Friday, June 20, 2014

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~
This Week and Next
Here is the link to a one-paragraph summary of what we learned this past week; a week in which an algal bloom research bill passed Congress, but also one when partisanship, a veto threat and specious amendments stalled an already moribund Federal appropriations process (also see below, under "Federal Budget").  And here a link to next week's Mississippi River Basin-related Congressional schedule, one packed relatively full with hearings and bill mark-ups, including a bill to "prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible," and a hearing on “new Federal schemes to soak up water authority."  (It's not that we're counting, but there are 136 days until the U.S. mid-term elections, and only about 32 of those days will be active legislative days on the House calendar).

Noteworthy @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
  • LEAD STORY: House Ag Committee members challenge USDA role in proposed Clean Water Act rule as Senators draft bill to block it
  • LEAD STORY: Senate Republicans introduce bill to block EPA's proposed clarification of the Clean Water Act jurisdiction (bill link:
  • LEAD STORY: USDA finds little support for Clean Water Act agricultural practices interpretive rule on either side of the aisle
  • House Agriculture Subcommittee Examines Impact of EPA Water Rule on Agricultural Producers (Committee release and links to testimony)
  • Senate unanimously passes legislation to study and combat algae blooms, sends it to President for signature
  • EPA's April 7 webinar on the Waters of the U.S. proposed rule has been posted online
  • MPR News: Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program rewards farmers who keep pollutants from waterways
  • New USGS report on elevated surface water dissolved solids concentrations; dominant sources contributing to high TDS (see related webinar under "Events")
  • House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.): EPA Waters of the United States rule will “drown” farmers in regulations
  • Los Angeles Times editorial board calls proposed "Waters of the U.S." Clean Water Act jurisdiction rule "sensible"
  • New study identifies five Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota metro lakes in need of restoration or protection
  • Cities like Des Moines often send nitrate downstream after removing it from drinking water through treatment
  • WildEarth Guardians lawsuit charges Western Sugar with polluting the South Platte River
  • Missouri Attorney General files suit against Tyson Foods over state costs, natural resource damages from fish kill (also see:
  • Blue-Green Algae Blooms Appearing in Southern Wisconsin Lakes, Will Continue Northward
  • Harmful algal blooms making "comeback" in Kentucky waters
  • Spring 2014 Hypoxia Task Force Public Meeting website has been updated with presentations from the meeting
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Interested parties can access community-specific FEMA Preliminary Flood Hazard Data at this site:
  • Minnesota River keeps on rising; expected to crest at 27.5 feet by next Monday in Jordan
  • Army Corps reduces releases from Gavins Point Dam following heavy rain across parts of the Missouri River Basin
  • Department of Energy report: Problems with water scarcity and uncertainty are becoming more prominent
Agriculture -
  • USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service: Agricultural Land Values Final Estimates 2009-13
  • Weekly USDA Column: Local Markets, Local Growth focuses on work to boost local food economies
  • World Resources Institute's second and third papers in  3-part series on better targeting of U.S. farm conservation funds (Related webinar on Thursday, June 26,  noon to 1:30 pm EDT
  • USDA Natural Resource Conservation to begin accepting applications to re-enroll in the Conservation Stewardship Program on July 11
  • Application for nearly 2,500-head hog confinement feeding operation in Iowa stirs up opposition
  • Senate Agriculture Committee hosts hearing showcasing homegrown biobased products and companies that make them
  • EPA likely will not issue final 2014 Renewable Fuels Standard volume requirements this week as the agency had planned
Climate and Weather -
  • NOAA National Drought Summary: Great Plains conditions unchanged; significant Midwest drought  improvement, although long-term precipitation deficits linger in west-central Iowa
  • EPA officially publishes Obama administration's climate rule in Federal Register, kicking off 120-day comment period
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • American burying beetles in Missouri may be "digging" their way off the endangered species list
  • An adult male of the fish-eating Ancylometes genus
  • Environmental groups file lawsuit challenging Interior Department listing of lesser prairie chicken as "threatened" instead of "endangered"
  • Western Illinois University faculty researching ways to mitigate Asian carp in the upper Mississippi River basin
  • Wisconsin DNR expects that Upper Mississippi River habitat restoration project will wrap up by September
  • Fish-eating spiders reported worldwide (except Antarctica), including hatchery rearing ponds in Oklahoma and Tennessee (direct link to journal article:
In the Cities -
Louisiana Coastal Region-
  • Louisiana: one of the fastest disappearing land masses on earth: "a landscape and a way of life on  borrowed time"
  • Op-ed: Louisiana shrimp season threatened by dead zone fueled by US ethanol policy
  • Here's a "drone's eye view" of New Orleans, Louisiana (go here for interactive worldwide drone video map:
  • Scientists to release 4 torpedo-like, remote-controlled gliders into northern Gulf of Mexico to measure oxygen levels
Federal Budget -
  • Senate deadlocks over  three-bill appropriations package (including USDA and NOAA funding) after Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) insists that amendments clear a 60-vote threshold
  • Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development advances Army Corps' FY 2015 spending bill - includes  $5.134 billion: increase of $601 million above President's budget request (subsequently, the full Committee markup scheduled for Thursday was cancelled)
  • Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski delays action on key water and energy appropriations bill in the face of partisanship
  • White House veto threat led Senate Democratic appropriators to put energy-water spending bill on hold
  • House Appropriations Committee passes $34 billion spending bill for Army Corps of Engineers, Dept of Energy, other agencies
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: Analyzing the Water-Energy Nexus: Case Studies that Examine Connection; June 30, 2-3:30 PM EDT
  • USGS Webinar: Human Actions Increase Salt Content in many of the Nation's Streams; July 22, 1-2:30 PM EDT register:
  • 2014 Water Education Summit: Think Globally - Act Locally; September 8-10, Asheville, NC
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
Other news-
  • Scroll down this eleven-foot, 1866 Mississippi River map:
  • In U.S. and Canada, trains hauling crude oil from production hot spots like North Dakota’s Bakken region are spilling in record numbers
  • Newly published global Nielsen data indicate that significant percentage of consumers care about company social responsibility
  • America’s Waterway Blog: "Imagining the Internet & the Mississippi River"
Politics and People-
  • Over a nine-day House Whip race, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.-1) cashed in on years of network building to win leadership position and
  • Six Republicans will face off next Tuesday after struggling to break through in primary race for open Oklahoma 5th District U.S. House seat
  • Businessperson Zach Dasher (R) announces he will run for Louisiana’s 5th District U.S. House seat
  • Congressional job approval at 16%, on pace to be lowest in midterm election year since Gallup first measured in 1974
  • Control of U.S. Senate might not be decided until a Saturday three weeks before Christmas - in Louisiana runoff vote
  • GOP candidates for Iowa’s 3rd U.S. House District scramble for 513 delegates who vote Saturday for party’s nominee
Last Word -
Photo (circa 1920) of a Mountaineer: Courtesy Kenneth
King West Virginia and Regional History Collection
"Montani semper liberi" (Mountaineers are always free) - the West Virginia state motto.  On June 20 in 1863 West Virginia (the "Mountain State") became the 35th state in the United States.

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