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.