Friday, February 14, 2014

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Noteworthy @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week 

Water Quality -
  • EPA Administrator: Iowa ahead of other Mississippi River Basin states in nutrient water pollution reduction strategy
  • New Louisiana plan relies heavily on existing and proposed sediment and freshwater diversions to reduce nutrients causing Gulf of Mexico dead zone
  • USGS April briefing will focus on Mississippi River Basin nutrient and pesticide water quality trends 
    Nutrients concentration in Nation's streams
    and groundwater

  • Water quality cap-and-trade program involving point and non-point sources not a straight-forward concept to implement
  • MN's Ag Water Quality Certification Program now enrolling farms; certified producers receive "regulatory certainty"
  • Southeast Iowa hog producer will pay fine/improve operations after manure spill into a dry creek in November
  • One of Iowa's largest hog operations fined $10,000 for manure spill into tributary of Des Moines River
  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee holds field hearing to discuss Jan. 9 spill of from Freedom Industries Inc. WV facility
  • U.S. House field hearing into spill provides few answers on West Virginia water safety
  • Eastern  proponents of water credit trading look westward toward Ohio River Basin initiative
  • Roughly six miles of Fields Creek were blackened by a coal slurry spill in eastern Kanawha County, WV Tuesday morning
  • Senate passes Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act; research on algal harm to fish (see the bill here:
  • Arkansas hog farm opponents crticize Big Creek, Buffalo National River pollution study, claiming research is flawed
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • House Majority Leader: House will take up "modified version" of Senate bill to delay scheduled flood insurance rate hikes
  • Army Corps of Engineers defends validity of it future plans for managing the Missouri River
  • Army Corps has plan to abate spring Missouri River flooding 
    Proposed Arkansas River Harbor
    Project (click to enlarge)
  • Corps of Engineers releases Missouri River water level projections
  • Cold weather forces Corps of Engineers to adjust Gavins Point dam water releases to downstream Missouri River
  • When drought occurs, fracking and farming interests collide over need for sparse water
  • FEMA levee standard changes trigger painful decisions for cash-strapped cities; while insurance bills stun homeowners
  • In cities and in court, continued focus keeps replenishing depleted White Bear Lake a priority (Twin Cities area, MN)
  • Many mayors of Arkansas cities would like to see Arkansas River’s shipping channel deepened from 9 feet to 12 feet
  • Arkansas River Task Force members meet to discuss creation of a new low-water dam, and Zink dam improvement costs
  • Army Corps of Engineers feasibility study for proposed Arkansas River harbor project expected to be released soon
  • More barges carrying oil down the Mississippi River, in part due to fracking boom in Pennsylvania, North Dakota
Agriculture -
  • Disputed expansion of Northeastern Wisconsin dairy's concentrated animal feeding operation may have statewide impact
  • Iowa farmers plan a significant 2014 shift from corn to soybeans; planting about 11 percent more than in 2013 (US increase = 7%)
  • USDA: Farm income expected to fall by 27% this year; to its lowest level in four years
  • Sober warning of what lower corn prices could mean for the cost of the new farm bill over the next few years
  • The nearly invisible crisis of Iowa's topsoil: it appears to be eroding at a much higher rate than the USDA estimates imply
  • A growing farmland sale trend: unrealistic expectations from sellers and more caution on the side of buyers
Farm Bill -
  • President Obama signed the $956 billion farm bill on Friday at Michigan State University
  • Ag/FDA Blog-The OFW Law Blog: "Hidden Gems in the Farm Bill"
  • 2014 Farm Bill Summary: Key Farm Safety Net Provisions
  • Energy Programs in the New Farm Bill
  • Conservation Programs in the New Farm Bill
Climate and Weather -
February 11 Drought Monitor Map
(click to enlarge)
  • Ferbuary 11 NOAA/NWS national drought update: most of Mississippi Valley remained status-quo last week
  • Snowfall over Missouri River Basin is tracking slightly higher than the 30-year average
  • House passes bill reauthorizing National Integrated Drought Information System; 365 - 21 roll call vote:; bill information:
  • House handily passes bill to extend the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) through 2018 (news coverage)
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Interior Department will consider free-market habitat exchange to conserve and restore imperiled lesser prairie chicken
  • Controversial interpretations of federal and state water laws drive much of Army Corps' Asian carp project costs and timeline
  • Waterloo, Iowa digital tree database will play vital role in invasive Emerald Ash Borer management
  • In recent months, four whooping cranes have been shot; two each in Louisiana and Kentucky
Downtown Davenport, Iowa
In the Cities -
  • Louisville, KY looks to expand natural filtration of Ohio River drinking water with "riverbank filtration system"
  • Bringing Back Mississippi Riverfront Towns Through Bike Trails and Wetlands
  • Casper City Council (WY) approves $450,000 for design and construction of multiple Platte River bank stabilization projects
  • Controversy swirling around proposed park along Mississippi River in Hastings, MN, includes eminent domain issues
In the States-
  • Nebraska lawmakers hope to counter drought and other water stresses by investing in water projects across state
  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial: Phosphorus regulation bill would help state address runoff pollution
Louisiana Coastal Region-
  • Poll: support for restoring coastal wetlands has increased dramatically in Louisiana over the past decade
Federal Budget -
  • House passes a Federal debt-ceiling hike of undetermined size with no added "riders"
  • Senate approves federal debt ceiling hike
  • House Budget Committee passes bill to put Congress on two-year budgeting cycle, but bill's fate is uncertain at best
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 RiverWatch Network to host statewide workshops on volunteer water quality monitoring of Illinois streams
  • USEPA stormwater webinar: Stormwater Management Incentives and Public Private Partnerships; February 25, 1 pm
  • Upper Mississippi River Basin Association has posted the February 25-26 meeting packets, including agendas
  • Mississippi River Connections Collaborative Meeting; March 11 - 13, 2014 – Downtown, Memphis, TN
  • Midwestern Governors Association briefing on aquatic invasive species for Congress and the public; March 12; 10 AM ET
  • "Wings Over the Platte" is the region's oldest and largest artist exhibit dedicated to life on the Platte River
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
  • St. Croix River Association e-newsletter
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Waterfront Bulletin for February 2014
  • Montana Watershed Coordination Council's February 13 Watershed News
Other news-
  • Resource-strapped U.S. EPA conducted fewer inspections and pursued fewer civil and criminal cases in 2013 than in 2012
  • U.S. EPA preparing to offer buyouts and "early outs" to up to 1,375 employees nationwide and
  • New Senate bill would provide direct funding to states for fisheries management, habitat conservation, boating programs; Legislation: (see article here:
Politics and People-
  • Evidence mounts that Congress has all but wrapped up its most consequential work of 2014
  • League of Conservation Voters releases its annual legislative scorecard on Congress
  • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock announces that Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D) will be Max Baucus's replacement in US Senate
  • Professor Kevin Crow joins the GOP race for retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn's (OK) seat.
  • GOP Attorney General Jon Bruning officially enters Nebraska's gubernatorial race
  • Former GOP state House Speaker Catherine Hanaway joins Missouri 2016 governor's race
  • Activist Shelley Hendrix (R) to announce bid for GOP Rep. Cassidy's (R-6-LA) U.S. House seat, which he is vacating
  • Louisiana Republicans urge Sen. Landrieu (D-La.) to oppose President's Interior Department's wildlife and parks programs nominee
  • Senate makes it official: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) will chair Energy and Natural Resources Committee
  • Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-La.) new powers as Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair could come with political risks
  • Rep. Ralph M. Hall (R-TX-4), the oldest member of Congress, prepares for his final campaign for office (represents Mississippi River Basin district)
  • Nebraska state Auditor Mike Foley enters gubernatorial race, joining crowded GOP primary field
  • Todd Batta nominated as USDA Assistant Secretary of congressional relations, would work closely with House and Senate Agriculture Committees
  • US Rep. Tim Griffin (R-3-Ark.) who months ago said he would not seek re-election,  to Run for Lt. Gov. in Arkansas
  • GOP state Rep. Debra Hobbs plans to lower her Arkansas election sightes down from governor to lieutenant governor
  • House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) plans to retire at the end of the year
Last Word -
Mike Trout - outfielder for the
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
"It’s like a Swiss Army knife. It’s like a Mike Trout." - President Barack Obama, describing the farm bill by referring to the Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Angels' center fielder, Mike Trout. Trout is known as a "five-tool player" for his versatile skills, and while not a New York Yankee, he's still pretty good.

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