By Todd Spangler – Detroit Free Press – February 16, 2015
President Barack Obama's budget includes millions of dollars to defend the Great Lakes against Asian carp, including funds to finish a long-standing third electric barrier near Chicago and to monitor the spread of the voracious species across the upper Midwest. But more than a year after the release of an exhaustive report on additional, potentially more effective options to help ensure Asian carp in the Mississippi River basin stay out of the Great Lakes, environmentalists are voicing concerns that little funding is being aimed at any of those proposals. For full story, click here.
By Darryl Fears – The Washington Post – February 12, 2015 – Video
The long and severe drought in the U.S. Southwest pales in comparison with what’s coming: a “megadrought” that will grip that region and the central Plains later this century and probably stay there for decades, a new study says. Thirty-five years from now, if the current pace of climate change continues unabated, those areas of the country will experience a weather shift that will linger for as long as three decades, according to the study, released Thursday. Researchers from NASA and Cornell and Columbia universities warned of major water shortages and conditions that dry out vegetation, which can lead to monster wildfires in southern Arizona and parts of California. For full story and to view video, click here.
By Kathy M. Foster – Foster Folly News – February 9, 2015
Following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, NRCS invested nearly $40 million in an effort to create about 470,000 acres of alternative habitat for birds heading South for winter. But what do these dollars and acres mean? NRCS swiftly launched the Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to enable farmers to create and enhance habitat for migratory birds, providing an alternative to habitat in impacted coastal ecosystems. NRCS invested $40 million in the initiative, which led to conservation practices implemented on more than 470,000 acres in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas. For full story, click here.
Council on Environmental Quality – January 30, 2015
The Executive Order signed on January 30, 2015, directs federal agencies to adopt new flood elevation standards for the siting, design, and construction of federal projects. These standards will protect federal assets and improve the Nation's resilience to current and future flood risk. They are expected to lead to financial saving over the long term by reducing federal disaster assistance spending following extreme weather events. The Executive Order gives agencies options for establishing the flood elevation and hazard area used in siting, design, and construction, allowing flexibility, while adhering to best practices. It advocates using a climate-informed science approach and the implementation of natural systems, ecosystem processes, and nature-based approaches to aid decision making. For more information, click here.
By Chris Adams – The Olympian – February 4, 2015
In a year the Republican-controlled Congress is expected to take a significant whack at President Barack Obama’s environmental agenda, GOP lawmakers on Wednesday told top environmental officials they should scrap what was once a fairly obscure proposal to define what is and isn’t considered a body of water by federal law. In an unusual joint hearing involving the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Republican majority that now controls both houses of Congress showed it is intent on trying to derail the president’s environmental agenda in his last two years in office. For full story, click here.