Friday, August 15, 2014

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~

Noteworthy @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week  

Water Quality -
  • Environmental groups expand scope of lawsuit against USEPA re: its approval of new Kentucky water quality standards
  • USEPA pursuing criminal investigation into a chemical spill at a Missouri poultry-processing plant in May
  • “Common Sense Nebraska” coalition protests Obama Administration's proposed rule clarifying Clean Water Act jurisdiction
  • People line up in Oklahoma on both sides of "Waters of the U.S." proposed rule debate
  • Texas to USEPA: if you promulgate Waters of the United States rule we will have "no choice but to challenge the rule in federal court" article: (letter:
  • Scientific American: harmful algal blooms are becoming more common, affect all 50 states, and are fed by agriculture
  • Blue-green algae that hit Toledo often found in Wisconsin lakes; prompted WI DNR warning earlier this summer
  • University of Kentucky media release: "Algal Blooms Pose Danger to Livestock"
  • USGS finds insecticide in Iowa waters; linked to bee declines in other studies (related USGS July news release here:
  • 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denies coal mining company request to reconsider Clean Water Act permit shield ruling
  • 580 gallons of oil spill into Mississippi River Tuesday after two ships and barge collide at port near New Orleans
  • Arkansas Department of Health warns of mercury in Lake Ouachita fish
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Barge shipping traffic resumes as Upper Mississippi River emergency dredging by Army Corps ends; dredging details:
  • Under terms of a Plaquemines Parish-Army Corps agreement, lower Mississippi River dredge materials can be used for marsh creation
  • Groundbreaking held for $260 million hydroelectric plant at Des Moines River dam near Knoxville, Iowa (project web site:
  • Carnegie Energy and Climate Program report: Underestimating Oil and Water Challenges in the Northern Great Plains
  • Johnson County, Iowa officials call for new Coralville Lake Army Corps' management study in wake of another summer of Iowa River flooding
  • Army Corps of Engineers agrees to extend comment period for planned Ohio River fracking waste off-loading barge facility
  • North Dakota becomes sixth state whose residents have joined in a lawsuit against Army Corps of Engineers over Missouri River flood damage
Agriculture -
  • Minnesota potato fields offer look at how the nation's largest grower is rethinking the way it uses
  • NY Times: The dirty secret of the food movement is that the much-celebrated small-scale farmer isn't making a living
  • Corn-fed ethanol plant in south-central Nebraska, idle since 2012, reopens thanks to improved market
  • Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) thinks we've failed at bridging the gap between production agriculture and consumption
  • It's Iowa State Fair week, which means butter sculptures galore! (oh . . . and politicians
  • Farmers await government decisions on new herbicide version and on genetically modified crops designed to resist it
  • Farmland values in Iowa and other parts of the Corn Belt have likely plateaued
Climate and Weather -
Regional Drought Update: Midwest
(click to enlarge)
  • US drought update: new areas of dryness and moderate drought in western Kentucky and northwestern Tennessee; new areas of dryness in central Indiana; Plains drought improved significantly
  • Dry summer conditions in many parts of Kentucky diminish crop production for some farmers after bumper 2013 yields
  • NPR: Extreme weather patterns in Iowa are making it more difficult to produce corn - farmers learning to adapt
  • Climate change means that North Dakota conditions are now better for raising corn than wheat; a big benefit for farmers
  • NOAA National Climatic Data Center graph depicting precipitation required to end current drought in one month
  • What is the hottest temperature you've seen this summer? - Over 1,000 farmer respond (map)
  • Regional Guides Developed for Teaching the 2014 National Climate Assessment
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth (or "carelessweed") has devastated Southern cotton farms and is poised to wreak havoc in the Midwest
In the Cities -
  • Tulsa's Arkansas River Infrastructure Task Force proposes endowment for Arkansas River dams' maintenance
  • Springfield, Illinois project will capture rainwater runoff and use it elsewhere
In the States-
  • Ohio farm and environmental groups say new state law that will certify fertilizer use doesn’t go far or fast enough
  • Montana completes rulemaking for new nitrogen and phosphorus water quality standards
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • Gulf coastal oyster harvest has nose-dived since 2010 BP spill
  • Treasury Dept to publish rule (August 15) on how Gulf Coast states can spend civil fines from 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill (pre-publication text:
Resource Development -
  • Stanford University research: Energy companies fracking for oil and gas at far shallower depths than widely believed
  • West Virginia Mine Board holds first public hearing focused on mine located near Kanawha State Forest
Federal Budget -
  • Senate Appropriations Chair plans one last effort to push an omnibus spending bill once Congress returns from recess
Events -  Information on all past and future events listed here can be viewed in the on-line calendar (here as a stand-alone calendar)
  • Missouri 340 endurance kayakers and canoeists paddle down Missouri River across the state
    Missouri 340 event paddlers on Missouri River
  • USDA webinar: Conservation Compliance for Specialty Crop Producers; August 19, 2 PM EDT
  • Basin Alliance for the Lower Mississippi in Minnesota ("BALMM") to meet August 20 in Oronoco
  • Wetland Mapping Consortium webinar: Surface Waters and Wetlands Inventory: A More Comprehensive Dataset of the Nation’s Water Resources August 20, 3 PM EDT
  • U.S. EPA informational webinar: recent amendments to the Clean Water State Revolving Fund; August 21 from 2-4 p.m. EDT
  • Details on Army Corps listening sessions on Water Resources Reform and Development Act implementation (three yet to be held: August 27, September 10 and 24)
  • Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's 2014 Clean Water Summit; September 11; Chaska, MN
  • Mississippi Minute Film Festival solicits 60-second videos of Twin Cities' Mississippi River for October 20 event
  • 2014 Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference will be held in Duluth, Minnesota on October 20-22
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's August 8, Basin Alliance for the Lower Mississippi in Minnesota "Currents"
  • Bi-weekly Green Lands-Blue Waters Update, highlighting Mississippi River Basin continuous living cover on agricultural land
  • Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy's August 12 TUWaterWays e-newsletter
  • Pennsylvania Environmental Council's August 2014 "Forum" e-newsletter
  • Montana Watershed Coordination Council Watershed News for August 14
Other news-
  • Government Accountability Office report finds fault with EPA’s analyses of the costs and benefits of its regulations (related article:
  • Job: WV DEP seeks Environmental Resources Specialist to help coordinate stream and wetland restoration/mitigation
  • U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) is using August recess to tour Wisconsin’s "freshwater coasts"
  • Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) is using August recess to discuss importance of the Mississippi River and Obama administration's "executive overreach"
  • Bike-trail project to connect Minnesota and Wisconsin
  • Water pays: Fishing license sales set another record in North Dakota following wet year
Politics and People-
  • Journalism, scientific advocacy groups: USEPA is blocking its science advisers from speaking freely to the public, press
  • Rep. Scott DesJarlais now up by 37 votes in Tennessee U.S. House GOP primary, but vote likely won't be decided until sometime next week
  • Wisconsin’s 6th District GOP U.S. House primary now "too close to call"
  • Tom Emmer decisively wins GOP primary for Minnesota’s open 6th District; likely to succeed retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann
  • Complete Wisconsin and Minnesota  primary election results from Tuesday
  • Large U.S. cities tend toward the liberal side of political spectrum, even when they’re within conservative states
  • New, free website includes voting history, campaign finance data, other contact information for members of Congress, staff
  • Americans' dismal evaluations of Congress continue, with 13% approving and 83% disapproving in an August Gallup poll
Your Moment of Zen -
A herd of bison grazes in Lamar Valley in Yellowstone national park, Wyoming. Photograph: Jim Urquhart/Reuters

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