National News

World Stands By As Algae and Dead Zones Ruin Water

By Codi Koacek – Circle of Blue – September 25, 2014

Decades of research and billions of dollars spent to understand the causes of toxic algae blooms and oxygen-starved aquatic dead zones around the world have produced more scientific knowledge but achieved few results to solve two of the most dangerous threats to the world’s oceans and fresh water reserves. In fact, according to a growing body of scientific evidence, the algae blooms and near shore ocean dead zones are growing larger, more numerous and endangering important fisheries and drinking water consumed by millions of people. For full story, click here.

E.P.A. Unveils 2nd Phase of Plan to Reverse Great Lakes Damage

By Michael Wines – The New York Times – September 24, 2014

The federal government issued a new blueprint Wednesday for its efforts to restore the Great Lakes, including plans to clean up 10 contaminated rivers and harbors and step up its attack on poisonous algae blooms that coat parts of three lakes each summer. The program will include a new attempt to buffer the lakes against the effects of climate change. It will require, for example, that new wetlands include plants that can thrive in warmer temperatures. For full story, click here.

Obama to create largest protected marine reserve in Pacific Ocean

By Jullet Ellperin – The Washington Post – September 25, 2014

President Obama will used his legal authority Thursday to create the world’s largest fully protected marine reserve in the central Pacific Ocean, demonstrating his increased willingness to advance a conservation agenda without the need for congressional approval. By broadening the Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument from almost 87,000 square miles to more than 490,000 square miles, Obama has protected more acres of federal land and sea by executive power than any other president in at least 50 years and makes the area off-limits to commercial fishing. For full story, click here.

U.S. Senator Supporting Rigs to Reef Program in Gulf of Mexico

Eco Magazine

U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, recently sent a letter to Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Department of the Interior, requesting that the Department allow a collapsed structure to remain serving as an artificial reef in the Gulf of Mexico. “Decommissioned, idle platforms that develop into artificial reefs are becoming an indispensable resource for aquatic life in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Vitter. “While this particular site has yet to obtain official status as an artificial reef site, the thriving ecosystem that has grown around it is already playing an important role in growing and sustaining our Gulf fisheries. The Administration should back off and allow it to prosper.” For full story, click here.

Establishing requirements to control nonpoint source pollution

By Dr. Melissa McCoy – Global Water Forum – September 9, 2014

The Clean Water Act (CWA) is a federal law of the United States that governs the protection of surface waters from pollution. Enacted in 1972, the CWA was established to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of [U.S.] waters.” At the time of its enactment, two key goals of the CWA were to achieve fishable/swimmable ambient water quality throughout the U.S. by 1983 and to eliminate discharges of pollutants into U.S. waters by 1985. More than forty years later, these goals still have not been met. Nevertheless, the CWA has led to significant improvements in U.S. water quality, and other nations (including, recently, Iraq) have looked to the CWA while drafting environmental legislation. For full story, click here.