Friday, May 23, 2014

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Congress Sends Water Resources Reform and Development Act to President for Signature
The Senate on Thursday afternoon overwhelmingly approved a conference report to accompany the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), following House approval of the measure on
Olmsted Locks and Dam Project on
on Ohio River Between Illinois and
Tuesday. The WRRDA bill will now go on to the President for his signature, authorizing 34 new lock, dam, levee, port and ecosystem restoration projects, while introducing reforms to the way the Army Corps of Engineers manages its water resource projects. Here is a section-by-section summary of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 Conference Report that Congress passed. Highlights of the measure can be found here, and the Conference Report, itself, can be seen here. In this article you can find an overview of various sections of the Conference Report that specifically relate to portions of or projects within the Mississippi River Basin, and Coastal Louisiana.

Noteworthy @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week  

Water Quality -
Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force - Spring Public Meeting
  • USDA to provide assistance to agricultural producers to improve water quality in priority watersheds including Mississippi River Basin
  • Materials from May 21 Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force - Spring 2014 Public Meeting:
  • Mississippi River/Gulf Hypoxia Task Force reaches agreement with universities to further water quality programs, goals
Other Water Quality News

  • House Science, Space and Technology Committee passes bill to support interagency algal bloom research; story: (bill:
  • House Small Business Committee Republicans call on EPA and Army Corps to withdraw Clean Water Act, "Waters of the U.S." proposal
  • Residents near coal ash waste sites call upon Illinois Pollution Control Board for tougher pollution protections
  • Tennessee's auto plant ambitions could harm Hatchie River, one of state's least spoiled rivers
  • Dozens rally in Tennessee to "Save the Nolichucky" from ammonia, other pollution from new U.S. Nitrogen, Greene County plant
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to check health of Lower Minnesota River and tributaries this summer
  • University of Arkansas Systems' Division of Agriculture team monitoring water quality around hog farm at  state's request
  • West Virginia regulators propose over $21,000 in fines for plant that spilled coal slurry into stream in February
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -

Water Resources Reform and Development Act
  • Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Water Resources Reform and Development Act will cost $12.3B over 10 years
  • Taxpayers for Common Sense Water Resources Reform and Development Act analysis: measure fails to reform
  • Water resources bill would make substantive changes to the Water State Revolving Fund program
  • Passage of water resources bill could spur construction completion on Chickamauga Lock (Tennessee River in Chattanooga)
Other Water Resource Management News
  • LEAD STORY: Environmental groups sue Army Corps of Engineers to block further Mississippi River navigation structure construction
  • LEAD STORY: Environmental groups sue Army Corps, questioning efforts to manage Mississippi River
  • Threats to ten-parish area's Southern Hills Aquifer system grow in Louisiana
  • Pumping polluted groundwater for cleanup purposes is an added drain on already-stressed Twin Cities, Minnesota groundwater
  • Six southwestern Illinois levee repair projects totaling $39 million on target for completion in 2015; more-protective 500-year flood protection work will take longer
  • Utilities reevaluating flood risks at Cooper and Fort Calhoun nuclear power plants on the banks of the Missouri River
  • Army Corps seeks public input on Cora Island shallow water habitat project; part of Missouri River Recovery Program
Agriculture -
  • Environmental Defense Fund will partner with pork producer Smithfield Foods to help company use fertilizer more efficiently
  • Reps. Ron Kind (WI) and Tim Walz (MN) call for Mississippi River watershed to be designated as critical conservation area
  • Purdue Extension agricultural economist publishes two articles on what 2014 farm bill could mean for Midwest farmers and agriculture
  • Farmland values fell in the first quarter in much of the Midwest, the latest sign of a downturn in the market
  • Strong farm land demand is still evident in east-central and southeast Iowa; Record high price set in Henry County
  • Union of Concerned Scientists: Agribusiness companies are creating a “superweed crisis”
  • Midwest growers invest in more-sophisticated machinery to rapidly sow more crops in narrow windows of favorable weather
Climate and Weather -
  • National Geographic: New Dust Bowl is engulfing the same region that was the geographic heart of the 1930s original
  • Hard on the heels of two studies last week, ESA's Cryosat spacecraft mission sees Antarctic ice losses double (ESA’s CryoSat web site story:
  • May 20 drought update: Dryness expanded eastward in Oklahoma, areas of Missouri, Louisiana and Arkansas benefited from rains, most of Midwest unchanged 
    May 20 Drought Update Map
    (click to enlarge)
  • NOAA Climate Prediction Center monthly drought outlook for June (will be published at end of the month)
  • NOAA’s 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook indicates that a near-normal or below-normal hurricane season is likely
  • Snow appears to be a very important driver for how much water actually ends up in a river
  • Sixty-seven insurance companies commit to tackling climate change by encouraging government action; promoting emission reduction
  • Chicago Council on Global Affairs report calls on U.S. government to integrate climate change adaptation into its global food security strategy
  • New Planning and Drought guide from the American Planning Association
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
Cooling Water Intake
  • LEAD STORY: EPA finalizes standards for the protection of fish and other aquatic life from cooling water intakes at over 1,000 power plants and factories (EPA notice:
  • Two Mississippi River state Republican Senators (James Inhofe (Okla.), David Vitter (La.)) don't like U.S. EPA's new cooling water intake rule
  • Environmental groups disappointed with Obama administration's new rule on water intakes at factories and power plants
  • Environmental groups consider suing U.S. EPA again over a final cooling water intake rule
  • White House is reviewing a final Endangered Species Act policy that will largely dictate the law's regulatory reach (draft policy: (PDF file)) 
  • Proposed Endangered Species Act Regulations Would Significantly Expand Critical Habitat Protection Under Act
  • Bill introduced by Rep. Gardner (R-Colo.) would prevent the Sage Grouse from being listed under the Endangered Species Act for 10 years
  • Forest Service evaluating how it manages large western North Dakota grassland to save greater sage grouse (notice:
In the Cities -
  • Meteor impact 74 million years ago could be the cause of Manson, Iowa's well production problems today
In the States-
  • Minnesota becomes first state to prohibit antibiotic triclosan in most retail consumer hygiene products after chemical found in increasing amounts in state waters
  • Mixed grades on Minnesota’s water and agriculture state legislative issues
  • State Legislators approve bill to ease southwestern Minnesota water shortage, but it requires communities to provide some money
  • Gov. John Kasich set to sign into law new agricultural regulations to combat algal blooms in Ohio waterways; bill: news article:
  • Louisiana Senate approves House-amended legislation restricting "legacy lawsuits" filed against oil and gas companies
Louisiana Coastal Region-
  • Sen. Landrieu (La.) urges Louisiana's state senators to support state House-passed bill to limit coastal protection fund use
  • Louisiana lawsuits seek oil and gas industry money to restore coastline
  • Lake Borgne, Louisiana storm surge barrier barge gate inspected in advance of, prepared for hurricane season
Resource Development -
Federal and State Budgets -
  • Full Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approves Fiscal Year 2015 agriculture appropriations bill; committee summary:
  • House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee reports out FY 2015  $20.9 B USDA-FDA spending bill without any amendments (also see:
  • House passes 2015 defense spending bill that includes several controversial energy and environmental (climate) riders (see list of amendments here:
  • Louisiana’s 2013 4th quarter state tax revenue was 15.2 % below its peak in 2008 with implications for state budget (but North Dakota revenues are up 119.4 percent and Illinois is doing well, too)
Events -  Information on all past and future events listed here can be viewed in the on-line calendar (here as a stand-alone calendar)
  • Lower Arkansas River Basin stakeholders to meet May 29 to find ways to manage high selenium levels, Arkansas Valley Research Center, 6 PM
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
Other news-
  • POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT: National Wildlife Federation hiring Water Resources Manager for both Water Protection Network and Mississippi River Network (Washington, DC)
  • POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT: Bluestem Communications seeks full-time Program Manager to manage the Mississippi River program (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Reclaimed land given back to rivers; meanders cut back into flood plains, as part of Netherlands back-to-nature approach
  • The Environmental Protection Agency is rushing to roll out new regulations before the end of President Obama’s term
  • EPA inspectors tally environmental threats at Eleven Point River, Coastal Energy Corp. facility in southern Missouri
  • New study explores boating access in the U.S., examining the current and future needs (full report can be accessed here:
  • Six Aquatic Adventures to Help Beat the St. Louis Heat This Summer
Politics and People-
  • This Tuesday's Mississippi River Basin state primary election results (Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania)
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wins Kentucky GOP primary and must now face Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes
  • Conservative group Heritage Action will punish lawmakers on its annual scorecard if they vote in favor of an $8.2 billion water infrastructure bill
Last Word 
The Americas, as published in "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum"
in 1570 (click to enlarge)
"Theatrum Orbis Terrarum" (Theatre of the World), which was the world's first atlas, published on May 22, 1570 by Abraham Ortelius in Antwerp with 70 maps.

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