Friday, July 25, 2014

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Minnesota DNR Contractor Catches Two Asian Carp Upstream of Previous Sightings  
Mississippi River Lock and Dam System
(click to enlarge)
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) contractors netted two adult non-native Asian carp, one a bighead carp and the other a silver carp, in Pool 2 of the Mississippi River in the Cottage Grove, Minnesota area on July 17. Because of the ability of Asian carp and many other non-native fish to compete with and displace native species, invasive fish are a significant threat to native biodiversity and the economy in the Mississippi River watershed. Pool 2 is formed upstream of the Army Corps of Engineers Lock and Dam 2 at Mississippi River mile 815.2 near Hastings, Minnesota.  For more details on the sighting, see this MN DNR press release and our related overview.

This Week, Next Week and Beyond
The U.S. House is scheduled to be in session just 16 more days until the November mid-term election: four more this month, no days in August, ten days in September and two days in October.  This link leads to a listing of the U.S. House and Senate activities currently scheduled for next week's four legislative days that relate to Mississippi River Basin water resources.  That activity is unlikely to include any meaningful action on spending bills.  Some time during September, the House will likely vote on a stop-gap measure to prevent a federal government shutdown on October 1, deferring most of the big spending decisions until after the midterms.  Here is a link to the abridged, one-paragraph version of the past week.

Noteworthy @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
  • 2014 Gulf of Mexico dead zone smaller than usual, measuring about 2,600 square miles and bearing out predictions
  • Association of State Wetland Managers: "Clean Water Act Jurisdiction, Polluters and Clean Water"
  • West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection cites mountaintop-removal mine over runoff threat to nearby stream
  • Grasslands conversion to farmland may increase water pollution in Southeastern Minnesota
  • USEPA awards over $11 million to Oklahoma to assist communities in improving water quality and infrastructure
  • USDA delays roll-out of new water quality best management practices on National Forest System lands (proposed rule open for 30 days additional public comment)
  • A new poll finds support in the business community for the EPA’s proposed “Waters of the United States” rule.
  • Legislation streamlining regulation of wastewater discharges from ships passes Senate Committee press release: bill: story:
  • Federal judge finds Alpha Natural Resources subsidiary liable for discharging selenium-polluted water at West Virginia mine
  • Local officials tell House committee they want more flexibility on wastewater mandates
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) pressures Federal Emergency Management Agency to finish updating U.S.  flood maps by 2017
  • Western Kansas will be forced to adjust to the reality of a shrinking Ogallala aquifer
  • USDA to provide $262 million for rehabilitation assistance for 150 dams in 26 states (list of projects by state:
  • Minneapolis' "golden age of river traffic" never arrived (and follow-up article:
  • Federal regulators give two Nebraska utilities more time to evaluate Missouri River flooding hazards at nuclear power plants
  • Resources for the Future discussion Paper: Floodplain Conservation as a Flood Mitigation Strategy (PDF file)
  • Metropolitan Council (Twin Cities) outlines options for augmenting White Bear Lake with Mississippi River water
Falling corn prices are raising fears
that many U.S. farmers will
suffer their first losses in years
Agriculture -
Climate and Weather -
  • July 22 US drought update: Widespread precipitation in River Basin, plus unseasonably cool air, lead to general drought relief
  • NOAA: On heels of May's record, June's average global temperature sets a new record at 61.2F, 1.3F higher than June's 20th Century average
  • NY Times: Mapping the Spread of Drought Across the U.S.; Maps and charts show changing extent of the drought
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
The longear sunfish, Lepomis megalotis, is a freshwater fish
in the sunfish family Centrarchidae
  • Sunfish found in Mississippi River;s Iowa waters likely a rare longear sunfish historically found in now-rare backwaters 
  • NY Times: Conservation effort to protect the sage grouse has put different environmental interests at odds
  • House members request USDA report on cost, feasibility of Lesser Prairie Chicken conservation measures
  • La Crosse, Wis. experienced millions of mayflies from a Mississippi River hatch on Sunday; may have contributed to car crash (and they show up on radar:
  • Two Asian Carp Species Caught by Minnesota DNR Contractor Upstream of Previous Sightings; MN DNR release:
  • Chinese subsidiary aims for big Asian carp catch near Indianola, Mississippi
  • Successful pollinator habitat program in Europe is being launched in the Mississippi Delta
In the Cities -
  • Trout Brook in St. Paul’s North End to see daylight once again as part of Nature Sanctuary and Regional Trail project
  • $1 million FEMA grant to Eddyville, Iowa aimed at protecting city from Des Moines River flooding
  • Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District will receive $756,350 in DOT  funds to construct a new Mississippi River Passenger Ferryboat Terminal in Moline, Illinois
  • GreenStep Cities sprout in Minnesota promoting environmentally sustainable standard operating practices
In the States-
  • Nebraska Natural Resources Commission lays groundwork for projects intended to preserve state's long-term water supply
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency survey says: Minnesotans want clean water for fish
Gulf Coastal Region-
Resource Development -
  • Obama administration plans to raise amount of ethanol, other biofuels that must be blended into U.S. fuel supply (also see:
  • How oil and gas firms gained influence and transformed North Dakota
  • Wisconsin frac sand facility operates two high-capacity wells without permit, faces $52,500 in fines
Federal Budget -
  • House Speaker Boehner (R-Ohio) expects House will consider a stopgap funding bill in September to avoid a government shutdown
  • $34 billion spending bill for energy and water programs for fiscal year 2015 released  by Senate appropriators
Events -  Information on all past and future events listed here can be viewed in the on-line calendar (here as a stand-alone calendar)
  • 2014 National Forum on Contaminants in Fish; September 22-24,  Alexandria, Virginia
  • Public meetings will be held by the Mississippi River Commission in August at various Mississippi River locations
  • Save the date: 18th International Soil Conservation Organization Conference, El Paso, Texas; May 31-June 5, 2015
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
Other news-
  • New rules require additional IDs to enter federal facilities for persons with a driver’s license issued by 12 states, including Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana and Oklahoma in the Mississippi River Basin.
  • Department of Interior designates Mississippi Delta as a National Heritage Area
  • Louisiana and Iowa led all U.S. states in the value of industrial construction projects during 2013
Politics and People-
  • American voters say they really, really hate Congress, unless it's their own representative, that is
  • New Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge manager Sabrina Chandle brings "river-deep" expertise
  • Election of North Dakota's agriculture commissioner is all about oil
  • House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy does not officially become House Majority Leader until August, but for all intents and purposes, he is already
Your Moment of Zen -
It's mating season for the millions of mayflies emerging from the Mississippi River near LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Source: NWS

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