Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News - Holiday Mid-Week Edition

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

Noteworthy @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week  

Water Quality -
  • Water quality monitoring buoy with near-real-time data collection capability placed in
    Photo credit: NGRREC/Ted Kratschmer
    Mississippi River near Alton, Illinois
  • House Republicans ask EPA if agency weighed impact of the proposed “waters of the United States" rule on farmers and ranchers
  • MPR News: New project is designed to improve the way arsenic is measured in Minnesota's private wells
  • Reps. Alex Mooney (R-WV) and Bill Johnson (R-OH) introduce bill to block Interior Department proposal to protect waterways from coal mining (story:
  • Stearns County settles with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency over alleged Sauk River polluted stormwater impacts
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Washington Post: Rise in government flood insurance rates to mirror rising waters and flood insurance debt
  • Federal funding tight for water infrastructure projects, including Lewis and Clark Regional Water System (Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota)
  • Bureau of Reclamation announces FY2016 budget for rural water projects across Montana, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota
  • Army Corps of Engineers will spend more than $7 million this year to dredge 10 Mississippi River ports in four states
  • Tugboat pushing 21 barges up the Mississippi River strikes bridge pylons, causing the barges to break loose
  • NWS forecasts minor Mississippi River flooding on Wednesday in Baton Rouge and upriver
Agriculture -
  • Democratic senators ask Senate Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee leaders to preserve farm bill conservation funding
  • USDA to make $332 million in financial and technical assistance available through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program; applications received through May 15
  • Analysts suggest that the UN's Sustainable Development Goals ignore threats associated with nitrogen and phosphorus overuse
  • Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) suggests he may introduce legislation to reverse what he calls cover crop disincentives
  • Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation farmers discuss policy agenda with lawmakers in Washington D.C.
  • Ohio Farm Bureau promoting fertilizer certification training as part of $1 million Water Quality Action Plan and
  • President urges Congress to double funding to confront the danger of antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • Analysts predict farmers will plant record soybean acreage this spring for a second consecutive year while cutting corn plantings for the third in a row
  • Sorghum helping Plains' farmers weather sinking corn, soybean and wheat prices
  • Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), US Forest Service Chief and ranchers discuss Dakota Prairie Grasslands region conservation and grazing issues; story: and Hoeven press release:
  • After peaking two years ago, Iowa farmland values have tumbled about 15 percent
  • Environmental Protection Agency confirms it will require a weed resistance management plan for glyphosate, key ingredient in the herbicide Roundup
Click to enlarge
Climate and Weather -
  • US weekly drought update (to be released April 2):
  • NOAA Climate Prediction Center monthly drought outlook for April: northern and central Great Plains drought development is anticipated, especially in Nebraska and South Dakota
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • 26 Kentucky elk arrive in Wisconsin for reintroduction program 
  • Herd of around two dozen bison could be grazing on restored Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie grassland (Illinois) as soon as this fall
In the Cities -
  • Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas developing long-term plan to separate sewer
    Photo credit: WQAD
    network under agreement with EPA
  • Extension of 2026 deadline for mitigating overflowing sewer system unlikely for Pittsburgh metro region municipalities
  • Iowa Secretary of Agriculture announces nine Urban Conservation Water Quality Initiative Demonstration Projects in Ames, Calmar, Cedar Falls, Des Moines, Granger, Storm Lake, Webster City, West Des Moines and (three in) Calhoun County
  • Hampton, Illinois' "Stop pooping on the bike path" sign on the Mississippi Riverside trail is intended for humans
  • Construction begins on 1.6-mile, $2 million trail along the Arkansas River in  Fort Smith, Arkansas
  • Hickman, Mississippi officials push for improvements to Mississippi River port
  • City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County given consent order extension to explore benefits of green infrastructure to reduce stormwater entering sewer systems
  • Residents voice concerns over planned development's impact on green space along Illinois River, criticize lack of city of Peoria vision
  • Minneapolis park officials consider allowing construction of corporate building on leased Mississippi Riverside land and adjacent park
In the States-
  • Freedom Industries, West Virginia sign 2014 Elk River spill site cleanup agreement
    States in the news this week
  • Republican state lawmakers in Minnesota block an attempt to debate an oil train safety bill
  • Minnesota state bill modified to include provisions to protect water quality and study farmer incentives after concerns were expressed that it would harm state water resources (link to bill:
  • Arkansas House of Representatives passes S.B. 341, prohibiting agriculture disaster payments from being considered income (bill: story:
  • Tennessee bill would take back regulatory authority over state's coal industry from Federal government (link to bill:
  • North Dakota may sue federal government over new rules regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal lands in the state
  • South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks opens two five-year Black Hills fisheries management plans (for streams and reservoirs) for public comment
  • Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority sends $884 million 2015-2016 budget for levee and restoration projects to state Legislature
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • National Wildlife Federation: BP spill aftermath continues to impact, threaten Gulf wildlife (NWF report link:
  • The Guardian: BP says Gulf of Mexico is making a rapid recovery but evidence mounts that wildlife still struggles
  • Cat Island nearly gone; BP oil mat and tar balls still visible on East Grand Terre Island
Resource Development -
  • Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition raises concerns about natural gas drilling beneath Ohio River
  • Largest U.S. boating advocacy group has thrown its support behind Senate bill removing corn-ethanol mandate (link to bill:
  • Congressional Budget Office releases slides from  “Issues Regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard” presentation by CBO analyst
Federal Budget -
  • House and Senate Republicans begin the task of reconciling their differing budget resolutions (for the policy geeks among us, here is a primer on the U.S. Congressional budget resolution process
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)
  • NOAA Interagency Working Group on the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia webinars (Southeast/Gulf of Mexico/Mid-Atlantic)-April 2) (Inland Waters/Great Lakes-April 22)
  • 4th Annual Riverbend Earth Day Festival; Godfrey, IL,  April 18, 12-6 pm
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
  • Montana Watershed Coordination Council March 27 Watershed News
  • Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No. 282, March 30; Grasshopper’s Jumping Journal: Atchafalaya River Expedition
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Watershed Connections March e-newsletter
Other news-
  • Farmer silences Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation committee hearing with invitation to drink water tainted by fracking
  • National Park Service launches major national campaign to attract a new visitors; raise funds backlogged maintenance
  • Kansas City Star editorial: Pick up the pace on Rock Island Trail across Missouri
  • Minnesota River Valley National Scenic Byway announces the launching of its new updated website (story:
Politics and People-
  • Reps. Tammy Duckworth, Bill Foster, Robin Kelly and Cheri Bustos all consider entering 2016 Illinois Senate race (also see: Tammy Duckworth announces Illinois senate bid - -  After Duckworth entered the race, Illinois Democrat Bustos subsequently said that she won't run for Senate 
  • Raja Krishnamoorthi (D), former Illinois deputy treasurer, launches bid to succeed Rep. Tammy Duckworth in Illinois’ 8th District
  • Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility seeks greater protection for USDA scientists
Your Moment of Zen -
Photograph: Fred van Wijk/Alamy

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