Friday, August 14, 2015

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News

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

Noteworthy @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
Waters of the United States
  • 13 states ask federal judge to issue a preliminary injunction against Waters of the U.S. rule before its August 28 implementation date; news stories: and; North Dakota press release:; states' motion:
  • American Farm Bureau Federation says new maps show how Clean Water Act (WOTUS) rule will affect Pennsylvania, Virginia and Montana waterways' regulation
  • EPA: Farm Bureau maps “are highly inaccurate depictions” that  “visually exaggerate the waters covered” by WOTUS rule
Other Water Quality News

  • Minnesota Court of Appeals upholds new water quality standards for rivers; story:
    Source: Wikimapia and ruling:
  • Bipartisan coalition of downstate Illinois state lawmakers wants Interior Department to extend public comment period on new stream protection rule
  • Scientific American: analysis shows that several thousand near-surface fracking wells pose threat to U.S. drinking water supplies
  • Federal judge approves $5 million settlement among Exxon Mobil, Arkansas and the federal government over 2013 Pegasus pipeline crude oil spill
  • Federal judge rules in favor of plaintiffs in case brought against Fola Coal over conductivity pollution from West Virginia mines (ruling:
  • Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals warns of high PCB and mercury in Devil's Swamp Lake and Bayou Baton Rouge biota (along Mississippi River)
  • Draft USDA-FSA environmental assessment: Arkansas hog farm not likely to have significant detrimental impact on Buffalo National River basin; story:; draft report:
  • ORSANCO considers extending mixing zone policy to allow power plants and other industry to exceed Ohio River wastewater mercury standards
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune op-ed: "From runoff to ruin: The undoing of Minnesota's lakes"
  • Targeted changes to agriculture practices in Wisconsin result in significant reduction in surface water phosphorus
  • Allegheny County, Pa., (Pittsburgh metro area) emphasizes 'green' infrastructure in $2 billion antiquated sewer network upgrade
  • Study: blue-green algae pose increasing threat to U.S. drinking, recreational water
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Louisiana state leaders renew calls to fix wetlands outside New Orleans destroyed by Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet shipping channel and
  • Army Corps of Engineers cost-benefit analysis: Replacing aging Chickamauga Lock (Tennessee River) would cost over twice the initial estimate
  • Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) disputes new Army Corps' economic assessment; backs Chickamauga lock project completion
  • Army Corps of Engineers partners with Riverlife to study options to restore degraded Ohio River banks near Pittsburgh
Agriculture -
  • USDA ERS: number of U.S. farmers markets tripled over the past 15 years to 8,476 in 2014
  • Rapidly shifting consumer preferences are causing visible fractures within Minnesota agriculture
  • MinnPost Op-ed: U.S. needs a strong Renewable Fuel Standard
  • Monsanto Co. petitions Agriculture Department to deregulate corn variety that withstands weedkillers dicamba and glufosinate (PDF file of petition)
  • Northeast Arkansas town residents seek to resurrect their school system as a K-12 agriculture academy
  • USDA stuns market watchers by forecasting large corn, soybean harvests; potentially hurting some cash-strapped farmers
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper: Co-managing fresh produce for nature conservation and food safety
Climate and Weather -
  • US drought update: some dry areas of the Midwest and Plains recovered over the past
    Source: NASA
  • NOAA updates their El Niño outlook: it looks like this year’s will be the strongest since 1997-1998
  • Investigating organizations report that FEMA fails to adapt its response programs to predicted and observed climate-induced changes
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Native moth damaging cherry trees, turning large swaths of the Allegheny National Forest brown
  • Pilot program next summer "will put a substantial number" of walleye in Lake Mille Lacs; let Minnesota conservation officials assess the impact
  • Next steps uncertain for Minnesota special legislative Mille Lacs walleye working group
  • South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission removes bald eagle from the state’s threatened species
  • The first comprehensive plan to protect bees and other pollinators in Wisconsin is being developed
  • USDA's APHIS to lead 'nationally coordinated program' to manage feral swine
  • Newly identified tadpole disease found across the globe, threatening already-declining frog populations further
  • Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) supports permanently severing Great Lakes-Mississippi River basin connection in Chicago to hold Asian carp at bay
The Historic New Orleans Collection
In the Cities -
In the States-
  • Op-ed: If Wisconsin is going to kill DNR's Water Division, let's make sure that our water resources don't die with it
  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial: Wisconsin DNR reorganization holds promise, but
    River Basin States in the News This Week
    agency needs more employees
  • In Illinois, separate agency budgets cover half the pay for Gov. Rauner's staff, in a process known as "off-shoring"
  • As the Pennsylvania budget impasse stretches into its second month, Legislature explores to do when reserves are gone
  • Pennsylvania state budget: No deal in sight as Harrisburg goes into dog days of summer
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • Outside of levee-protected New Orleans, efforts have lagged to protect small towns and villages losing land every year to coastal erosion
  • Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council releases Gulf of Mexico restoration projects recommended to receive first round of BP oil spill fine funding under RESTORE act
  • How to save a sinking coast? Hurricane Katrina created a Louisiana laboratory
  • Louisiana Eats: Conservation and conscience on two Gulf Coast farms
Photo: LaCrosse Tribune
Resource Development -
  • State judge rules that West Virginia pipeline planners cannot access private property for surveys without a landowner's permission
  • As a new frac sand mining operation grows around their farm, Wisconsin owners protect it from future development
  • New residential lofts in Minneapolis will be powered mostly by hydropower that once fed historic mill built in 1880s
  • Company about to start strip mining for coal on 741 acres of 18,011-acre Egypt Valley Wildlife Area (eastern Ohio)
  • Washington Post op-ed: Five myths about coal
  • An analysis of the federal pipeline approval process shows a decision on Keystone XL is taking far longer than usual
  • Study: Railroads are more than 4 ½ times riskier than pipelines for moving oil
Federal Budget (You can follow the status of all of the fiscal year 2016 appropriation bills on this web page) -
  • The U.S. is once again coming close to hitting the "ceiling" for overall debt
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
  • Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana meeting; August 19, Baton Rouge, LA
  • Webinar: Wisconsin's Healthy Lakes Initiative Grant Program, August 20, noon - 1 pm CT
  • EPA Board of Scientific Counselors Safe and Sustainable Water Resources BOSC Subcommittee meeting, August 27-28, Cincinnati, OH
  • DOI's Office of Surface Mining announces Schedule of Public Hearings from September 1 through 17 for its proposed Stream Protection Rule (in Denver, Colo.; Lexington, Ky.; St. Louis, Mo.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Big Stone Gap, Va.; and Charleston, W.Va.)
  • Public Listening Session for Water Resources and Climate Change Adaptation Group (via webinar), September 9, 2-4 PM ET
  • National Water Quality Monitoring Council Webinar: "Effective Science Communication with emphasis on visual science communication tools" September 15, 2 pm ET
  • Upper Mississippi River Conference and Student Summit, October 14-16, Davenport, Iowa
  • Convening: "The City Upstream and Down: How integrated water resources management can help cities manage water resources sustainably;" October 28 - 30, Racine, WI (NOTE: convening participation is limited to 25 cities)
  • Wildlife Habitat Council Conservation Conference 2015 - November 11-12, Hilton Baltimore, MD
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
  • Montana Watershed Coordination Council's August 7 Watershed News
  • Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No. 300, August 10, "Wild Miles on the Big River"
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's August 11 Basin Alliance for the Lower Mississippi in Minnesota (BALMM) "Currents"
  • EPA launches new Clean Water State Revolving Fund web site
Photo: Des Moines Register file
Other news-
  • Tulane University opens registration for $1 million Nutrient Reduction Challenge to develop plan to reduce amount of nutrients entering world's waters
  • Here's a 10-point checklist to help you get ready for another Iowa State Fair, including a guide to selfies, how to avoid politicians, and where to find the fabled butter cow
  • Welcome To Cancer Alley: the 85-mile stretch between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, home to more than 150 industrial plants and refineries - an interactive look at the effects of poverty and pollution in Louisiana
  • Report: despite pushing to do so, states are ill-prepared to administer public lands within their boundaries; story: report:
  • The Guardian: "Reading American cities: books about the Twin Cities" - Minneapolis and St Paul have a compelling and distinctive literature
  • The National Geographic Society meets with tourism community representatives over its Mississippi River rebranding initiative
  • Veterans on Mississippi River trip find paddling eases pain of war
Source: Gallup
Politics and People-
  • 14 percent of U.S. adults approve of the way Congress is doing its job, according to a new Gallup survey
  • Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wisconsin) leads New Democrat Coalition seeking autumn movement on often-stymied issues
  • Nashville mayoral race results mean there will be a September 10 runoff between top two finishers: Megan Barry and David Fox
Your Moment of Zen -
Photograph: NPL/Rex Shutterstock

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