Friday, February 6, 2015

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News

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

2016 Budget Plan and Mississippi River Basin Water Resources
On February 2, the Obama Administration's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the President's fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget plan.  Here, you can find an overview of some of the budget plan's significant
provisions as they relate to the Mississippi River Basin, noting key line items for the U.S. EPA, USDA, Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Interior, NOAA and FEMA. Links are also provided to each agency's budget summary and to the respective OMB budget appendix sections relating to the highlighted Federal agencies, where much more detail can be found.

What's Next
The release of the Obama administration's budget proposal precipitated a series of House and Senate hearings on the plan, and may ultimately result in a series of spending bills (ideally passed before the end of September 2015), which allocate funds for the next fiscal year across the agencies of the Federal government. In this overview of the Federal appropriations process we take a look at what might happen in the upcoming months, should the so-called "regular order" of appropriations lawmaking be followed.

In the short-term, there are several River Basin-related budget hearings scheduled for next week, as well as a few other, more directly Basin-centric, Hill activities. They are all summarized (and updated "on-the-fly") in "Capitol Hill Next Week - What to Watch For."

If you'd like to skip all of the details, and cut right to the chase, see this one-paragraph River Basin news' summary: "What We Learned This Week - 'That'll do, pig.'"

Noteworthy @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
  • Study: Major voluntary strategies used to curb Midwest farm fertilizer runoff that feeds the annual low oxygen Gulf of Mexico "Dead Zone" don't remove enough nutrients
  • Lawmakers, and EPA and Army Corps officials go back-and-forth on details and scope of proposed clean water rule at joint committee hearing
  • Congressional lawmakers tell EPA Administrator McCarthy that many states still seek clarification on proposed clean water rule
  • Tennessee federal judge rules in favor of environmental groups over Obama administration in
    Source: NPR
    case of fish species threatened by mining-related pollution
  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial: Contaminant-laden runoff from farms is one of the largest remaining challenges for Wisconsin waterways
  • Blacktail Creek spill is largest wastewater spill since North Dakota oil boom began nearly 10 years ago, and state's spill problem is getting worse
  • NPR Morning Edition: "Here's How To End Iowa's Great Nitrate Fight"
  • USEPA report: Getting to Green: Paying for Green Infrastructure, Finance  Options and Resources for Local Decision-Makers
  • House Energy and Commerce subcommittee advances bill requiring EPA to develop a plan for addressing algal toxins
  • Railroad officials: unclear how much ethanol made its way into the Mississippi River following eastern Iowa train derailment
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • White House issues Executive Order establishing flood risk reduction standards; provides public comment opportunities (related article below)
  • Obama Executive Order: Federal construction projects must plan for flood risks from climate change
  • Center for Neighborhood Technology: ‘RainReady Nation’ - tools to "build resiliency in our communities"
  • Minnesota farmers adapt with drainage systems to big rains, but water draining from fields can cause downstream problems
  • New York Times: Barges Sit for Hours Behind Locks That May Take Decades to Replace
Agriculture -
  • Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) introduce bill to cap crop insurance premium subsidies; S. 345:
  • U.S. cattle herd expanded in 2014 for the first time in eight years, reversing drought-fueled decline
  • U.S. pork production is expected to surpass beef production this year for first time since 1952
  • Federal Reserve Bank analysis: Government payments (both direct subsidies and crop insurance indemnities) remain an important part of farm sector income
  • Minnesota near the top in recent USDA agricultural crop and livestock production report
  • USDA will soon issue a proposed rule for determining who is “actively engaged” in farming for the purpose of receiving farm bill benefits
  • Farming Goes High Tech But High-Tech Is Increasingly a Liability
Climate and Weather -
  • MPR special report: Climate Change in Minnesota: More heat, more big storms
  • US weekly drought update: Midwest dry conditions largely removed in response to this week's precipitation; drought expands in northeast Oklahoma, Arkansas
  • NOAA Climate Prediction Center monthly drought outlook for February: short and medium-term forecasts favor near or sub-median precipitation in U.S. mid-section
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
Pallid Sturgeon (click to enlarge)
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service releases first annual report to Congress on managing the threat of Asian carp in the Upper Mississippi and Ohio River basins
  • Defenders of Wildlife and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) file lawsuit against Bureau of Reclamation, Army Corps of Engineers, and Fish and Wildlife Service over pallid sturgeon endangerment by Missouri River Basin dams  (Also see the underlying USGS study, below)
  • January USGS study is first to directly link dam-induced changes in sediment transport to reduced oxygen levels and pallid sturgeon survival
  • Environmental groups sue Department of Interior to protect rare Montana, Upper Missouri River basin fish population
  • Senators introduce S. 338, a bill to permanently extend the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which authorizes up to $900 million annually for land acquisition and conservation
  • Center for Food Safety study: Monsanto's signature herbicide has nearly eradicated the monarch butterfly (link to study here:
In the Cities -
  • MPR: As climate changes, cities have to deal with more and bigger rains in Minnesota
  • Sun Prairie, Wis., mayor bitten on the ear by the city's groundhog, "Jimmy," during Tuesday's Groundhog Day ceremony
In the States -
  • Kansas budget fix would avoid cash flow crisis by tapping into various state funds (bill:
  • North Dakota state bill would require elected officials to sign off on reductions of fines against oil and gas companies
  • Ohio Alternative Stormwater Infrastructure Loan Program offers below-market rate loans for the design and construction of green infrastructure
  • Manure runoff debated at Ohio legislature hearing: Farmers urge Ohio House to employ sound science
  • Ohio state senators introduce bill to ramp up state efforts to fight toxic algae, support clean drinking water (link to Ohio bill
  • Minnesota struggles to slow deforestation, protect water, as state loses natural landscapes to farming
  • Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday proposed a new spending plan for Wisconsin that relies on borrowing and spending cuts (also see: Wisconsin Governor's budget proposal would tighten control over DNR, cut science, halt conservation purchases
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • Louisiana coastal officials propose spending $773 million in coastal restoration and hurricane protection for 2015-16 fiscal year
  • New Orleans Times-Picayune editorial: "Don't cut off offshore revenue-sharing, President Obama"
Resource Development-
  • House Republican leadership planning vote next week on Senate’s Keystone XL oil pipeline bill, which amends original House bill
  • Department of Interior issues new rule for the restoration of abandoned non-coal mines, providing communities with an opportunity to reclaim abandoned non-coal mines (including cleaning polluted surface water, among other things)
  • 20 groups getting together in attempt block proposed Bakken oil pipeline’s path across Iowa
Federal Budget-
  • Senate Appropriations Interior and Environment Subcommittee Chair Murkowski hopes to keep EPA riders out of spending bill
  • Obama Administration's Office of Management and Budget releases the President's fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget plan
  • Obama budget proposal seeks to cut crop insurance to offset higher projected direct farm-program subsidies
  • President's proposed 2016 EPA budget is 5.8% greater than current funding; over  8% higher than the last year's request
  • Three weeks before the Department of Homeland Security's funding runs out (includes FEMA), GOP leaders are pointing fingers at each other
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)
  • National Great Rivers Research and Education Center to host weekly seminar series in February (Alton, Illinois)
  • Webinar: Green Infrastructure Planning at Multiple Scales: From Landscape to Site, February 10, noon - 1 PM ET, Penn State Extension
  • National Water Quality Monitoring Council Webinar Series: "The Water Quality Portal" 
  • (USGS presentation) February 18, 2 pm ET
  • 2nd Colorado Water Summit, Marriott Denver South, March 3-5
  • Minnesota Erosion Control Association Conference: March 10-12, Duluth Convention Center
  • Association of State Wetland Manager’s Annual State/Tribal/Federal Coordination Meeting; March 24-26, Shepherdstown, WV
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia -
  • Gulf Restoration Network January 30 GulfWaves e-newsletter
  • Western Pennsylvania Conservancy February e-newsletter
  • NW PAssages February 2015 e-newsletter covering NW Pennsylvania's Nature, Heritage and Recreation
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Feedlot Update - February 4
  • The Wetlands Initiative's February "World of Wetlands" e-newsletter
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's February "River Connections," including an update on big river TMDLS
  • National Great Rivers Research and Education Center February 2015 E-News
  • February 4 Green Lands Blue Waters Update, re: Continuous Living Cover on Mississippi River Basin agricultural land
  • Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy's February 4 TUWaterWays e-newsletter
  • Montana Watershed Coordination Council's February 5 Watershed News
Other News-
  • GOP says new "sue and settle" bill would prevent EPA from developing regulations behind closed doors with special interest groups
  • House passes H.R. 50, Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act; requires agencies to determine how legislative changes to existing federal programs might shift costs to state, local and tribal governments
  • House passes H.R. 527, Regulatory Flexibility Act, 260-163, bill requires federal agencies to assess the indirect, in addition to the direct, costs of rules (news article:
  • American Water accepting applications for 2015 Environmental Grant Program; 13 states including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia
  • Rethinking How America Buys Infrastructure: A public-private paradigm
  • Sens. Cornyn (R-Texas) and Leahy (D-Vt.) introduce "FOIA Improvement Act of 2015" (Freedom of Information Act)
  • Job: Friends of the Mississippi River (Twin Cities area, Minnesota) seeks to fill an Ecologist's position
  • Coke is coming out with premium milk; will have more protein and less sugar, and cost double the price of regular milk
  • New Senate bill package would boost hunting, fishing and target shooting opportunities on public lands
  • Senate Judiciary Committee approves bill to make a number of changes to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (bill link:
Politics and People-
  • House Oversight Committee chairman plans to take on what he sees as EPA overregulation, mismanagement
  • Senate Environment and Public Works Chair names full Republican rosters for each of four EPW subcommittees
  • March 7, inaugural Iowa Ag Summit promises to be politically steeped
Your Moment of Zen -

No comments:

Post a Comment