Friday, June 13, 2014

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

This Week and Next
This past week saw a massive water resources bill signed into law by President Obama - the Water
June 10 Water Resources Reform and Development Act
Signature Ceremony
Resources Reform and Development Act; a bill authorizing numerous Mississippi River Basin construction and restoration projects, and studies (for a summary of those Basin projects, see here). In addition to that water bill being put to rest, several new water-related bills were introduced during the week (details below) and a rider was attached to House spending bill that would effectively block implementation of an Obama Administration-proposed rule clarifying Clean Water Act jurisdiction; a rule for which the EPA and Army Corps found little support during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on Wednesday. Next week looks to be a fairly busy week legislatively in the U.S. Congress, with the Senate poised to consider a combined package of three 2015 spending bills, and several hearings and meetings on the calendar that relate to the River Basin's water resources. For a one-paragraph summary of the week gone by, you can read "What We Learned This Week - Water Divides; Seersucker Unites." And here is an overview of what to expect next week.

Noteworthy @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Republicans, Administration officials trade differing opinions during Clean Water Act proposal hearing
  • House proposed energy and water spending bill would block Army Corps from working to redefine Clean Water Act jurisdiction
  • EPA and Army Corp’s Clean Water Act jurisdiction rule takes bipartisan beating before House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
  • EPA will extend the comment period for the Proposed Rule on the Definition of Waters of the U.S. for 91 days, until October 20
  • FDA and EPA issue updated draft advice for fish consumption
  • House passes bill "To amend the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research" sending it on to President (news article) and (bill web site)
  • Illinois becomes first state to ban microbeads, the nonbiodegradable plastic particles used in personal care products
  • House Ag Subcommittee to hold June 19 hearing on the applicability of Clean Water Act agricultural exemptions Interpretive Rule
  • Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) introduces "Highway Runoff Management Act," S. 2457 (link to bill:
  • House members introduce bill to limit EPA's power to revoke permits for farmers, miners, others working near a waterway (Here's Rep. Gibb's media release:
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Supreme Court announces that it will hear oral arguments in a long-standing water dispute between Kansas and Nebraska
  • Tuesday President Barack Obama signed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 and
  • Interior Secretary Jewell announces $17.8 million for Western U.S. water projects, including projects in Missouri River Basin
  • Army Corps reports above average May runoff in the Missouri River Basin
  • Water levels worry property owners across Central Minnesota
  • After the Mississippi River levee breach: Three years later, signs of damage remain in Bootheel counties (Missouri)
Agriculture -
  • 35 groups urge House and Senate appropriations leaders to reverse cuts to key farm bill conservation provisions
  • Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoes 10 tax break bills that he said jeopardized the state budget, including measure providing tax breaks for farmers markets  
  • Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality seeks public comment on prohibition on new,
    American agriculture in 1922 (click to enlarge)
    confined hog-feeding operations around Buffalo River
  • Corn production needs to be more sustainable, environmental investor group Ceres says
  • 40 maps, graphs and charts that explain the agriculture-food system in the U.S.  
  • US corn farmers increase pesticide use as they increasingly worry some insects are becoming resistant to genetically modified crops
  • USDA: Over 60 percent of U.S. corn farmers planted Bt (GMO) corn in 2010 in response to threat of highly localized insect infestations
Climate and Weather -
  • Climate Change Creates New Farming Risks
  • Days of "king corn" could be numbered as climate change brings higher temperatures and water shortages to U.S. farmland 
    June 10 Drought Monitor Map
    (click to enlarge)
  • Michigan State University research on climate change and agriculture finds that too much fertilizer may enhance global warming
  • How El NiƱo will change the world's weather in 2014 
  • NOAA drought update: Rains prompt removal or reduction of drought across much of the Midwest and Central Great Plains, moderate drought in Tennessee
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Lead shot used by Upper Midwest hunters getting into bald eagles' digestive tracts, according to a two-year study by the US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Roll Call: “Will President Barack Obama save the honeybees and monarch butterflies?"
  • "Asian carp, from mouth to tail"
  • Wisconsin researchers plan to test biological pesticide that could stop spread of invasive zebra mussels in state
  • Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan have teamed up for a public service campaign to encourage boaters and anglers to avoid spreading aquatic invaders when they travel between states
  • House Republicans want extended public comment period on proposed rule to significantly update Endangered Species Act
  • Oil and gas groups file lawsuits in two federal district courts, launching legal attack on Interior's lesser prairie chicken listing
In the Cities -
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee drinking water gets an 'A,' advocacy group calls for a more stringent standard
  • Vidalia, Louisiana Mayor, others call on Congress to support efforts to better protect Mississippi River (also see below, under "Louisiana Coastal Region")
Louisiana Coastal Region-
  • Group pushes Louisiana coastal restoration at DC meeting, but doesn't mention now banned oil industry lawsuit
  • Louisiana Gov. signs bill to end levee authority lawsuit brought against oil and gas companies for coastal damage
  • Louisiana leaders are in Washington, DC seeking more resources to restore Mississippi River and Louisiana's coastline
  • One of the five Gulf Coast states is blocking release of $627 million that BP has set aside for third phase of early restoration projects
  • Climate change a threat to New Orleans region, environmental groups and elected officials warn
  • Inaction feeds crisis over Mississippi River, Louisiana Delta loss, environmentalists say
Forestry -
  • Cottonwood comeback: Project aims to reforest floodplain along what only free-flowing stretch of Missouri River in North Dakota
  • Disturbances that change forest biogeochemical  inputs may affect how aquatic ecosystems function and deliver services vital to humans
Resource Development -
  • Weizmann Institute of Science researchers develop hybrid enzyme that is fast and efficient in converting plant cellulose into sugars useful as biofuel precursors
  • For Minnesota's pristine wetlands, N.D. oil boom is new threat
  • Federal judge orders Exxon Mobil Corp. to produce documents about Mayflower, Ark. pipeline that ruptured last year
Federal Budget -
  • Further House consideration of fiscal year 2015 Agriculture appropriations bill has been postponed for at least two weeks
  • Before pausing, the House approves drought relief, invasive pest amendments to its fiscal year 2015 agriculture appropriations bill
  • White House threatens to veto House 2015 fiscal year agriculture spending bill
  • Next week full Senate will debate spending ‘minibus’ package funding the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development
  • House Appropriations Committee releases fiscal year 2015 Energy and Water Development spending bill
  • House Appropriations subcommittee moves fiscal 2015 water and energy spending bill to full committee (news article) (committee web site)
Events -  Information on all past and future events listed here can be viewed in the on-line calendar (here as a stand-alone calendar)
  • American Farmland Trust webinar on USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program; June 16 at 11 a.m. EDT register:
  • EPA will host a webcast on explaining and reporting on harmful algal blooms to the public; June 18, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT
  • Webinar: Wetland Landscapes – Techniques for Spatial Definition and Ecological Assessment; June 18, 3:00 p.m. EDT
  • Interstate Water Compacts: Legal and Environmental Challenges - A Free Webinar; June 19, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. ET
  • The 2014 St. Croix RiverFest; July 12-17, Hudson, WI
  • St. Croix River - River Awareness Week; July 12-20
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
  • Basin Alliance for the Lower Mississippi in Minnesota's "BALMM Currents" for June 11
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Industrial Stormwater News: June 2014
  • EPA Climate Change and Water News newsletter for June 6
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Feedlot Update - June 12
  • Latest issue of Aquatic Sciences Center's Aquatic Sciences Chronicle  (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Other news-
Politics and People-
  • Pew Research Center: Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines than at any point in recent history
Last Word -
Syncrude Mildred Lake upgrade refinery
"After seeing it in person, it seems like a really bad idea," photographer and pilot Alex MacLean told HuffPost of the Keystone XL pipeline after flying above the tar sands that will supply oil to the project. MacLean added, "It looks like really organized bad behavior on a large scale, for what the implications are."

No comments:

Post a Comment