Friday, October 10, 2014

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~
This Week and Next
Moline, Illinois, on the Mississippi River
It was a fairly “light” news week that saw extensions (in the Clean Water Act jurisdiction proposed rule comment period), delays (in farm commodity shipments from the Corn Belt) and unusually rampant negativity (in voter opinion and Congressional candidate ads).  There was some good news, though: two U.S. Senators from Mississippi River states are tied atop the list of best cooks for their august chamber.  Next week may not be quite so thin on River Basin news, however, as River advocates, scientists, policy-makers and others will be gathering in Moline, Illinois for two back-to-back events: the Mississippi River Network annual meeting, and the Mississippi River Conference.

If you'd like to see the one-paragraph summary of the week's news, check out "What We Learned This Week - 'Delay of Game'." Otherwise, enjoy all of the postings in bite-sized bits, below.

Noteworthy @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week  

Water Quality -
  • Buried network of drainage tile system pipes on farms can carry away as much phosphorus as surface runoff
  • EPA extends comment period on proposed clean waters jurisdiction rule until November 14
  • Republican attorneys general, governors urge Obama administration to scrap contentious clean water proposal; story: and letter:
  • Owner agrees to pay $7,500 civil penalty to settle alleged Clean Water Act violations at its Iowa dairy operation
  • West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio-based groups have water quality concerns about West Virginia plans to drill beneath Ohio River; story: (letter to WV Governor:
  • West Virginia man pleads guilty to repeatedly faking compliant water quality standards for coal companies
  • Report: Lead from police Chattanooga-Hamilton County firing range may be leaching into Tennessee River
  • Wisconsin’s Trempealeau County shuts down frac sand mine operation that allegedly discharged wastewater into unlined pond
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • It's time for America to talk about the price of water
  • "A Complete Guide to the Future of U.S. Freight Movement" including cargo shipping (i.e.,
    Coon Rapids Dam
    "big ships")
  • Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO): Mississippi River will become more important than it has been in 100 years for food distribution
  • Costs to send Midwest crops by barge to New Orleans export terminals escalate, as shipping fees double over past year
  • Transportation consultant: Mississippi River transportation at capacity; may be next bottleneck for grain shipments
  • Army Corps of Engineers maintaining above average releases at four lower Missouri River dams to prepare for 2015 runoff
  • U.S. Supreme Court hearing next week on Kansas-Nebraska dispute regarding compensation for use of Republican River water
  • $16 million rehabilitation of Mississippi River's Coon Rapids Dam nears completion; designed largely to stop Asian carp
  • Repairs to Zink Dam on the Arkansas River are taking longer than planned and the cost is increasing
  • Oklahoma officials, business leaders: deterioration of McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System threatens commerce
  • Disjuncture between plaintiffs’ arguments and Missouri River hydrological, historical facts will doom property owner lawsuit vs. Army Corps over 2011 flood
Agriculture -
  • Barge and railroad complications in the northern Corn Belt could drop corn prices throughout the Midwest
  • Railroad delays hitting farmers hard in western Minnesota
  • Agriculture interest groups: oil tanker-car safety regs may compound a transportation nightmare for agriculture and other commodities
  • There is growing evidence that pesticides may alter farmers’ mental health
  • Manure from antibiotic-treated farm animals spread onto soil can cause soil bacteria to grow resistant to the drugs
  • Land prices in Missouri increased in the past year at a rate higher than expected (4.6%)
  • Farm ministers: Wealthy countries subsidize their farmers at the expense of developing nations and global security
  • Event celebrates Central State University's (Ohio) new designation as an 1890 Land-Grant Institution under the 2014 Farm Bill
  • U.S. may gather 14.54 billion bushels of corn this year, topping a government forecast of a record 14.395 billion bushels
  • Agriculture industry hopes to use new technologies to gather and analyze large, complex data sets ("Big Data")
  • Big Data: American Farm Bureau Federation develops four educational videos about the agricultural trend of data analysis, tools
  • Factory farm questions crop up in local Missouri elections
Climate and Weather -
  • US weekly drought monitor update: Drought recovery continues across much of Upper Mississippi and Missouri river regions, except in spots; changes for the worse across south-central Oklahoma along Red River
  • Georgetown Climate Center launching online tool analyzing progress on state, regional and local climate adaptation plans
  • EPA releases “Being Prepared for Climate Change: A Workbook for Developing Risk-Based Adaptation Plans”
  • Insurers may soon be able to measure their climate risk with "Actuaries Climate Index" (news story:
  • White House releases plan to preserve the carbon sequestration value of federal lands
  • Weak El NiƱo weather pattern expected to occur in next 1-2 months, last into next spring in the Northern Hemisphere
  • Study finds National Wildlife Refuge System management plans are ahead of peers re: climate change adaptation, but more needs to be done
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Progress Report for National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
    Emerald ash borer
    Published (September 2014)
  • Invasive American bullfrogs spread down the Yellowstone River in Montana as authorities struggle to contain them
  • Op-ed: "What does the research actually say about the economic effects of wilderness designations?"
  • West Virginia biologists restoring Ohio, Kanawha and Elk rivers' mussel populations
  • Invasive emerald ash borer found in Springfield, Logan and Menard counties, Illinois
  • Three Mississippi River Basin locations included in top five "birding hotspots in Wisconsin"
  • Republican Senate committee leaders ask Administration to withdraw proposed rules, draft policy relating to Endangered Species Act critical habitat
  • Scientists: proposed Endangered Species Act critical habitat changes lack scientific merit, would fail to curb cumulative habitat impacts
In the Cities -
  • Keokuk, Iowa City Council finalizing plans for $6 million wastewater treatment plant upgrade along Mississippi River
  • Drought leads to trihalomethane contamination in Duncan, Oklahoma water supply
In the States-
  • Ohio Farmers Union plans to seek changes in water quality and agriculture-related bill pending in state Legislature
  • Op-ed by State Sen. Rob Hogg, Cedar Rapids: Governor "Terry Branstad has Iowa on a pollution course"
  • North Dakota constitutional amendment ballot measure that would create state conservation fund has drawn strong support and opposition
  • As Colorado prepares its first statewide water plan, some interest groups struggle to make their voices heard
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • Union of Concerned Scientists: sea-level-rise-driven tidal flooding set to dramatically increase in U.S. East, Gulf Coast
  • Why Americans are flocking to their sinking shores even as the risks mount (second in a series of Reuters articles examines the phenomenon of rising seas, and its effects on the United States) (Here is part one:
  • Amidst rising water and sinking land, people in southern Louisiana are sitting
  • $627M in Gulf Coast restoration projects (for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill) receive final approval
  • U.S. EPA awards $2.5 million to Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana to improve coastal wetlands in Louisiana
  • Interior Department Inspector General questions $14.2 million spent by Louisiana, parish governments on coastal restoration
  • Inspector General: USEPA office misspent over $780,000 tagged for Louisiana coastal wetland improvements
  • NY Times Magazine: A quixotic historian tries to hold oil and gas companies responsible for Louisiana’s disappearing coast
  • Louisiana judge rules that new law meant to terminate levee board wetland loss lawsuit against oil and gas companies doesn't apply to the suit
  • Louisiana Oil and Gas Assn. argues that state law blocking wetlands damage suit is constitutional
Resource Development -
  • USDA announces $91 million loan guarantee to help finance an innovative advanced biofuel plant in Rapides Parish, Louisiana
  • Sustainable Bioenergy, Farms, and Forests' issue coverage leading up to Administration’s final announcement on 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard
  • La Salle County okays Illinois River sand-shipping barge terminal lease over concerns of property owners; clears way for slurry line
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)
  • University of Illinois sedimentary geologist organizes colloquium series on "The Future of Big Rivers: Form, Flux, Ecology and Management" (October 2014 - April 2015)
  • "There's No Plate Like Home: Food, Health and the Power of the 100-mile Plate" St. Louis, MO Oct. 11
  • Webinar: Climate Change and National Security, October 16, 2-4 PM ET
  • Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference, Duluth, Minn., October 20-22; seeks to strengthen region’s ability to manage invasive species
  • EPA Watershed Academy Webcast: “Climate Resilience: What to Expect, How to Prepare, What You Can Learn from Others;" Oct. 29, 1-3 PM ET
  • National Academies' Water Science and Technology Board meeting on Affordability of National Flood Insurance Program Premiums; Nov. 3-4, Washington, DC
  • Arbor Day Foundation 2014 Partners in Community Forestry Conference, November 5-6, Charlotte, NC
  • RFF and AAAS event: Nobel Laureate Mario Molina to speak about how U.S. should prepare for climate change risks, November 12, 4 PM ET (webcast and in person)
  • Missouri Coalition for the Environment 45th Anniversary Gala; November 21, 6:30-9 PM, St. Louis, MO
  • River Rally 2015, Santa Ana Pueblo, NM, May 1-4, 2015
  • 14th National Watershed Conference and National Watershed Program Partner Summit, Ft. Worth, Texas, May 17-20, 2015
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
  • Montana Watershed Coordination Council's October 2 Watershed News
  • Lower Mississippi River Dispatch, No 259, October 9: "Maps: You Are Here – Now Get Lost!"
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's BALMM Currents (Basin Alliance for the Lower Mississippi in Minnesota), October 9
  • Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy's October 8 "TUWaterWays" e-newsletter
Other news-
  • In Minnesota, wildlife experts campaign for copper bullets
  • Company to abandon 144 miles of rail corridor, and give it to Missouri Department of Natural Resources for trail development
  • The Nature Conservancy’s Missouri Chapter seeks to fill a “Watershed Restoration Specialist” position
  • EPA launches broad collaborative of external stakeholders to advance green infrastructure implementation
Politics and People-
  • The oil and gas industry, longtime supporter of Senate Energy Committee Chair Mary Landrieu (D-La.), reconsiders its political alliances 
  • EPA veteran Stan Meiburg comes out of retirement to become agency's acting Deputy Administrator; story: and video announcement:
  • Wesleyan Media Project: Senate race negative ads far outweighing positive, and at higher rate than in recent elections. Dem ads more negative than GOP
  • As of today, early in-person mid-term election voting is already underway in the Mississippi River Basin states of Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio and Indiana
  • Electoral confusion abounds for voters in Wisconsin and Ohio, as last minute court decisions change procedures
  • What staffers really think of their Hill bosses: the results of The Washingtonian's 15th biennial survey
Your Moment of Zen -
Monarch butterflies (Photo by Frans Lanting/Gallery Stock)

No comments:

Post a Comment