Friday, May 2, 2014

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~
This Week and Next
Here is a link to "What We Learned This Week," a weekly Mississippi River Basin one-paragraph summary of the week gone by (for those who don't particularly want to wade into the details, below).  The next seven days offer a pair of tantalizingly water-relevant Congressional hearings in Washington, DC: one in the Senate, concerning the next steps in Farm Bill implementation, and one in the House relating to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to clarify the jurisdictional scope of the Clean Water Act (please note a related, May 13, informational webinar on that topic under the "Events" heading, below).  A list of all of next week's water resource related Congressional activities (tantalizing and not) can be viewed here.

Noteworthy @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
  • 200 House members tell EPA and Army Corps to drop plan to clarify Clean Water Act jurisdiction over U.S. water bodies
  • Study: majority of southern Minnesota cropland that abuts lakes and rivers doesn't meet buffer zone requirements
  • Federal judge rules Alpha Natural Resources is illegally discharging excess levels of selenium from West Virginia coal-slurry impoundment Also see:
  • Algae and bacteria are health and environmental threats in lakes across Wisconsin
  • Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources investigating massive die-off of Asian carp in the Cumberland River and
  • Persistent thick ice, deep snow on Eastern Iowa ponds and lakes causes large winter fish kills, according to state
  • Minnesota Supreme Court delays action involving state’s lawsuit accusing 3M of environmental damage (water quality)
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to conduct water quality field work in Des Moines River basin
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • LEAD STORY: Water Resources Development Act conference committee expected to complete compromise bill within the next two weeks
  • In southwestern Minnesota, water costs rise, pipes get longer as supply adequacy wanes
  • Army Corps of Engineers study recommends building new locks at three locations on the Upper Ohio River
  • Barge, port industries and Mississippi River mayors back move to broaden river shipping also see
  • Proposed Public-Private Partnership Projects for U.S. Inland Waterways Infrastructure Financing, Operations, and Governance  (The Horinko Group)
  • Heavy rain, swollen waterways prompt Army Corps to restrict  Mississippi, St. Croix  River navigation
  • National Geographic: Wetlands Do Triple Duty in a Changing Climate (with focus on Mississippi River basin)
  • Army Corps of Engineers awards two contracts for lock rehabilitation at Olmsted Dam on the Ohio River in Kentucky
  • Politics enters discussion of funding for repairs to damaged Grand Tower, Illinois levee along Mississippi River
Agriculture -
  • Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council's first annual report addresses fertilizer nutrient utilization, water quality, education
  • House Agriculture Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture reviews management strategies to control pollinator pests, diseases
  • Pollinator hearing deepens gulf between pesticide manufacturers and environmentalists over  pesticides' role in bee deaths
  • U.S. farmers douse their fields with wider array of herbicides in war vs. super weeds but are adding new costs and environmental concerns
  • EPA seeks public comment on its proposal to register the "Enlist Duo" herbicide (containing 2,4-D and glyphosate) "to reduce the spread of glyphosate resistant weeds" article - (EPA media notice:
  • Monsanto Co. pledges to advance sustainable agriculture through increasing water and nutrient efficiency
Climate and Weather -
NWS Topeka, Kansas satellite image
(click to enlarge)
  • LEADING STORY: High atmospheric carbon dioxide levels set a record
  • US drought update: southern Plains precipitation continues below average; dryness expands in parts of Nebraska and Kansas; improves in parts of Iowa and Missouri
  • NOAA Climate Prediction Center monthly drought outlook for May: May expected to be relatively dry month; widespread drought improvement not anticipated
  • Satellite image shows blowing dust moving east and northeast across north-central and northeastern Kansas (April 27; photo to the right)
  • Iowa experiencing warmer, wetter and more intense weather, forcing its cities and farmers to adapt
NOAA National Weather Service flood prediction maps
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Minnesota Senate approves name change for Asian carp - changing it to "invasive carp"
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service says Corps of Engineers helping it bring back three lower Mississippi basin endangered species
  • Asian carp processing plant may soon be a reality for East Peoria, Illinois area
  • House Natural Resources Committee advances four bills to House floor that would amend the Endangered Species Act
  • Report: federal endangered listing of greater sage grouse could impede voluntary landowner conservation partnerships
  • Last Friday's La Crosse, Wisconsin biodiversity summit aim was to improve cities' environments
  • Budget shortfall in West Virginia black fly suppression program has meant fewer applications of Bti pesticide
In the Cities -
  • Columbus, Ohio explores new ways of eliminating sanitary sewer overflows, investing in neighborhoods, local economy
  • Cape Girardeau city leaders meet with Missouri Department of Conservation to focus on Mississippi River issues
In the States-
  • Council for a Better Louisiana opposes state bill that would let governor remove levee authority members
Forestry -
  • U.S. Forest Service poised to begin identifying national forest areas for future timber projects using farm bill's new environmental streamlining authority
Resource Development -
  • Builders of controversial Bluegrass Pipeline through Kentucky halting project on economic grounds
Federal Budget -
  • House GOP debuts 2015 FY science, commerce and justice appropriations bill promising National Science Foundation $7.4 billion; boosting weather programs but keeping total budget flat
  • House committee passes first 2015 appropriations bill while the Senate Appropriations Committee will hold its first full committee votes on fiscal 2015 spending bills on May 22
  • Forest Service, Department of the Interior projected to spend over $470 million more than available to fight 2014 wildfires
  • Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) Pushing Senators to Keep Earmark Moratorium
Events -  Information on all past and future events listed here can be viewed in the on-line calendar (here as a stand-alone calendar)
  • NC-FAR Seminar: Detours On The Road To Sustainable Feedstock Production For Cellulosic Biofuel, Washington, DC, May 8 (register by May 6)
  • Briefing on the Third National Climate Assessment; May 8, 2-3:30 PM EDT; Washington, DC (the Assessment will be released on May 6)
  • Webinar: What the Waters of the US Rulemaking Means for Your Watershed Work, May 13, 2-4 PM EDT. Register by May 12
  • May 17: annual invasive Garlic Mustard Pull volunteer day at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin & Hopper Lakes (Illinois)
  • Resources For The Future Seminar-Natural Resources, Ecology, and Public Policy: Time for Some Unconventional Ideas? May 28, 12:45-2 PM EDT (webcast and Washington, DC)
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
Other news-
  • Dutch research implies that many coastal cities around the world are now sinking at a rate up to ten times that of sea level rise
  • 1.6 million Americans don't have indoor plumbing. Here's where they live (Washington Post) (interactive map)
Politics and People-
  • Collin O'Mara named as next President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Wildlife Federation
  • There will be May primary elections in eleven Mississippi River Basin states.  Here is where and when they are:
  • Ron Bruch, a 37-year veteran of Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources, has been named WI DNR fisheries director
  • Rep. Vance McAllister won¹t run for reelection (R-LA-5) as calls begin for him to resign now
  • Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) has been released from an Arkansas hospital following emergency heart surgery last week
Last Word -
"Nullius in verba" - The Royal Society's motto, which roughly translates as "take nobody's word for it."  The motto is an expression of the determination of the 352-year-old UK society's members to withstand the domination of authority and to verify all statements by an appeal to facts determined by scientific inquiry.

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