Friday, October 3, 2014

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~
This Week and Next
Sunset in Louisville,
This week saw an eclectic mix of Mississippi River Basin stakeholders come together along the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky to discuss shared Mississippi River Basin goals, strategies and commitments at America's Watershed Initiative Summit.  There was quite a bit of lively discourse, so look for some potentially-interesting outgrowth from that gathering in the months ahead, including a Report Card on the health of the Basin and its subwatersheds.  Elsewhere, there was quite a bit of back and forth of  the political and scientific variety last week concerning the Obama Administration's proposed rule seeking to clarify the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act - lively discourse as well, though perhaps not as productive as that happening in Louisville.  With the proposed rule comment period soon to close, we can expect next week to see more of the same. The halls of Congress will be quiet again next week, as its members continue to politic back home in hopes of returning to Washington in 2015. You can read our concise summary of all of this and more in "What We Learned This Week - 'Nor any drop to drink'" and can see all of the best bits we could otherwise gather, below.

Noteworthy @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
"Waters of the U.S." Proposed Rule
  • EPA Science Advisory Board declares that the Army Corps-EPA controversial clean water proposal is supported by science 
  • USEPA Administrator McCarthy: Toledo water contamination was symptomatic of two larger water quality problems: nutrient pollution and toxic algae; proposed clean water act rule will help; speech text:, news article:
  • EPA releases new video on the Obama Administration's Clean Water jurisdiction proposal
  • Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy says administration should withdraw proposed Clean Water Act rule and convene a Small Business Advocacy Review panel; SBA letter: (news article:
  • 63 business groups urge federal regulators to withdraw proposed rule redefining waters of the United States
  • Iowa Governor Branstad speaks out against proposed Obama administration clean water rule
Other Water Quality News

  • EPA plans to issue drinking water health advisories for cyanobacteria - culprits in harmful algal blooms - by May 2015
  • Groups representing many Minnesota cities threaten to sue state Pollution Control Agency over new water-quality rules
  • Environmental groups decide to drop appeal of a much-watched court decision relating to
    Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation 
    stormwater runoff from CAFOs
  • EPA Inspector General report: hundreds of unmonitored hazardous chemicals pass through U.S. wastewater treatment plants into receiving water bodies
  • Despite phase-out, persistent chemical formerly used in Scotchgard contaminates most fish in U.S. rivers, Great Lakes
  • Perchloroethylene in U.S. Census Bureau's well-water (Jeffersonville, Indiana) increases well above USEPA recommended limit
  • Pennyslvania DEP admits to Marcellus Shale groundwater contamination drilling probe errors in Ohio River basin
  • Federal judge upholds U.S. EPA's 2011 retroactive Clean Water Act permit veto of West Virginia mountaintop mine
  • New Upper Mississippi River buoy to house water quality and weather monitoring equipment in Navigation Pool 8
Rate of Ogallala Aquifer decline
(click to enlarge)
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.)
  • West Virginia oil and gas company pleads guilty to Clean Water Act criminal charges for wetland and stream destruction
  • Barge industry says inland waterways system is a flood, drought or mechanical breakdown away from disaster after years of neglect
  • Sen. Landrieu, Louisiana port officials push White House to support money for maritime projects in the state
  • Teams selected to design self-sustaining Lower Mississippi River Delta solutions to reduce land loss, improve navigation, strengthen resilience
  • Ogallala aquifer water continues to pour onto farm fields despite decades of dire forecasts
  • Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District awards nearly $12 million contract to restore Mississippi River Pool 9 habitat
  • Army Corps of Engineers evaluates sediment flushing at Gavins Point Dam in support of the Missouri River Recovery Program
  • Army Corps of Engineers begins Initial Watershed Assessment for Scioto River Basin (Ohio) to define water resources related issues, opportunities
  • New report: Without significant changes, existing water systems will soon no longer be able to provide essential services
  • USEPA: Flood Resilience: A Basic Guide For Water and Wastewater Utilities
  • Obama administration will participate next week in Supreme Court oral arguments in long-running Kansas-Nebraska water dispute
Agriculture -
  • Tumbling soy and corn prices could push some farmers into the red and some out of farming altogether
  • USDA Awards Over $52 Million in Grants to Grow Organic and Local Food Economies
  • Los Angeles Times editorial board: nation must stop overusing herbicides and genetically modified crops in escalating superweed war
  • Food and Drug Administration: The amount of antibiotics sold for use in livestock rose substantially in recent years
  • Saratoga Town Board approves groundwater monitoring well network around a proposed large-scale dairy (Wisconsin)
Climate and Weather -
U.S. Drought Monitor-Midwest
for September 30 (click to enlarge)
  • US drought update: dryness expanded in spots throughout the basin (Missouri, Ohio, West Virginia, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Kentucky), while rains kept things generally wet elsewhere
  • NWS Precipitation Forecast for next 7 days: Upper Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio River basins will see a lot of rain
  • NOAA Climate Prediction Center monthly drought outlook for October: most of central and southern Great Plains likely to see persistence/intensification of drought conditions
  • Protecting the U.S. from climate change is a growing priority at the Department of Homeland Security
  • U.S. emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide have risen 6% in the last two years
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Minnesota DNR seeks federal approval to use potash to kill Christmas Lake zebra mussels
  • Super weed confirmed in South Dakota for first time, raising concerns it could spread into the Upper Midwest
  • Fish and Wildlife Service announces $900,000 in grants to encourage ranchers, livestock farmers to avoid killing Western and Midwestern wolves
  • University of Minnesota researcher has become one of the country's leading champions for bees
  • 60 U.S. House Democrats urge EPA to restrict 'bee-killing'  neonicotinoid chemicals
  • Louisiana farmers, state and federal officials, look to manage growing populations of feral hogs
  • Alligator spotted in Minnesota - then shot and killed
In the Cities -
  • New Orleans' Green Infrastructure Partnership designed to find better ways to use water, improve water quality, stop sewer system overflows (also see article, below)
  • New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board dedicating $500,000 a year for next five years to invest in green infrastructure
In the States-
  • Draft Montana State water plan open for public comment; meetings coming up in Dillon, Drummond
  • North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple proposes $80 million for parks and conservation projects in his 2015-2017 budget
  • Nearly $2 million in state funding will go to enhance park and recreation offerings in three eastern Iowa counties
  • Proposed Pennsylvania bill would eliminate riparian buffer requirements for new, large-scale development in high quality or exceptional value watersheds (also see this blog article on PA bill
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • Department of Homeland Security's inspector general report says Louisiana has been slow to implement disaster mitigation projects
Resource Development -
  • Wisconsin's burgeoning frac sand mining industry is poised for more growth into up to two dozen additional counties
Events - Events -  Information on all past and future events listed here each week can be viewed in the on-line calendar, located above and to the right (and here as a stand-alone calendar)
  • EESI Briefing: Cellulosic Ethanol: A Technology Update, October 6, 3 - 4:30 pm, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC
  • Climate trends and impact webinar: Exploring Snowfall in the United States, October 9, 12:00 - 1:00 ET
  • Seminar: Unnatural Disasters: How Law Hurts, How Law Helps, October 9, 4 PM CT, University of Minnesota; details:
  • Reminder-still time to register:  2014 Mississippi River Conference, October 15-17, Moline, Illinois
  • Mississippi River Watershed Education Symposium, Nov. 14-15, Lewis and Clark Community College, Godfrey, Illinois
  • StormCon North American Water Quality Conference call for papers (Austin, Texas, August 2 - 6, 2015) deadline Nov. 19
  • Save the dates: Leadership for Midwestern Watersheds meeting, January 21-22,  DeKalb, IL - "Beginning RCPP Projects"
  • Society for Ecological Restoration 6th World Conference on Ecological Restoration; Manchester, UK, August 23-27, 2015
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
  • The Nature Conservancy's September Great Rivers E-news
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's River Connections for September 2014
  • You can find the link to the latest Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy "TUWaterWays" reports here: (the September 30 issue isn't posted yet, however)
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Feedlot Update - Oct. 2
Other news-
  • Latest National Geographic "Greendex survey" - U.S. ranks last overall in environmental attitudes and habits, contrasting sharply with the attitude in large developing economies
  • From @RiverLifeUMN: New Stories, New Images for the Mississippi River
Politics and People-
  • Interior Secretary Jewell names three officials to temporarily lead the department's budget, science and water programs
  • In a 5-4 decision, U.S. Supreme Court delays start of early voting in Ohio just a day before it would have begun
  • State court: Kansas Democrats won’t be forced to field a candidate in the state’s pivotal U.S. Senate race
  • Safe Republican House district candidates drifting further right; a move likely to increase divisions in already-polarized Congress
  • AP-GfK-poll - Just 7 percent of likely voters approve of the way Congress is handling its job
Your Moment of Zen -
A photograph from the European Space Agency shows an illustration of the supermassive black hole located in the middle of the very dense galaxy M60-UCD1, which lies about 50 million light years away.  Photograph: ESA/AFP

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