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Wetland Breaking News

Wetland Breaking News: September 2014 

                 
 
IN THIS ISSUE:

EDITOR'S NOTE

EDITOR'S CHOICE

NATIONAL NEWS

STATE NEWS

WETLAND SCIENCE

RESOURCES &  
PUBLICATIONS

POTPOURRI

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

INDEX

Wetland Breaking News - July 2014

To view past issues of Wetland Breaking News on our website, please click here.

Visit ASWM online to read weekly news updates between issues.

Please send comments and news stories to news@aswm.org.

Thank you for your continued interest.

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EDITOR'S NOTE

Hello fellow Wetlanders!  

Fall has arrived in Maine with its cool, crisp nights and upper 60 degree days. Perfect weather for hiking and being outdoors.  I have found myself craving soup, roasts, root vegetables and apple pie. I am a foodie through and through – each season brings with it a plethora of favorite recipes that make me smile and look forward to the changing elements. And I will say, no one does fall quite like New England. 

Did you know that every year there is a Pumpkinfest & Regatta in Damariscotta, Maine over Columbus Day weekend where folks actually build their own pumpkin boats out of the biggest pumpkins you have ever seen and race them down the Damariscotta River? Other events include: an official pumpkin weigh-off; giant pumpkin deployment; pumpkin hurl/pumpkin catapult; pumpkinfest parade; pumpkin derby; and of course, a pumpkin dessert and pie eating contest.  

And then there is the foliage – simply mesmerizing to see all the combinations of colors that you’ll find in a New England wetland in the fall. Critters are coming and going in preparation for winter – migrating, fattening up and/or building winter nests. I, too, find myself thinking about what I need to do to prepare for the long winter here. In fact, as eluded to earlier, I also find myself fattening up, making travel plans and finding better ways to winterize my home. With all that humans have invented and produced over hundreds of years, we’re still not that different than our wetland critter friends.  

Happy fall everyone!  

Marla J. Stelk 
ASWM, Policy Analyst

 

 

 

     
                 

EDITOR'S CHOICE

House Votes to Block EPA Water Rules 

By Matthey Daly – ABC News – September 9, 2014
The Republican-controlled House on Tuesday approved a bill to block the Obama administration from implementing a rule that asserts regulatory authority over many of the nation's streams and wetlands — an action that critics call a classic Washington overreach. The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a rule that it says will clarify which streams and waterways are shielded from development under the Clean Water Act, an issue that remains in dispute even after two U.S. Supreme Court rulings. For full story, click here. 

White House threatens to veto bill to kill EPA water rule 

By Timothy Cama The Hill September 8, 2014
The Obama administration issued a veto threat Monday for a bill that would block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from moving forward on a rule to redefine its jurisdiction over streams and ponds. Citing the need to protect waterways from pollution and the rule’s scientific grounding, the White House said it “strongly opposes” the bill and advisers would recommend that President Obama veto it if it reaches his desk. For full story, click here.  

Trans Energy Inc. to Restore Streams and Wetland Damaged By Natural Gas Extraction Activities in West Virginia/ Company will also pay $3 million civil penalty to resolve alleged Clean Water Act violations 

Contact: Jennifer Colaizzi – EPA News Release – September 2, 2014
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) today announced a settlement with Trans Energy Inc., requiring the oil and gas company to restore portions of streams and wetlands at 15 sites in West Virginia polluted by the company’s unauthorized discharge of dredge or fill material. Trans Energy will pay a penalty of $3 million to be divided equally between the federal government and WVDEP. The Clean Water Act requires a company to obtain a permit from EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prior to discharging dredge or fill material into wetlands, rivers, streams, and other waters of the United States. For full news release, click here

After Toledo Water Scare, States Ask EPA for Help 

By John Seewer – The Big Story – AP – September, 2014
Algae that turned Lake Erie green and produced toxins that fouled the tap water for 400,000 people in the Toledo area are becoming a big headache for those who keep drinking water safe even far beyond the Great Lakes. But with no federal standards on safe levels for drinking algae-tainted water and no guidelines for treating or testing it either, water quality engineers sometimes look for solutions the same way school kids do their homework. For full story, click here

ASWM Members’ Webinar 

September 24, 2014 – 3:00 pm easter

Ecosystem Service Valuation for Wetland Restoration: What it is, How to do it and Best Practice Recommendations - Marla Stelk, Policy Analyst, Association of State Wetland Managers

 Abstract: A considerable amount of interest has been building over the years in regard to the potential of “ecosystem service valuation.” However, few natural resource managers understand what it is or how to use it. This webinar will provide information regarding what ecosystem service valuation is, what economic methods can be used to develop monetary and non-monetary estimates for wetland benefits, examples of use, and best practice recommendations. For more information and to register, click here. 

ASWM Webinar: Improving Wetland Restoration Success Project 

October 2, 2014 – 3:00 pm eastern 

History of Wetland Drainage in the U.S. – Tom Biebighauser, Wetland Restoration and Training

Abstract: The main reason so many wetland projects are unsuccessful is that the builder has failed to disable historic drainage structures.  People have been burying rock, wood, brick, clay, concrete, and plastic pipe in the ground to dry wetlands since Europeans began cultivating North America.  This presentation will show you exactly how wetlands were drained and filled, and how you can spot the ghost of a wetland drained over 300-years ago. For more information and to register, click here.

Wetland Mapping Consortium Webinar

October 15, 2014 – 3:00 pm eastern 

Mapping Standards & Requirements – Rusty Griffin, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

For more information and to register, click here. 

 

NATIONAL NEWS

The Crises of Rising Sea Levels  

By Deborah J. Nelson, Ryan McNeil and Duff Wilson Reuters InvestigatesSeptember 17, 2014
Mike Huckabee bought a beachfront lot here in 2009, a year after his failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination. A longtime friend and political ally of the former Arkansas governor bought the lot next door. They planned to build $3 million vacation villas side-by-side, each with a pool and sweeping views of Walton County’s renowned sugary sand beaches and the azure waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The only hitch was that their lots lay on a severely eroding beach. Under state regulations, they couldn’t build on the seaward side of the sand dune nearest to the surf. And after seven hurricanes in six years, the surviving “frontal dune” sat too close to the street to allow space behind it for the friends’ 11,000-square-foot (1,020-square-meter) compounds. For full story, click here

BP’s ‘gross negligence’ caused Gulf oil spill, federal judge rules 

By Steven Mufson – The Washington Post – September 4, 2014 
A federal judge in New Orleans on Thursday ruled that BP’s “gross negligence” and “willful misconduct” had caused the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and that the company’s “reckless” behavior made it subject to fines of as much as $4,300 a barrel under the Clean Water Act. The ruling by District Court Judge Carl Barbier means that the government can impose penalties nearly four times as large as it could if BP were not found guilty of gross negligence.  For full story, click here.

Most Conservation Science Not Available To Conservationists 

Conservation Magazine – September 2, 2014
Does anyone have $51 million lying around? Asking for a friend. Well, a whole lot of friends actually—all the thousands and thousands of people around the world who are actively engaged in some branch of applied conservation science, from saving the whales to reforesting Indonesia. It turns out that $51 million might be enough to get all those conservationists access to the research and science they need to do good work; access many of them currently lack. For full article, click here

Six Reasons to Consider Wetlands for Nitrate Removal 

By Lynn Betts – Farm Futures – September 2, 2014
There was a time when farmers considered natural wetlands to be wasted land, since they couldn’t be farmed. That’s not the case anymore, with all the emphasis on nutrient reduction in water that leaves the farm. In fact, as farmers, conservationists, and concerned groups continue to look for ways to make water cleaner before it leaves the farm, they’re actually creating wetlands where they fit the landscape. For full story, click here 

Corporate farms get blame as key water-pollution culprit 

By Tom Henry – The Blade – August 31, 2014
Perhaps former President Theodore Roosevelt said it best when he addressed a Buffalo audience in 1910, most likely in his trademark fist-pounding, cantankerous style. “Civilized people,” Mr. Roosevelt said, “should be able to dispose of sewage in a better way than by putting it into drinking water.” Hailed by historians as a key ally of naturalist John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club, during the fledgling days of the American conservation movement, Mr. Roosevelt was no doubt using that upstate New York event as his bully pulpit to campaign for better Great Lakes protections. But what has changed in the 104 years since the horse-and-buggy era faded into the sunset, and the Great Lakes region — with its rich soil and Internet-savvy modern farming techniques — became increasingly counted on to grow food for a world of 7.2 billion people that has more than quadrupled in size from the global population of 1.75 billion in 1910? For full story, click here. 

Big wins elusive for EPA in Clean Water Act showdowns 

By Jeremy P. Jacobs – E & E Publishing, LLC – August 27, 2014
For U.S. EPA at the Supreme Court, it's been the best of times -- and the worst. In Clean Air Act cases, EPA is on a roll. The high court last term upheld a major EPA program for air pollution that drifts across state lines. It also barely trimmed a permitting program for greenhouse gases, leaving intact most of EPA's first round of climate regulations. And even when EPA has technically lost, as in the landmark 2007 Massachusetts v. EPA climate case, the justices ruled for the more environmentally protective side -- in that case, that EPA is empowered to regulate greenhouse gases. But it's a different story when the Clean Water Act is in play. The agency hasn't won a case broadening its regulatory authority since 1985. For full story, click here. 

Seeing Purpose and Profit in Algae 

By Matthew L. Wald – The New York Times – August 18, 2014
Entrepreneurs have been trying for years to get something valuable out of algae. It has not been easy, and not just because algae are an unsightly nuisance (and sometimes dangerous, as is the Lake Erie bloom that has endangered drinking water this month). Although algae grow prodigiously and contain potentially useful molecules — especially lipids, which can be turned into high-energy fuel and other products — extracting those molecules has proved complicated and expensive. So far, virtually the only marketable products based on algae have been high-end skin creams. But a Nevada company, Algae Systems, has a pilot plant in Alabama that, it says, can turn a profit making diesel fuel from algae by simultaneously performing three other tasks: making clean water from municipal sewage (which it uses to fertilize the algae), using the carbon-heavy residue as fertilizer and generating valuable credits for advanced biofuels. For full story, click here. 

Gulf Oyster Harvest Has Nose-Dived Since BP Spill 

By Stacey Plaisance – ABC News – August 12, 2014
On this day, Slavich's cage-like net pulls up dozens of empty, lifeless oyster shells. "It's not good," he said, shaking his head as he pushed the shells back into the water. "We've never seen it like this, not out here." Gulf Coast oyster harvests have declined dramatically in the four years since a BP PLC oil well blew wild in the nation's worst offshore oil disaster. Even after a modest rebound last year, thousands of acres of oyster beds where oil from the well washed ashore are producing less than a third of their pre-spill harvest. For full story, click here. 

Oil companies fracking into drinking water sources, new research shows 

By Neela Banerjee – Los Angeles Times – August 12 2014
Energy companies are fracking for oil and gas at far shallower depths than widely believed, sometimes through underground sources of drinking water, according to research released Tuesday by Stanford University scientists. Though researchers cautioned their study of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, employed at two Wyoming geological formations showed no direct evidence of water-supply contamination, their work is certain to roil the public health debate over the risks of the controversial oil and gas production process. For full story, click here. 

Deadly Algae Are Everywhere, Thanks to Agriculture 

By David Biello – Scientific American – August 8, 2014 – Video
The rains come and water the spring shoots of another bounteous Midwestern corn crop in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. The rains also wash phosphorus off farm fields and into creeks, streams and rivers. The waters flow into the shallowest of the Great Lakes—Lake Erie, which is just 18 meters deep on average and far shallower on its western edge. All that phosphorus doesn't just help crops grow. When it reaches the lake it fuels the growth of mats of bright green algae, turning the water the color of pea soup. Such Microcystis cyanobacteria bear poisons, at least 80 different varieties of a toxin dubbed microcystin. And when the shallow waters deliver an algal bloom down to the right water intake pipes, an entire city like Toledo is left without water. For full article, click here. 

Southern Co., partners to award Five Star & Urban Waters Rest. grants 

Market Watch – August 5, 2014
Southern Company, in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), has awarded more than $1.8 million in grants to 53 organizations nationwide – as part of the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration program – to encourage environmental stewardship and community partnerships and protect vital habitats. Funding from Southern Company directly supports 11 projects within the Southern Company system service territory, helping to restore nearly 195 acres and 24,000 square feet of riparian buffer and 3,300 feet of stream bank in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. For full story, click here

EPA Announces 2015 Climate Leadership Awards Applications 

EPA
EPA's Climate Protection Partnerships Division is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) through cost-effective partnerships across the U.S. economy. As part of this commitment, EPA co-sponsors the Climate Leadership Awards (CLA) with three NGO partners: The Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO), the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), and The Climate Registry (The Registry). The Climate Leadership Awards is a national awards program that recognizes and incentivizes exemplary corporate, organizational, and individual leadership in response to climate change. In February 2012, the first-ever awards were presented to one individual and 20 organizations from across the U.S. who are leading the way in the management and reduction of GHG emissions — both in internal operations and throughout the supply chain. Now in its fourth year, the awards continue to honor and highlight leadership in addressing climate change by reducing carbon pollution and implementing adaptation planning initiatives. For more information, click here 

 

STATE NEWS

CA: As water crisis deepens, California finally passes groundwater regulation 

By Erica Gies The Guardian September 3, 2014
Grapevines march across wires strung along rolling hills, their little trunks improbably supporting heavy black fruit. Cindy Steinbeck’s family has been farming this land in central California since 1920. The family grows zinfandel, viognier, cabernet, merlot and petite syrah grapes, and is best known for a blend called The Crash, named after a remarkable incident in 1956, when a B-26 crash-landed 200 yards from the family home. Four of the five Air Force men aboard survived, bailing out in the nearby fields.

Now a new crash threatens, as groundwater levels beneath the vineyards plummet. Amid one of the worst droughts ever recorded ­­– with more than 80% of the state in extreme or exceptional drought – Steinbeck Vineyards’ 520 acres of grapes have been growing well, thanks to the family’s access to up to 2 acre-feet ­– about 652,000 gallons – of groundwater per acre per season. The Steinbecks have been able to tap this subterranean resource at will from the Paso Robles groundwater basin because they own the land above it — and because California, which produces nearly half of US-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables, is the only western state without groundwater regulation. For full story, click here. 

CA: Mountain Forest Changes Threaten Calif. Water Supplies 

By John Upton Climate Central September 1, 2014
Hike high enough up California’s Sierra Nevada and the forest morphs around you. At around 6,000 feet, the dazzling diversity of the lower montane forest, replete with California black oak, ponderosa pine, and incense cedars gives way to more monotonous landscapes of red fir and lodgepole pine. Hike further still and trees eventually disappear altogether, replaced with rocky topographies reminiscent of Mars. As the globe warms, these landscape transformations are occurring at higher altitudes. Temperature gradients over the sierra are shifting uphill, and they appear to be dragging lush, diverse, thirsty forests with them -- up into lands where temperatures had previously been too cold for them to survive. For full story, click here. 

CA: California’s drought: What losing 63 trillion gallons of water looks like 

By Nic Kirkpatrick The Washington Post August 28, 2014 Video
A new study says that California’s drought is so severe it’s causing the ground to rise. Angela Fritz of The Washington Post reported scientists estimate 63 trillion gallons of water have been lost in the past 18 months. What happens when 63 trillion gallons of water disappear? “As it turns out, 63 trillion gallons of water is pretty heavy,” Fritz wrote. ” … That incredible water deficit weighs nearly 240 billion tons, and as it evaporated, the ground began to shift” — in California’s mountains, by as much as half-an-inch. For full story and to view video, click here

CA: CA Allocates Vastly More Water Than Supplies Allow, Study Shows 

By Matt Weiser – The Sacramento Bee – August 19, 2014
The state of California has handed out five times more water rights than nature can deliver, a new study by University of California researcher's shows. California’s total freshwater runoff in an average year is about 70 million acre-feet, according to the study. But the state has handed out junior water rights totalling 370 million acre-feet. One acre-foot is enough to meet the needs of two average households for a year. For full story, click here. 

CA: The prickly pear as California crop 

By Krista Langlois High Country News August 18, 2014
California's San Joaquin Valley might seem like an agricultural paradise. Nearly 90 percent of America's processed tomatoes and 99 percent of our raisins are produced there, in broad fields that tumble from the Sierra Nevada and stretch to the Coast Range. But the valley is also an ancient seabed high in salt, selenium and boron, and for much of the last century, farmers used irrigation to flush those minerals out of their soil and into groundwater or rivers – out of sight, out of mind. For full story, click here

CO: Melting permafrost could worsen water quality in the Rockies 

By Bob Berwyn The Colorado Independent September 5, 2014
We may not yet know exactly how global warming will affect all the complex parts of Rocky Mountain ecosystems, but it’s not for lack of trying. Scientists are prodding the soil counting wildflowers, measuring winds and gauging snowfall nearly every day to unravel the mysteries of the anthroopocene this present-day geological epoch in which humans are having a big impact on the environment. For full story, click here

CO: Volunteers Help Plant Seeds for the Roaring Fork’s Future 

By Collin Szewczyk – Aspen Daily News – August 25, 2014L
ingering rain showers couldn’t dampen the spirits of about three dozen city workers and volunteers who turned out to plant native vegetation for the wetlands project in Rio Grande Park on Saturday morning. Aspen Parks and Recreation Department staff joined forces with Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers (RFOV) and the Roaring Fork Conservancy to place plants, trees and riparian shrubs in the ground for the final manmade wetland in this multi-phase project, which is adjacent to the John Denver Sanctuary. For full story, click here

DE: Wetlands Created in Greenwood for Flood Reduction 

Delaware Online – By Molly Murray – August 25, 2014 – Video
Cart Branch meanders through Greenwood – a lazy trickle of water on a dry summer afternoon – on its path to the Nanticoke River, and then Chesapeake Bay. But in heavy rain, thunderstorms and hurricanes, the branch quickly fills with water drained from the streets and parking lots of the small Sussex County town and then flooding can occur. Earlier this summer state and local officials worked together to create two wetland swales designed to reduce flooding and improve water quality going to Chesapeake Bay. For full story and to view video, click here

FL: Massive 'Florida red tide' is now 90 miles long & 60 miles wide 

By Deborah Netburn – Los Angeles Times Science Now – August 11, 2014
There's massive red tide blooming off the coast of southwestern Florida and it appears to be growing. The red tide is patchy, but researchers say it stretches an amazing 60 miles wide and 90 miles long in the Gulf of Mexico. Just a few weeks ago it was reported to be 50 miles wide and 80 miles long. Even at its new size it's not the most colossal bloom recorded in this part of the world, but it is the biggest since 2005, according to Hayley Rutger, a spokeswoman with Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. For full story, click here

IN: Water Shortages Strike Another State 

By Sara Jerome Water Online August 27, 2014
Water shortages are coming to Indiana unless the state implements policy changes, according to a recent prediction by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Foundation. "Proper management and a long-term plan are needed to ensure adequate fresh water for citizens and businesses in the future," according to the study, released in August. Southern Indiana faces urgent water challenges. For full story, click here

LA: Ruling against BP could mean $18 billion in fines 

By Michael Kunzelman and Janet McConnaughey SF Gate September 5, 2014 Video
BP could be looking at close to $18 billion in additional fines over the nation's worst offshore oil spill after a federal judge ruled Thursday that the company acted with "gross negligence" in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier concluded that the London-based oil giant showed a "conscious disregard of known risks" during the drilling operation and bears most of the responsibility for the blowout that killed 11 rig workers and spewed millions of gallons of oil over three months. For full story and to view video, click here. 

LA: Coal, petroleum coke debris found in Plaquemines marsh restoration projects 

By Mark Schleifstein Nola – The Times Picayume September 2, 2014
Pieces of coal and petroleum coke – some as large as fists – have been found dotting mile-long stretches of elevated marsh platform created by coastal restoration programs that are pumping sediment inland from the Mississippi River into open water near Lake Hermitage and Bayou Dupont on the west bank of Plaquemines Parish. For full story, click here

LA: 9 years after Katrina, New Orleans aims to turn environmental weaknesses into economic strengths 

By Mark Waller Nola – The Times Picayume September 2, 2014
It might have been after Hurricane Sandy delivered havoc to the Northeast in 2012 that the realization came into focus. When other states needed help grappling with disaster aftermath and planning to weather future storms, people in Louisiana got calls. For full story, click here.

LA: Halliburton to pay $1.1 billion to settle gulf oil spill lawsuits 

By Steven Mufson The Washington Post September 2, 2014
Halliburton agreed Tuesday to pay $1.1 billion to settle claims from plaintiffs who contend they were economically harmed by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the 2010 disaster that has spawned a number of expensive and contentious lawsuits. Halliburton has long insisted that the cement job it did to seal BP’s Macondo oil well was not to blame for the blowout and fire that sank the Deepwater Horizon rig and triggered the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Nonetheless, the company had set aside $1.3 billion for possible payments. For full story, click here

LA: Voice of the Wetlands Festival to showcase Louisiana acts 

By Kate Mabry – Houma Today – August 22, 2014
The 11th annual Voice of the Wetlands Festival in October will exclusively feature Louisiana talent. “This year’s theme is all about native Louisiana sounds — zydeco, Cajun, Creole, jazz. All those genres come together and will play on two stages,” festival volunteer Jill Kettles said. Voice of the Wetlands organizers “wanted to celebrate the Louisiana culture, native sounds and the artists who came from them and bring them all together.” The free festival is expected to draw thousands of people from Oct. 10-12 to Southdown Plantation, 1208 Museum Drive, Houma, to enjoy local musicians such as festival founder Tab Benoit, Royal Southern Brotherhood and Chubby Carrier & The Bayou Swamp Band, Kettles said. There also will be food and artwork. For more information on the Festival, click here. 

ME: Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99% of world’s oceans, say scientists 

By Patrick Whittle Central Maine September 3, 2014
Imagine Cape Cod without cod. Maine without lobster. The region’s famous rocky beaches invisible, obscured by constant high waters. It’s already starting to happen. The culprit is the warming seas — and in particular the Gulf of Maine, whose waters are heating up faster than 99 percent of the world’s oceans, scientists say. Long-established species of commercial fish, like cod, herring and northern shrimp, are departing for colder waters. Black sea bass, blue crabs and new species of squid — all highly unusual for the Gulf — are turning up in fishermen’s nets. For full story, click here 

MD: Susquehanna Flats show hope for Bay 

By Timothy B. Wheeler The Baltimore Sun September 1, 2014
There weren't any keepers yet, but the fish were definitely biting for Willie Edwards one day last week as he trolled along the edge of the Susquehanna Flats. The 72-year-old fisherman from North East said he'd caught "a lot of little rock," or striped bass. The Flats — a vast, grass-covered shoal at the mouth of the Susquehanna River — are a magnet for fish and the anglers who pursue them. But they're also a symbol to scientists of the Chesapeake Bay's resilience, and of its ability to rebound, if given a chance, from decades of pollution and periodic battering by storms. For full story, click here

MI: Ospreys making a comeback in southern Michigan 

By Darren Warner Battle Creek Enquirer August 23, 2014
It’s no secret that chemicals like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and other pesticides have done a number on Michigan wildlife. First used as an insecticide in 1939, it wasn’t until 1972 that the harmful effects of DDT was fully understand and the product was banned in the U.S. As a result of extensive DDT use, the osprey population in Southern Michigan was hammered. In 1998, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) began to relocate ospreys to southern Michigan. The program, supported by donations to Michigan's Nongame Wildlife Fund, removed chicks from active nests in northern Michigan and reared them in man-made towers in southern Michigan, a process called “hacking.” Relocation efforts occurred over a span of 10 years. In 2013, the DNR identified at least 56 active nests in southern Michigan – an incredible increase from the single active nest reported in 2002. For full story, click here. 

MI: Metro Detroit Treatment Plants Released 4.5B Gallons of Sewage into Rivers after Storm 

By Jim Lynch – The Detroit News – August 22, 2014
Metro Detroit treatment plants released about 4.5 billion gallons of raw and partially treated sewage into local streams and rivers as a result of last week’s massive rainstorm, according to a preliminary report from the state Department of Environmental Quality. Of the nearly 9.8 billion gallons of sewage released on Aug. 11, about 46 percent of it was raw sewage, sewage diluted by excess storm water or partially treated sewage, DEQ official Laura Verona said Friday. For full story, click here. 

MN: Minnesota lake first in nation to use new product to kill zebra mussels 

By Kelly Smith Star Tribune September 9, 2014 Video
Product tested in Shorewood lake could reshape the nation’s fight against pervasive zebra mussels. To view video, click here

NY: Changing Climate Makes City Stormwater Management Harder, Health Risks Higher 

By Sarah Crean Gotham Gazette September 2, 2014
On August 13th, New York State witnessed the greatest 24-hour rainfall, 13.27 inches, in its recorded history. The state record – last set in 2011 - was broken in West Islip, Long Island, fewer than 30 miles from the Queens border. A flash flood watch went in effect throughout New York City, and beaches in Brooklyn and Staten Island were closed to swimmers the following day. The heavy rain had overloaded sewer mains, necessitating the release of untreated sewage directly into local waterways. If the City's climate scientists are right, New York will steadily become a wetter city, subject to more frequent and intense rainfall - and thus, more overloaded sewers and water-related health risks. For full story, click here

OH: Ohio State scientists study runoff to stop toxic algae in the Great Lakes

PBS September 4, 2014 Video
JUDY WOODRUFF: The algae bloom that turned part of Lake Erie toxic just a few weeks ago is bringing a new level of attention to runoff and several other troubles in the Great Lakes. Yesterday, the federal Environmental Protection Agency announced that it will provide $12 million to the region to help address those problems. Reporter Christy McDonald of Detroit public television has our story. For full story and to view video, click here. 

OH: Duke: 9,000 gallons of oil spilled into Ohio River 

By Jennifer Edwards Baker Cincinnati.com August 26, 2014
More diesel fuel - about 9,000 gallons - spilled into the Ohio River from a Duke Energy power plant last week than originally estimated, Duke Energy officials announced Monday. The Aug. 18 spill at the Beckjord Station 20 miles southeast of Cincinnati in New Richmond, Ohio, was thought to be about 5,000 gallons. Cleanup is now mostly complete, and monitoring for any residual problems continues, Duke Energy officials said in a prepared statement Monday. So far, impact on wildlife has been minimal. For full story, click here. 

OR: Water dispute boils 

By Rae Lynn Ricarte The Dalles Chronicle August 23, 2014
Oregon ranchers and farmers are being falsely accused by environmental groups of not doing enough to protect fish and natural resources, according to Maupin rancher Keith Nantz. “There are a lot of people running around these days with some utopian idea that isn’t workable on the ground because there is no common sense involved,” he said. Nantz is president of the North Central Livestock Association and seated on the Water Resources Committee of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association. For full story, click here

PA: Farm manure threatens Lehigh watershed 

By Andrew Brown The Morning Call July 27, 2014
Jamie and Glenda Pini stood in the pasture of their small farm, among a herd of rambunctious goats, several large Angus cattle, and a pile of manure. The Pinis' farm, off Route 100, north of Interstate 78, where highways and warehouses transition to rolling country roads and fields of corn and oats, is small compared with most farms in Pennsylvania. For the past 10 years, the couple has raised a small number of cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens and turkeys on their 28 acres. The Pinis began farming after Jamie Pini had emergency open heart surgery. They hoped the lean, grass-fed beef and mutton they raised would help lower his cholesterol and blood pressure, keeping him out of the hospital. Besides the meat they consume themselves, they sell a small amount to neighbors and friends. Their operation is simple. They pride themselves on the health of their animals and the preservation of their land. But as they found out last year, their New Tripoli area farm was in violation of manure management rules administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. For full story, click here

TN: Court: Pipeline opponents were right 

By Anya Tikka The Pike County Courier August 29, 2014
Opponents of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Northeast Upgrade had been right all the time, according to a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals. The court ordered the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to fully reassess the entire project. In one of the first wins any group has had taking the oil and gas industry to court, FERC was found to have cut the project into segments, each with its own Environmental Assessment. The full 80-mile length of pipeline was never evaluated as a whole with the more rigorous Environmental Impact Statement process. For full story, click here

TX: The Battle of the San Jacinto River

By Forrest Wilder The Texas Observer September 4, 2014
Not far from the San Jacinto Monument, the octagonal column that marks the site of the battle that brought the Texas Revolution to a close, near where Interstate 10 roars over the San Jacinto River, lies another shrine to Texas’ ambitions: 14 acres of partially submerged dioxin-laden waste leaching into the river and down to Galveston Bay. In a city littered with Superfund sites, the San Jacinto River Waste Pits, as they’re called, have become a signature environmental justice issue. The EPA is overseeing a contentious debate over what to do with the site. And Harris County is suing the two companies that inherited the mess—International Paper and Waste Management—for $2 billion in penalties for damage it says was inflicted on area residents and the environment over four decades. For full story, click here

TX: Texas Tech Develops Interactive Tool for Wetlands Conservation: Comprehensive Database of Playas in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico Released 

Playa Lakes Joint Venture – Playa Post September 2014
In August, Texas Tech University's Center for Geospatial Technology released a new Playa and Wetlands Database and web application for wetlands within a 52-county area that overlies the Ogallala Aquifer in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico (see map). Together the geodata and web application can be used to support decisions concerned with water management and wetlands preservation. For full story, click here. 

VA: Fly ash dump in Chesapeake has history of leaks 

By Jeff Sheler The Virginia-Pilot August 19, 2014
Dominion Virginia Power's plan to close its coal-fired power plant on the Elizabeth River would leave nearly a million tons of fly ash in a waste dump that has leaked arsenic and other contaminants into groundwater for more than a decade, company documents show. City officials and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality are reviewing the plan, which outlines steps the company says it is prepared to take to seal 973,400 tons of coal combustion byproducts stored at the site. For full story, click here. 

WA: World’s Largest Dam Removal Unleashes U.S. River 

By Michelle Nijhuis – National Geographic – August 26, 2014
Today, on a remote stretch of the Elwha River in northwestern Washington State, a demolition crew hired by the National Park Service plans to detonate a battery of explosives within the remaining section of the Glines Canyon Dam. If all goes well, the blasts will destroy the last 30 feet of the 210-foot-high dam and will signal the culmination of the largest dam-removal project in the world. In Asia, Africa, and South America, large hydroelectric dams are still being built, as they once were in the United States, to power economic development, with the added argument now that the electricity they provide is free of greenhouse gas emissions. But while the U.S. still benefits from the large dams it built in the 20th century, there's a growing recognition that in some cases, at least, dam building went too far—and the Elwha River is a symbol of that. For full story, click here

WA: Swinomish tribe worries rising sea levels threaten tradition, culture 

By Kimberly Cauvel The Spokesman-Review August 3, 2014
With 95 percent of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community’s reservation borders on the water, the tribe is concerned about the rise in sea level and storm surges expected as the planet warms. As sea level rise pushes high tides and winter storm surges farther inland, coastal tribes in the Northwest worry that their archaeological sites will be wiped out, Swinomish Tribal historic preservation officer Larry Campbell said. They also worry that traditional food sources like salmon and oysters may be affected. For full story, click here

WI: Even good farming may pollute groundwater in Wisconsin 

By Kate Golden – Wisconsin Watch.org – August 19, 2014
Two new studies of private well water in Kewaunee County have linked contamination to fertilizer, livestock manure and human waste — laying bare a situation that county conservationist Andy Wallander, after 25 years on the job, can sum up in a sentence. “In these shallow bedrock areas, what you put on the surface, you will end up drinking eventually,” Wallander said. One study found the potentially toxic bacterium salmonella in drinking water, which could come from people, livestock or wild animals. For full story, click here. 

WV: Judge concerned Freedom Industries won’t clean up Elk River facility 

By Ken Ward, Jr. West Virginia Gazette-Mail September 8, 2014
A federal bankruptcy judge is becoming increasingly concerned that Freedom Industries may abandon its former Elk River chemical storage facility without completing a proper environmental cleanup of the site of the January chemical spill that contaminated the drinking water supply for hundreds of thousands of residents across the region. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ronald Pearson says that the Freedom bankruptcy proceeding has not progressed adequately, and that too much of the company’s limited cash is being earmarked for attorneys, perhaps leaving not nearly enough to complete remediation required by existing enforcement orders from the state Department of Environmental Protection. For full story, click here. 

WV: Trans Energy Inc. to Restore Streams and Wetland Damaged by Natural Gas Extraction Activities in West Virginia  

eNews Park Forest September 2, 2014
The Department of Justice, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) today announced a settlement with Trans Energy Inc., requiring the oil and gas company to restore portions of streams and wetlands at 15 sites in West Virginia that were polluted by the company’s unauthorized discharge of dredge or fill material.   Trans Energy will pay a penalty of $3 million to be divided equally between the federal government and the WVDEP.   The Clean Water Act requires a company to obtain a permit from EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prior to discharging dredge or fill material into wetlands, rivers, streams and other waters of the United States. For full story, click here. 

WI: Mining company, allies spent freely to get bill approved 

By Lee Bergquiest Journal Sentinel September 1, 2014
The recent disclosure that Gogebic Taconite donated $700,000 to a Wisconsin political group is the latest example of how the mining company and its supporters used money, influence and the allure of jobs to persuade lawmakers to relax state environmental regulations. Gogebic zoomed into Wisconsin politics in 2011. The company had plans for a massive open pit iron ore mine, but it demanded changes in mining laws before starting a multimillion-dollar regulatory review. The $1.5 billion project quickly drew support from Gov. Scott Walker, Republican lawmakers and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state's largest business group. For full story, click here. 


WETLAND SCIENCE

Mussels don't stick around in acidic ocean water 

By Miguel Llanos The Daily Climate September 9, 2014
Cookie tray in hand and lifejacket around chest, Laura Newcomb looks more like a confused baker than a marine biologist. But the University of Washington researcher is dressed for work. Her job: testing how mussels in this idyllic bay, home to the nation’s largest harvester of mussels, are affected by changing ocean conditions, especially warmer and more acidic waters. It’s a question critical to the future of mussel farmers in the region. More important, it's key to understanding whether climate change threatens mussels around the world, as well as to the food chains mussels support and protect in the wild.  For full story, click here. 

Loon, interrupted: Chicks dying, social chaos. Is their comeback unraveling? 

By Lindsey Konkel Environmental Health News September 8, 2014
Tiffany Grade sweeps her binoculars over tangled tree roots at water’s edge. She spots a black and white checkerboard of feathers in a lichen-covered crease in the shoreline – a loon sitting on a nest. Just offshore, a second loon glides past, dives, then disappears. To the untrained eye, it’s an idyllic summer scene on Squam Lake. But to a loon biologist like Grade, it’s trouble. “Do you see the way he stretches his neck up?” Grade says, pointing to the diving bird. “He knows he’s some place he shouldn’t be.”

The male intruder is biding his time until the nesting loon leaves. This vying for territory imperils the unhatched chick: Its parents can be killed or distracted, leaving the egg undefended or the chick unfed. And if one parent is ousted, the intruder kills the chick. At Squam Lake, it’s social chaos. Chicks are dying. Eggs aren’t hatching. It’s a scenario playing out across North America – loons are raising fewer chicks to fledgling stage than they were two decades ago. For full story, click here. 

Phragmites: A Fluffy Path to Global Rule 

By Dave Taft – The New York Times – September 5, 2014
The great reed (Phragmites australis) is a handsome plant, especially at this time of year, when it is plumed with a purple shock of flowers airily waving 15 feet above our heads. But the reed’s beauty is little consolation for its rampant invasion of wetlands. Once established, the plant withstands the efforts of well-intentioned Scout troops, zealous naturalists and park grounds staffs. Even chemical applications often prove to be only temporary fixes. Phragmites spread gradually at first, like wildfire thereafter. Phragmites (pronounced frag-MITE-ees) falls into a growing category of plants that have achieved an unfortunate global presence, and that ultimately must be tolerated — except in the protection of the most valued wetlands. For full story, click here. 

New Climate Change Attribution Study 

By Wil Burns – Teaching Climate/Energy Law & Policy – September 5, 2014
Instructors who include a module on climate science might want to draw upon a new study in the journal Climate Risk Management. The study addresses one of the most frequent question of students, as well as the general public: could current warming trends (through July 2014, consecutive months in which global land and ocean temperatures have exceeded the 20th century monthly average) be primarily a function of natural system fluctuation? The study, conducted by scientists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization and the University of Wollongong, seeks to facilitate the development of probabilistic statements to assess the likelihood that anomalous warming (in the study, defined as the unbroken sequence of 346 months, from March 1985-December 2013, of average monthly temperatures exceeding the 20th Century average) is a function of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. It extends the methodology of attribution studies by using a statistically robust approach that incorporates time series modeling, validation and 100,000 bootstrap simulations of temperature time series (which can facilitate sampling distribution of statistics). The model correlates global temperature to well-recognized drivers of temperature variation, including El Niño, solar radiation, volcanic aerosols and greenhouse gas concentrations. The model was run using the historic record and re-run without the anthropogenic influence of greenhouse gas emissions. For full blog post, click here. 

Vulnerable Wildlife Find Refuge at Landfill-Owned Wetland Preserve 

By Clara MacCarald – Ithaca.com – September 2, 2014
Black terns have joined a growing list of species considered “vulnerable” that have been sighted at the Seneca Meadows Wetland Preserve, a restored wetland and grassland site nominated as a New York Important Bird Area. Despite its bucolic name, Seneca Meadows, Inc. owns the largest active landfill in New York State. In 2007 Seneca Meadows created the 600-acre wetland preserve as part of a mitigation measure to replace 70 acres of wetlands destroyed by a 178-acre expansion of the landfill. In 2024 the Montezuma Audubon Center (MAC) is scheduled to take over stewardship of the preserve. For full story, click here. 

Large Dams “Highly Correlated” with Poor Water Quality 

By Carey L. Biron Inter Press Service August 29, 2014
Large-scale dams are likely having a detrimental impact on water quality and biodiversity around the world, according to a new study that tracks and correlates data from thousands of projects.

Focusing on the 50 most substantial river basins, researchers with International Rivers, a watchdog group, compiled and compared available data from some 6,000 of the world’s estimated 50,000 large dams. Eighty percent of the time, they found, the presence of large dams, typically those over 15 meters high, came along with findings of poor water quality, including high levels of mercury and trapped sedimentation. For full story, click here. 

Heavy metal songs: Contaminated songbirds sing the wrong tunes 

By Helen Fields and Alanna Mitchell Environmental Health News August 28, 2014Standing in the woods along the South River, Kelly Hallinger held the microphone up to capture the cacophony of songs, one at a time: the urgent, effervescent voice of the house wren, the teakettle whistle of the Carolina wren and the sharp, shrill notes of the song sparrow. It was the summer after her freshman year at the College of William and Mary, and Hallinger was working with her professor, ecologist Dan Cristol, to investigate the effects of mercury left behind by a factory. Over and over she recorded birdsong, visiting various sites in the woods and along the shore, some polluted, some unpolluted. When she got back to Williamsburg with her tape recorder, Hallinger sorted through the hours of bird songs. She turned them into digital files in the computer, then analyzed them. The differences were striking: The wrens and sparrows along the contaminated South River were singing simpler, shorter, lower-pitched songs. For full story, click here. 

Zoomed-In Climate Models Help Alaska Communities Plan for Uncertain Future 

By Amy Nordrum – Inside Climate News – August 26, 2014
Hunters in the Alaskan village of Wainwright, a community of about 550 Inupiat Eskimos at the lip of the Chukchi Sea, have long harvested bowhead whales from the ocean. Each spring, crews of 15-25 hunters set out in umiaqs—boats made from seal skins and caribou sinew. The hunters usually launch from Point Belcher, where the ice cracks open to expose the water in slivers called "leads." Then the whalers follow these narrow channels to the sea. The hunters must heft the dead whale onto a flat piece of shelf ice to butcher it. But climate change is making it tougher for these whalers to find a spot to butcher their catch. For full story, click here. 

Endangered species protection sought for dwindling monarch butterflies 

By Bob Berwyn Summit County Citizens Voice August 26, 2014
As monarch butterfly populations dwindle to unprecedented low levels, activists say the colorful and far-ranging insects need protection of the Endangered Species Act to survive. In a formal listing petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a coalition of advocacy groups say the widespread use of pesticides and genetically modified crops are the biggest threats to the butterflies. For full story, click here. 

Health benefits offset costs of climate policies 

By Amanda Peterka – E & E Publishing, LLC – August 25, 2014
Savings due to avoided health problems help offset -- and in some cases greatly outweigh -- the costs of carbon dioxide-cutting policies in the United States, according to a new study. The study, led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found that health benefits offset between 26 and 1,050 percent of the cost of greenhouse gas reduction policies. The study examined three different types of climate policies: a clean-energy standard, a transportation policy targeting on-road vehicles and a cap-and-trade program. For full story, click here. 

Hundreds of Methane Plumes Erupting Along East Coast 

By Becky Oskin Live Science August 24, 2014
In an unexpected discovery, hundreds of gas plumes bubbling up from the seafloor were spotted during a sweeping survey of the U.S. Atlantic Coast. Even though ocean explorers have yet to test the gas, the bubbles are almost certainly methane, researchers report today (Aug. 24) in the journal Nature Geoscience. "We don't know of any explanation that fits as well as methane," said lead study author Adam Skarke, a geologist at Mississippi State University in Mississippi State. For full story, click here. 

Climate change reflected in altered Missouri River flow, report says 

By Maya Srikrishnan – Los Angeles Times – August 17, 2014Montana farmer Rocky Norby has worked the land along the Missouri River for more than 20 years, coaxing sugar beets and malted barley out of the arid ground. "Every year it gets worse," he said. "There's not enough water to get through our pumps." Last month, he said, he spent more than $10,000 trying to remove the sand from his clogged irrigation system. The Missouri River's stream flow has changed significantly over the last 50 years, leading to serious water shortages in Montana and Wyoming and flooding in the Dakotas, according to a U.S. Geological Survey report released last month. For full story,click here. 

In Arctic Temperature Causing Extreme Weather In US, Europe, Claims New Study 

By Avaneesh Pandey – International Business Times – August 12, 2014
A rapid rise in temperature in the Arctic region over the last two decades could be responsible for extreme weather events throughout the northern hemisphere, scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany said in a study published Monday. Both U.S. and Europe have seen cold snaps, heat waves and flooding in recent years. “The large number of recent high-impact extreme weather events has struck and puzzled us,” Dim Coumou, lead author of the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said in a press release. “Of course we are warming our atmosphere by emitting CO2 from fossil fuels, but the increase in devastating heat waves in regions like Europe or the US seems disproportionate.” For full story, click here. 

Keystone Could Add 400% More CO2 Than State Dept Estimated 

By John H. Cushman, Jr. – Inside Climate News – August 11, 2014
Building the Keystone XL pipeline to bring Canadian tar sands oil to refineries in the United States could add more than 100 million additional metric tons of carbon dioxide to world emissions—four times more than the maximum estimated in the State Department's study of the project's environmental impact, according to a new study. For full story, click here. 

Plants have unexpected response to climate change 

By Jennifer Balmer – Science Magazine – August 8, 2014Not all species flee rising temperatures. As the mercury has inched upward across western North America over the last 40 years, many plant species have moved downhill, toward—not away from—warmer climates, according to the results of a new study. The finding adds to growing evidence that temperature isn’t the only factor influencing how Earth’s life will respond to climate change. For full article, click here. 

NOAA Offers Climate Prediction Center GIS Portal 

NOAA Climate Prediction Center GIS
NOAA's National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center routinely delivers products that include operational predictions of climate variability, real-time global climate monitoring products, and assessments of the origins of climate anomalies. The GIS Portal application, developed by the NOAA National Ocean Service/Special Projects Office, is in the initial phase of displaying the Climate Prediction Center's suite of monitoring, assessment, and forecast products in the form of geographically-based maps. At this time only selected variables are available. One of the long-term goals of this project is to provide products via Web Mapping Service. For more information, click here.


RESOURCES AND PUBLICATIONS

Watershed Approach Handbook: Improving Outcomes and Increasing Benefits Associated with Wetland and Stream Restoration and Protection Projects  

Environmental Law Institute and the Nature Conservancy – September 2014
Watershed Approach Handbook: Improving Outcomes and Increasing Benefits Associated with Wetland and Stream Restoration Projects advances the use of a watershed approach in the selection, design and siting of wetland and stream restoration and protection projects, including projects required by compensatory mitigation. The handbook, jointly developed by ELI and The Nature Conservancy, demonstrates how using a watershed approach can help ensure that these projects also contribute to goals of improved water quality, increased flood mitigation, improved quality and quantity of habitat, and increases in other services and benefits. It provides an overall framework for the spectrum of watershed approaches, examples of specific types of these approaches, examples of types of analyses that may be useful for using one, and a list of national data sources that might inform all of the above. It also provides some guidance and lessons learned about considerations when developing wetland and stream protection and restoration projects. To download the handbook, click here.

Georgetown Climate Center Identifies 100 Opportunities to Help U.S. Communities Prepare for Climate Impacts 

Georgetown Climate Center – September 4, 2014
The report, Preparing Our Communities for Climate Impacts: Recommendations for Federal Action, draws from a series of workshops with leading federal, state and local officials and builds upon lessons learned post-disaster in New Orleans (following Hurricane Katrina), New York (following Hurricane Sandy) and Vermont (after Hurricane Irene). The report will inform the White House State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience and identifies more than 30 federal programs, initiatives and laws that can be used to prepare for extreme events such as storms, floods and heat waves as well as rising seas. For more information and to download the report, click here.

Stormwater Management in Pacific and Caribbean Islands: A practitioner’s guide to implementing LID 

Horsley Witten Group, Inc. and Center for Watershed Protection, Inc. February 2014
Working with NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program and local agencies, the Horsley Witten Group and Center for Watershed Protection published a guidebook on low impact development (LID) and stormwater green infrastructure to protect coral reefs and other unique tropical island resources. It uses experiences from Hawaii, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico to demonstrate how green infrastructure practices have been (and can be!) used in remote locations where geology, precipitation, and construction materials are different. To download guidebook, click here. 

U.S. Government Accountability Office Publishes "Opportunities to Reduce Federal Fiscal Exposures through Greater Resilience to Climate Change and Extreme Weather"

U.S. GAO – July 29, 2014
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that climate change and related extreme weather impacts on infrastructure and federal lands increase fiscal exposures that the federal budget does not fully reflect. Investing in resilience - actions to reduce potential future losses rather than waiting for an event to occur and paying for recovery afterward - can reduce the potential impacts of climate-related events. Implementing resilience measures creates additional up-front costs but could also confer benefits, such as a reduction in future damages from climate-related events. To access the publication, click here. 

National Estuarine Research Reserve Releases: "Low Impact Development Manual for Coastal South Carolina"

North Inlet-Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve – July 2014
This project evolved out of many years of development and design professionals indicating the need for a Low Impact Development (LID) Manual that considers the environmental conditions along the South Carolina coast. A number of scoping workshops, focus groups, and a survey of engineers, planners, developers, and other design professionals resulted in a formal content assessment of a Low Impact Development manual for coastal South Carolina. The manual aims to provide local decision-makers with stormwater engineering specifications, land use planning resources, and site design practices that are tailored to the conditions of the South Carolina coast. For more information and access to the manual, click here.  

 

POTPOURRI

Algal Bloom Photo Contest 

Algal blooms like this one can occur in water bodies as small as a neighborhood pond and as big as the Gulf of Mexico. When algae grow out of control in our waters, the result can be unappealing, harmful to our health and harmful to the environment.

The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) want YOU to help spot and document algal blooms in our waters. Submit your photos of algal blooms where you live, vacation and recreate for a chance to win great prizes. Your submissions will help build a photo library that can be used to educate more people about algal blooms and illustrate the prevalence and impacts of algal blooms around the country. For more information, click here. 

Watch how Louisiana's coastline has vanished over the last 80 years 

By Brad Plumer – Vox.com – August 30, 2014
Over the last 80 years, Louisiana has lost nearly 2,000 square miles of coastland — land that has simply vanished into the Gulf of Mexico. And much, much more land is likely to disappear in the years ahead unless major changes are made. For full story, click here. 

 

CALENDAR OF EVENTS    
             
WEBINARS     MEETINGS
  TRAINING
   
             
WEBINARS          
                   
SEPTEMBER          
                   
September 24, 2014
12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. EDT
      U.S. EPA Water Research Webinar: Pharmaceutical Residues in Municipal Wastewater          
                   
September 25, 2014
2:00 p.m. EDT
      Forester University webinar on Up the Creek Establishing an Effective Public-Private Partnership          
                   
September 30, 2014
1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. EDT 
       The Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative webinar Phragmites Management in the US: 40 Years of Methods and Outcomes          
                   
OCTOBER              
                   
October 8 &
November 12, 2014

1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. EST
     

The Center for Watershed Protection will offer a Webcast Series: Implementing TMDLs

October 8, 2014: Series 2, Session 1: Local TMDLs & Regional/River Basin TMDLs: A Happy Engagement or a Shotgun Wedding?

November 12, 2014: Series 2, Session 2: Retrofitting Existing Stormwater Ponds & Basins

For more information, click here.

         
                   
October 14, 2014
11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
     

Iowa Storm Water Education Program - Stormwater Design Series Webinar: Regional Detention Basins & Constructed Wetlands for Storm Water Management & Recreational Opportunities (or click here)

         
                   
October 28, 2014
2:00 p.m. EDT
      The National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center Webinar: Predicting Climate Change Impacts on River Ecosystems and Salmonids across the Pacific Northwest          
                   
NOVEMBER              
                   
November 5, 2014
4:00 p.m. ET
      Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast (CCRUN) webinar series on Green Infrastructure, Cilmate and Cities. Green Infrastructure and Coastal Resilience          
                   
November 18, 2014
11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

      Iowa Storm Water Education Program - Stormwater Design Series Webinar: Working Upstream in the Watershed- Turning to our Agriculture Neighbors for Flood Control with SRF Sponsored Project Funding (or click here)          
                   
DECEMBER              
                   
December 2, 2014
1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m. ET
      EPA 2014 Green Infrastructure Webcast Series: Green Infrastructure for Localized Flood Management          
                   
MEETINGS                  
                   
SEPTEMBER          
                   
September 27-October 1, 2014
New Orleans, Louisiana

      Water Environment Federation 87th Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference          
                   
September 29-30. 2014
Buffalo, New York
      2014 Great Lakes Commission Annual Meeting: Turning Rust to Blue: The Great Lakes New Economy          
                   
September 30- October 2, 2014
Louisville, Kentucky
       University of Florida: 2014 America's Watershed Initiative Summit           
           
OCTOBER          
                   
October 6, 2014
Hoboken, New Jersey
      The Stevens Institute of Technology workshop on Sustainable Coasts in the Urban Northeast           
                   
October 8, 2014
Stamford, Connecticut
      Disaster Safety Strategies - Northeast Risk & Resilience Leadership          
                   
 October 14-17, 2014 
Keshena, Wisconsin
       NE CSC Consortium Member College of Menominee Nation - Shifting Seasons: Building Tribal Capacity for Climate Change Adaptation Summit          
October 15-17, 2014
Virginia Beach, Virginia
      ASBPA's 2014 National Coastal Conference: Promoting Healthy Coasts. Full day short course will be held on October 14, 2014.           
                   
 October 20-22, 2014
Duluth, Minnesota  
      Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference: Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future          
                   
October 27-29, 2014
St. Louis, Missouri
      Midwest Levees and Rivers Technical Exchange 2014 Conference: Celebrating Our Rivers          
                   
October 28-29, 2014
Kansas City, Missouri

     

The Great Rivers Chapter of The International Erosion Control Association Fall Conference and Expo: Resilience in a Changing World

         
                   
NOVEMBER          
                   
November 4-6, 2014
Fairlee, Vermont
      International Erosion Control Association Northeast Chapter Conference and Trade Show: Where the Land Meets the Water          
                   
November 12-14, 2014
Cholula, Puebla, Mexico
      University of the Americas Puebla International Conference on Hydro-Meteorological Risks and Climate Change          
                   
November 14-15, 2014
Alton, Illinois 
      The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center: Mississippi River Watershed Education Symposium           
                   
DECEMBER          
                   
December 2-3, 2014
Washington, DC
      The Council of Scientific Society President: The World Science Summit on Climate Engineering: Future Guiding Principles and Ethics          
                   
December 11-14, 2014
New Orleans, Louisiana
      International Symposium on Sediment Dynamics: From the Summit to the Sea is part of a series of symposia organized under auspices of The International Commission on Continental Erosion (ICCE) and International Association of Hydrological Sciences. Abstracts due by November 10, 2014.          
                   

December 15-19, 2014
San Francisco, California

      American Geophysical Union’s 47th annual Fall Meeting          
                   
FEBRUARY 2015          
                   
February 16-19, 2015
Houston, Texas
      Consortium for Ocean Leadership: 2015 Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference. Abstract deadline is October 3, 2014.          
                   

February 23-25, 2015 Washington, DC 

      Center for Climate and Energy Solutions Climate Leadership Conference          
                   
 February 24-26, 2015
Madison, Wisconsin
       Wisconsin Wetlands Association 20th Anniversary Wetland Science Conference: Telling Our Stories. Call for abstract deadline is November 14, 2014.           
           
MARCH 2015          
                   
March 25-27, 2015 
Berkeley, California
      UC Berkeley, in partnership with the National Park Service and National Geographic Society, presents Science for Parks, Parks for Science: The Next Century. Call for abstract deadline is November 1, 2014.          
                   
MAY 2015                  
                   
May 31-June 4, 2015  Providence, Rhode Island

      2015 Society of Wetland Scientists Annual Meeting – Changing climate. Changing wetlands           
July 2015
                 
                   
July 5-10, 2015
Portland, Oregon
      9th Annual IALE World Congress - Crossing Scales, Crossing Borders; Global Approaches to Complex Challenges. Call for presentations deadline is March 1, 2015.          
                   
July 27-August 2, 2015
Nagoya Japan  
      XIX INQUA Congress Quaternary Perspectives on Climate Change, Natural Hazards and Civilization. Call for papers will open shortly.          
                   
TRAINING                  
                   
SEPTEMBER          
           
September 29-October 3, 2014
Front Royal, Virginia

     

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Conservation Training Center Course: Climate-Smart Conservation

         
                   
OCTOBER          
                   

October 1-2, 2014
Boston, Massachusetts

     

The Northwest Environmental Training Center course on Environmental Forensics in Water

         
                   

October 7-9, 2014
Norman, Oklahoma

     

Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals Climate Change Training: Climate Change Adaptation Planning or go here. Field trip on October 10, 2014.

         
                   
October 13-16, 2014
Clive, Iowa
      Iowa Storm Water Education Program training: Urban Streambank Stabilization and Stream Habitat Restoration Training          
                   
                   
October 20-22, 2014 
Naples, Florida
      Everglades Wetland Research Park Course: Creation and Restoration of Wetlands          
                   
October 28-30, 2014
Olympia, Washington
     

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Conservation Training Center Course: Climate-Smart Conservation

         
                   
NOVEMBER          
                   

November 7-8, 2014 
Columbus, Ohio

      Richard Chinn Environmental Training course on Wetland Permitting Training. For other dates and locations, click here.          
                   
November 12-13, 2014
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
      Field Geology Services course on Using Fluvial Geomorphology in Watershed Assessment and Stream Restoration          
                   
DECEMBER          
                   
December 4-5, 2014
Atlanta, Georgia    
      Duncan & Duncan is offering a course on Problem and Atypical Wetland Delineation - Piedmont           
                   
December 8-9, 2014
St. Michaels, Maryland
      Environmental Concern course Winter Woody Plant ID          
                   
December 12, 2014
Atlanta, Georgia
       Duncan & Duncan will hold a course on Endangered Species Act Overview          
                   

     

For more wetland events, meetings, conferences, and courses nationwide, visit the ASWM calendar.

 

Wetland Breaking News - September 2014

 



INDEX

EDITOR'S NOTE

EDITOR'S CHOICE

  • House Votes to Block EPA Water Rules

  • White House threatens to veto bill to kill EPA water rule

  • Trans Energy Inc. to Restore Streams and Wetland Damaged By Natural Gas Extraction Activities in West Virginia/ Company will also pay $3 million civil penalty to resolve alleged Clean Water Act violations

  • After Toledo Water Scare, States Ask EPA for Help

  • ASWM Members’ Webinar

  • ASWM Webinar: Improving Wetland Restoration Success Project

  • Wetland Mapping Consortium Webinar

NATIONAL NEWS

  • The Crises of Rising Sea Levels
  • BP’s ‘gross negligence’ caused Gulf oil spill, federal judge rules

  • Most Conservation Science Not Available To Conservationists

  • Six Reasons to Consider Wetlands for Nitrate Removal

  • Corporate farms get blame as key water-pollution culprit

  • Big wins elusive for EPA in Clean Water Act showdowns

  • Seeing Purpose and Profit in Algae

  • Gulf Oyster Harvest Has Nose-Dived Since BP Spill

  • Oil companies fracking into drinking water sources, new research shows

  • Deadly Algae Are Everywhere, Thanks to Agriculture

  • Southern Co., partners to award Five Star & Urban Waters Rest. grants

  • EPA Announces 2015 Climate Leadership Awards Applications 

STATES NEWS 

  • CA: As water crisis deepens, California finally passes groundwater regulation

  • CA: Mountain Forest Changes Threaten Calif. Water Supplies

  • CA: California’s drought: What losing 63 trillion gallons of water looks like

  • CA: CA Allocates Vastly More Water Than Supplies Allow, Study Shows

  • CA: The prickly pear as California crop

  • CO: Melting permafrost could worsen water quality in the Rockies

  • CO: Volunteers Help Plant Seeds for the Roaring Fork’s Future

  • DE: Wetlands Created in Greenwood for Flood Reduction

  • FL: Massive 'Florida red tide' is now 90 miles long & 60 miles wide

  • IN: Water Shortages Strike Another State

  • LA: Ruling against BP could mean $18 billion in fines

  • LA: Coal, petroleum coke debris found in Plaquemines marsh restoration projects

  • LA: 9 years after Katrina, New Orleans aims to turn environmental weaknesses into economic strengths

  • LA: Halliburton to pay $1.1 billion to settle gulf oil spill lawsuits

  • LA: Voice of the Wetlands Festival to showcase Louisiana acts

  • ME: Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99% of world’s oceans, say scientists

  • MD: Susquehanna Flats show hope for Bay

  • MI: Ospreys making a comeback in southern Michigan

  • MI: Metro Detroit Treatment Plants Released 4.5B Gallons of Sewage into Rivers after Storm

  • MN: Minnesota lake first in nation to use new product to kill zebra mussels

  • NY: Changing Climate Makes City Stormwater Management Harder, Health Risks Higher

  • OH: Ohio State scientists study runoff to stop toxic algae in the Great Lakes

  • OH: Duke: 9,000 gallons of oil spilled into Ohio River

  • OR: Water dispute boils

  • PA: Farm manure threatens Lehigh watershed

  • TN: Court: Pipeline opponents were right

  • TX: The Battle of the San Jacinto River

  • TX: Texas Tech Develops Interactive Tool for Wetlands Conservation: Comprehensive Database of Playas in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico Released

  • VA: Fly ash dump in Chesapeake has history of leaks

  • WA: World’s Largest Dam Removal Unleashes U.S. River

  • WA: Swinomish tribe worries rising sea levels threaten tradition, culture

  • WI: Even good farming may pollute groundwater in Wisconsin

  • WV: Judge concerned Freedom Industries won’t clean up Elk River facility

  • WV: Trans Energy Inc. to Restore Streams and Wetland Damaged by Natural Gas Extraction Activities in West Virginia 

  • WI: Mining company, allies spent freely to get bill approved  

WETLAND SCIENCE

  • Mussels don't stick around in acidic ocean water

  • Loon, interrupted: Chicks dying, social chaos. Is their comeback unraveling?

  • Phragmites: A Fluffy Path to Global Rule

  • New Climate Change Attribution Study

  • Vulnerable Wildlife Find Refuge at Landfill-Owned Wetland Preserve

  • Large Dams “Highly Correlated” with Poor Water Quality

  • Heavy metal songs: Contaminated songbirds sing the wrong tunes

  • Zoomed-In Climate Models Help Alaska Communities Plan for Uncertain Future

  • Endangered species protection sought for dwindling monarch butterflies

  • Health benefits offset costs of climate policies

  • Hundreds of Methane Plumes Erupting Along East Coast

  • Climate change reflected in altered Missouri River flow, report says

  • In Arctic Temperature Causing Extreme Weather In US, Europe, Claims New Study

  • Keystone Could Add 400% More CO2 Than State Dept Estimated

  • Plants have unexpected response to climate change

  • NOAA Offers Climate Prediction Center GIS Portal

RESOURCES & PUBLICATIONS

  • Watershed Approach Handbook: Improving Outcomes and Increasing Benefits Associated with Wetland and Stream Restoration and Protection Projects

  • Georgetown Climate Center Identifies 100 Opportunities to Help U.S. Communities Prepare for Climate Impacts

  • Stormwater Management in Pacific and Caribbean Islands: A practitioner’s guide to implementing LID

  • U.S. Government Accountability Office Publishes "Opportunities to Reduce Federal Fiscal Exposures through Greater Resilience to Climate Change and Extreme Weather"

  • National Estuarine Research Reserve Releases: "Low Impact Development Manual for Coastal South Carolina"

POTPOURRI

  • Algal Bloom Photo Contest

  • Watch how Louisiana's coastline has vanished over the last 80 years

WEBINARS, MEETINGS, TRAINING

 Webinars

  • Pharmaceutical Residues in Municipal Wastewater

  • Up the Creek Establishing an Effective Public-Private Partnership

  • Phragmites Management in the US: 40 Years of Methods and Outcomes

  • Local TMDLs & Regional/River Basin TMDLs: A Happy Engagement or a Shotgun Wedding?

  • Retrofitting Existing Stormwater Ponds & Basins

  • Regional Detention Basins & Constructed Wetlands for Storm Water Management & Recreational Opportunities

  • Climate Change and Federal Land Management: Assessing Priorities Using a Social Network Approach

  • Green Infrastructure and Coastal Resilience

  • Working Upstream in the Watershed- Turning to our Agriculture Neighbors for Flood Control with SRF Sponsored Project Funding

  • Green Infrastructure for Localized Flood Management

Meetings

  • Technical Exhibition and Conference 

  • Turning Rust to Blue: The Great Lakes New Economy

  • 2014 America's Watershed Initiative

  • Sustainable Coasts in the Urban Northeast

  • Northeast Risk & Resilience Leadership

  • Shifting Seasons: Building Tribal Capacity for Climate Change Adaptation Summit

  • Promoting Healthy Coasts

  • Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future

  • Celebrating Our Rivers

  • Resilience in a Changing World

  • Where the Land Meets the Water

  • Hydro-Meteorological Risks and Climate Change

  • Mississippi River Watershed Education Symposium  

  • The World Science Summit on Climate Engineering: Future Guiding Principles and Ethics

  • Sediment Dynamics: From the Summit to the Sea

  • American Geophysical Union (AGU) - 47th Annual Fall Meeting

  • 2015 Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference

  • Climate Leadership Conference
  • Wisconsin Wetlands Association 20th Anniversary Wetland Science Conference: Telling Our Stories

  • Science for Parks, Parks for Science: The Next Century

  • Changing climate. Changing wetlands

  • Crossing Scales, Crossing Borders; Global Approaches to Complex Challenges

  • Quaternary Perspectives on Climate Change, Natural Hazards and Civilization

Training

  • Watershed Conservation: Riparian Restoration

  • Environmental Forensics in Water Resources

  • Climate Change Adaptation Planning

  • Urban Streambank Stabilization and Stream Habitat Restoration Training

  • Creation and Restoration of Wetlands

  • Climate-Smart Conservation and Models

  • Wetland Permitting Training

  • Using Fluvial Geomorphology in Watershed Assessment and Stream Restoration

  • Problem and Atypical Wetland Delineation - Piedmont

  • Winter Woody Plant ID

  • Endangered Species Act Overview 

 

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Wetland Breaking News

The Association of State Wetland Managers' Wetland Breaking News is a monthly e-newsletter. Wetland Breaking News is an edited compilation of wetland-related stories and announcements submitted by readers and gleaned from listservs, press releases and news sources from throughout the United States. WBN chronicles the legislative, national and state news relevant to wetland science and policy, wetland regulations and legal analysis of Supreme court cases from the past month; it also links to new publications and resources available to wetland professionals as well as events and training opportunities for those working in water resources and related fields. Wetland Breaking News has been published for over ten years and ASWM has been a think-tank and source for wetland science and policy news and discussion for over 30 years.  

Wetland Breaking News - September 2014The items presented in Wetland Breaking News do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or of the Association of State Wetland Managers. Send your news items, comments, corrections, or suggestions to news@aswm.org.

"WETLAND BREAKING NEWS" Compiled and Edited by Alan Grant and Marla Stelk, Editors; Laura Burchill and Sharon Weaver, Assistant Editors. Executive Director: Jeanne Christie.  Association of State Wetland Managers, 32 Tandberg Trail, Ste. 2A, Windham, ME 04062. Telephone: 207-892-3399 Fax: 207-892-3089

All photos by Jeanne Christie, ASWM

 

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