Friday, June 6, 2014

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~
This Week and Next
This is what we learned this past week (spoiler alert - the cow did it), and this is what's coming up next week in Congress, when both the House and Senate will be in session during the same week for the first time in awhile.  And below are the top items that we could cull from the past week's news relating to Mississippi River Basin water resource issues.

Noteworthy @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
  • LEAD STORY: Federal judge finds that Alpha Natural Resources subsidiaries impacted regulated waters in West Virginia, damaging aquatic life
  • Reps. Robert Gibbs (R-Ohio), Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) plan to introduce bill next week to limit EPA's permit veto power under Clean Water Act
  • Food and agriculture groups request more time to comment on EPA’s proposed rule on Waters of the United States
  • Cow is suspected of causing spill of natural gas liquids near a tributary of the Little Missouri River, North Dakota
  • High levels of nitrates present in Hastings, Minnesota drinking water and area's groundwater source
  • 2013 Triennial Review of Minnesota's Water Quality Standards is now complete (scroll down in the article)
  • Oil giant BP PLC must pay Clean Water Act fines for the Deepwater Horizon disaster, an appeals court rules
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Long-term water master plan suggests that Lincoln, Nebraska diversify and develop well field near Missouri River
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources seeks public comment on proposed changes to Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area rules
  • Hoge Island residents (near Bismark, ND) reject plan to build $1.6 million Missouri River levee
  • Private investment may be another avenue to wetlands restoration; Wetland foundation pushing for more
Agriculture -
  • Farmers, ranchers and landowners may now sign up for USDA's Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
  • NRCS offers June, online and in person question-and-answer sessions on new Regional Conservation Partnership Program
  • Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative saw both water quality-related environmental challenges and gains in 2013
Climate and Weather -
June National Drought Outlook-NOAA
(click to enlarge)
  • Dangerous 'derecho' storms slam Midwest on Tuesday with high winds, hail, tornadoes
  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee debates impacts of climate, energy prices on farming and forestry
  • NOAA drought update: Dryness emerges in Tennessee; Midwest mostly unchanged; some drought deterioration in Oklahoma
  • NOAA Climate Prediction Center monthly drought outlook for June
  • Op-ed: "The fatal flaw of the EPA and the decline of the honeybee"
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • University of Minnesota research project to combat spread of invasive Asian carp in upper Mississippi River receives funding
  • "Carpe Carp! Can putting invasive species on the menu contain troublesome animals and plants?" 
    The UK's Royal Mail celebrated World
    Environment Day with a stamp series,
    including one representing a Sturgeon
  • Reps Hastings (D-FL), Denham (R-CA) introduce Highways BEE Act:  H.R. 4790 re: vegetative management on rights-of-way
  • Listing of lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species sparks industry to embrace voluntary measures
  • Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback pushes federal government to help pay for costs of protecting the lesser prairie chicken
  • Main cause of the monarch butterfly's decline is the loss of milkweed - its food - in U.S. corn belt breeding grounds
  • Lead shot threatens eagles, two-year study conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says
In the Cities -
  • New Madison, Wisconsin wastewater treatment process designed to reduce runoff of nutrients into lakes and streams
  • Rice Creek Watershed District (MN) seeks approval from New Brighton, St. Anthony and Roseville for flood mitigation and water quality improvement plans
In the States-
  • West Virginia State Supreme Court supports Department of Environmental Protection on less strict water pollution limits for mountaintop mining
  • 2014 Urban Flooding Awareness Act passed Illinois General Assembly on May 28; on its way to Governor to be signed
Louisiana Coastal Region-
  • From New York to New Orleans: America's New Axis of Vulnerability; Louisiana is Poster Child for U.S. sea level rise
  • New York Times Op-Ed (by Russel L. HonorĂ©) : Safeguarding Louisiana’s Coastline
  • LSU researchers predict that a storm surge will swamp Southeastern Louisiana by the end of the century
  • Louisiana House sends bill to Senate that would void lawsuit filed by New Orleans area levee board against 97 oil and gas companies
  • Over legal concerns, Gov. Jindal postpones signing bill designed to block lawsuit seeking compensation from oil and gas companies for Louisiana coastal damages
  • Legal scholars say that damage claims filed by local and state agencies against BP stemming from 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill have merit (also see:
Forestry -
  • Monongahela National Forest designated an “Insect and Disease Area” to streamline efforts to combat insect, disease threats
Resource Development -
  • Citizens group proposes two alternative routes for Enbridge Corp.’s proposed Sandpiper oil pipeline through Minnesota
  • Legislative Auditor: Louisiana's regulation and inspection of oil and gas wells, including 'orphaned' wells, are inadequate
  • Environmental group appeals Consol mining permit near Greene County, Pennsylvania park on basis of undermining, subsiding 14 streams (Ohio River watershed)
Federal Budget -
  • Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Mikulski interested in bundling spending bills together for floor consideration
  • House-approved $51 billion Commerce and Justice spending bill  would cut marine research and climate science programs
  • Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously passes spending bill to fund Commerce Department (including NOAA)
Events -  Information on all past and future events listed here can be viewed in the on-line calendar (here as a stand-alone calendar)
  • Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge "Owl Prowl" 8 PM, June 14, Lost Mount Unit, 3159 Crim Drive
  • The Chicago Water Summit 2014:  Global Lessons from Great Water Cities, July 21 ($170)
  • WEFTEC 2014-Water Environment Federation’s Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference; Sept 27-Oct 1, New Orleans, La.
  • Science for Parks, Parks for Science: The Next Century; 2.5-day Summit at U.C. Berkeley March 25-27, 2015
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
  • St. Croix River Association e-newsletter
  • S.A.P.I.EN.S paper: "A 10-year ecosystem restoration community of practice tracks large-scale restoration trends" (the complete journal issue can be seen here:
  • Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy's June 4 TUWaterWays e-newsletter (PDF file)
  • Bi-weekly Green Lands Blue Waters update, highlighting advance of Continuous Living Cover on Mississippi River Basin agricultural land
  • Montana Watershed Coordination Council's June 5 Watershed News
Other news-
  • New ASCE Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment is soliciting manuscript submissions
  • JOB ANNOUNCEMENT: St. Croix River Association seeks Invasive Species Coordinator to be part of River invasive species team
  • JOB ANNOUNCEMENT: WI DNR Mississippi River Water Quality Specialist Vacancy in La Crosse, WI
  • At 1979 Minnesota oil spill site, scientists discover oil-eating microbes
Politics and People-
  • Army Corps of Engineers Brigadier General John S. Kem appointed to serve on Mississippi River Commission
  • Tuesday Mississippi River Basin states' primary election results:  Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, Montana, South Dakota
  • Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) wins primary, setting up key U.S. Senate battle against Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) in race to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin
  • Heated Mississippi Senate race between Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) will be decided by June 24 runoff
  • Sen. John Walsh (D) and freshman Rep. Steve Daines (R) easily win their respective Montana U.S. Senate primaries
  • Republican nominee in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District will be chosen by party delegates on June 21 after no candidates topped 35 percent on Tuesday
Last Word -
Dame Jane Goodall
''It's when money becomes a god that we see this loss of wisdom.'' - Primatologist Dame Jane Goodall, reflecting on an "older wisdom" that informed decisions based on how they would affect future generations, during an interview in which Goodall accused politicians of having more concern for their immediate political careers than for future generations.

1 comment:

  1. Quote: "Cow is suspected of causing spill of natural gas liquids" - the more complicated our own technical environment gets, the "dumber" the factors that can disrupt it!