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Wetland Breaking News: March 2014








         
    IN THIS ISSUE:

    EDITOR'S NOTE

    EDITOR'S CHOICE

    NATIONAL NEWS

    STATE NEWS

    WETLAND SCIENCE

    RESOURCES &  
    PUBLICATIONS

    POTPOURRI

    CALENDAR OF EVENTS

    INDEX

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    Wetland Breaking News: March 2014





    EDITOR'S NOTE  

    Hello fellow Wetlanders!

    Alan Grant is taking a brief hiatus this month from writing the Editor’s Note, as I was eager to introduce our new Wetland Breaking News format. Spring is a time of change, and after this incredibly cold, snowy, icy and downright really long winter, making some changes felt really good. We hope you’ll agree! Here is a breakdown of our changes:

    • First and foremost, you’ll notice our new header. We felt it paired better with the style we use for the ASWM webpages and is easier to read.
    • We moved the Editor’s Note up to the top. Most months the Editor’s Note includes a story or maybe thoughts about current events and it’s our way of making a personal connection to our members, therefore we felt it deserved better placement.
    • We added a side bar with an abbreviated index to quickly get you to the primary section you may be interested in reading right away.
    • The long index which used to be first and foremost of each newsletter is now at the end of the newsletter. We feel that this new format will allow readers to see the Editor’s Choice news stories more readily without having to scroll down through a lengthy index. However, those of you who really like the longer index still have access to it – it’s just at the end of the newsletter instead of at the beginning.
    • We have improved our Webinars, Meetings, Trainings, and Special Events calendar item sections by separating out each of the four subject areas and providing an easier to navigate by date format.

     We would love to get your feedback on any or all of these changes. Our primary goal is to make it easier and more enjoyable for our readers to find “all the news that counts.” We hope our new format does just that.

    Also, we have a number of really interesting news stories that we have selected for the States section this month. We encourage you to peruse them and learn more about the diversity of current issues facing state wetland and watershed managers.

    I’d like to leave you with some verbs that popped up when I Googled “meaning of spring”: move upward, jump, originate, derive, arise, emanate, proceed, evolve, leap…and I find it interesting that the noun description which surfaced was “a resilient device.” So here’s to a resilient spring!

    Best regards,

    Marla Stelk

      









    EDITOR'S CHOICE

    Wetland Breaking News: March 2014

    Climate change to change life as we know it, says UN report

    By Tom Bawden – The New Zealand Herald – March 18, 2014
    The huge impact of climate change will be laid bare at the end of this month when the UN publishes its most authoritative account so far into the misery likely to be inflicted by unchecked global warming.

    According to a final draft version of the report, seen by The Independent, climate change is set to have a devastating impact on everything from human health, social stability and food security to the economy, ecosystems and water resources by the end of this century. For full story, click here.

    President Obama Will Sign Flood Insurance Relief Bill

    By Andrew Taylor – Insurance Journal – March 16, 2014
    President Barack Obama is set to sign into law a bipartisan bill relieving homeowners living in flood-prone neighborhoods from big increases in their insurance bills.

    The legislation, which cleared Congress on Thursday, reverses much of a 2012 overhaul of the government’s much-criticized flood insurance program after angry homeowners facing sharp premium hikes protested.

    The Senate’s 72-22 vote sent the House-drafted measure to Obama. White House officials said he’ll sign it.

    The bill would scale back big flood insurance premium increases faced by hundreds of thousands of homeowners. The measure also would allow below-market insurance rates to be passed on to people buying homes in flood zones with taxpayer-subsidized policies. For full story, click here.

    U.S. Department of Transportation Announces TIGER Discretionary Grant Program Focus on Capital Projects

    U.S. Department of Transpiration – March 13, 2014
    The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced that the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER Discretionary Grant program) has up to $600 million available for capital projects related to highways, bridges, public transportation, rail, ports, and intermodal projects. A primary selection criterion specifically mentions addressing stormwater through natural means, avoiding impacts to water quality, and providing benefits like groundwater recharge, brownfield redevelopment, and stormwater mitigation including green infrastructure. Of this funding, $35 million is available for project and regional-level planning that include factors like stormwater and future risks and vulnerabilities like extreme weather and climate change. Eligible applicants are state, local, and tribal governments, transit agencies, port authorities, metropolitan planning organizations, other political subdivisions of state or local governments, and multi-state or multi-jurisdictional groups applying through a lead applicant. TIGER applications are due April 28, 2014. Learn more.

    Study Demonstrates Climate Benefits of Estuary Restoration

    Restore America's Estuaries
    Restore America's Estuaries has released the findings of a study on the climate mitigation benefits of restoring tidal wetland habitat in the Snohomish Estuary, located within the nation's second largest estuary, Puget Sound. The study finds climate mitigation benefits from wetland restoration and provides a needed approach for assessing carbon fluxes for historic drained and future restored wetlands which can be transferred and applied to other geographies. The report, "Coastal Blue Carbon Opportunity Assessment for Snohomish Estuary: The Climate Benefits of Estuary Restoration," finds that currently planned and in-construction restoration projects in the Snohomish Estuary will result in at least 2.55 million tons of carbon dioxide sequestered from the atmosphere over the next 100 years. This is equivalent to the 1-year emissions for 500,000 average passenger cars. If plans expanded to fully restore the Snohomish Estuary, the sequestration potential jumps to 8.9 million tons of carbon dioxide, or, in other terms, equal to the 1-year emissions of about 1.7 million passenger cars. This report is a collaborative effort of Restore America's Estuaries, Environmental Science Associates, EarthCorps, and Western Washington University. Funding was provided by NOAA's Office of Habitat Conservation. To view the press release and the report, click here.

    Tip of the Month: Read the USFWS Report

    National Wildlife Refuge Association – The Birding Community E-Bulletin – March 6, 2014
    Every five years the USFWS releases its much-respected "National Survey on Hunting, Fishing, and Wildlife-associated Recreation." The most recent study, from 2001, is packed with fascinating data.  Ever since the 2001 report, an addendum to the main report has appeared, usually two years later, which is titled, "Birding in the United States: A Demographic and Economic Analysis." The most recent version of that birding report was released last month.  We usually wouldn't recommend a data-packed document as our "tip of the month," but it's only a little more than a dozen pages, and all active birders and those interested in birding business would do well to spend some time perusing its pages this month.  After all, it's about us.  This report indicates that we number 18 million "away-from-home birders" and 41 million "around-the-home birders," and that we are roughly, middle-aged, well-educated, fairly well-off, and gender-balanced. The report also indicates that we are 93 percent white. But there is a lot more in the report.   You can download the informative USFWS document here.

    Wetland Mapping Consortium Webinar

    The Minnesota NWI Update:

    A Case Study of Quality Assurance Steve Kloiber, P.E., Ph.D., Wetland Monitoring Coordinator, Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources and Integrating Semi-automated Mapping Techniques into Production Level Wetland Mapping Robb McCloud, National GIS Coordinator, Ducks Unlimited.

    For more information, click here. To register for this webinar, click here.

    NATIONAL NEWS

    Wetland Breaking News: March 2014

    Southeast: Alpha Natural Resources to spend more than $200 million as part of consent decree

    The State Journal March 17, 2014
    Alpha Natural Resources will have to spend as much as $200 million on new equipment and pay a $27 million fine to settle permit violations in five states, including West Virginia, under a consent decree filed recently in federal court in Charleston.

    The consent decree, reached with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department, will settle complaints that Alpha affiliates in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia exceeded water discharge permit limits.

    Alpha said the complaint did not suggest the excesses posed a risk to public health.

    It calls for Alpha, Alpha Appalachian Holdings (formerly Massey Energy) and 66 subsidiaries to spend an estimated $200 million to install and operate wastewater treatment systems and implement comprehensive, system-wide upgrades to reduce discharges from their mines in Appalachia.

    The upgrades will include an integrated environmental management system, an expanded auditing/reporting protocol and installation of selenium and osmotic pressure treatment facilities at specific locations. For full article, click here.

    BP regains ability to bid on leases for U.S. land, water

    By Steven Mufson – The Washington Post – March 13, 2014
    The Environmental Protection Agency and BP have reached an agreement that lifts a ban on BP’s ability to hold government contracts that has barred the company from bidding on oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters because of the massive oil spill triggered by a blowout on a BP well in April 2010.

    BP, the largest lease-holder and one of the largest oil producers in the Gulf of Mexico, had been pressing for an end to its debarment in order to conduct business more freely and to reassure shareholders that the company could move beyond the accident at its Macondo well. The accident killed 11 workers, sank the half-billion-dollar Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, and spilled as much as 4.2 million barrels into the gulf. For full story, click here.

    Is coal ash safe to use on roads? Some experts are not so sure

    By Karen Uhlenhuth – Midwest Energy News – March 10, 2014
    Coal ash, the residue from burning coal to generate electricity, is abundant, and cheap. Often free for the taking, in fact. And it’s one way that at least some Midwestern communities provide traction on snowy and icy roads. But what’s left behind in the nearby water and soil when this byproduct from coal-fired power plants is spread on roads? For full story, click here.

    Oceans of trouble for U.S. taxpayers

    By Beth Daley – New England Center for Investigative Reporting – March 9, 2014
    Over and over again, the Atlantic has taken aim at 48 Oceanside Drive. Almost four decades ago, it slammed the house clear off its foundation. Thirteen years later, seawater poured through the roof during a nor’easter. So often has the sea catapulted grapefruit-sized rocks through the vacation home’s windows that a former owner installed bulletproof-glass. At least nine times the property has sustained significant flood damage from coastal storms. And each time, the federal government helped owners rebuild with National Flood Insurance Program payouts. It has subsidized insurance premiums at the property and in 2005, granted one owner $40,000 to elevate the home. Now, the current owner of the $1.2 million vacation house is applying for what construction experts say could be $80,000 or more from the federal government to raise the house again. For full story, click here.

    House votes to limit environmental reviews

    By Pete Kasperowicz – The Hill – March 6, 2014
    The House on Thursday approved the latest Republican plan to jumpstart job creation — a bill that would set hard deadlines on environmental reviews that can delay construction projects for years.

    The bill is an answer to the Republican complaint that environmental reviews required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) can sometimes take years, and sometimes more than a decade. In 2012, the House heard testimony noting that the Hoover Dam was built in five years, and the Empire State Building was built in about 13 months — times that are shorter than the duration of some NEPA reviews.

    Republicans stressed that their bill would not require approval of these projects, but simply put deadlines in place to ensure NEPA reviews don't drag on forever. For full blog post, click here.

    Groups sue EPA to force it to move on pesticide disclosures

    By Carey Gillam – Planet Ark – March 6, 2014
    Three environmental and public health groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday, seeking to press it to move forward with rules that would require public disclosure of certain pesticide ingredients.

    The Center for Environmental Health, Beyond Pesticides, and Physicians for Social Responsibility, all non-profit advocacy groups, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

    The groups claimed there has been an "unreasonable delay" on the EPA's part in finalizing rules to require chemical manufacturers to disclose hazardous inert ingredients in their pesticide products. For full story, click here.

    EPA settlements restore wetlands across Southeast

    News-press.com – March 4, 2014
    Over the past fiscal year ending Sept. 30, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 has cited 23 entities throughout the Southeast for depositing dredged and/or fill material into wetlands or other waters of the United States in violation of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

    Such unauthorized discharges threaten water quality and damage habitats, an EPA news release said.

    As part of the settlements, parties in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee will spend an estimated $1.7 million on restoration and monitoring activities. For full story, click here.

    Washington DC – Reforming the Corps of Engineers

    Coastal News Today – March 2, 2014
    The US Army Corps of Engineers was established in 1779 when nature was seen as the enemy, and–despite the percolation of new ideas through the rest of our society–it has stayed the course in its war against nature ever since. “This nation has a large and powerful adversary,” the Corps explained in one of its early promotional films. “We are fighting Mother Nature… It’s a battle we have to fight day by day, year by year; the health of our economy depends on victory.” As with all wars on nature, this one has gone badly from the start. For full story, click here.

    States move to limit EPA’s clean water authority

    By Ned Resnikoff – msnbc – February 27, 2014 – Video
    Florida, Texas and Alaska are nowhere near the Chesapeake Bay. But that hasn’t stopped those states from trying to intervene in the EPA’s cleanup of the mid-Atlantic estuary. Earlier this month, the attorneys general from those states and 18 others filed an amicus brief [PDF] on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation, which is suing to limit the extent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort. The Farm Bureau argues that the EPA exceeded its authority in regulating the amount of pollutants flowing into the bay, which the federal agency says is severely contaminated. For full story, click here.

    USGS releases watershed maps that cross U.S.-Canada border

    By Rob Chaney – Missoulian – February 27, 2014
    Every bird, fish and bear knows that rivers don’t stop at an international boundary, but it’s taken awhile to convince human governments of that fact. Now the U.S. Geological Survey has released a “harmonized” set of maps of the watersheds that cross the U.S.-Canada border. The set includes 120 areas from the Alaska-Yukon to the Maine-New Brunswick border edges. They range in size from the Great Lakes to Montana’s little Milk River. For full story, click here.

    Fertilizer Limits Sought Near Lake Erie to Fight Spread of Algae

    By Michael Wines – The New York Times – February 26, 2014
    A United States-Canadian agency called on Wednesday for swift and sweeping limits on the use of fertilizer around Lake Erie to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering the water and creating a vast blanket of algae each summer, threatening fisheries, tourism and even drinking water. In a report on the algae problem, the agency, the International Joint Commission, said that fertilizer swept by rains from farms and lawns was a major source of phosphorus in the lake. It recommended that crop insurance be tied to farmers’ adoption of practices that limit fertilizer runoff, and that Ontario, Ohio and Pennsylvania ban most sales of phosphorus-based lawn fertilizers. For full story, click here.

    Federal Highway Administration Announces Climate Adaptation Case Studies

    Federal Highway Administration – February 21, 2014
    The Federal Highway Administration is partnering with State Departments of Transportation, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and Federal Land Management Agencies to pilot approaches to conduct climate change and extreme weather vulnerability assessments of transportation infrastructure and to analyze options for adapting and improving resiliency. This pilot program is being co-sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration Office of Environment Planning and Realty, and the Office of Infrastructure. In 2010 the Federal Highway Administration selected five pilot teams from across the country to test a climate change vulnerability assessment model. This conceptual model guided transportation agencies through the process of collecting and integrating climate and asset data in order to identify critical vulnerabilities. The Federal Highway Administration used the feedback and lessons learned from the pilot projects to revise the draft conceptual model into the Climate Change & Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Framework. For more information and to view these case studies, click here.

    Bureau of Indian Affairs Announces FY 2014 Funding Opportunity to Support Tribes Addressing Challenges of Climate Change

    U.S. Department of the Interior Indian Affairs – February 21, 2014
    The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has announced a request for proposals to support Tribes in adapting to the challenges of climate change in tribal communities, especially with respect to ocean and coastal management planning. The competitive grants are for tribal adaptation, training, and travel support (to participate in technical workshops, forums, and cooperative efforts). Awards are available only to federally recognized tribes and P.L. 93-638 eligible intertribal organizations. As in FY 2013, smaller grants are available for tribal staff travel to technical climate adaptation management planning sessions, technical sessions, and workshops, and to serve as representatives at Department of Interior Climate Science Centers and Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, regional (ocean) planning bodies, and other cooperative climate adaptation organizations or technical groups. FY 2013 proposals that were submitted in November 2013, but not selected, will be retained in the applicant pool for consideration in this solicitation. The application deadline is April 30, 2014. ln addition to the FY 2014 grants, each BIA Region will have a small amount of funding to organize or support tribal sponsored workshops and for tribal participation in training sessions and climate change organizations. For information on your BIA regional office climate change contact and for information on the grant application process, click here.

    USDA Announces Regional Hubs to Help Agriculture, Forestry Mitigate Impacts of Changing Climate

    USDA – February 5, 2014
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the creation of the first ever Regional Hubs for Risk Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change at seven locations around the country.  These "Climate Hubs" will address increasing risks such as fires, invasive pests, floods, and droughts on a regional basis, aiming to translate science and research into information to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners on ways to adapt and adjust their resource management.  The Hubs were chosen through a competitive process among USDA facilities.  In addition to the seven Hubs, USDA is designating three Subsidiary Hubs ("Sub Hubs") that will function within the Southeast, Midwest, and Southwest.  The Sub Hubs will support the Hub within their region and focus on a unique set of issues in that region.  The Climate Hubs will build on the capacity within USDA to deliver science-based knowledge and practical information to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to support decision-making related to climate change across the country.  For more information, view the press release here.

    EPA Provides $1.5 Million in Grants to Protect Wetlands in California and Arizona

    EPA – January 28, 2014
    EPA announced the award of $1,565,140 in 2013 wetland program development grants to six tribes in California and Arizona and four California organizations to conduct research designed to prevent and eliminate water pollution. EPA also announced it will begin accepting applications for the 2014 wetland program grant cycle. Work under these grants, awarded annually, will range from enhancing computer programs that rapidly assess wetland conditions, to helping tribes develop programs to better monitor and protect their wetlands. Learn more here.

    Coastal Barrier Resources System Map Modernization: Supporting Coastal Resiliency and Sustainability following Hurricane Sandy

    U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Coastal Barrier Resources Act – January 10, 2014
    The Secretary of the Interior announced on October 24, 2013, $162 million in federal funding for 45 projects to protect Atlantic Coast communities from future storms. This included a $5 million project to modernize the maps of the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) for eight states most affected by Hurricane Sandy: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia. This project will help increase the resiliency and capacity of coastal habitats and infrastructure to withstand future storms and reduce the amount of damage caused by such storms. Read more here.

    STATE NEWS

    Wetland Breaking News: March 2014

    AL: Oil mars Ala. swamp 4 months after crude train crash; critics raise questions about oil trains

    By Jay Reeves – TribTown – March 15, 2014
    Environmental regulators promised an aggressive cleanup after a tanker train hauling 2.9 million gallons of crude oil derailed and burned in a west Alabama swamp in early November amid a string of North American oil train crashes.

    So why is dark, smelly crude oil still oozing into the water four months later?

    The isolated wetland smelled like a garage when a reporter from The Associated Press visited last week, and the charred skeletons of burned trees rose out of water covered with an iridescent sheen and swirling, weathered oil. A snake and a few minnows were some of the few signs of life. For full story, click here.

    AK: U-Med Access Route Design Dependent On Wetlands Permits

    By Josh Edge – Alaska Public Media – February 20, 2014
    Earlier this week DOWL HKM engineering and the Alaska Department of Transportation held an open house at East High School, presenting the preferred U-Med Access route. The new road is the most direct and would connect Elmore to Bragaw near the western edge of the Alaska Pacific University campus, bordering the University of Alaska Anchorage. Stewart Osgood is the president of DOWL HKM. He says now that the alignment is selected, the firm will submit an application to the Army Corps of Engineers to get a permit to fill in the wetlands the road will go through. “We typically classify wetlands into relative ecological values,” Osgood said. “And so, working with the Corps, we’ll identify the wetlands that are the most valuable, avoid them and try to stay on uplands or on lower-quality wetlands with our alignment.” For full story, click here.

    AZ: Arizona's drinking-water needs will force trade-offs

    By Tony Davis – Arizona Daily Star – February 23, 2014
    Meeting the drinking-water needs of Arizona’s future population will force residents to live with trade-offs. But as more people move here and are born here, they may not have a choice, state officials say.

    Saying the state’s population could nearly triple by 2110, the Arizona Department of Water Resources says we must start planning now to get more supplies, particularly from desalinated seawater.

    If something isn’t done, the agency predicts statewide annual water shortfalls of up to 900,000 acre-feet a year by 2050 and 2 million to 3 million acre-feet — enough to serve 4 million to 9 million people — by the early 2100s. For full story, click here.

    CA:  Education center helps public understand wetlands

    By Meg McConahey – The Press Democrat – March 16, 2014
    People are flocking like waterfowl to the Laguna de Santa Rosa two years after the foundation dedicated to restoring and enhancing the 254-square-mile watershed opened a new public educational center.

    The barn-like Great Blue Heron Hall is now playing host to a wide range of nature classes and talks, not just for visiting schoolchildren, but also for the general public.

    The Laguna De Santa Rosa Foundation has been ramping up its educational programs, offering at least two classes or lectures each month aimed at helping people better understand the wildlife and ecosystem of the vast wetland that stretches some 22 miles along the Santa Rosa Plain from Cotati to the Russian River in Forestville. For full story, click here.

    CA: California drought: Strife over groundwater boils over

    By Melody Gutierrez – SF Gate – March 15, 2014
    Zinfandel will flow like the water once did in Paso Robles this weekend. Bottles will pop open during a wine festival as rigs drill deep across the city to find a resource whose scarcity threatens Paso Robles to its core: water.

    How scant has the crucial underground water supply become around the San Luis Obispo County city? Sue Luft can tell you anecdotally. The water levels in wells that feed homes and wineries around her 10-acre property just south of Paso Robles have dropped 80 feet in some areas, leaving many with no choice but to take out loans to drill farther down. Luft calls it a "race to the bottom."

    Casting blame for depleting underground supplies is at the center of a bitter debate about who, if anyone, should be monitoring withdrawals. For full story, click here.

    CA: At L.A.'s Lake Machado and adjacent park, a long-awaited restoration

    By Louis Sahagun – Los Angeles Times – March 15, 2014
    When it comes to a battered environment, few places can match Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park, an empire of weeds, trash and vagrant encampments surrounding a polluted lake crawling with nonnative snails as big as baseballs, voracious water snakes and snapping turtles.

    "This has been Siberia as far as the city of Los Angeles is concerned," said Martin Byhower, a science teacher who for 30 years has led volunteer efforts to pick up trash and restore habitat for native insects and birds. "To us, it's an abused paradise in desperate need of help."

    And help is finally coming. The 231-acre park straddling the communities of Harbor City and Wilmington closed a week ago in preparation for a makeover. A $111-million Lake Machado ecosystem rehabilitation project is scheduled to break ground March 22. The money is part of Proposition O, a park bond initiative approved by voters a decade ago. For full story, click here.

    CA: Obama expands protection for Northern California coastline

    KSBW.com – March 11, 2014
    President Barack Obama is fulfilling a State of the Union pledge to preserve more federal lands by adding more California coastline to a national monument.

    Obama on Tuesday signed a proclamation permanently protecting some 1,665 acres in Northern California's Mendocino County, just north of Point Arena. He says he wants to make sure the land is cherished and preserved for future generations. For full story, click here.

    CO: Sandhill cranes face shut-off as Colorado weighs who gets scarce water

    By Bruce Finley – The Denver Post – March 8, 2014 – Video
    Colorado's effort to replenish its aquifers by cracking down on pumping groundwater threatens to leave the thousands of sandhill cranes that arrive here each February without the water they need. For full story, click here.

    DE: Delaware’s Dirty Water

    By Jeff Montgomery and Molly Murray – Delaware Online – March 2, 2014 – Video
    Thousands of miles of water run through Delaware, in creeks and streams and rivers and bays, and very little of it is considered healthy. Nearly all of the state's rivers and streams – 94 percent, the highest amount in the region – are so bad that fish can't thrive. In 85 percent of them, Delawareans can't swim. Exempt from these dubious distinctions: the 24-mile Delaware Ocean coast and the Delaware Bay shore. Many days, Delawareans look out over the state's waters and see only calm and beauty. But the problem of dirty water is real, a product of dangerous toxins, unsanitary runoff and destructive deposits creeping in unseen. If left untouched, Delaware runs the risk of endangering its drinking water supplies, leaving fish caught in state waters too contaminated to eat and losing a multimillion dollar tourism industry built on a promise of clean, clear water. For full story, click here.

    FL: County says bill would endanger local wetlands

    By Morgan Watkins – Gainesville.com – March 15, 2014
    House Bill 703, a wide-ranging, controversial piece of environmental regulation legislation, has drawn opposition from Alachua County government in part because it would nullify a portion of the county’s long-held wetlands protection policy, forcing the county to abide by less-protective state policies.

    The state bill, which has a Senate companion, would prohibit local governments from enforcing certain springs protection and stormwater or wetlands regulations if these regulations have been modified or readopted since July 1, 2003. For full story, click here.

    FL: Florida Seeks to Join BP Lawsuit

    By Dave Dunwoody – WUWF Public Media – March 7, 2014
    Florida expects to be added to a multi-state federal lawsuit against BP over damages from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, after spending nearly three years unsuccessfully trying to resolve the matter on its own.

    The litigation was filed Wednesday in Panama City, by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The idea is to join the existing federal lawsuit now on trial in New Orleans. For full story, click here.

    FL: $4.5 million Gibsonton wetlands restoration project almost complete

    By Kevin Brady – The Current – March 6, 2014
    A massive project to restore wetlands in Gibsonston should be completed next month.

    Almost a decade in the making, the program started last summer to restore mangroves at two plots along U.S. Highway 41.

    Work on restoring 10 acres of mangroves and adding new oyster reefs, part one of the project, started in July at Giant’s Camp, a stone’s throw from the Alafia River Bridge on U.S. Highway 41. Part two, a similar project just north of the Giant’s Camp on U.S. Highway 41, began in the fall.

    Mosaic, the world’s largest phosphate company, is footing the bill for the project as part of a compensation package the firm worked out with the federal government after a dike at its Riverview plant broke and contaminated local waters in 2004. For full story, click here.

    FL: Steering committee wants legislation to expand DEP permitting authority to protect coastal wildlife

    By Bruce Ritchie – The Florida Current – February 25, 2014
    Threatened and endangered coastal species besides just sea turtles could receive state permitting protection under legislation likely to be requested in 2015.

    A state steering committee that was established in 2009 to develop an ambitious statewide Florida Beaches Habitat Conservation Plan said it will seek legislation even as federal approval of a plan to be proposed is sought in the coming year.

    The plan and legislation would extend Department of Environmental Protection permitting to gopher tortoises and two species of threatened and endangered shorebirds and five species beach mice. The plan would provide regulatory certainty for landowners and developers, steering committee members said during a meeting in Tallahassee. For full story, click here.

    FL: Oil Prospectors Seek Their Next Big Strike in South Florida’s Everglades

    By Victoria Bekiempis – Newsweek – February 27, 2014
    The letter was printed on plain white paper in plain black type, and but for its unfamiliar globe logo "Total Safety" and its unsettling message, it was no different from most of the junk mail filling the mailboxes of 30 homes in a rural south Florida area called Golden Gate Estates, east of Naples.

    "Dear Sir or Madam," it read, "Total Safety US, Inc. is currently going around your area gathering information on households for Dan A. Hughes, so we can develop a contingency plan. We need the name of the main contact of the household, the number of people in your household, address and a number where you could be contacted in case of emergency, if you have transportation to evacuate and if you have any special needs in transportation."  For full article, click here.

    GA: Garden club learns about Adopt-A-Wetlands program

    Savannah Now – March 6, 2014
    Mary Sweeney-Reeves, faculty member at UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium and Coordinator of the Adopt-A-Wetlands program for Coastal Georgia was the featured speaker at the February meeting of the Richmond Hill Garden Club.

    The Adopt-A-Wetlands program partners UGA’s Marine Extension Service with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and seeks to involve citizen scientists in monitoring water quality in coastal Georgia. For full story, click here.

    IN: Traces of corn herbicide in our water

    By Seth Slabaugh – The Star Press – March 15, 2014
    Indiana-American Water Co. is proposing to split with its customers a nearly $1 million settlement it received from atrazine litigation.

    Millions of pounds of atrazine, the main ingredient in dozens of name-brand herbicides, are applied annually to corn fields in Indiana to control weeds.

    Because most Hoosier farmers apply it in April and May, when rainfall can be heavy and saturate soils, the weed killer often runs off into water bodies and winds up in tap water, including Muncie’s and Richmond’s.

    To settle a nationwide class action lawsuit, Switzerland-based Syngenta AG, the herbicide’s largest manufacturer, paid $105 million in 2012 to more than 1,900 community water systems in which atrazine was detected. For full story, click here.

    IA: Hog Wild: Factory Farms are Poisoning Iowa's Drinking Water

    By Ted Genoways – On Earth – February 24, 2014
    Before I even stepped from my truck onto the gravel outside the New Fashion Pork hog confinement facility, Emily Erickson, the company’s animal well-being and quality assurance manager, handed me a pair of stretchy white plastic footies to put over my shoes. It was a blustery day in September, the sky threatening snow—the first hint of winter, when cold, dry air stabilizes viruses and biosecurity becomes a topmost concern. For full story, click here.

    IA: 319 Success Story: Yellow Smoke Lake, Iowa

    Installing Best Management Practices and Removing Silt Improved Bluegill Habitat in Lake

    EPA – January 23, 2014
    Shoreline erosion and runoff from local farms contributed excess sediment that negatively affected fish populations in Iowa’s Yellow Smoke Lake, prompting the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to add the lake to its Clean Water Act (CWA) section 303(d) list of impaired waters in 1998 for an aquatic life impairment. Landowners and farm operators installed terraces and grade stabilization structures to reduce runoff from the lake’s watershed. The Crawford County Conservation Board (CCCB) also removed silt from the lake. These improvements restored the lake’s aquatic life designated use, allowing DNR to classify Yellow Smoke Lake as restored in 2012. For full story, click here.

    KY: Kentucky Mining Plan Given the Go-Ahead

    By Kevin Koeninger – Courthouse News Service – March 13, 2014
    A mining company received a permit to discharge fill material into Kentucky waterways after the sufficient environmental testing, the 6th Circuit ruled.

    The Sierra Club and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth claimed that the testing by the Army Corps of Engineers did not meet federal guidelines under both the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

    In October 2012, the two groups sued the corps, Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick and Col. Luke Leonard, claiming the mitigation plan put forth for the mining operation did not adequately address public health concerns.

    Leeco Inc., which intervened in the case, modified its mitigation plan to lessen pollution to local watersheds numerous times before the Corps granted it the proper permits. It also agreed to pay the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources more than $750,000 for any environmental effects related to the discharge of fill material into nearby streams and waterways. For full story, click here.

    KY: Kentucky coal firm to pay USD 660,000 for illegal dumping into Appalachian

    CoalGuru – March 12, 2013
    Associated Press reported that a Kentucky coal company will pay USD 660,000 in fines for illegally dumping mining debris into Appalachian streams under a proposed order in federal court.

    Prosecutors with the US Justice Department said that Nally & Hamilton Enterprises violated the US Clean Water Act by dumping dirt and rock from mining at company sites in Harlan and Knott counties.

    According to a proposed consent decree filed in U.S. District Court, the company dumped in waterways at surface mines beyond the permitted limits and also dumped without a permit. The order is awaiting a signature by US District Judge Mr David Bunning.

    A spokeswoman for the US Environmental Protection Agency said that the amount is one of the largest fines ever against a coal company in Kentucky for environmental law violations.

    The consent decree was filed 2 days after the announcement that another coal operator, Alpha Natural Resources, agreed to pay USD 27.5 million for water pollution violations in five Appalachian states, including Kentucky. For full story, click here.

    KY: Beavers take over from engineers at restored Wilson Creek

    By James Bruggers – The Courier-Journal.com – February 28, 2014 – Video
    A decade after University of Louisville engineers put the meanders back in a Bernheim Forest creek, beavers have taken the environmental restoration to a new level.

    “The beavers are phase two,” said Andrew Berry, forest manager at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest.

    They have chewed there way through trees, building dams that have created ecologically rich wetlands and backwaters in Wilson Creek, in a remote area of the forest not typically open to the public, except guided nature excursions. For full story, click here.

    KY: Licking River Watershed Restoration Efforts Improve Water Quality

    EPA – January 27, 2014
    Nonpoint source pollution from urban and agricultural areas contributed to high levels of organic enrichment and low levels of dissolved oxygen (DO) in northern Kentucky's Licking River. As a result, a 4.6-mile segment at the mouth of the river failed to support its aquatic life designated use. In 2000 the Kentucky Division of Water (KDOW) added this segment to the Clean Water Act (CWA) section 303(d) list of impaired waters for low DO. Implementing best management practices (BMPs) and conducting outreach and education activities in target watersheds led to improved DO levels in the Licking River. Data collected in 2004 showed that river miles 0–4.6 of the Licking River met water quality standards and supported the river's aquatic life designated use, prompting KDOW to remove the segment from the state's list of impaired waters in 2006. For full story, click here.

    LA: As Louisiana's coast washes away, threatened communities face questions about their identity

    By Benjamin Alexander-Bloch – Nola-The Times-Picayume – March 14, 2014
    There are few changes more painful for a community than having to relocate in whole because their land is disappearing, but that's what some of Louisiana's coastal residents have had to face as erosion leaves them more vulnerable to flooding.

    That's why it's key that local and federal authorities working in our region and civic groups understand the nature of these communities before such relocation occurs, and how they can migrate while maintaining their roots, said experts at Friday the Building Resilience Workshop V at the University of New Orleans. For full story, click here.

    LA: Wetlands advocates: Energy firms knowingly broke laws

    WDSU News – March 13, 2014 – Video
    A local law firm that is suing members of the oil and gas industry for allegedly damaging state wetlands is laying out its claims that companies knew they were breaking certain laws. For full story and to view video, click here.

    LA: Swamp saving: Atchafalaya Basinkeeper presents awards for protecting wetlands at annual meeting

    Post South – March 13, 2014
    The Tulane Environmental Law Clinic and SouthWings earned honors for their work protecting Louisiana’s wetlands and the Atchafalaya Basin during Atchafalaya Basinkeeper’s annual meeting Feb. 23.

    The Tulane Environmental Law Clinic received the second-ever Super Swamper Award from Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, Louisiana Environmental Action Network and the Louisiana Crawfish Producers Association-West.

    The award was engraved, “Super Swamper Award. To the attorneys and students of the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic with tremendous gratitude for putting up a herculean fight to save what is left of Louisiana’s wetlands and the Atchafalaya Basin. You are Super Swampers and you are our heroes.”

    The clinic has provided years of pro-bono legal assistance helping to protect the environmental health of the basin and continues to ABK, LCPA-West and LEAN. For full story, click here.

    LA: In New Orleans courts, the legal gusher BP cannot contain

    By Steven Mufson – The Washington Post – February 28, 2014 – Photo Gallery
    After a blowout at its Macondo exploration well killed 11 workers, set fire to the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and triggered a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a contrite BP vowed to “make things right” and set aside $42.5 billion to do so.

    But nearly four years later, BP knows just how hard things can get in the Big Easy. For full story, click here.

    Wetland Breaking News: March 2014

    MA: A Summary of the Proposed Revisions to MassDEP’s Wetlands, Waterways, and Water Quality Certification Regulations

    Mass DEP – March 1, 2014
    After over two years of extensive work reviewing and incorporating public comments, receiving input from advisory committees and other stakeholders, MassDEP will be promulgating the wetlands and waterways regulatory revisions in early 2014. Prior to the effective date, application forms will be revised and workshops will be conducted the week of April 14. Workshop information can be found in MassDEP’s website. These changes to the Wetlands, Waterways (Chapter 91) and 401 Water Quality Certificate regulations are intended to save applicants, commissions, and MassDEP time and resources while maintaining fundamental environmental protections.

    In addition, revisions to the Wetlands Protection Act under Chapter 238 of the Acts of 2012 (An Act relative to infrastructure investment, enhanced competitiveness and economic growth in the Commonwealth) include changes to Abutter Notification, Emergency Provisions, and the Permit Extension Act as well as adding an exemption for the maintenance, repair and replacement of "sewer" as a public utility. For full story, click here.

    MN: PolyMet copper mine in northeastern Minn. gets cautious EPA approval

    By Josephine Marcotty – Star Triune – March 13, 2014
    After four years and $22 million, PolyMet Mining Corporation’s proposed copper mine in northeastern Minnesota cleared a major hurdle Thursday, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave plans for the controversial project a passing grade.

    The rating means that federal regulators still have concerns about potential environmental effects of the proposed $650 million project and that they want to see more analysis and a clearer explanation of how pollution problems will be resolved. Specifically, they asked for more detail on issues that have dogged the project for months: how long contaminated water will have to be treated in future decades and how PolyMet’s “financial assurance” will protect the state against unforeseen financial and environmental costs. For full story, click here.

    NE: Nebraska judge strikes down legislature’s move allowing Keystone XL route

    By Lenny Bernstein – The Washington Post – February 19, 2014
    A Nebraska judge Wednesday struck down a state law that allowed Gov. Dave Heineman to approve the route of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, a decision that could significantly delay the $5.3 billion project. Lancaster County District Judge Stephanie F. Stacy said the 2012 law violated the state constitution. She permanently blocked Heineman (R) and other defendants “from taking any action on the governor’s January 22, 2013 approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline route,” such as allowing land to be acquired by eminent domain for the project. For full story, click here.

    NJ: Hurricane Sandy gives the Wetlands Institute reason to rebuild marsh walkway

    Shore News Today – March 15, 2014
    While Hurricane Sandy was devastating, the storm has given The Wetlands Institute an opportunity to rebuild and improve.

    Last year, the institute opened its new dock during the Fall Migration Festival. This year, the organization is working on the next phase of rebuilding – a 720-foot-long elevated marsh walkway, complete with new research and education stations.

    The original marsh walkway, built in 1987, was 120 feet long, a straight out-and-back wooden structure off the Salt Marsh Trail, said Dr. Lenore Tedesco, executive director. For full story, click here.

    NJ: Coastal homeowners debate whether to rebuild or retreat

    By Donna Weaver – Press of Atlantic City – March 15, 2014
    Hurricane Sandy proved the Jersey Shore is not invincible and the sea level is still rising, so a quiet discussion has been building over the past 18 months about depopulating the coast.

    Some New Jersey residents and officials are adamant: Retreating from the coast is not going to happen — this is a salty-water culture that will not succumb to fear of another storm.

    Others, however, are still shell-shocked and undecided about staying near the water. For full story, click here.

    NJ: Tap water taste weird? Thank road salt and NJ's snowy winter

    By Ryan Hutchins – NJ.com – March 9, 2014
    To contend with one of the snowiest winters on record — with storm after storm pelting the state — New Jersey has caked its freeways, local streets and country roads in thick, powdery layers of salt.

    Or to put it another way: The state Transportation Department has used more than 460,000 tons of salt — nearly an 80 percent increase over last winter — enough to season a large order of McDonald’s french fries for every New Jerseyan every day for nearly 368 years.

    Now, as spring approaches, the consequences of using so much salt will become clear: The big thaw will float the chemical into lakes and streams, threatening freshwater fish and posing a risk to the water supplies of millions, experts say. For full story, click here.

    NJ: PA commits $30M to wetlands fund

    By James J. O’Neill – North Jersey.com – March 6, 2014
    The Port Authority plans to spend $30 million in northern New Jersey over the next decade to preserve wetlands and other coastal property that will help ensure the shoreline's resiliency and prevent property damage from storm surges.

    The money will fund the Hudson-Raritan Estuary Resource Program for another 10 years. The program started a decade ago when the Port Authority provided an initial $30 million for the purchase of parkland and to provide greater public access to the region's rivers and bays. For full story, click here.

    NY: Dredging up the truth

    By Brendan J. Lyons – Albany Times Union – March 8, 2014
    For years, as it fought against being forced to clean up the Hudson River, General Electric Co. argued that an oil-like insulating fluid that had seeped into the river from its Washington County capacitor plants wasn't harmful to humans.

    Besides, GE officials said, the river was cleaning itself.

    Yet newly uncovered documents reveal that as early as the 1960s — decades before the government ordered GE to undertake the river dredging that is scheduled to resume this spring — company officials were warned of the potential serious health threats of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which their engineers described in confidential memos as "hazardous waste."

    The documents also indicate that GE flushed far more PCBs into the river than government regulators have estimated, and that nearly a million pounds a year of additional PCBs were carted away by scavenger crews, dumped with an attitude characterized by a GE engineer in 1970 as "out of sight, out of mind." For full story and to view photos, click here.

    NC: DENR cuts jobs in wetlands restoration program’

    By Craig Jarvis – Newsobserver – March 14, 2014
    Nearly one-third of the jobs in the section of the state environmental agency that handles stream and wetlands restoration were eliminated this week.

    The cuts of 14 staff positions in the Ecosystem Enhancement Program follows the elimination of 68 jobs in the Division of Water Resources earlier this month, and continues a trend that has seen accelerated cuts to the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources over the past three years. “The loss of staff at EEP raises the question of whether the state of North Carolina will continue to provide high quality mitigation services in the future to protect our wetlands and water quality,” said Cassie Gavin, director of governmental relations for the North Carolina chapter of the Sierra Club.

    Environmental groups across the state have expressed alarm about regulatory rollbacks, budget cuts and staff reductions imposed by the General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration. DENR Secretary John Skvarla has come under particular criticism because of his “customer-friendly” philosophy, honed while he clashed with regulators when he was in the private sector. For full story, click here.

    NC: North Carolina continues to delete data on climate change

    By Susan Ladd News & Record March 17, 2014
    WRAL.com reported last week that information about climate change, available on the front page of the Division of Air Quality’s website as recently as two months ago, had been removed from the site.

    But DAQ, a division of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, kept its content longer than the primary DENR site. References to climate change started disappearing from that site in 2013.

    The News & Record documented the state’s reversal on climate change in a story last July.

    In an accompanying story about the effects of climate change on the Piedmont, one of the concerns mentioned is the potential for accidents at Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds adjacent to the Dan River.

    A little more than six months later, a pipe burst under one of those ponds, dumping thousands of tons of coal ash into the Dan River. As second pipe was also found to be leaking. For full story, click here.

    NC: While the seas rise in the Outer Banks and elsewhere in NC, science treads water

    By Bruce Siceloff – Newsobserver.com – March 15, 2014
    Coastal geologist Stan Riggs, who tracks the ups and downs of North Carolina’s shoreline, needed a bullhorn to make himself heard above a roaring nor’easter that had toyed with the Outer Banks for two days.

    He climbed down from the ridge of a DOT-built dune narrowly separating N.C. 12 from the boisterous Atlantic Ocean. A bleached house named WAVE BREAKER seemed to be stilt-walking into the surf – but, really, the island itself was slipping out from under this cottage in a shrinking subdivision called Mirlo Beach. For full story, click here.

    NC: Questions as More Wastewater Flows in North Carolina

    By Trip Gabriel – New York Times – March 15, 2014
    Duke Energy, the giant utility whose spill of toxic waste into a North Carolina river last month is under federal investigation, released wastewater last week from a second site near Raleigh that state regulators said could be illegal.

    Aerial photographs of two Duke coal ash ponds at the head of the Cape Fear River show portable pumps and hoses that appear to be siphoning water into a canal leading to the river. For full story, click here.

    For other stories on this topic, click here and here.

    NC: Duke Energy’s $1 billion cleanup: Who would pay?

    By John Murawski – Charlotte Observer – March 9, 2014
    As public pressure builds to dig up coal ash from waste lagoons in North Carolina, Duke Energy is facing a potentially massive cleanup bill that the Charlotte electric utility has been trying to dodge.

    Early indications suggest Duke’s price tag could approach $1 billion, based on ash removal expenses in South Carolina. Deciding who pays the bill – Duke’s customers or its shareholders – would pose another challenge. For full story, click here.

    NC: Ash Spill Shows How Watchdog Was Defanged

    By Trip Gabriel – New York Times – February 28, 2014
    Last June, state employees in charge of stopping water pollution were given updated marching orders on behalf of North Carolina’s new Republican governor and conservative lawmakers. “The General Assembly doesn’t like you,” an official in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources told supervisors called to a drab meeting room here. “They cut your budget, but you didn’t get the message. And they cut your budget again, and you still didn’t get the message.” But when the nation’s largest utility, Duke Energy, spilled 39,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River in early February, those big changes were suddenly playing out in a different light. Federal prosecutors have begun a criminal investigation into the spill and the relations between Duke and regulators at the environmental agency. For full story, click here.

    OH: Government agencies at odds over dumping of dredged Cuyahoga River sediments into Lake Erie

    By Bob Downing – Ohio.com – February 25, 2014
    Two government agencies are at odds over whether sediments from the Cuyahoga River and Cleveland Harbor are clean enough to dump in Lake Erie.

    The fight pits unlikely rivals: the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

    The Corps wants to dump some of the Cuyahoga River sediments into Lake Erie for the first time in 40 years. The Ohio EPA is not sold on that plan. For full story, click here.

    OR: Saving Sturgeon Lake: Conservation district seeks money to stop the slow disappearance of Sauvie Island's tidal lake

    By Kelly House – The Oregonlive – February 22, 2014
    Sturgeon Lake doesn't have sturgeon anymore.

    They lived here back when the lake was still deep enough for water skiers and windsurfers to skim across its surface.

    "It hasn't been that kind of a playground for years," said Martha Berndt, a Sauvie Island resident who lives on the one of the lake's main tributaries.

    In fact, the waterbody covering much of the island's northern half is steadily disappearing. During the driest late summer days, most of Sturgeon Lake isn't a lake at all. Much of its 3,000 acres becomes a mud flat.

    If something doesn't change soon, "the lake is going to continue to diminish, and diminish, and diminish," said Dick Springer, manager of the West Multnomah County Soil & Water Conservation District. For full story and to view photos, click here.

    PA: Freshwater Research Scientist to Deliver Healthy Streams Program for Area Farmers

    Bctv.org – March 13, 2014
    Farmers and rural landowners in Lebanon and Berks counties are invited to attend one of two free programs that include lunch, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., March 31 in Shartlesville, and April 2 in Myerstown, during which Bernard Sweeney, Ph.D., director of the Stroud Water Research Center, will present information about streams and how they can be improved.

    Following Sweeney’s presentation, speakers from Berks and Lebanon County Conservation Districts, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service and Penn State Extension’s Nutrient Management Education Program will present programs about water quality, compliance, and profitable farm production. Both programs will be the same and are geared for farmers in the Tulpehocken and nearby watersheds. For full story, click here.

    PA: Pa. DEP slow to act on Alpha Natural Resources coal mining offenses

    By Anya Litvak – Daily Reporter – March 8, 2014
    Alpha Natural Resources regularly reported chronic coal mining violations of the federal Clean Water Act to the state Department of Environmental Protection, but the company was not fined until a federal investigation uncovered those offenses.

    In an investigation that spanned several years and culminated in a $27.5 million fine Wednesday covering Alpha operations that polluted waterways in five Appalachian states, the federal Environmental Protection Agency found that Alpha's own water-monitoring reports showed about 1,600 violations that didn't rise to the DEP's focus. For full story, click here.

    PA: Lancaster city a national model for "green" infrastructure

    By Bernard Harris – Lancaster News – March 4, 2014
    Briefly, in the cold on Tuesday morning, Lancaster city officials and federal Environmental Protection Agency administrators admired the new paving stones in an alley behind 317 N. Mulberry St.

    The pavers did more than just look nice and provide a foundation for cars and trucks to drive upon. They also allow 408,000 gallons of rainwater per year to soak into the ground.

    And that makes economic sense, said Shawn Garvin, the EPA’s regional administrator.

    The project, part of a 25-year, $140 million plan, will help Lancaster deal with its stormwater pollution problem at the same time it benefits the quality of life in the city, Garvin said. For full story, click here.

    SC: Duke Energy could avoid coal ash lawsuit if SC bill passes

    By Sammy Fretwell – The Isalnd Packet – February 28, 2014
    South Carolina policymakers are moving ahead with a plan that could shield Duke Energy from having to clean out polluted coal ash ponds in two areas of the state.

    This past week, the state House voted 80-30 for a bill that will block lawsuits by citizens groups under the S.C. Pollution Control Act. The bill now moves to the Senate, which signed off on a similar bill two years ago. For full story, click here.

    TX: Dry Wichita Falls to try drinking ‘potty water’

    By Steve Campbell – Star-Telegram – March 15, 2014
    Wichita Falls has cinched its water conservation belt as tight as it will go and the drought-parched Texas city soon hopes to open the spigot on its source of last resort: potty water.

    The city releases about 8 million gallons from a wastewater treatment plant into the Red River daily and Wichita Falls officials are now awaiting state regulatory approval for a project that will recycle and recapture 5 million gallons of the effluent.

    “This 5 million gallons is going to be extremely important,” said public works director Russell Schreiber, who notes that Wichita Fall’s three storage reservoirs are hovering at about 26 percent capacity despite a dramatic reduction in water use. For full story, click here.

    VA: For city of Norfolk, park becomes wetlands once again

    By Aaron Applegate – Pilot Online.com – February 20, 2014
    The grassy area was supposed to be a park, but it's usually a soggy mess. Not far away, another neighborhood "park" on the Lafayette River is often a mud flat. The solution? Turn them back to what they once were: wetlands. It's one of many strategies city officials are using as they grapple with chronic flooding caused by stormwater runoff and sea level rise. The projects also might help the city meet new state and federal rules for cleaning up runoff. For full story, click here.

    WA: Washington receives federal grant funding to enhance and restore diminishing wetlands

    Washington Department of Ecology – February 10, 2014
    The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) was awarded $2.2 million in grant funding by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support three critical coastal wetland projects in Washington state.

    Washington was one of 12 states and Puerto Rico to receive funding under the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grants Program. For full news release, click here.

    WA: An Undammed River’s Sediment Brings New Life Downstream

    Earth Fix OPB – March 11, 2014 – Video
    Anne Shaffer sits on the sandy shoreline of the Elwha River and looks around in amazement. Just two years ago, this area would have been under about 20 feet of water.

    So far about 3 million cubic yards of sediment — enough to fill about 300,000 dump trucks — has been released from the giant bathtubs of sediment that formed behind the two hydroelectric dams upstream. And that’s only 16 percent of what’s expected to be delivered downstream in the next five years.

    All of that sediment is already reshaping the mouth of the Elwha, which empties into the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the northern shore of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.  For full story and to view video, click here.

    WA: Concerns Raised About Hanford Tanks

    Trivalley Central Casa Grande Dispatch – March 1, 2014
    There are “significant construction flaws” in some newer, double-walled storage tanks at Washington state’s Hanford nuclear waste complex, which could lead to additional leaks, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

    Those tanks hold some of the worst radioactive waste at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site. For full story, click here.

    WV: Alpha to pay $27.5 million in water pollution settlement

    By Ken Ward, Jr. – WV Gazette – March 5, 2014
    Alpha Natural Resources will pay $27.5 million in fines as part of a deal that also requires the company to improve its water treatment practices to resolve what federal regulators say is "a long history of noncompliance with the Clean Water Act."

    Bristol, Va.-based Alpha reached the proposed settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which in court records outlined nearly 6,300 violations of pollution limits at the company's operations across the Appalachian coalfields. For full story, click here.

    WI: Army Corps OKs money to address Great Lakes' 'hole in the dike'

    By Dan Egan – Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel – March 17, 2014
    Years of pushing for action by property owners along Lakes Michigan and Huron have finally prompted the federal government to explore an engineering fix to the low water plaguing the lakes for the past 15 years.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has set aside a small amount of money this year to dust off a plan to install water-slowing structures on the St. Clair River, which is the primary outflow for Lakes Michigan and Huron.

    That original St. Clair riverbed restoration plan was designed to compensate the lakes for water lost due to a 1960s dredging of the St. Clair to enable freighters to sail into the upper Great Lakes.

    That work was never done.

    Levels on Lakes Michigan and Huron are in constant flux, varying by about a foot from season to season and by several feet over the course of a decade. For full article, click here.

    WY: EPA Threatens Wyoming Man With Huge Fines Over Stock Pond

    By Todd Beamon – Newsmax – March 14, 2014
    A Wyoming welder faces as much as $75,000 a day in fines for building a stock pond on his farm that the Environmental Protection Agency says violates the federal Clean Water Act.

    But the EPA told Johnson that he violated the law by constructing a dam on a creek without a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, Fox reports. The agency also contends that material from the pond affects other waterways.

    Johnson, who has countered that his pond is exempt from the law, told Fox that he followed state regulations in building it and said that it was approved by the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office.

    “Said permit is in good standing and is entitled to be exercised exactly as permitted,” the state office said in an April 4, 2012, Johnson showed to Fox.

    The EPA said that final approved fell within its purview — and the agency has ordered Johnson to develop a plan to restore the property or be fined $37,500 per day in civil penalties, along with $37,500 more every day for statutory violations. For full story, click here.

    WETLAND SCIENCE

    Wetland Breaking News: March 2014

    Alberta fish kill this year could be worst ever (with video)

    By Chris Zdeb – Edmonton Journal – March 16, 2014
    Thousands of desperate sucker fish are fighting for their lives by poking their heads out of the open icy water of Lake Isle trying to breathe the air.

    The suckers are what’s left after the walleye and pike did the same thing before they died off several years ago.

    “That’s almost always a sign that in the next few weeks we’re going to have a serious fish kill,” says Michael Sullivan, the fish science specialist with Alberta Fish and Wildlife.

    A fish kill is a die-off of thousands of fish most often because of reduced oxygen in the water due to drought, algae bloom, overpopulation, or a sustained increase in water temperature. For full story and to view video, click here.

    Invasive Asian Carp Found Breeding in "Surprising" Location

    By Brian Clark Howard – National Geographic – March 11, 2014
    One of the most reviled invasive fish in North America has been unexpectedly found in the upper Mississippi River, raising concern about its spread, federal scientists announced Tuesday.

    The invasive Asian carp has been breeding and spreading across the U.S. for more than 20 years, "but we were surprised that they got up so far," says Cindy Kolar, a science adviser on invasive species for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

    On Tuesday, USGS said its scientists found Asian carp eggs, including late-stage embryos nearly ready to hatch, in samples taken in 2013 from the upper Mississippi River in Lynxville, Wisconsin. That's 250 river miles (400 kilometers) upstream of their previously known reproductive populations.  For full article, click here.

    VIMS professor links sea star die-off to blue crab, lobster diseases: Rising sea temperature, contaminants to blame

    By Cortney Langley – The Virginia Gazette – March 11, 2014
    As dramatic videos of the West Coast sea star die-off make the rounds on social media, a Virginia Institute of Marine Science professor has been quietly studying similar catastrophes closer to home.

    "Two years ago, there was a smaller mortality event on the East Coast," said Marine Science Professor Jeffrey Shields, who specializes in parasitic and microbial diseases. "What's more disconcerting is that we don't know what's causing it. With the sea stars, their epidermis is being attacked by something."

    Shields sees parallels between the "Sea Star Wasting Syndrome," as the mysterious attack has come to be known, and his own research into similar infections in crabs and lobsters. VIMS is also working on a sea star pathogen in the Gloucester lab.  For full story and to view photos, click here.

    Climate change may be causing a global coffee shortage

    By Eric Holthaus – Chicago Tribune – February 26, 2014
    If there was ever a reason to rise up in support of a benevolent climate-obsessed world dictator, this could be it. An epic drought — Brazil's worst in decades — is threatening exports from the world's largest coffee exporter and driving up wholesale prices worldwide. We've officially entered the realm of bloggers' worst-case scenario. The current run on coffee is an example of the kinds of follow-on effects to be expected as the climate warms and rainfall patterns become more erratic. The ongoing lack of rainfall, coupled with record high temperatures across the whole of southeast South America during the current Southern Hemisphere summer, is just the kind of extreme weather event that's been becoming more common over recent years. In an era of scientific consensus that we humans are doing this to ourselves, this shouldn't come as a surprise. For full story, click here.

    Limits sought on weed killer glyphosate to help monarch butterflies

    By Louis Sahagun – Los Angeles Times – February 25, 2014
    With monarch butterfly populations rapidly dwindling, a conservation organization on Monday asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement tougher rules for the weed killer glyphosate — first marketed under the brand name Roundup — to save America’s most beloved insect from further decline.

    In a petition, the Natural Resources Defense Council argued that current uses of glyphosate are wiping out milkweed, the only plant upon which monarch caterpillars feed. The loss of milkweed is having a devastating effect on the life cycles of the large, fragile orange-and-black butterflies, which migrate through the United States, Canada and Mexico.

    It takes several generations of the insect scientists know as Danaus plexippus to make the round trip because each monarch lives only a few weeks in the summer. For full story, click here.

    Science Takes On a Silent Invader

    By Robert H. Boyler – The New York Times – February 24, 2014
    Since they arrived in the Great Lakes in the 1980s, two species of mussels the size of pistachios have spread to hundreds of lakes and rivers in 34 states and have done vast economic and ecological damage. These silent invaders, the quagga and zebra mussels, have disrupted ecosystems by devouring phytoplankton, the foundation of the aquatic food web, and have clogged the water intakes and pipes of cities and towns, power plants, factories and even irrigated golf courses. For full story, click here.

    Volcanoes contributing to hiatus in global warming: study

    The Sydney Morning Herald – February 24, 2014
    Small volcanic eruptions help explain a hiatus in global warming this century by dimming sunlight and offsetting a rise in emissions of heat-trapping gases to record highs, a study showed on Sunday. Eruptions of at least 17 volcanoes since 2000, including Nabro in Eritrea, Kasatochi in Alaska and Merapi in Indonesia, ejected sulphur whose sun-blocking effect had been largely ignored until now by climate scientists, it said. The pace of rising world surface temperatures has slowed since an exceptionally warm 1998, heartening those who doubt that an urgent, trillion-dollar shift to renewable energies from fossil fuels is needed to counter global warming. For full story, click here.

    UK: Wildlife casualties of floods grow amid fears over 'polluted' wetlands

    By John Vidal – The Guardian – February 22, 2014
    The terrible loss of lives and homes has been well documented, but the damage to populations of birds, mammals, fish and insects, and habitats, will also have a long-term impact on the ecosystem seals, moles, hedgehogs, badgers, mice, earthworms and a host of insects and seabirds are among the unseen casualties of the floods, storms and torrential rains of the last few weeks, say wildlife groups. For full story, click here.

    Climate Change Affects Insect Distribution

    By J. Travis Smith – Nature World News – February 21, 2014
    As climate change progresses in the coming decades, it is likely to have "profound implications" for the distribution of insects and other invertebrates around the globe, according to a new study. As warm-blooded animals, humans have been able to adapt to varying weather conditions and are found on every continent on Earth. Conversely, cold-blooded (ectothermic) animals, such as insects, must live in climates where the ambient temperature allows their biological processes to function. For full story, click here.

    As Arctic Melts, Marine Mammals Become Sentinels for Disease

    By Jude Isabella – The Tyee – February 18, 2014
    Massive ice loss in the Arctic is like a game of craps for scientists -- they can make some guesses about what an ice-free north could mean, but mostly they're just watching as some species catch a lucky break, and some don't, including humans. Vibrio bacteria responsible for paralytic shellfish poisoning in humans, for example, have headed north with warmer waters. But the most recent big news is the discovery ofToxoplasma gondii in western Arctic beluga whales, a traditional food of some Inuit communities. Michael Grigg, a molecular biologist with the University of British Columbia's Marine Mammal Unit, reported the news at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Meeting. For full story, click here.

    As Fracking Booms, Growing Concerns About Wastewater

    By Roger Real Drouin – Environment 360 – February 18, 2014
    An hour south of Pittsburgh, in Pennsylvania’s Washington County, millions of gallons of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing wells are stored in large impoundment ponds and so-called "closed container" tanks. The wastewater is then piped to treatment plants, where it is cleaned up and discharged into streams; trucked to Ohio and pumped deep down injection wells; or reused in other fracking operations.

    But tracking where the fracking wastewater from Washington County and sites across the United States ends up — and how much pollution it causes — is exceedingly difficult. In a study conducted last year, researchers from the environmental consulting firm, Downstream Strategies, attempted to trace fracking water — from water withdrawal to wastewater disposal — at several wells in the Marcellus Shale formation in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. For full story, click here.


    RESOURCES AND PUBLICATIONS

    Wetland Breaking News: March 2014

    Wetland Program Plans Handbook

    ASWM September – 2013
    ASWM's Wetland Program Plan Handbook provides states and tribes with guidance and resource materials to support the development of wetland program plans. This handbook is the culmination of a two-year project carried out by the Association of State Wetland Managers through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with additional support from the McKnight Foundation and The Orchard Foundation. Wetland Program Plans can establish priorities, set short and long term program development goals and provide states and tribes with a blueprint for future action. A wetland plan must be tailored to the unique opportunities and challenges that occur in a given state or on tribal lands. Therefore this document does not provide a recipe for developing a Wetland Program Plans Handbook wetland program plan. Rather, it provides information about the different components that can be part of a plan and explores how a state or tribe might develop a plan.

    This document is divided into four major sections. The chapters in the overview section cover the planning process. The second section addresses each of the Core Elements that may be part of a wetland program plan: Regulation, Voluntary Restoration, Water Quality Standards for Wetlands, and Monitoring and Assessment. Section three discusses effective communication and the final section addresses program funding. References at the end of sections and appendices provide supplemental information and direct readers to reports, web pages and other resources that provide more information. To download the Wetland Program Plans Handbook, click here.

    NEW EPA Report: Greening CSO Plans: Planning and Modeling Green Infrastructure for Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Control

    Greening CSO Plans: Planning and Modeling Green Infrastructure for Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Control EPA – March 2014
    In March 2014, EPA released a planning resource to provide municipalities and sewer authorities with tools to help quantify green infrastructure contributions to an overall CSO control plan. Communities with combined sewers often view green infrastructure as an attractive way to reduce stormwater flows going into the sewer system, thus helping to reduce capital and operational costs at publicly owned treatment works (POTWs). This resource explains how to use modeling tools such as EPA's Storm Water Management Model (SWMM) to optimize different combinations of gray and green infrastructure. To download full report, Greening CSO Plans: Planning and Modeling Green Infrastructure for Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Control, click here.

    Coastal Blue Carbon Opportunity Assessment for the Snohomish Estuary: The Climate Benefits of Estuary Restoration

    Restore America’s Estuaries – February 2014
    This landmark report demonstrates the carbon sequestration benefits of restoring tidal wetlands in the Snohomish estuary in Puget Sound, Wash. The report was prepared by Restore America’s Estuaries, Ecological Science Associates (ESA), Western Washington University, and EarthCorps. Authors By Steve Crooks, John Rybczyk, Keeley O’Connell, Danielle L. Devier, Katrina Poppe, Steve Emmett-Mattox. To download report, click here.

    Central Hardwoods Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis: A Report from the Central Hardwoods Climate Change Response Framework Project

    U.S. Forest Service – 2014
    The forests in the Central Hardwoods Region will be affected directly and indirectly by a changing climate over the next 100 years. This assessment evaluates the vulnerability of terrestrial ecosystems in the Central Hardwoods Region of Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri to a range of future climates. Information on current forest conditions, observed climate trends, projected climate changes, and impacts to forest ecosystems was considered in order to assess vulnerability to climate change. Mesic upland forests were determined to be the most vulnerable to projected changes in climate, whereas many systems adapted to fire and drought, such as open woodlands, savannas, and glades, were perceived as less vulnerable. Projected changes in climate and the associated ecosystem impacts and vulnerabilities will have important implications for economically valuable timber species, forest-dependent wildlife and plants, recreation, and long-range planning. For more information and to download this report, Central Hardwoods Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis: A Report from the Central Hardwoods Climate Change Response Framework Project, click here.

    POTPOURRI

    Wetland Breaking News: March 2014

    As Dow seeks growth, new Enlist crop/chemicals seen as key

    Chicago Tribune – March 10, 2014
    Dan Kittle has spent more than a decade waiting for this day. As the man in charge of research and development at Dow AgroSciences, the unit of Dow Chemical Co that develops agricultural seeds and pesticides, Kittle remembers the "big shock" when rival Monsanto Co unveiled a genetically modified seed in 1996 designed to be used in combination with a specific herbicide, a combination that rapidly led Monsanto to riches. Since then, Monsanto has become the world's largest seed company with $15 billion in annual sales, up roughly 200 percent from a decade ago, and Kittle and a team of Dow researchers have been working to catch up. For full story, click here.

    Center for Food Safety sues USDA over genetically modified alfalfa

    By David Pierson – Los Angeles Times – March 13, 2014
    A food safety group filed a lawsuit in hopes of forcing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to release documents in court that could explain why the federal agency approved genetically engineered alfalfa despite its misgivings about environmental safety.

    The Washington-based Center for Food Safety said Thursday the USDA may have come under pressure by seed giant Monsanto Co. to grant approval of its Roundup Ready alfalfa, which is designed to withstand multiple applications of herbicide. For full story, click here.

    Study: In some cases, pipelines can rebuild wetlands more cheaply than diversions

    By Bob Marshall – The Lens – March 14, 2014
    A recently published study by a team of economists from Louisiana State University and Mississippi State University disputes the state’s claim that large sediment diversions are more cost-effective than slurry pipelines when building new land to replace Louisiana’s sinking wetlands.

    The study concluded that some pipeline projects are more cost-effective because they build land quickly, while diversions take longer to construct and don’t create land for many years.

    But the study also found there were limits to the advantages of pipelines. Pipes have a better cost-benefit ratio when the land-building takes place fewer than 20 miles from the sediment site; diversions perform better over longer distances and in time frames exceeding 50 years.  For full story, click here.

    Troubled waters: Nuclear radiation found in B.C. may pose health concerns

    By Larry Pynn – Vancouver Sun – March 12, 2014
    A radioactive metal from the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan has been discovered in the Fraser Valley, causing researchers to raise the alarm about the long-term impact of radiation on B.C.’s west coast.

    Examination of a soil sample from Kilby Provincial Park, near Agassiz, has for the first time in this province found Cesium 134, further evidence of Fukushima radioactivity being transported to Canada by air and water. For full story, click here.

    Half of U.S. Farmland Being Eyed by Private Equity

    By Carey L. Biron – Before It's news – February 19, 2014
    An estimated 400 million acres of farmland in the United States will likely change hands over the coming two decades as older farmers retire, even as new evidence indicates this land is being strongly pursued by private equity investors. Mirroring a trend being experienced across the globe, this strengthening focus on agriculture-related investment by the private sector is already leading to a spike in U.S. farmland prices. Coupled with relatively weak federal policies, these rising prices are barring many young farmers from continuing or starting up small-scale agricultural operations of their own. In the long term, critics say, this dynamic could speed up the already fast-consolidating U.S. food industry, with broad ramifications for both human and environmental health. For full story, click here.

    WEBINARS


    MEETINGS


    TRAINING


    SPECIAL EVENTS
     









    WEBINARS














    MARCH





     








    March 25, 2014
    12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. EST







    The Ohio State University Webinar: Adaptation and forest management in Great Lakes Forests








    March 25, 2014
    1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. EST







    EPA's Watershed Academy free webcast: Improve Water Quality by Using Cover Crops and Other Conservation Practices








    March 26, 2014
    2:00 p.m. EST






    Webinar: Wetland Restoration Hydrology and Design Overview sponsored by Southern Regional Extension Forestry








    March 28, 2014
    12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m.







    Environmental Law Institute Webinar Series: In-Lieu Fee Mitigation Training








    APRIL














    APRIL 3, 2014
    2:00 p.m. EST






    U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center Webinar: Integrated Scenarios of the Future Northeast Environment








    April 9, 2014
    1:00 p.m.-2 p.m. EST







    EPA's Climate Ready Water Utilities Webinar: Decision-Making in Practice-Florida Case Studies

    Click on the "Training Tab" to register.








    April 23, 2014
    1:00 p.m.-2 p.m. EST






    EPA's Climate Ready Water Utilities Webinar: Communicating Climate Risks

    Click on the "Training Tab" to register.








    MAY














    May 28, 2014
    1:00 p.m.-2 p.m. EST







    EPA's Climate Ready Water Utilities Webinar: Financing Adaptation

    Click on the "Training Tab" to register.









    JUNE














    June 11, 2014
    1:00-3:00 p.m. EST







    The Center for Watershed Protection Webcast: How To Pick The Right Vegetation for Bioretention & Its Cousins








    SEPTEMBER














    September 10, 2014
    1:00-3:00 p.m. EST






    Center for Watershed Protection Webcast:  Stream Restoration as a Pollutant Reduction Strategy








    OCTOBER/NOVEMBER














    October 8, 2014 1:00-3:00 p.m. EST


    November 12, 2014 1:00-3:00 p.m. EST







    Webcast: Series 2: Implementing TMDLs


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

    Series 2, Session 2: Retrofitting Existing Stormwater Ponds & Basins (November)









    MEETINGS














    MARCH














    March 20, 2014
    Southbury, Connecticut







    17th Annual Meeting of the Connecticut Association of Wetland Scientists: Research, Case Studies & Anecdotes: The Latest in Wetland Science

    To download a brochure, click here.








    March 22, 2014





    World Water Day 2014: Water and Energy
    For events, click here.








    March 24, 2014
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania






    The U.S. Water Alliance’s Business Advisory Council and Environmental Banc and Exchange: Banking on Ecological Success in Appalachia: Water, Species, Standards and Trends








    March 26, 2014
    Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine






    Maine Association of Wetland Scientist (MAWS): 2014 MAWS Winter Conference and Annual Meeting









    March 26-28, 2014
    Burlington, Vermont







    New England Association of Environmental Biologists (NEAEB) Annual Conference: NEAEB 2014 Reboot!

    Statistical Workshop for Water Resources will be held on March 25-26, 2014.








    March 26-29, 2014
    University of Montana, Missoula, Montana






    85th Annual Conference of the Northwest Scientific Association: The Future of Forests & Forest Management Change, Uncertainty, & Adaptation








    March 30-April 4, 2014
    Denver, Colorado       






    American Water Works Association: Sustainable Water Management Conference








    APRIL














    April 2-4, 2014
    Tulsa, Oklahoma






    2014 Great Plains LID Research and Innovation Symposium









    April 3, 2014
    Hickory, North Carolina






    Water Resources Research Institute (WRRI) of the University of North Carolina Workshop: Erosion and Sedimentation Control Planning and Design








    April 4-5, 2014
    State College, Pennsylvania






    Society of Wetland Scientists Mid-Atlantic Chapter Conference: Wetland Mitigation, Restoration and Ecology

    There will also be a special workshop led by Dr. Robert Brooks of Penn State University and Riparian on Using Natural Reference Wetland Data for Wetlands Mitigation and Restoration Projects.








    April 7-9, 2014
    Springfield, Massachusetts







    Northeast Natural History Conference: A Forum for Current Research

    The Vermont Center for Ecostudies is organizing a half-day Vernal Pool Mapping and Conservation Workshop at the Sheraton Springfield in cooperation with the NENHC on Monday April 7th Noon—5 pm.









    April 8, 2014
    Washington, DC







    U.S. Water Alliance Business Advisory Council: The Northwest Experience with Water Quality Trading for Compliance









    April 9, 2014

    Golden, Colorado






    2014 Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) Rocky Mountain Chapter Annual Meeting








    April 24-25, 2014
    The New School, New York, New York







    The Center for Public Scholarship 31st Social Research Conference: "Climate Change Demands We Change. Why Aren't We?,"








    April 25-26, 2014
    Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts






    The Society for Ecological Restoration-New England Chapter and the Conway School Conference: Designing for Success: Ecological Restoration








    MAY














    May 5-8, 2014
    Southwestern Research Station, Portal, Arizona






    Wetland Restoration and Creation Workshop hosted by Sky Island Alliance









    May 8-9, 2014
    Lansing, Michigan







    Michigan Department of Environmental Quality: Michigan Green Infrastructure Conference: Protecting Water Resources and Promoting Economic Development









    May 12-14, 2014
    Washington, D.C.







    The Association of Climate Change Officers: Climate Strategies Forum









    May 15-17, 2014
    Portland, Oregon







    3rd Symposium on Urbanization and Stream Ecology









    May 19-21, 2014
    Manchester, New Hampshire






    Local Solutions: Northeast Climate Change Preparedness Conference & Educators Summit hosted by Antioch University New England and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Regions 1 and 2








    May 26-29, 2014
    Tallinn, Estonia, Germany







    6th IEEE/Oceanic Engineering Society Baltic Symposium 2014: “Measuring and Modeling of Multi-Scale Interactions in the Marine Environment”








    May 26 30, 2014
    McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada







    International Association for Great Lakes Research 57th Annual Conference: Ecosystem in Transition









    JUNE














    June 1-6, 2014
    Seattle, Washington







    Association of State Floodplain Mangers Annual National Conference: Making Room for Floods & Fish









    June 9-11, 2014
    University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin







    University of Massachusetts Amherst: International Conference: Engineering & Ecohydrology for Fish Passage (Fish Passage 2014)









    June 13-15, 2014
    Denver, Colorado







    20th International Interdisciplinary Conference on the Environment

    Call for papers deadline is May 1, 2014.









    June 22-June 25, 2014
    Broomfield, Colorado







    39th Annual Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop









    JULY














    July 27-August 1, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas






    16th Annual EPA Region 6 Stormwater Conference









    AUGUST














    August 10-15, 2014
    Sacramento, California







    99th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America: From Oceans to Mountains: It’s All Ecology

    Abstract deadline is February 27, 2014.








    SEPTEMBER














    September 14-18, 2014
    Huesca, Spain







    International Wetlands Conference: Wetland Biodiversity and Services: Tools for Socio-Ecological Development

    Abstract deadline is June 1, 2014.








    NOVEMBER














    November 1-6, 2014
    Gaylord National Convention Center, Washington, D.C.







    Restore America’s Estuaries 7th National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration and 24th Biennial Meeting of The Coastal Society: Inspiring Action, Creating Resilience

    Call for proposals deadline is February 28, 2014.








    November 17-20, 2014
    Charlotte, North Carolina







    North Carolina State University: EcoStream - Stream Ecology and Restoration Conference

    Abstract deadline is June 1, 2014.








    TRAINING














    APRIL














    April 8-9, 2014
    Charleston, South Carolina







    Course: Problem and Atypical Wetland Delineation – Coastal Plain offered by Duncan & Duncan

    This course will also be held on December 4-5, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. For a complete list of wetland courses for 2013, click here.








    April 29-May 1, 2014
    Asheville, North Carolina







    North Carolina State University Course: Stream Morphology Assessment. For a list of other courses offered, click here.









    April 29-May 2, 2014
    Watershed Stewardship Center, Parma, Ohio







    Stream Functions Pyramid Workshop offered by Stream Mechanics is partnering with Cleveland Metroparks and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District









    MAY














    May 12-July 24, 2014
    University of Louisville Speed School of Enginering







    Online Wetland Design Class, University of Louisville

    Speed School Summer Session, Graduate Level, 3-credits. Registration is open until April 12 for new U of L graduate students. The course begins May 12 and ends July 24, 2014.

    Contact Instructor Tom Biebighauser for more information.









    May 13-15, 2014 Asheville, North Carolina







    North Carolina State University is offering a course on Natural Channel Design Principles For a complete course schedule, click here.









    May 23-May 25, 2014
    Rossland, BC







    BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) Wetlandkeepers Course









    May 30-June 1, 2014 Meadow Creek, BC







    BC Wildlife Federation Workshop: Wetland Restoration Design









    JUNE














    June 10-17, 2014
    Williams, Arizona







    Duck Lake Restoration Project Workshop

    Please contact  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to reserve a place at one or both days.









    June 16-17, 2014
    Valle Crucis, North Carolina








    River Course 131: Assessment and Identification of Riparian VegetationNorth Carolina State University  

    For a list of other courses offered, click here.










    June 24-25, 2014
    Mass Audubon Long Pasture Sanctuary,  Barnstable, Massachusetts







    Wetland Restoration Workshop for Professionals

    Please contact Ian Ives for more information at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it









    June 30-August 8, 2014







    Online Wetland Restoration Techniques Class, State University of New York-Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF), Summer Session II. Undergraduate and Graduate level, 3-credits. Instructed by Tom Biebighauser.

    Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information, or visit ESF.









    JULY














    July 8-10, 2014
    Raleigh, North Carolina







    North Carolina State University Course: HEC-RAS for Stream Restoration.

    For a list of other courses offered, click here.









    July 22-24, 2014
    Asheville, North Carolina







    North Carolina State University, Stream Restoration Program Course: Introduction to Taxonomy and Pollution Ecology of Aquatic Insects

    For a list of other courses offered, click here.









    July 29-30, 2014







    Wetland Restoration Techniques Practicum Course,


    State University of New York-Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF), Summer Session II.

    Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information, or visit ESF.









    SEPTEMBER














    September 13-19, 2014
    Logan Lake, BC







    British Columbia Technical Institute (BCIT) Wetland Restoration Techniques Field Course

    Contact Dr. Doug  Ransome for more information: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it









    OCTOBER














    October 20-22, 2014
    Napels, Florida







    Everglades Wetland Research Park Course: Creation and Restoration of Wetlands

    Instructors: William J. Mitsch and Roy R. “Robin" Lewis, III.









    SPECIAL EVENTS       








    May 2014





    American Wetlands Month: Learn! Explore! Take Action!

    For more information, click here.










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

    Wetland Breaking News: March 2014

    JOBS

    There are new jobs posted on the Wetland Jobs board. For the latest wetland jobs, click here.



    INDEX

    EDITOR'S NOTE

    EDITOR'S CHOICE

    Climate change to change life as we know it, says UN report

    President Obama Will Sign Flood Insurance Relief Bill

    U.S. Department of Transportation Announces TIGER Discretionary Grant Program Focus on Capital Projects

    Study Demonstrates Climate Benefits of Estuary Restoration

    Tip of the Month: Read the USFWS Report

    Wetland Mapping Consortium Webinar

      NATIONAL NEWS

      Southeast: Alpha Natural Resources to spend more than $200 million as part of consent decree

      BP regains ability to bid on leases for U.S. land, water

      Is coal ash safe to use on roads? Some experts are not so sure

      Oceans of trouble for U.S. taxpayers

      House votes to limit environmental reviews

      Groups sue EPA to force it to move on pesticide disclosures

      EPA settlements restore wetlands across Southeast

      Washington DC – Reforming the Corps of Engineers

      States move to limit EPA’s clean water authority

      USGS releases watershed maps that cross U.S.-Canada border

      Fertilizer Limits Sought Near Lake Erie to Fight Spread of Algae

      Federal Highway Administration Announces Climate Adaptation Case Studies

      Bureau of Indian Affairs Announces FY 2014 Funding Opportunity to Support Tribes Addressing Challenges of Climate Change

      USDA Announces Regional Hubs to Help Agriculture, Forestry Mitigate Impacts of Changing Climate

      EPA Provides $1.5 Million in Grants to Protect Wetlands in California and Arizona

      Coastal Barrier Resources System Map Modernization: Supporting Coastal Resiliency and Sustainability following Hurricane Sandy

        STATES NEWS

        AL: Oil mars Ala. swamp 4 months after crude train crash; critics raise questions about oil trains

        AK: U-Med Access Route Design Dependent On Wetlands Permits

        AZ: Arizona's drinking-water needs will force trade-offs

        CA:  Education center helps public understand wetlands

        CA: California drought: Strife over groundwater boils over

        CA: At L.A.'s Lake Machado and adjacent park, a long-awaited restoration

        CA: Obama expands protection for Northern California coastline

        CO: Sandhill cranes face shut-off as Colorado weighs who gets scarce water

        DE: Delaware’s Dirty Water

        FL:  County says bill would endanger local wetlands

        FL: Florida Seeks to Join BP Lawsuit

        FL: $4.5 million Gibsonton wetlands restoration project almost complete

        FL: Steering committee wants legislation to expand DEP permitting authority to protect coastal wildlife

        FL: Oil Prospectors Seek Their Next Big Strike in South Florida’s Everglades

        GA: Garden club learns about Adopt-A-Wetlands program

        IN: Traces of corn herbicide in our water

        IA: Hog Wild: Factory Farms are Poisoning Iowa's Drinking Water

        IA: 319 Success Story: Yellow Smoke Lake, Iowa

        Installing Best Management Practices and Removing Silt Improved Bluegill Habitat in Lake

        KY: Kentucky Mining Plan Given the Go-Ahead

        KY: Kentucky coal firm to pay USD 660,000 for illegal dumping into Appalachian

        KY: Beavers take over from engineers at restored Wilson Creek

        KY: Licking River Watershed Restoration Efforts Improve Water Quality

        LA: As Louisiana's coast washes away, threatened communities face questions about their identity

        LA: Wetlands advocates: Energy firms knowingly broke laws

        LA: Swamp saving: Atchafalaya Basinkeeper presents awards for protecting wetlands at annual meeting

        LA: In New Orleans courts, the legal gusher BP cannot contain

        MA: A Summary of the Proposed Revisions to MassDEP’s Wetlands, Waterways, and Water Quality Certification Regulations

        MN: PolyMet copper mine in northeastern Minn. gets cautious EPA approval

        NE: Nebraska judge strikes down legislature’s move allowing Keystone XL route

        NJ: Hurricane Sandy gives the Wetlands Institute reason to rebuild marsh walkway

        NJ: Coastal homeowners debate whether to rebuild or retreat

        NJ: Tap water taste weird? Thank road salt and NJ's snowy winter

        NJ: PA commits $30M to wetlands fund

        NY: Dredging up the truth

        NC: DENR cuts jobs in wetlands restoration program’

        NC: North Carolina continues to delete data on climate change

        NC: While the seas rise in the Outer Banks and elsewhere in NC, science treads water

        NC: Questions as More Wastewater Flows in North Carolina

        NC: Duke Energy’s $1 billion cleanup: Who would pay?

        NC: Ash Spill Shows How Watchdog Was Defanged

        OH: Government agencies at odds over dumping of dredged Cuyahoga River sediments into Lake Erie

        OR: Saving Sturgeon Lake: Conservation district seeks money to stop the slow disappearance of Sauvie Island's tidal lake

        PA: Freshwater Research Scientist to Deliver Healthy Streams Program for Area Farmers

        PA: Pa. DEP slow to act on Alpha Natural Resources coal mining offenses

        PA: Lancaster city a national model for "green" infrastructure

        SC: Duke Energy could avoid coal ash lawsuit if SC bill passes

        TX: Dry Wichita Falls to try drinking ‘potty water’

        VA: For city of Norfolk, park becomes wetlands once again

        WA: Washington receives federal grant funding to enhance and restore diminishing wetlands

        WA: An Undammed River’s Sediment Brings New Life Downstream

        WA: Concerns Raised About Hanford Tanks

        WV: Alpha to pay $27.5 million in water pollution settlement

        WI: Army Corps OKs money to address Great Lakes' 'hole in the dike'

        WY: EPA Threatens Wyoming Man With Huge Fines Over Stock Pond

          WETLAND SCIENCE

          Alberta fish kill this year could be worst ever (with video)

          Invasive Asian Carp Found Breeding in "Surprising" Location

          VIMS professor links sea star die-off to blue crab, lobster diseases: Rising sea temperature, contaminants to blame

          Climate change may be causing a global coffee shortage

          Limits sought on weed killer glyphosate to help monarch butterflies

          Science Takes On a Silent Invader

          Volcanoes contributing to hiatus in global warming: study

          UK: Wildlife casualties of floods grow amid fears over 'polluted' wetlands

          Climate Change Affects Insect Distribution

          As Arctic Melts, Marine Mammals Become Sentinels for Disease

          As Fracking Booms, Growing Concerns About Wastewater

            RESOURCES & PUBLICATIONS

            Wetland Program Plans Handbook

            NEW EPA Report: Greening CSO Plans: Planning and Modeling Green Infrastructure for Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Control

            Coastal Blue Carbon Opportunity Assessment for the Snohomish Estuary: The Climate Benefits of Estuary Restoration

            Central Hardwoods Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis: A Report from the Central Hardwoods Climate Change Response Framework Project

              POTPOURRI

              As Dow seeks growth, new Enlist crop/chemicals seen as key

              Center for Food Safety sues USDA over genetically modified alfalfa

              Study: In some cases, pipelines can rebuild wetlands more cheaply than diversions

              Troubled waters: Nuclear radiation found in B.C. may pose health concerns

              Half of U.S. Farmland Being Eyed by Private Equity

              WEBINARS, MEETINGS, TRAINING, SPECIAL EVENTS

                The Ohio State University Webinar:  Adaptation and forest management in Great Lakes Forests

                EPA's Watershed Academy free webcast: Improve Water Quality by Using Cover Crops and Other Conservation Practices

                Webinar: Wetland Restoration Hydrology and Design Overview sponsored by Southern Regional Extension Forestry

                Environmental Law Institute Webinar Series: In-Lieu Fee Mitigation Training

                U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center Webinar: Integrated Scenarios of the Future Northeast Environment

                EPA's Climate Ready Water Utilities Webinar: Decision-Making in Practice-Florida Case Studies

                EPA's Climate Ready Water Utilities Webinar: Communicating Climate Risks

                EPA's Climate Ready Water Utilities Webinar: Financing Adaptation

                The Center for Watershed Protection Webcast:  How To Pick The Right Vegetation for Bioretention & Its Cousins

                Center for Watershed Protection Webcast:  Stream Restoration as a Pollutant Reduction Strategy

                Webcast: Series 2: Implementing TMDLs

                17th Annual Meeting of the Connecticut Association of Wetland Scientists: Research, Case Studies & Anecdotes: The Latest in Wetland Science

                World Water Day 2014: Water and Energy

                The U.S. Water Alliance’s Business Advisory Council and Environmental Banc and Exchange: Banking on Ecological Success in Appalachia: Water, Species, Standards and Trends

                Maine Association of Wetland Scientist (MAWS): 2014 MAWS Winter Conference and Annual Meeting

                New England Association of Environmental Biologists (NEAEB) Annual Conference: NEAEB 2014 Reboot!

                85th Annual Conference of the Northwest Scientific Association: The Future of Forests & Forest Management Change, Uncertainty, & Adaptation

                American Water Works Association: Sustainable Water Management Conference

                2014 Great Plains LID Research and Innovation Symposium

                Water Resources Research Institute (WRRI) of the University of North Carolina Workshop: Erosion and Sedimentation Control Planning and Design

                Society of Wetland Scientists Mid-Atlantic Chapter Conference: Wetland Mitigation, Restoration and Ecology

                Northeast Natural History Conference: A Forum for Current Research

                U.S. Water Alliance Business Advisory Council: The Northwest Experience with Water Quality Trading for Compliance

                2014 Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) Rocky Mountain Chapter Annual Meeting

                The Center for Public Scholarship 31st Social Research Conference: Climate Change Demands We Change. Why Aren't We?

                The Society for Ecological Restoration-New England Chapter and the Conway School Conference: Designing for Success: Ecological Restoration

                Wetland Restoration and Creation Workshop hosted by Sky Island Alliance

                Michigan Department of Environmental Quality: Michigan Green Infrastructure Conference: Protecting Water Resources and Promoting Economic Development

                The Association of Climate Change Officers: Climate Strategies Forum

                3rd Symposium on Urbanization and Stream Ecology

                6th IEEE/Oceanic Engineering Society Baltic Symposium 2014: Measuring and Modeling of Multi-Scale Interactions in the Marine Environment

                International Association for Great Lakes Research 57th Annual Conference: Ecosystem in Transition

                Association of State Floodplain Mangers Annual National Conference: Making Room for Floods & Fish

                University of Massachusetts Amherst: International Conference: Engineering & Ecohydrology for Fish Passage (Fish Passage 2014)

                20th International Interdisciplinary Conference on the Environment

                39th Annual Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop

                Soil and Water Conservation Society 69th International Annual Conference: Making Waves in Conservation: Our Life on Land & Its Impact on Water

                16th Annual EPA Region 6 Stormwater Conference

                CEER: Conference on Ecological and Ecosystem Restoration: Evaluating the Science and Practice of Restoration

                99th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America: From Oceans to Mountains: It’s All Ecology.

                The BC Wildlife Federation's Wetlands Institute Workshop: Eastern Vancouver Island Wetland Institute-2014

                Great Lakes Restoration Conference hosted by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition

                International Wetlands Conference: Wetland Biodiversity and Services: Tools for Socio-Ecological Development

                U.S. Water Alliance will host One Water Leadership Summit: Water Sustainability in a Changing Climate

                2014 Rising Seas Summit, New York, NY hosted by the Association of Climate Change Officers

                2014 Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference

                2014 AWRA Annual Water Resources Conference

                North Carolina State University: EcoStream - Stream Ecology and Restoration Conference

                Course: Problem and Atypical Wetland Delineation – Coastal Plain offered by Duncan & Duncan

                North Carolina State University Course: Stream Morphology Assessment

                Stream Functions Pyramid Workshop

                Online Wetland Design Class

                North Carolina State University is offering a course on Natural Channel Design Principles

                BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) Wetlandkeepers Course

                BC Wildlife Federation Workshop: Wetland Restoration Design

                Duck Lake Restoration Project Workshop

                North Carolina State University River Course 131: Assessment and Identification of Riparian Vegetation

                Wetland Restoration Workshop for Professionals

                Online Wetland Restoration Techniques Class

                North Carolina State University Course: HEC-RAS for Stream Restoration

                North Carolina State University, Stream Restoration Program Course: Introduction to Taxonomy and Pollution Ecology of Aquatic Insects

                Wetland Restoration Techniques Practicum Course

                British Columbia Technical Institute (BCIT) Wetland Restoration Techniques Field Course

                Everglades Wetland Research Park Course: Creation and Restoration of Wetlands

                American Wetlands Month: Learn! Explore! Take Action!



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                Wetland Breaking News


                Wetland Breaking News: March 2014


                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 30 years.

                The 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 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

                "WETLAND BREAKING NEWS" Compiled and Edited by Alan Grant, Editor; Marla Stelk, 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