Friday, May 1, 2015

What We Learned This Week - "Make Way For Ducklings"

A new Minnesota Pollution Control Agency report reaffirmed  what the Agency already knew - that agricultural and urban runoff contribute significant to the pollution of state waterways. Forty-five environmental and conservation groups lined up against "dirty water" provisions added to a state spending bill. The Des Moines Water Works switched its water supply to avoid having to remove high levels of surface water nitrate.  A whistleblower alleged that Leavenworth, Kansas defrauded the federal government over flood payments, and illegally dumped sewage into a Missouri River tributary. The Senate teed up a new bill blocking the Administration's "Waters of the U.S." rule; while the House kicked a related bill into next month.  The Army Corps of Engineers granted a permit for construction of a controversial second railroad track through a La Crosse River marsh. Three million gallons of raw sewage flowed into the Kansas River at Topeka following a pump station power outage and backup generator failure.  A duck call ringtone on a firefighter's phone helped to rescue six ducklings from a Slidell, Louisiana storm drain.  Two-thirds of U.S. undeveloped hydropower potential is concentrated mostly on the Ohio, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas rivers. Fragmentation and dewatering are transforming Great Plains stream fish communities in a not-too-good way. Conservatives are among the most politically active Americans.  An Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission administrator urged people to still care about the Illinois River.  Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is both more broad-minded and remains skeptical about climate change.   Rep. Betty McCollum's "Turkey, Sweet Potato, and Wild Rice" recipe won the Annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish competition.   On a Monopoly board, the Ohio and Illinois spaces would each be worth over eight times either North or South Dakota.  And last but not least, South Dakota’s new ad campaign really is "Why die on Mars, when you can live in South Dakota?"  Really.

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