Friday, March 14, 2014

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

January 2014 Freedom Industries, Inc. West Virginia Tank Spill and Its Intersection with Federal Policy
On January 9, 2014, a 46,000-gallon steel tank in a tank farm owned by Freedom Industries, Inc. in
Charleston, West Virginia experienced a leak of up to 10,000 gallons of 4-Methylcyclohexane methanol, containing an estimated 5.6% polyglycol ethers. A significant amount of the chemical was released into the Elk River, approximately one and a half miles upstream from the potable water supply intake of the local water utility. Ultimately, the spill left 300,000 people without water for varying periods of time, while the chemical contamination worked its way downstream, eventually flowing down and being diluted by the Ohio River.  Now that the emergency has been officially declared over, we take a step back from the incident to explore in this article where the incident intersects with existing and emerging Federal policy.

Noteworthy @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
  • With Ohio River credit program in place, the country's first major water quality trading program is set to take off
  • First Interstate Credits for Water Quality Nutrient Trading Sold
  • Ohio River Basin farmers will get paid to expand conservation practices, reduce nutrient loads under interstate water-quality trading program
  • EPA proceeding with plans to implement a Reagan-era regulation to protect waterways from coal mining
  • Wisconsin acreage with agricultural nutrient-management plans in place showing promising water quality results
  • Delta Farm Press - "On-farm runoff numbers in conflict with popular opinion"
  • Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has released its annual Fish Consumption List; Ohio River section:
  • Projects using perennial bioenergy crops in the Midwest to lessen hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Nutrient concentrations are going down in several major Iowa rivers
  • EPA Inspections Reveal Clean Water Act Violations by Former Dairy Owner near Rock Valley, Iowa
  • Montana DEQ Opens Public Hearing Period for Statewide Numeric Nutrient Standards for State Waters
  • EPA "319 Success Story" - Kentucky: Licking River Watershed Restoration Efforts Improve Water Quality
  • New York Times: EPA’s Proposed Rules on Water Worry Farmers
  • Appeals court upholds Kentucky mining permit ruling centering on Army Corps Clean Water Act issue
  • Proposed order in federal court: Kentucky coal firm to pay $660,000 dumping mining debris into Appalachian streams
  • Stakeholders use collaborative adaptive management to address Hinkson Creek, MO pollution-control (stormwater runoff)
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Meldahl Dam Hydroelectric Project (Hamilton, Ohio), Ohio River’s largest hydroelectric power plant, nears completion
  • Army Corps: 2014 runoff forecast in Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, increases to 121 percent of normal
  • U.S. Senators ask Army Corps to provide Missouri River flood prevention plan information, update infrastructure status
  • Flooding swells Montana rivers, washes out roads
  • Rep. Ron Kind (D-3-WI) pushes to roll back flood insurance premium hikes
  • Tri-Basin Natural Resources District directors okay next project steps for new Platte and Republican basin streamflow augmentation
Agriculture -
Projected Outlays under the 2014 Farm Bill
(click to enlarge)
  • USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service moving "full steam ahead" on implementing new farm bill provisions
  • USDA announces series of meetings to share information with stakeholders about 2014 Farm Bill implementation process
  • USDA Announces Efforts to Expand Support for Small and Mid-Sized Farmers and Ranchers
  • USDA's ERS presents highlights and some economic implications of new farm bill programs and provisions  
  • The Open Agriculture Data Alliance launches effort to standardize, secure farm data
  • Iowa State University: “Iowa Farmland Value Survey Shows Historic High Statewide Average”
  • For young people, securing adequate land to begin or expand farming operations is a major challenge
  • Photographs, infographics and interviews paint big picture view of "prairie strips" in new Iowa State University publication
March 11 Drought Monitor Map
(click to enlarge)
Climate and Weather -
  • National drought summary: slight dryness expansion in Iowa, southern plains dryness impacts increase
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • USGS Asian carp eggs identified in samples collected from Upper Mississippi River as far north as Lynxville, Wisc. (USGS news release) See related story:
  • White pelicans making annual spring migration north stop on southern Illinois lakes
  • Asian Carp invade the rivers of eastern South Dakota
  • Wall Street Journal: Sage Grouse Rebellion: Will Obama use two small birds to limit oil drilling? (also Lesser Prairie Chicken)
  • Mississippi River News & Insights: The Scoop on Emerald Ash Borer
In the Cities -
  • Robbinsdale, MN working to clean up Crystal Lake by reducing phosphorus loading into the lake
  • Repairs and improvements on Council Bluffs, Iowa’s river and creek levees could cost the city $50 million
In the States-
  • Control of St. Croix River development spurs Minnesota Legislature debate
  • Minnesota's Pollution Control Agency postpones decision on surface water sulfate pollution, saying it needs more time
  • Arkansas Natural Resources Commission hosting meetings to hear comments, concerns, and suggestions on new State Water Plan
Louisiana Coastal Region-
  • Lawsuit against oil and gas companies for damage to the coast has become a symbol of Louisiana’s environmental future
  • Louisiana state, local politicians split on oil levee board wetland and land loss lawsuit against big oil companies
Resource Development -
  • The Christian Science Monitor: In the Midwest, a storm brews over "frac sand" mining
  • Fracking drives up demand for sand, creates headaches in Midwest mining areas
  • Texas coast, Louisiana, southern Arkansas leading areas in country for commercial open-pond algae farms (biofuel stock)
  • Bans on fracking and mountaintop mining through Tennessee legislation appear dead for the year
Federal Budget -
  • Obama 2015 budget proposal includes $176 million for western Pennsylvania waterways, reservoirs and dams
  • House Ag Committee adopts fiscal year 2015 budget recommendations for agencies and programs under its jurisdiction
Events -  Information on all past and future events listed here can be viewed in the on-line calendar (here as a stand-alone calendar)
  • Webinar: Stewarding America’s Water Bodies: Policy Innovations in Non-point Source Pollution; March 21, 2 PM ET
  • Ohio River Valley Woodland and Wildlife Workshop; General Butler State Park in Carrollton, KY; March 22
  • River Futures: Student Visions of the Mississippi-Twin Cities, MN area students discuss their River visions; April 16, 4 PM
  • “The Irony of Carp”  event will ask you to reconsider how we may live with the Mississippi in the future; April 21, 7 PM, Minneapolis, MN
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
Other news-
  • Commercial rafting on the Arkansas River in Colorado realized an economic impact of more than $55 million in 2013
  • U.S. Geological Survey releases a “harmonized” set of maps of watersheds that cross the U.S.-Canada border
  • Sen. Al Franken’s annual hotdish
    off, on Wednesday
  • Supreme Court "rails-to-trails" ruling against U.S. Forest Service is a broad victory for property rights activists
Politics and People-
  • Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) Cooks Up Second Consecutive Minnesota Hotdish Win
  • Businesswoman and scientist Sharon Sund will take another shot at running against GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen (MN 3rd U.S. House district)

Last Word -
"Climate change is real. It’s here."  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Monday evening on the Senate floor, kicking off a nearly 15-hour climate-change "talkathon" by about 30 Senate Democrats.  Reid  added that it was time to stop acting as if those who ignore climate change "have a valid point of view."

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