert opines on the subject of "Biology and Management of Asian Carps: Lessons for Minnesota"
  • Investigation reveals pesticides killed 1000s of bees across Minneapolis last month
Louisiana Coastal Region-
  • Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College-USEPA memorandum of agreement to encourage college participation in gulf programs
  • NPR's 'Prairie Home Companion' to air pitch for Louisiana delta restoration during this Saturday's New Orleans show
  • The Louisiana Coast: "Last Call — The RESTORE Act" BP court case will determine amount of funding
Resource Extraction -
  • Residents push for answers on frac sand processing plants from Wisconsin officials
  • Fracking in Illinois: Public to soon learn who wants to drill for southern Illinois oil
  • State Rep. Ed Brooks calls for more study of impacts of burgeoning Wisconsin sand mining industry
Federal Budget -
  • President, House Republicans begin discussions on GOP proposal to extend nation’s borrowing authority for six weeks
  • Washington and Wall Street increasingly see Oct. 31 as the drop-dead date for raising the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling
  • Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's testimony to Congress: Forcing default is 'irresponsible and reckless'
  • House Republicans are discussing six-week extension of nation'’s debt limit to buy time for more negotiations
  • Mississippi River locks and dams operating as normal, waterfowl seasons continue though federal properties are closed
  • Army Corps of Engineers plans to keep Inland Waterway locks open during shutdown, easing shippers' concerns
  • Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge along Missouri River closed to public by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Environmental groups, unions, nonprofits urge Senate rejection of House GOP attempts to push "piecemeal" funding
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. Croix River Valley, Rake a Difference Day volunteers needed (October 19 - November 9)
  • "Barge Bash" Celebration of 10,000 River Citizens; October 28 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm; Grafton, IL
  • EPA State Level Nutrient Reduction Strategies webcast on nutrient trading (rescheduled) November 13 at 10-11:15  CST
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
Other news-
  • 1 Mississippi campaign celebrates reaching 10,000 River Citizens goal
  • Minnesota DNR – Fisheries is seeking to fill a Minnesota River Specialist position; details and link here:
Politics and People -
  • Mary Burke (D), former state commerce secretary, announces her 2014 Wisconsin Gubernatorial campaign
  • Senate Committee approves nomination of Michael Connor for Interior deputy secretary; sends on to full Senate
  • Rep. Collin C. Peterson's (D-MN) low fundraising total sparks renewed rumors of possible retirement
  • Tea party activist Milton Wolf will challenge Sen. Pat Roberts in Kansas 2014 Senate primary race
  • Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma tells home-state newspaper he feels "great" after emergency heart surgery
Last Word -
U.S. Senate Chaplain
Barry Black
"We acknowledge our transgressions, our shortcomings, our smugness, our selfishness and our pride.  Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable." - Barry Black, chaplain of the United States Senate, in a Senate morning invocation last week.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News of the Week

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Deserted U.S. Capitol Visitors Center
on October 1
Shut Down - "Out of the Frying Pan"
At midnight on October 1, the Federal government began a partial shutdown that has impacted government agency activity not only in Washington, DC, but across the country. We have compiled an overview of some of the government shutdown impacts for Federal agencies with a Mississippi River Basin water connection (Environmental Protection Agency, Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Army Corps of Engineers). That summary can be seen here.

Debt Limit - "Into the Fire"
Even while "shut down," the federal government continues to spend money and creep toward an October 17 deadline when Congress will need to raise the nation's $16.7 trillion national debt limit.  On September 25, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sent a letter to Congress with updated forecasts of the U.S. Treasury’s fiscal situation. According to his forecast, the Treasury will exhaust its borrowing capacity no later than October 17, at which time the Treasury Department will have exhausted its use of extraordinary measures to maintain a positive cash balance. In the face of this upcoming deadline, we've prepared a basic primer on the debt ceiling issue, which can be read here.

Farm Bill
Some movement on the farm bill occurred this week, despite the political gridlock and resulting shutdown.  On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid formally requested a conference with the House to resolve differences between the Senate and House versions of the farm bill, and he named five Republican and seven Democratic conferees, all of whom serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee. That Senate activity followed House passage on Saturday of a measure that combined its pared down farm bill it passed in July with a nutrition-only bill passed separately by the House on September 19. Before requesting the conference, the Senate first formally rejected the combined House version of the bill.  Next, the House is expected to agree to form a conference committee, and to appoint conferees. Here is our latest summary of farm bill news and resources for more details.

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
  • Washington Post: "Report: Polluted farm runoff linked to toxic green algae slime in U.S. waters"
  • EPA's proposed power plant wastewater rule draws heavy industry, environmental group interest; over 114,000 comments filed
  • EPA seeks to refine the universe of facilities covered by its general permit for industrial stormwater discharges
  • Peoria Community Word: "Illinois River algal bloom largest in at least quarter century – Consequences: Dire"
  • Flooding ends but Platte and South Platte rivers' bacteria and debris could still pose a health risk for weeks
  • PorkNetwork Blog: "Will EPA rewrite Midwest runoff regs?"
  • Wisconsin says it has reduced fertilizer runoff into waterways, but others say it has more to do
  • Senate Republicans charge EPA with being opaque about guidance on regulating streams, wetlands, smaller waters
  • Senate Republicans: EPA’s Failure to be Forthright on New Clean Water Act Rule is Troubling (GOP Press release)
  • EPA hopes to reduce citizen suits, petitions regarding implementation of state Clean Water Act antidegradation rules
  • West Central Tribune (MN) Editorial: Farmers need to be part of river water pollution, Gulf of Mexico hypoxia solution
  • Beaumont Enterprise editorial: "End of Gulf's 'dead zone' finally takes shape" (Also see this related op-ed:
  • Minnesota sets goals for "fixing" Gulf of Mexico dead zone
  • AGWEEK: U.S. EPA is missing its Gulf of Mexico dead zone goal set in 2008
  • Environmental groups say EPA stormwater rule effectiveness will be curbed by lack of monitoring requirements

Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Louisiana considers replacing federal flood insurance program with a state plan that experts say could cost even more
  • Lawmakers hope to freeze flood insurance rate increases in stopgap bill to fund government
  • Army Corps awards contract to raise portion of Mississippi River Levee on the east bank of Jefferson Parish
  • Planners study whether Mississippi River and conservation can meet water needs of northeast Twin Cities, MN suburbs
  • Montana officials gather comments on upper and lower Missouri River state water plan and
  • Residents on Montana state water plan: Additional water storage is needed in upper Missouri River basin
  • Army Corps, states and tribes clash over Missouri River water rights
  • Feds consider permit to drill on central Kansas site that includes internationally recognized wetlands
  • Funding secured to repair Arkansas' River Zink Dam in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Farm Bill-
  • Senate Majority Leader requests conference committee with House to resolve differences between chambers’ farm bills
  • In limbo: appointment of House conference committee members to resolve differences between House, Senate farm bills
  • House passes motion to re-link the fragmented farm-only and nutrition parts of that chamber's farm bill (roll call vote 226-191)
  • Most land being converted from native habitats to farmland fall outside protective "sodsaver" geographic scope of House farm bill
  • University of Missouri's Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute report: "Impacts of Selected Provisions of the House and Senate Farm Bills"
Agriculture -
  • USDA total website shutdown goes far beyond other federal agencies' response; leaves no access to any online information
  • A big drop in U.S. farm earnings over the past quarter - down 14.6% nationwide - has especially hurt the Midwest
  • In new "Counting Cover Crops" report, NWF estimates total 2011 Mississippi River Basin cover crop acreage at 1.8-4.3 M acres, less than 2% of cropland area
  • New NWF report: "Clean Water Grows - Six Successful Cover Crop Outreach Efforts"
  • Once little-known, Goss's wilt disease is hitting corn crops from Minnesota to Texas
Climate and Weather -
  • Midwest drought status largely status quo last week, Plains
    October 1 U.S. Drought Monitor Map
    (click to enlarge)
    improved somewhat, Louisiana water deficits lingered
  • Latest update of U.S. Drought Monitor continues to show severe drought in parts of Illinois
  • NOAA Climate Prediction Center drought outlook for October: improvements expected
  • EPA releases report of climate change impacts on streamflow, water quality in 20 U.S. watersheds
  • ClimateChangeLIVE provides free tools for teaching climate concepts for the 2013-2014 school year
  • Even with floodwater rolling through Nebraska, drought persists
  • With an unusual late-season hurricane brewing in the Gulf of Mexico, FEMA employees are being recalled from furlough
  • Tropical Storm Karen's approach will stop Mississippi River barge traffic at its mouth
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
Grotto sculpin
  • Grotto sculpin, a small, cave-dwelling fish found only in Missouri, to have federal Endangered Species Act protection
  • Fisheries biologists helping alligator gar make comeback in Illinois
  • Bad weather, and use of Roundup-ready corn and soybeans linked to disappearance of milkweed and monarch butterfly decline
  • Wisconsin fish test positive for cutthroat trout virus; effect of the virus on cool-water species unknown
  • Researchers test Muskingum River Basin waters (Ohio River Basin) for invasive Asian carp
  • Criticism greets new Bureau of Land Management proposal for protecting sage grouse in North Dakota
  • Report: States should boost ability to oversee how power plant cooling-water intakes entrain fish, other organisms Link to the report here:
In the Cities -
  • Louisville, KY 4000-acre park is one of largest new parks in country and a prime private-public partnership example
In the States-
  • Illinois announces over $5 million in investments to 13 communities across state for green infrastructure projects
  • Thousands of Western Pennsylvania forest acres fragmented by Marcellus shale and traditional gas well drilling
Resource Extraction -
  • 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sides with oil organizations in Allegheny National Forest mineral rights case
  • Kentucky´s karst geology and sinkhole terrain will challenge natural gas pipeline developers
  • Ohio directive: shale gas drillers must report fracking chemicals to local governments, first responders, residents
Federal Budget -
  • Democrats push to link Continuing Resolution and debt ceiling issues, given the October calendar
  • Politico: As the federal government shutdown continues, Congress will soon have to address raising the debt ceiling
  • Senate Majority Leader Reid pushes for lager budget agreement, including a final savings figure for farm programs
  • Federal government shutdown is broadly curtailing EPA activities
  • Cargo being shipped through the nation's locks, dams and harbors should flow as usual, despite shutdown
  • How government shutdown affects the Mississippi River: Lock’s open, backwaters closed
  • Government shutdown impacts Illinois River conference in Peoria; one-third of speakers don't attend
Events -  Information on all past and future events listed here can be viewed in the on-line calendar (here as a stand-alone calendar)
  • Illinois River Watershed Partnership (OK and AR) second annual “Restoration of Our Rivers” Conference; October 3-4
  • Lecture: The Biology and Management of Asian Carp: Lessons for Minnesota. by Duane Chapman. October 8, U of MN St. Paul
  • NRC meeting: Army Corps' Water Resources Science, Engineering, and Planning: Coastal Risk Reduction; October 8-9; Mobile, AL
  • NOVA (PBS) television show: How can cities prepare for rising seas and raging storms? October 9, 9 pm ET
  • State Level Nutrient Reduction Strategies  Webcast: Wisconsin’s Nitrate Groundwater Initiative; October 10, 11-12:15 CT
  • Sustainable Communities Leadership Summit; October 16; Wyndham Riverfront, Little Rock, AR
  • EPA's Watershed Academy “National Stormwater Calculator” Webcast rescheduled due to government shutdown from 10/2 to October 16 at 2 pm ET
  • Celebrate World Food Day at the Bell Museum with Sheelu Francis; October 16; Minneapolis, MN
  • Nature’s Returns: webinar series on growing importance of ecosystem service valuation and investment; October 2, 7, 16 (past webinars available)
  • National Nonpoint Source Monitoring Conference, October 28-30, Cleveland, OH
  • Wisconsin Wetlands Association’s 2013 Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony. November 7, Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Indiana Native Plants and Wildflower Society Conference: Saving Indiana’s Native Plants and Wild Places November 9, Carmel, IN
  • Registration open for 2013 Green Lands Blue Waters Partnership Conference, November 20-21; Minneapolis, MN
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
  • Basin Alliance for the Lower Mississippi in Minnesota, October e-newsletter
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Feedlot Update October 2 e-newsletter
  • Water Environment Federation's Stormwater Report; October 2013
  • Link to the latest Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy "TU Waterways" newsletter
  • Montana Watershed Coordination Council's October 3 Watershed News
Other news-
  • Bipartisan House bill introduced last week would guarantee free public access to research funded by federal agencies; press release: bill: (PDF)
  • Over 1,500 pounds of Iowa rivers' cleanup trash now form University of Northern Iowa "Riverse" art exhibit sculptures
  • Lt. Governor hosts Tuesday's Illinois River Coordinating Council meeting in Peoria; news: agenda:
  • Panel of river experts discusses conservation and recreation on Illinois River as part of three-day conference
  • Over three-thousand people attend Missouri Department of Conservation’s Day at the Mississippi River event
  • New coalition pushes rebuilding nation's water infrastructure with education campaign
  • World Resources Institute: water risks are one of top 4 risks facing business; may already be affecting bottom lines
People and Politics-
This Week's Time Magazine Cover
  • Time Magazine: "It's Only Going to Get Worse in Washington"
  • Leader of wetland loss lawsuit against oil and gas companies not among Louisiana flood protection authority nominees
  • Montana Democrats get a 2014 U.S. Senate candidate: Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh
  • Rep. Rodney Alexander's (R-4-LA) resignation quietly became effective last Thursday
  • Former state Rep. Bill Bailey (D) to announce his candidacy against Rep. Todd Young (R-IN) in Indiana’s 9th District
  • Lt. Governor Peter Kinder (R) explores House 8th District GOP primary challenge in Missouri
  • "Why mayors should rule the world" - by political theorist Benjamin Barber
  • Polarized House districts, entrenched incumbents mean “deadest period in Missouri political history in the last 25 years”
  • Sens. Blunt (R-MO), Boozman (R-AR), Coburn (R-OK), Inhofe (R-OK), Johnson (D-SD), Kirk (R-IL), Levin (D-MI), Thune (R-SD), Udall (D-CO) furlough no staff during shutdown
Last Word -
The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.” - Tom Clancy, during a Larry King Live interview in 2000.  The bestselling author of Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger died Tuesday at the age of 66.