Friday, January 23, 2015

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News

~Most of the Water News - None of the Spin~

USGS Releases Report on Water Quality in Principal United States Aquifers
On Wednesday, the United States Geological Survey's National Water-Quality Assessment Program released a summary of findings from its ongoing evaluation of water quality in the principal aquifers of the United States.  Entitled "Water Quality in Principal Aquifers of the United States," the compendium summarizes groundwater quality trends based upon regional- and national-scale assessments between 1991 and 2010, and includes several notable findings for aquifers supplying irrigation water and drinking water within the Mississippi River Basin.  To see more regarding the report and its River Basin-specific findings, see here.

Noteworthy @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
  • February 4 Senate Environment and Public Works Committee joint hearing is scheduled with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on "Impacts of the Proposed Waters of the United States Rule on State and Local Governments" (hearing web page:
  • EPA faced with analyzing nearly 800,000 public comments as it finalizes waters of the United States rule early this year
  • Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) plan to reintroduce bill to limit U.S. EPA's permit veto power under Clean Water Act
  • USDA Secretary Vilsack: ‘holistic’ conservation approach to curbing fertilizer runoff will work quicker than litigation
  • Des Moines utility’s water contamination lawsuit plans may have broad ramifications for state and U.S. farmers
  • Iowa agriculture secretary thinks ripple effects of potential Des Moines Water Works lawsuit would extend far beyond farmers
  • Watershed Management Authority to develop plan to clean up Walnut Creek: tributary of the Raccoon River (Iowa)
  • Traces of a major (50,000-gallon) oil spill along the Yellowstone River detected in public water supplies and
  • Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials attempt to gather baseline data on effects of Yellowstone River oil spill
  • Montana Governor declares state of emergency after Yellowstone River oil spill
  • Montana city gets OK to drink water after 40,000-gallon oil spill into Yellowstone River
  • West Virginia company, Lexycon, cited for similar spill containment environmental violations as Freedom Industries
  • Report: West Virginia drinking water sources at risk of contamination from more than 20,000 aboveground storage tanks
  • Online interactive site outlines history that lead up to West Virginia spill and water crisis of 2014
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency seeks comments on Sauk River Watershed restoration and protection report
  • Nearly three million gallons of saltwater generated by oil drilling have leaked from North Dakota pipeline
  • Unknown chemical sheen in Ohio River possibly from a leaking barge
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon will fight plan to deliver Missouri River water to western Kansas through an aqueduct
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Agriculture -
  • Two maps reveal how U.S. agriculture actually works: lucrative food crops per state and food vs. animal feed crops per state
  • House Agriculture Committee sets its agenda for 2015 in organizational meeting
  • An EPA farm advisory committee met this week to discuss soil health, and soil impact on air and water quality and
  • Growing farm-to-table movement has yet to provide Louisiana farmers with the financial backing they’d like
  • U.S. farmland values are in a downward correction mode
  • Iowa Farmers Union wants U.S. Department of Agriculture to increase penalties for careless pesticide applicators
  • Dwight Koops, president of Kansas-based Crop Quest: Five Agriculture Trends Worth Watching
  • USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service releases its Congressional District Rankings from the 2012 Census
Climate and Weather -
  • New climate change study: rising temperatures could sharply reduce Midwest agriculture production and reshape U.S. agriculture industry
  • US drought update: dryness continues in central OK, southern and eastern KS, into MO; moderate drought expands in southwestern TN, northeast AR, and  adjacent MO
  • NOAA and NASA: 2014 Earth's warmest year on record for both land, ocean surface
  • Risk of an El Nino event in the coming months drops after indicators ease
  • Senate votes 98-1 that “climate change is real and is not a hoax” (Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker (R) voted “no”)
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Genetic testing confirms two larval (endangered) pallid sturgeon found in Missouri River near St. Louis, heartening researchers
  • Asian carp DNA detected in the Chicago River not a huge worry for Illinois Department of Natural Resources officials
In the Cities -
  • EPA launches center to help communities improve wastewater, drinking water and stormwater systems
  • Urban Institute interactive tool maps population change out to 2030 down to local "commuting zones"
  • Iowa Public Radio: "Exploring Mississippi River Towns"
In the States-
  • Minnesota Governor Dayton to propose bill requiring state waterways be buffered with grass or other cover strips
  • Arkansas bill would authorize establishment and regulation of water quality trading programs (bill:
  • Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission state funding draining away; result of decline in licenses for flotation devices
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • EPA Climate Ready Water Utilities Initiative releases storm surge inundation map
  • Louisiana coastal scientists release findings on best location for additional lower Mississippi River sediment diversions
Resource Development -
  • Nebraska farmers, ranchers sue over constitutionality of state law allowing governor to pick Keystone XL oil pipeline route
  • State Department informs eight agencies they have until Feb. 2 to comment on Keystone XL pipeline and the national interest
  • U.S.  Senate on Tuesday began what is expected to be a weeks-long debate on the Keystone XL pipeline project
  • Senate's marathon Keystone debate ends for the week in anger after midnight early Friday morning
  • Proposed "Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015" would remove corn ethanol from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)
  • Declining northern long-eared bat may put proposed Sandpiper oil pipeline in jeopardy (Minnesota)
  • House approves controversial bill to fast-track federal natural gas pipeline approval despite White House veto threat (bill:
  • Group challenges proposed Forest Service plan prohibiting oil and gas wells atop federal lands in northeast Colorado's Pawnee National Grasslands, seeking stronger protections
Federal Budget -
  • Republicans are weighing a "plan B" on immigration that will provide Homeland Security (and FEMA) funding past Feb. 27
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
  • Farm Foundation Forum: "Tools to Fund Agricultural Research"  Jan. 28, 9:00 AM, Washington, DC
  • Webinar: "Green Infrastructure and Flood Resiliency-Land Use Management as an Adaptation Strategy in the Built Environment" January 29, noon ET
  • EPA Webcast: Lessons Learned from Ten Years of Watershed Assessment in USDA’s Conservation Effects Assessment Project, Feb. 5, 1 PM ET
  • American Water Resources Association Climate Change Adaptation Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, June 15-17
  • Floatzilla 2015 - August 15; Davenport, Iowa (Quad Cities area) on the Mississippi River
  • Webinar: Integrating Oceans into the Landscape Conservation Cooperative Network; Elsa Haubold (USFWS); Feb. 12, 1 PM ET
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
Other news-
  • Job announcement: The Nature Conservancy’s Missouri Chapter seeks a “Watershed Restoration Specialist”
  • Job: Tennessee TNC Chapter seeks to hire Program Director for its new Tennessee-Cumberland Rivers Program
  • National Great Rivers Research and Education Center has 21 internship openings for this summer (Alton, Illinois)
  • Congressional Republicans hope that seldom-used Congressional Review Act can help in attack on federal regulations
  • Center for American Progress: The Government Should Begin to Measure America’s Powerful Outdoor Economy
  • Citing nuclear proliferation, climate change, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists sets doomsday clock to three minutes to midnight
  • GOP reintroduces controversial REINS Act to block major rules from the Obama administration
Politics and People-
  • Former Kentucky senator and Democratic whip, Wendell Ford, died early Thursday
  • New Senate Appropriations energy and environmental subcommittee chairs named for 114th Congress, including Senators Moran of Kansas (Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration); Alexander of Tennessee (Energy and Water Development)
  • House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Peterson names 19 Democrats to serve on Committee for the 114th Congress
  • Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) new Ranking Member of the Appropriations subcommittee on Interior and Environment (other Democratic subcommittee assignments also listed)
Your Moment of Zen -
Photograph: Sandra Bartocha/Guardian 2010 Wildlife Photographer of the Year

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