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Wetland Breaking News: July 2014












IN THIS ISSUE:

EDITOR'S NOTE

EDITOR'S CHOICE

NATIONAL NEWS

STATE NEWS

WETLAND SCIENCE

RESOURCES &  
PUBLICATIONS

POTPOURRI

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

INDEX

Wetland Breaking News - July 2014

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Wetland Breaking News - July 2014




EDITOR'S NOTE

Public Notices of the 401 Water Quality Certification 

Does your state have a separate public notice for 401 Water Quality Certifications?  Or does your state have a joint application with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for your certifications?  Is there a difference?  Does a joint application have the same authority of a separate public notice for the water quality certification? There are so many questions. 

Additionally, does it really matter if the state has its own public notice?  As supervisor of the Water Quality Certification Section in Kentucky, I was content with having a joint notice with the USACE.  It sure made things much easier.  There was no tracking of public notice time tables, no keeping up with responses, and no public hearings. 

However, not having a state’s own public notice leaves open opportunities for violations.  How does not having a state public notice allow those opportunities?  The USACE public notices take into consideration dredge and fill procedures but not state water quality standards.  Water quality standards are the responsibility of the state. 

Water quality standards include things such as increase of water temperature, changes in pH, hardness, and other water parameters.  Water quality standards also include impacts to the organisms that live in the river.  Water Quality Standards/Certifications can have more influence on the outcome of the project than the 404 USACE Permit, especially if the project has several water quality problems. 

Even though a joint permit does allow the people of the state to comment on the federal permit, unless the whole permit is available to read and not just the summary public notice, water quality standards may go unnoticed.  Also, state officials are more aware of their own water quality standards which are different from state to state.

And most of all, I was finally convinced when I reviewed once again, Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, that the states need to have their own 401 Water Quality Certifications.

Clean Water Act, Section 401 Certification

(a) Compliance with applicable requirements; application; procedures; license suspension

(1) Any applicant for a Federal license or permit to conduct any activity including, but not limited to, the construction or operation of facilities, which may result in any discharge into the navigable waters, shall provide the licensing or permitting agency a certification from the State…

Such State or interstate agency shall establish procedures for public notice in the case of all applications for certification by it and, to the extent it deems appropriate, procedures for public hearings in connectionwith specific applications.

Wetland Breaking News - July 2014
Ask your managers and officers, “Shouldn’t we have our own 401 Water Quality Certification Public Notice Procedures?”

 Have a great July,

Alan Grant, Editor
Wetland Breaking News













Wetland Breaking News: July 2014EDITOR'S CHOICE

Setting the Record Straight on Waters of the US 

By Nancy Stoner – EPA Connect – July 7, 2014
There’s been some confusion about EPA and the Corps’ proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule under the Clean Water Act, especially in the agriculture community, and we want to make sure you know the facts.

We know that we haven’t had the best relationship with the agriculture industry in the past, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t and we can’t do better.  We are committed to listening to farmers and ranchers and in fact, our proposed rule takes their feedback into account.

The rule keeps intact all Clean Water Act exemptions and exclusions for agriculture that farmers count on. But it does more for farmers by actually expanding the list of up-front exemptions. We worked with USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Army Corps of Engineers to exempt 56 additional conservation practices. These practices are familiar to many farmers, who know their benefits to business, the land, and water resources. For full blog post, click here.

Report Shows Declining Trend in Prairie Pothole Wetlands

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – July 1, 2014
The Status and Trends of Prairie Wetlands in the United States 1997 to 2009 was released on June 30, 2014.  This report estimates that 6,427,350 acres of wetlands remained in the Prairie Pothole Region in 2009, which represents 5.8 % of the total wetland area found in the conterminous U.S. in 2009. Between 1997 and 2009, the average annual rate of change was an estimated loss of 6,200 acres and an estimated 40 % of emergent wetland area was lost or converted to deepwater lake systems or open-water ponds. To read news release, click here. To download report, click here or go directly here.

Worthwhile trade-off

By Laura Rance – Manitoba Cooperator – June 30, 2014
New drainage and water management initiatives announced earlier this month will make it easier for Manitoba farmers to drain low spots in their fields, but harder — much harder — to convert wetlands into annual crop production. It may seerem like a nuanced distinction and it will undoubtedly make many in the farming community nervous — especially since the penalties for undertaking unapproved drainage will also become stiffer. For full story, click here. 

After once being listed for extinction by 2000, wood storks now officially off endangered list

By Russ Bynum – The Times and Democrat – June 29, 2014
The American wood stork, a bird scientists once feared would be extinct by the year 2000, has made such an impressive comeback that it’s getting an official status upgrade 30 years after first being listed as an endangered species, the Obama administration said Thursday. 

The tall, bald wading birds that nest in swamps and coastal marshes from Florida to the Carolinas are now a “threatened” species, a step up that indicates the wood stork is no longer considered at risk of extinction, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced during a visit to Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, home to a large wood stork colony on the Georgia coast. For full story, click here.

Lawmakers urge court to block Chesapeake cleanup

By Hope Yen – Delaware Online – June 24, 2014
A group of 39 lawmakers is urging a federal court to block the Obama administration’s plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay watershed, describing it as an unjustified power grab. The filing in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia puts the lawmakers alongside 21 attorneys general who already oppose the cleanup, a case testing the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority under the Clean Water Act. The filing was submitted late last week. For full story, click here.

Putting a Price Tag on Nature's Defenses 

By Carl Zimmer – The New York Times – June 5, 2014
After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the United States Army Corps of Engineers got to work on a massive network of levees and flood walls to protect against future catastrophes. Finally completed in 2012, the project ended up costing $14.5 billion — and that figure didn’t include the upkeep these defenses will require in years to come, not to mention the cost of someday replacing them altogether. 

But levees aren’t the only things that protect coasts from storm damage. Nature offers protection, too. Coastal marshes absorb the wind energy and waves of storms, weakening their impact farther inland. And while it’s expensive to maintain man-made defenses, wetlands rebuild themselves. For full story, click here.

ASWM’s July Members’ Webinar - Wednesday July 30, 2014 - 1:00-3:00 p.m. EDT

 Handbook on Best Practice in Wetland Education CentresJoin us for ASWM’s July Members’ Webinar to learn about a new international handbook on best practices for wetland education centers and explore wetland center case studies.

Wetland Link International North America Webinar II: Best Practice in Designing, Building and Operation of Wetland Education Centers

If you work in wetland education or you are interested in developing or improving a wetland center, the Wetland Link International (WLI) North America Network is presenting ASWM’s July webinar.  The webinar will introduce the new Handbook on Best Practice in Wetland Education Centres, which was produced by ERF (Environmental Ecosystem Research Foundation, Republic of Korea) and RAMSAR.  Next, the webinar will provide presentations on various aspects of wetland center work, including sharing of case studies by our enthusiastic colleagues. The final portion of the webinar will allow for discussion and sharing of your own experiences running wetland centers.

This webinar offers the opportunity to join wetland education specialists working at wetland centers to learn more about how to plan, deliver and evaluate wetland center activities.  WLI hopes the new handbook will be an invaluable resource for anyone working in this field, whether you are planning to build a new center, updating your existing buildings or infrastructure, or looking for new ideas to operate your wetland center more effectively.

For more information, click here. To register, click here.
 

Wetland Breaking News: July 2014

NATIONAL NEWS

U.S. House committee considers reigning in EPA's CWA Power Grab 

By Dorothy Kosich – Mineweb – July 16, 2014
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s unabashed power grab under the auspices of the Clean Water Act has got the business sector, regulators and legal experts alarmed and seeking remedies from the legislative branch, specifically, the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment.

As Richard O. Faulk, senior director, Initiative for Energy and the Environment of the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia, observed during a hearing before the subcommittee Tuesday, “I believe there is an urgent need for a comprehensive inquiry into whether the current statutory structure authorizes – or can be construed to authorize — abusive retrospective and prospective vetoes of legitimate business activities." For full story, click here.

House Hearing on EPA’s Expanded Interpretation of its Permit Veto Authority Under the Clean Water Act 

Contact: Jim Billimoria – Transportation & Infrastructure Committee – July 15, 2014 – Video
On July 15, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing on EPA's application of its 404C veto authority under the Clean Water Act.  A recording of the hearing as well as testimony from the Witnesses is available. To read more about the hearing or to view video, click here. 

House Holds Hearing on Proposed Waters of the United States Rule - July 9, 2014

By Josh Abel – Association of California Water Agencies – July 9, 2014
The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing to examine the impacts of EPA’s proposed “Definition of the ‘Waters of United States’ Under the Clean Water Act” rule on July 9th. The full Committee hearing, entitled “Navigating the Clean Water Act: Is Water Wet?”, provided members the opportunity to ask EPA Deputy Administrator Robert Perciasepe questions about the rule. The Honorable Perciasepe was the only witness at the hearing and members grilled him about specific issues in their districts. For full story, click here.

EPA Provides Tool to Help Communities Become More Flood Resilient

Contact: Enesta Jones – EPA – July 7, 2014
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new tool today to help communities prepare for, deal with and recover from floods. The Flood Resilience Checklist offers strategies that communities can consider, such as conserving land in flood-prone areas; directing new development to safer areas; and using green infrastructure approaches, such as installing rain gardens, to manage stormwater. “Flooding from major storms has cost lives and caused billions of dollars in damage,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “With climate change, storms are likely to become even more powerful in many regions of the country. Where and how communities build will have long-term impacts on their flood resilience, and on air and water quality and health and safety. This checklist will help flood-prone communities think through these issues and come up with the solutions that work best for them.”  For full news release, click here. 

Creeping Up on Unsuspecting Shores: The Great Lakes, in a Welcome Turnaround

By Julie Bosman – The New York Times – June 28, 2014
Like a slowly draining bathtub, this sparkling inlet of Lake Michigan had seen it's clear, cool waters recede for years.

Piers that once easily reached the water had gone high and dry. Fishermen did not dare venture into the shallow water looking for smallmouth bass, lest their propellers scrape bottom. And residents of Ephraim, a village on a peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan, were so alarmed that the county paper asked in a headline in April of last year, “Will the Great Lakes Rise Again?” For full story, click here.

Gannett exclusive: BP shuts down internal oil spill claims program

By David Hammer – Gannett Shreveport Times – June 24, 2014 – Video
In a shocking move, BP has decided to shut down its internal oil spill claims program, taking away an avenue for more than 10,000 claimants who have opted out of the oil giant’s controversial settlement agreement or others who are not covered by it. BP won’t say how many claimants it served with the BP Claims Program over the last two years, but the amount paid through the end of April was a paltry $12 million. By contrast, over the exact same time frame, the court-supervised settlement program paid $3.8 billion. For full story and to view video, click here.

Report warns world's oceans at point of collapse

World Bulletin – June 24, 2014
A new report by a group of former world leaders, including ex-prime minister Paul Martin, says fixing our oceans will require unpopular, expensive changes. 64 per cent of the ocean surface isn’t under the control and protection of a national government and The Global Ocean Commission has put forward a report on the declining health of the planet’s high seas. The commission is a combination of public and private sector figures, including former heads of state and ministers as well as business people, supported by scientific and economic advisors working on ways to reverse the degradation of the ocean and address the failures of high seas governance. For full story, click here.

'Dead zone' the size of Connecticut expected along Louisiana coast, scientists say

By Mark Schleifstein – NOLA - The Times Picayume – June 24, 2014 – Video
The size of the annual summer "dead zone" of low-oxygen water in the Gulf of Mexico along Louisiana's coast will cover between 4,633 and 5,708 miles, about the size of the state of Connecticut, according to a Tuesday forecast announced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That's about average for the size of the low-oxygen area since 1985, but still a significant concern, scientists say. And the prediction means another year when states along the Mississippi River have failed to sufficiently reduce the nutrients that cause the dead zone, as called for in a 6-year-old federal-state dead zone reduction plan. For full story and to view video, click here.

World's Hottest May Is Now May 2014: NOAA

By Terrell Johnson and John Erdman – The Weather Channel – June 23, 2014
Last month was the hottest May in more than 130 years of recorded weather history, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday in its monthly state of the climate report, as May 2014 surpassed the previous record high for the month set in 2010. The world's combined land and ocean temperature for May was 1.33°F above the 20th century average of 58.6°F, NOAA reported, adding that four of the five warmest Mays have occurred in the past five years. In the report, NOAA separates out temperature records for the world's land and ocean areas. On land last month, the world saw its fourth-hottest May on record with a global surface temperature 2.03°F above the 20th century average. The oceans saw their hottest May on record, with a temperature 1.06°F above the 20th century average. For full story, click here.

Experts foresee shortages as the nation's freshwater supply dwindles

By Robert Holly – Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting – June 23, 2014
A federal survey of water managers revealed that – even under normal conditions – nearly every U.S. state will experience freshwater shortages sometime within the next decade. That could mean economic disaster for the farmers and agriculture producers who depend on water for irrigation, as the process of carrying water to dry areas consumes more water than anything else each year, according to researchers. For full story, click here.

Republican U.S. senators take aim at EPA proposed water rules

By Jim Hendricks – Albany Herald – June 23, 2014
Georgia’s U.S. senators, Saxby Chambliss of Moultrie and Johnny Isakson of Marietta, have joined with 28 other Republican lawmakers to introduce legislation that would prevent the federal Environmental Protection Agency from expanding its authority over “nearly all private and state water in the United States.” The Protecting Water and Property Rights Act of 2014 would prevent the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from finalizing their rule proposed in March that the senators say would significantly expand federal authority under the Clean Water Act. For full story, click here.

Thune Amendments Address Wetlands Determinations Backlog and Expedite CRP Emergency Haying/Grazing

Insurance News Net – June 19, 2014
Today Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) offered two amendments to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Agriculture Appropriations bill, including one that would reprogram $2 million in the FY2015 Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS) budget to address the backlog of undetermined wetlands in all states. "Conservation compliance is an eligibility requirement for crop insurance premium assistance and most other federal farm program benefits," said Thune. "With a backlog of more than 3,000 undetermined wetlands in South Dakota these farmers cannot apply any water management practices on their land because they do not know where NRCS will determine wetlands are located. Some farmers have been waiting two or more years for these determinations." For full story, click here.

In odd twist, industry agrees to ban "microbeads"

CBS News – June 19, 2014
Environmentalists in Illinois expected a battle royal over their call for a statewide ban on "microbeads" -- tiny bits of plastic used in personal care products such as facial scrubs and toothpaste that are flowing by the billions into the Great Lakes and other waterways. Discovered only recently, they're showing up inside fish that are caught for human consumption, scientists say. But instead of resisting, leading companies quickly collaborated on a ban that was enacted by the state legislature this spring. And with similar measures now pending in at least three other large states and in Congress, the extinction of microbeads is taking shape as one of the unlikeliest events in the politics of nature: A low-stress compromise by interest groups that are often at each other's throats. For full story, click here.

EPA, Army Corps Extend Comment Period For Rule Clarifying Clean Water Act Jurisdiction

By Amena H. Saiyidi – House Committee on Small Business – June 10, 2014
The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers confirmed that the public has until Oct. 20 to comment on a proposed rule that would clarify Clean Water Act jurisdiction over the nation's waters and wetlands. The agencies said June 10 that they are granting the 90–day extension from the initial July 21 date in response to numerous requests, including letters from state environmental officials, industry groups and Republican lawmakers. After a private meeting with several Western governors, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told reporters June 10 that some of the governors raised concerns about the proposed rule. “There's a lot of concern among agricultural interests in their states and what the industry has read into it,” she said. “We need some time to get out there and, if need be, write the rule in a way so the intent is understood.” The proposed “Waters of the United States” rule, which the EPA published April 21, would bring under federal jurisdiction all tributaries of streams, lakes, ponds and impoundments, as well as wetlands that affect the chemical, physical and biological integrity of larger, navigable downstream waters (79 Fed. Reg. 2,218); (77 DER A-13, 4/22/14). For full article, click here.

Draft Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan Available for Public Input

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
In February 2010, the Interagency Task Force released a GLRI Action Plan covering fiscal years 2010-2014. The Action Plan identified the goals, objectives, measurable ecological targets, and specific actions to help rehabilitate the Great Lakes. The federal agencies use the Action Plan to target investments to reduce toxic contamination, recover fish and wildlife habitat, increase nearshore health through the reduction of nutrient and other land-based pollution, prevent invasive species, and promote accountability, education and collaboration. The IATF is seeking input on the draft FY15-19 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan. Extensive input from the public in 2013, the Great Lakes Advisory Board, Government Accountability Office, U.S. EPA Science Advisory Board and others informed the development of this draft. The Great Lakes Interagency Task Force now invites your thoughts on the draft. It is most helpful to the agencies to receive input within 30 days of the Action Plan being posted to this website, but input will be considered until the Action Plan is finalized. For more information and to download draft Action Plan, click here.

Great Lakes welcome rising water levels 

By Jennifer Brooks – Star Tribune – July 6, 2014
Lake Superior may be the one spot in this waterlogged state where people are happy to see the waters rising. After years of parched shorelines, water levels in the Great Lakes have come rushing back. The crowds that flock to the Superior shoreline this holiday weekend will find harbors deeper and beaches narrower than they’ve been in 15 years. For full story, click here.
 

Wetland Breaking News: Julyy2014

STATE NEWS

AK: What's killing the Yukon's salmon? 

By Ben Goldfarb – High Country News – July 7, 2014
When Stephanie Schmidt became Alaska’s Yukon River fishery research biologist in January 2012, she knew that all was not well along the sinuous length of the famed river. Chinook salmon numbers had been dwindling since 1998, and as a result, commercial harvest of the fish — also called king salmon for their immense size and sumptuous meat — was frequently halted. That didn’t help: The 2010 run was the second-worst in recorded history. 2011 was only a few fish better.
 

Faltering returns also hurt the Yukon’s subsistence fishermen, who catch chinook with nets and fish wheels to feed their families through the long subarctic winter. But past hardships paled in comparison with 2014, their most difficult season yet. Earlier this spring, Schmidt and her colleagues at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game considered the dismal projections — an estimated 64,000 to 121,000 fish, pitiful compared to historic runs, which averaged 300,000 as recently as the mid-’90s. Then they made the painful decision to close the Yukon chinook fishery to everyone for the entire summer. For full story, click here.

AK: Alaska: New Placer Mining Permits Proposed

By Dan Bross – Alaska Public Media – June 20, 2014
Interior miners aren’t happy with changes proposed to federal permits for small scale placer operations that impact water resources, including wetlands. Dozens of miners attended an Army Corps of Engineers public meeting in Fairbanks this week on the proposals. Roger Bergraff of Fairbanks has been in the mining business for 40 years, and says he’s witnessed a regulatory trend that’s forcing out mom and pop placer operators. Bergraff laments the demise he blames on expanding and increasingly complex environmental regulations and paperwork. Bergraff points to legal interpretations of the Clean Water Act that have expanded the definition of wetlands, resulting in more regulation of mining in wet areas that cover much of the interior. Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Specialist Deb McAtee says the proposed permitting system reflects court rulings. For full story, click here.

AZ: National Park Service calls development plans a threat to Grand Canyon

By Julie Cart – Los Angeles Times – July 6, 2014
At the rim of the Grand Canyon, busloads of Chinese tourists jostled on a recent day with twentysomething backpackers and an Amish family with rambunctious boys in suspenders and straw hats, all eager for a prime viewing spot.

They gazed out on a dizzying sight of receding canyons and sheer rock walls, with the Colorado River cutting though the canyon floor a mile down.

Generations of park managers have tried to preserve that natural vista, but officials here say a proposed development would alter the view.

Looking eastward from the canyon's popular South Rim, visitors could soon see a hive of construction as workers build restaurants, hotels and shops on a distant mesa on the Navajo Indian reservation. For full story and to view photos, click here.

CA: Delta water getting saltier, fish kills show 

By Alex Breitler – Recordnet.com – July 9, 2014
Sardine-like fish that spend most of their lives in the ocean were sucked by the thousands into the south Delta export pumps near Tracy this spring. 

While your life might not hinge on the wellbeing of Pacific herring, their presence deep in the Delta is evidence that the estuary is becoming saltier, which could be bad news for farmers if the drought persists.

Saltwater from San Francisco Bay is creeping farther than usual into the Delta this year because there has been little runoff from the mountains to keep the estuary fresh. For full story, click here.

CA: Synergy Oil seeks relocation deal with environmental angle 

By Scott Bridges – L.A. Biz – June 30, 2014
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: An oil company wants to restore a wetlands area without having created an oil-spill disaster and without a court order to do so. Synergy Oil & Gas on Tuesday will ask the Long Beach City Council to work on a permit application with the California Coastal Commission so the company can relocate its offices, buildings, pipes and tanks, and restore the habitat of the Los Cerritos Wetlands, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram. Synergy CEO and Long Beach resident John McKeown says the company has put aside nearly $7 million to restore up to 136 acres of wetlands in an area formerly known as the Bixby oil field. For full story, click here.

DE: Dilemma for Delaware beaches' renowned water quality

By Molly Murray and Jeff Montgomery – Delaware Online – July 6, 2014
They rank among the cleanest in the nation: miles of Atlantic Ocean surf at the edge of Delaware beaches that double as resort playgrounds and crowded mainstays for the state's economy. 

Yet, this weekend holiday arrives at a pivotal moment as state and local officials look for a new place to daily send up to 3.4 million gallons of treated sewage now pumped from Rehoboth Beach into a canal just off the polluted inland bays. 

After years of studies, court battles and debates, the leading option simply calls for pumping the waste about a mile into the ocean off of the north end of Rehoboth Beach, via a $30 million outfall pipe. For full story, click here.

DE: Delaware gets millions to help beaches, wetlands 

By Molly Murray – Delaware Online – June 16, 2014
Three wetlands, Bombay Hook, Mispillion Harbor and the marshes near Little Creek, will be part of a $102.7 million federal initiative to build storm and sea-level-rise resilience by using green infrastructure – such as beaches and wetlands – to minimize the impact of flooding, coastal destruction and storm surge. ach of the grants, announced Monday, includes matching dollars to bring the total spending in Delaware to $11.4 million. For full story, click here.

FL: Florida County Goes To Court Over 'Acid Fracking' Near Everglades 

By Greg Allen – NPR – July 2, 2014
In southwest Florida, county officials are fighting the state over a new oil drilling process that's known by many different names: acidification, acidizing, acid stimulation and acid fracking. Collier County has charged that state regulators have been lax in their oversight of the drilling, jeopardizing public health and the environment.  Acid has long been used in oil drilling operations in Florida to dissolve and loosen the limestone bedrock. But a drilling operation near Naples, on the western edge of the Everglades, was something new. In December, Texas-based Dan A. Hughes Co. injected acid under pressure there — a process not used before in Florida. Florida regulators asked the drilling company to suspend the operation while the state studied the process. The company refused. For full story, click here.

FL: 'Microplastics' imperil marine life in Tampa Bay, worldwide 

By Craig Pittman – Tampa Bay Times – June 14, 2014
Years of hard work and millions of dollars went into cleaning up the nutrient pollution that was ruining Tampa Bay with fish kills and algae blooms. Now healthy sea grass beds are spreading across the bay bottom once more, and fish and manatees are swimming through water that has become clearer. But in the meantime another pollutant, one that few people have ever heard of, has been building up in the bay and posing a serious threat to marine life in Florida's largest estuary. So far, nobody knows what to do about it. Scientists are discovering "microplastics" — tiny shreds or particles of plastic — in every ocean in the world, including the Arctic. For full story, click here. 

IL: CNT Initiative Helps America Become "Rain Ready" 

Contact: Tyan Kilpatrick – Center for Neighborhood Technology – July 2, 2014 – Video
The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), a Chicago-based nonprofit with expertise in water management and urban flooding, just launched a new resource to help individuals, businesses, and communities find solutions to the problem of too much or too little water. CNT’s Rain Ready initiative offers a suite of policies and practices to help residents, communities, and states plan for weather events associated with global climate change. 

Anchored around the website rainready.org, Rain Ready helps Americans, and their municipal and state leaders, approach the challenges of flooding, water shortage, and/or water pollution in customized and cost-effective ways. For full story and to view video, click here. 

LA: St. Bernard Parish wetlands project to move forward after council resolution 

By Benjamin Alexander-Bloch – NOLA.com-The Times Picayune – June 17, 2014
The St. Bernard Parish Council on Tuesday (June 17) approved a resolution that allows the parish to move forward on a $2 million project to restore 346 acres of parish wetlands near Violet. The St. Bernard Parish Council on Tuesday (June 17) approved a resolution that allows the parish to move forward on a $2 million project to restore 346 acres of parish wetlands near Violet. For full story, click here.

MD: Study: Bay phosphorus pollution progress may be overstated

By E.B. Furgurson III – Capital Gazette – July 14, 2014
Two reports on the Chesapeake Bay cleanup find virtually no phosphorus pollution reduction in Eastern Shore waterways in the past 10 years and question whether the EPA is over-estimating farm pollutant reductions. 

The two-year milestone progress report on the bay effort declared, “partners are making progress in Chesapeake Bay cleanup.” But, as they say, the devil is in the details. For full story, click here.

Wetland Breaking News - July 2014MN: Crossing, and protecting, a gem of a St. Croix River 

By Kevin Giles – Star Tribune – July 7, 2014
As the giant piers of a new four-lane commuter bridge rise from the St. Croix River, millions of dollars are quietly being spent to protect the blue ribbon waterway from environmental decay. 

But even as work begins on everything from asbestos removal to archaeological inventories, concerns have surfaced that it won’t be extensive enough to shield the Lower St. Croix from further contamination once the bridge opens and exposes more grassland and forest to urban development. For full story, click here.

MN: Study: Chemicals spreading in Minnesota groundwater

By Dave Peters and Elizabeth Dunbar – MPR News – June 26, 2014
In what may be the nation's most extensive study of its kind, a survey of 118 test wells scattered around Minnesota has found that about a third of them contain measurable levels of antibiotics, detergents, or other consumer chemicals known as "contaminants of emerging concern." 

The chemicals, apparently coming from landfills, septic systems and sewage treatment systems, have been found in surface waters in recent years, and some scientists have looked at their effects on fish and other animals. But this new survey, published online Monday by the U.S. Geological Survey, is the most extensive evidence yet that the chemicals are also making their way into both shallow and deep aquifers in Minnesota. For full story, click here. 

MN: Conservation officers work to preserve wetlands in Central Minnesota

By Kristi Marohn – SC Times – June 21, 2014
Wearing a khaki uniform and a badge, federal wildlife officer Ashley Look steps carefully through a muddy field of old cornstalks until she reaches the edge of a marsh. 

Then she pulls out her smartphone and checks an app that identifies a wetland protected by a federal conservation easement. 

Decades ago, someone dug a ditch to drain the wetland and create more area for planting crops. Using new and improved technology, federal officers recently discovered the violation. For full story, click here. 

NC: House Coal-ash Bill Raises Concerns about Groundwater Rules

By Gabe Rivin – North Carolina Health News – July 7, 2014
Last week, after two long days of debate and multiple amendments, lawmakers in the state House of Representatives passed a bill that would govern the cleanup of coal-ash storage sites left behind from generations of coal-fired power production.
 

The House’s bill, passed July 3, amends a bill produced by the Senate, which was passed on June 25. And although House Speaker Thom Tillis left his podium to argue that the bill creates strict cleanup standards “unlike anything that’s been done in any other state,” the House version includes several new provisions that worry environmentalists, along with some members who opposed the legislation.  For full story, click here.

NC & SC: Utilities Plan Major Project To Secure Water Supply In Carolinas

By Sara Jerome – Water Online – June 30, 2014
Water utilities in the Carolinas are planning an overhaul of the region's water supply.

About two million people rely on the Catawba River, also known as the Wateree River, according to WFAE, an NPR news source. "[In May,] the region’s water utilities released what they call the most significant plan for the Catawba’s water supply since reservoirs were built in the early 1900s." 

The plan proposes "conserving water, lowering intakes to draw water when lake levels fall, and holding more water in the largest lakes," the Charlotte Observer reported. Rates may go up to deter use.  For full story, click here.

NC: On N.C.’s Outer Banks, scary climate-change predictions prompt a change of forecast

By Lori Montgomery – The Washington Post – June 24, 2014
The dangers of climate change were revealed to Willo Kelly in a government conference room in the summer of 2011. By the end of the century, state officials said, the ocean would be 39 inches higher and her home on the Outer Banks would be swamped. 

The state had detailed maps to illustrate this claim and was developing a Website where people could check by street address to see if their property was doomed. There was no talk of salvation, no plan to hold back the tide. The 39-inch forecast was “a death sentence,” Kelly said, “forever trying to sell your house.” 

So Kelly, a lobbyist for Realtors and home builders on the Outer Banks, resolved to prove the forecast wrong. And thus began one of the nation’s most notorious battles over climate change. For full story, click here.

NC: NC scientists find that oyster reefs can grow faster than sea-level rise

By Sarah Wheeler – Charlotte Observer – June 23, 2014
Climate scientists predict that by 2100 sea level will be 2 to 3 feet higher than it is today, but it appears oyster reefs may adapt to the change. New research at the UNC Marine Science Institute finds oyster reefs grow fast enough to keep pace with rising seas. Unprecedented climate warming and sea-ice loss is causing sea levels to rise, threatening to bury coastal ecosystems in the process. For full story, click here.

ND: ND pipeline leaks about 1M gallons of saltwater 

By Josh Wood and James MacPherson – SF Gate – July 11, 2014
[Corrected from a July 10, 2014 news story.] Around 1 million gallons of saltwater has leaked from a North Dakota pipeline, some of it into a bay that leads to a lake that provides drinking water for an American Indian reservation, company and tribe officials said Wednesday. 

Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Tex Hall told The Associated Press that an underground pipeline near Mandaree leaked about 24,000 barrels, or just over 1 million gallons, of saltwater near Bear Den Bay, a tributary of Lake Sakakawea. The Missouri River reservoir provides water to communities on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, occupied by the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribes in the heart of western North Dakota's booming oil patch. For full story, click here.

OH: In Rare Effort, Ohio Scientist to Test Water Before Fracking Soars 

By Lisa Song – Inside Climate News – July 8, 2014
As the shale gas boom was making its way into Ohio in 2012, University of Cincinnati scientist Amy Townsend-Small began testing private water wells in Carroll County, the epicenter of the Utica Shale. Her project, which includes samples of more than 100 wells, is one of the few sustained efforts in the nation to evaluate drinking water quality before, during and after gas drilling. Although it will likely be another year before Townsend-Small releases the results, her work offers a template for other communities worried about how drilling, fracking and producing unconventional natural gas might contaminate groundwater supplies. For full story, click here.

OH: Report: Muskingum Watershed 4th most polluted in U.S.

By Anna Rumer – Zanesville Times Recorder – June 20, 2014
In 2012, industrial facilities dumped more than 4.4 million pounds of toxic waste into the Muskingum River Watershed, making it the fourth most polluted watershed in the U.S., according to EPA data released in an Environment Ohio report. This waste, which includes pollutants linked to cancer, developmental disorders, reduced fertility and other health problems is being dumped by corporations via loopholes in the Clean Water Act created by two Supreme Court decisions in 2003 and 2008 that limit EPA protection to navigable waters, leaving out many smaller waterways that eventually flow into larger rivers and lakes. For full story, click here.

TX: Dow Chemical's Water Woes Signal Trouble

By Neena Satija – The Texas Tribune – July 7, 2014
When Dow Chemical, one of the largest manufacturers of chemicals and plastics in the world, announced a multibillion-dollar expansion on Texas’ Gulf Coast last summer, Gov. Rick Perry had yet another example to add to his list of explosive economic growth on Texas soil.

“Texas continues to attract companies looking for the best opportunity to expand or relocate because of our low taxes, smart regulations, fair courts and predictable workforce,” Perry said in an August statement on Dow’s expansion, for which the governor’s incentive fund had provided $1.5 million, on top of a $1 million grant the year before.
 

But this success story has been underscored by a tense struggle over water, which Dow needs to keep production afloat, and which is in short supply in Texas amid the state’s debilitating drought and its water users’ increasing thirst. For full story, click here. 

WA: River of no return

Seattle’s Duwamish has been straightened, dredged and heavily polluted. Can a Superfund cleanup bring it back to life?

By Daniel Person – High Country News – July 1, 2014
On the kind of sunny August day that rain-soaked Seattle lives for, Michael Jeffers pulls his white Ford Ranger into a dirt lot surrounding a cinderblock cube of a building in the city's Mount Baker neighborhood. The anonymous garage is nominally a car wash, with a hose and some sponges but no electricity. Standing water drips from oil drums clustered in the back alongside car batteries under ragged tarps. "This could be interesting," Jeffers says wryly as he climbs from his truck. "There have been problems with drugs here in the past." Jeffers isn't the kind of cop who looks for drugs, though. The lean, gray-haired 53-year-old, who wears a smile like it's part of his uniform, is a stormwater inspector trying to help Seattle get a handle on the stuff that gets swept into storm drains by the region's famously heavy and frequent rain. All those little spills add up to big pollution problems in the Duwamish River, four miles away. For full story, click here.

WV: MCHM could be more toxic than reported, new study 

By Ken Ward, Jr. – West Virginia Gazette – July 10, 2014
The main chemical that leaked into the region’s Elk River drinking water supply might be much more toxic than has previously been reported, according to a new analysis made public Thursday by a researcher who has investigated the incident for the Tomblin administration. A team led by environmental engineer Andrew Whelton found that Crude MCHM is much more harmful to aquatic life than was indicated by an earlier study performed by Eastman Chemical, which made MCHM and sold it to Freedom Industries, the company responsible for the Jan. 9 leak that contaminated the drinking water for 300,000 people in Charleston and surrounding counties.  For full story, click here.

WV: CDC survey says one-fifth of residents reported health issues after spill 

By Ken Ward, Jr. – West Virginia Gazette – July 7, 2014
A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says more than one-fifth of households surveyed in the Kanawha Valley reported health effects that residents believed were related to toxic exposure following the January chemical leak from the Freedom Industries facility on the Elk River.  For full story, click here.

WV: In key ruling, judge finds Alpha mining ‘conductivity’ pollution damaged water quality 

By Ken Ward, Jr. – WV Gazette – June 5, 2014
Citing what he said was “extensive scientific evidence,” a federal judge has ruled for the first time that conductivity pollution from mountaintop removal mining operations is damaging streams in Southern West Virginia. U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers concluded that mines operated by Alpha Natural Resources in Boone and Nicholas counties have “caused or materially contributed to a significant adverse impact” to nearby streams, giving citizen groups a major victory that also supports Obama administration efforts to reduce mountaintop removal impacts. For full story, click here. 

Washington D.C.: Inside D.C.'s Massive Tunnel Project

By Brian Clark Howard – National Geographic – July 3, 2014
Deep below the nation's capital, massive tunnels are being built to save Washington's rivers—the Potomac and the Anacostia—from severe water pollution. To get to where one of the tunnels is currently being dug, you must take a metal cage elevator 100 feet (30 meters) below the Blue Plains water treatment plant in southwestern D.C. The concrete-lined shaft is dry now, but eventually storm water will rush through. For full story, click here.

 

Wetland Breaking News: July 2014WETLAND SCIENCE

U-M computer model shows Straits pipeline break would devastate Great Lakes 

By Keith Matheny – Detroit Free Press – July 10, 2014 – Video
A rupture of 61-year-old, underwater oil pipelines running through the Straits of Mackinac would be “the worst possible place” for a spill on the Great Lakes, with catastrophic results, according to a University of Michigan researcher studying potential impacts of a spill. David Schwab, a research scientist at the U-M Water Center, retired from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where he studied Great Lakes water flows and dynamics for more than 30 years. He’s the author of a new study done in collaboration with the National Wildlife Federation looking at different scenarios for potential oil spills in the Straits from Canadian oil transport giant Enbridge’s Line 5. For full story and to view video, click here.

Hope for Frogs in Face of a Deadly Fungus 

By Carl Zimmer – The New York Times – July 9, 2014
In the 1990s, a disturbing silence began to settle across the world. From mountain lakes to tropical streams, the music of singing frogs began to disappear. It took a few years for scientists to figure out what was happening. A species of fungus — Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd for short — was infecting and killing amphibians. For full story, click here.

Research shows Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused lesions in fish: scientists

By Barbara Liston – Reuters – July 9, 2014
Oil that matches the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been found in the bodies of sickened fish, according to a team of Florida scientists who studied the oil's chemical composition. 

"We matched up the oil in the livers and flesh with Deepwater Horizon like a fingerprint," lead researcher Steven Murawski, a professor at the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science in Tampa, told Reuters. 

He said the findings debunk arguments that fish abnormalities could have been caused by other factors including oil in coastal runoff and oil from naturally occurring seeps in the Gulf.  For full story, click here.

Not Just Bees: Controversial Pesticides Linked to Bird Declines
 

By Brandon Keim – Wired.com – July 9, 2014
Evidence continues to mount that a highly controversial class of pesticides blamed for widespread bee declines is also harming other creatures, perhaps catastrophically. 

In a study of neonicotinoid pesticides and bird populations in the Netherlands, biologists found a close and troubling link. As neonicotinoid levels rose in streams, lakes and wetlands, populations of insect-eating birds declined. The pesticides appear to have eliminated the insects on which they rely. For full story, click here.

Large Rivers In U.S. Are Becoming Less Acidic 

Water Online – July 7, 2014
Several large rivers in the U.S. are less acidic now, due to decreasing acidic inputs, such as industrial waste, acid mine drainage, and atmospheric deposition. 

A USGS study showed that alkalinity, a measurement of a river's capacity to neutralize acid inputs, has increased over the past 65 years in 14 of the 23 rivers assessed in the U.S. For full story, click here.

Can Coral Save Our Oceans?

Ocean News & Technology – July 2, 2014
Coral reefs are home to a rich and diverse ecosystem, providing a habitat for a wide range of marine animals. But the increasing acidification of ocean water is jeopardizing the calcified foundations of these reefs, endangering the survival of thousands upon thousands of resident species. For full story, click here. 

The Disaster We've Wrought on the World's Oceans May Be Irrevocable

By Alex Renton – Newsweek – July 2, 2014
In the great halls of La Boqueria, Barcelona’s central market, tourists, foodies and cooks gather every day to marvel at the fresh food, like pilgrims at the site of a miracle. The chief shrines are the fish counters, where thousands of sea creatures making up dozens of species gleam pink and gray on mounds of ice. But to many ocean scientists this is not a display of the ocean’s bounty but a museum—by the end of this century, many of these animals may be history due to man’s reckless abuse of the planet. As we keep dumping greenhouse gases into the air, the oceans keep sucking them up, making the waters deadly to their inhabitants. For full article, click here.

Study: Mountaintop mining harms fish in streams

By Dave Boucher – July 1, 2014
New federal research using data from southern West Virginia show streams affected by mountaintop removal mining have fewer fish species and fish overall than other streams. Research released Tuesday from the U.S. Geological Survey is the latest in a series of reports from federal agencies arguing mountaintop removal mining practices contribute to pollution in streams throughout Appalachia. “Our results indicate that headwater mining may be limiting fish communities by restricting the prey base available for fish,” said Nathaniel Hitt, a USGS research fish biologist and lead author of the study, said in a news release. For full story, click here. 

Water Samples Teeming with Information: Emerging Techniques for Environmental Monitoring

By Julian Turan – Science Daily – June 30, 2014
Setting effective conservation policies requires near real-time knowledge of environmental conditions. Scientists with Stanford's Center for Ocean Solutions propose using genetic techniques as a low-cost, quick way to collect such data. Environmental policy must respond to ever-changing conditions on the ground and in the water, but doing so requires a constant flow of information about the living world. In a paper published in Science this week, scientists from Stanford's Center for Ocean Solutions, the University of Washington and the University of Copenhagen propose employing emerging environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling techniques that could make assessing the biodiversity of marine ecosystems – from single-cell critters to great white sharks – as easy as taking a water sample. For full story, click here.

2014 Spring Duck Index 

By Doug Leier – Devils Lake Journal – June 30, 2014
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual spring breeding duck survey conducted in May showed an index of 4.9 million birds, up 23 percent from last year and 110 percent above the long-term average (1948-2013). Mike Szymanski, waterfowl biologist, said all species increased from their 2013 estimates, except canvasbacks (down 7.9 percent, but still 41 percent above long-term) and ruddy ducks (down 1.2 percent). Redheads (+64 percent), green-winged teal (+42 percent), blue-winged teal (+34 percent), wigeon (+33 percent) and scaup (+28 percent) showed the largest increases. Mallards and blue-wings were the most abundant ducks on the survey, combining for 48 percent of the total. For full blog post, click here. 

North Slope birds nesting earlier to keep pace with earlier snowmelt, study says

By Yereth Rosen – Alaska Dispatch News – June 28, 2014
As snow melts earlier on the coastal tundra of Alaska’s North Slope, the migrating shorebirds that fly there each summer seem to be responding by hurrying their nesting activities, according to a study published online in the journal Polar Biology. “This is all part of a package deal -- earlier springs leading to earlier retreat of snow and ice leading to earlier nesting of the birds,” said Steve Zack of the Wildlife Conservation Society of North America, one of the scientists who authored the study. For full story, click here. 

Dispersant chemical found in beach oil patties four years after BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, new study says

By Mark Schleifstein – Nola The Times-Picayume – June 26, 2014
Traces of a chemical contained in dispersants used to break up oil during the 87-day BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 were found in material deposited on deepwater corals six months after the spill, and in weathered oil patties on Gulf Coast beaches four years later, according to a scientific letter published online this week in Environmental Science & Technology, the peer-reviewed research journal of the American Chemical Society. Researchers found tiny amounts of DOSS, an abbreviation of the chemical compound dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate, in both the oil patties and deepwater sediment.

The research conducted by scientists with Haverford College in Pennsylvania and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts raises new questions about the assumptions on how quickly two COREXIT brand dispersants disappeared after being used to break up oil into tiny droplets, said lead author Helen Kirsty White, an assistant professor of chemistry at Haverford. For full story, click here. 

Research raises new concerns about climate impact of natural gas

By Gayathri Vaidyanathan – E & E Publishing, LLC – June 26, 2014
Natural gas fields globally may be leaking enough methane, a potent greenhouse gas, to make the fuel as polluting as coal for the climate over the next few decades, according to a pair of studies published last week. An even worse finding for the United States in terms of greenhouse gases is that some of its oil and gas fields are emitting more methane than the industry does, on average, in the rest of the world, the research suggests. For full story, click here.

Climate change to profoundly alter Great Lakes region, summary report says

By Jim Erickson – PHYS.org – June 25, 2014
Intense rainstorms, floods and heat waves will become more common in the Great Lakes region due to climate change in the coming decades, and ice-cover declines will lengthen the commercial navigation season on the lakes, according to a new summary report released today at the start of a three-day climate-adaptation conference at the University of Michigan. In the next few decades, longer growing seasons and rising carbon dioxide levels will increase some crop yields in the region, but those benefits will be progressively offset by extreme weather events, according to the report prepared by the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center (GLISA), a federally funded collaboration between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. For full story, click here. 

Money Men Tally Cost of Climate Change

By Jonathan Fahey – ABC News – June 24, 2014
Climate change is likely to exact enormous costs on U.S. regional economies in the form of lost property, reduced industrial output and more deaths, according to a report backed by a trio of men with vast business experience. The report, released Tuesday, is designed to convince businesses to factor in the cost of climate change in their long-term decisions and to push for reductions in emissions blamed for heating the planet. For full story, click here. 

Climate Change is Altering Migration Habits of Emperor Penguins

By Juan Pablo Saavedra – Maine News – June 24, 2014
After tracking emperor penguins, scientists have revealed that climate change has adversely affected the ability of species to return to the same spot each year to breed. The scientists were able to track the penguin's every move by studying their trail feces they left behind while migrating. Michelle LaRue, a research fellow at the Polar Geospatial Center at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, was the first to notice changing habits of emperor penguins when she found an abandoned breeding ground. She said emperor penguins are the only species in the world surviving on the very white ice. For full story, click here. 

Gulf operations still unsafe despite reforms -- CSB probe

Nathanial Gronewold – E & E Publishing – June 5, 2014
Four years after the deadly Macondo offshore well blowout and explosion, oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico remains unsafe despite scores of reform efforts, an independent federal investigative team warns in a report released here today. The accident at the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 workers and seriously injured 17 sparked a wide-reaching reform initiative for offshore drilling regulations with authorities dissolving one federal agency and creating three new ones in its place. And a chastened industry responded by creating two offshore-blowout response teams and promising to double down on safety and assurance systems. But in a new investigation of the 2010 oil spill that could spark fresh debate over offshore oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and beyond, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board concludes that all these changes aren't enough. For full story, click here. 

A precipitation shift from snow towards rain leads to a decrease in streamflow

By W. R. Berghuijs, R. A. Woods, & M. Hrachowitz – Nature Climate Change – May 18, 2014
In a warming climate, precipitation is less likely to occur as snowfall. A shift from a snow- towards a rain-dominated regime is currently assumed not to influence the mean streamflow significantly. Contradicting the current paradigm, we argue that mean streamflow is likely to reduce for catchments that experience significant reductions in the fraction of precipitation falling as snow. With more than one-sixth of the Earth’s population depending on meltwater for their water supply and ecosystems that can be sensitive to streamflow alterations, the socio-economic consequences of a reduction in streamflow can be substantial. By applying the Budyko water balance framework to catchments located throughout the contiguous United States we demonstrate that a higher fraction of precipitation falling as snow is associated with higher mean streamflow, compared to catchments with marginal or no snowfall. Furthermore, we show that the fraction of each year’s precipitation falling as snowfall has a significant influence on the annual streamflow within individual catchments. This study is limited to introducing these observations; process-based understanding at the catchment scale is not yet provided. Given the importance of streamflow for society, further studies are required to respond to the consequences of a temperature-induced precipitation shift from snow to rain. For full article, click here.


Wetland Breaking News: July 2014RESOURCES AND PUBLICATIONS

Government Liability and Climate Change: Selected Legal Issues

Draft Report: Request for Review

No court has yet held a governmental unit liable for failure to reflect climate change in its programs with resulting increased flood damages to private property. However courts have widely held governments liable in cases involving more traditional flooding and erosion for increasing flood damages on upstream, downstream or adjacent lands. And, successful suits with climate-change elements or based primarily on climate change where flooding and damages caused by government actions or inactions are increased or would not ordinarily occur may be expected in the coming years. This is particularly true where scientific studies quantify climate change and increases in the frequency and intensity of flooding. This paper is one of several prepared by Jon Kusler, Esq., ASWM Founder and Associate Director, to help governments understand their potential liability for failing to take into account climate change in flood-related programs and activities or for adopting floodplain regulations reflecting climate change. To download the report, click here. Please provide any e-mail comments or suggestions by August 15, 2014 to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; 518-872-1804; or write Jon Kusler at 1434 Helderberg Trail, Berne, NY 12023 [Word document for comments.]


Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades: The Fifth Biennial Review, 2014 

The National Academies Press – 2014
Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades is the fifth biennial review of progress made in meeting the goals of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). The Everglades ecosystem is vast, stretching more than 200 miles from Orlando to Florida Bay, and Everglades National Park is but a part located at the southern end. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the historical Everglades has been reduced to half of its original size, and what remains is not the pristine ecosystem many image it to be, but one that has been highly engineered and otherwise heavily influenced, and is intensely managed by humans. Rather than slowly flowing southward in a broad river of grass, water moves through a maze of canals, levees, pump stations, and hydraulic control structures, and a substantial fraction is diverted. Many components of the natural system are highly degraded and continue to degrade. The report makes recommendations for restoration activities, project management strategies, management of invasive nonnative species, and high-priority research needs. For more information and to download this report, click here. 

Report: Next Steps for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate

Water Resources Adaptation to Climate Change Workgroup – April 10, 2014
The report: "Next Steps for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate", summarizes recommendations for implementing the National Action Plan: Priorities for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate. The report was developed by the Water Resources Adaptation to Climate Change Workgroup that supports the Advisory Committee on Water Information - a national federal advisory committee made up of representatives of a diverse set of stakeholders and federal agencies. The Workgroup organized five subgroups based on the major recommendation topics in the National Action Plan: data and information for decision-making; vulnerability assessment; water use efficiency and conservation; integrated water resource management; and capacity building in training and outreach. The report is the result of discussions that took place at a two-day meeting of the Workgroup members in February 2014.  To read the report, click here.


Wetland Breaking News: July 2014

POTPOURRI

Great Barrier Reef impact from dredging could cost ‘as much as $1bn’

By Oliver Milman – The Guardian – July 12, 2014
The amount of money needed to “offset” the impact of a dredging project on the Great Barrier Reef could be as much as $1bn – which is $998m more than the project developer has suggested. 

Documents obtained under freedom of information reveal huge uncertainty over the investment needed to maintain water quality following dredging to expand the Abbot Point port, north of Bowen in Queensland. 

In approving the development, which will allow for a greater volume of shipped coal exports, environment minister Greg Hunt stipulated there must be a 150% net benefit in water quality after the dredging. For full story, click here.

Agent Orange Ingredient Could Soon Be Used to Kill Superweeds

By Clare Foran – National Journal – July 10, 2014
Dow Chemical is seeking federal approval for an herbicide containing one of the main ingredients in Agent Orange.

The company is billing the compound as farmers' best bet in the battle against a new strain of "superweeds"—invasive plants that can't be killed by traditional herbicides and choke crops.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which is tasked with reviewing Dow's application, says that if the chemical, known as 2,4-D, is used in fields, trace amounts could end up in food and drinking water. Agency officials insist, however, that any amount of the weed-crushing chemical that shows up in food or water would be so small that it would not pose a threat to public health. And Dow says its product bears little resemblance to the Vietnam War-era weapon, which caused a host of medical problems for the troops exposed to it. For full article, click here.

Supreme Court upholds rules curbing greenhouse gases from power plants

By David G. Savage – Los Angeles Times – June 23, 2014
The Supreme Court in a split decision Monday upheld most of the Obama administration’s environmental rules designed to limit greenhouse gases from power plants. For full story, click here.

The River Geronimo Knew 

By Tana Kappel – Conservancy Talk – July 7, 2014
Not all is doom and gloom on the Arizona-Mexico border. There’s a place where tranquility reigns, where ruddy ducks and great blue herons share reflective waters, where pools harbor leopard frogs and native Yaqui fish. Tall cottonwoods and dense thickets of willow provide nesting sites for raptors and migrating birds, and cover for bobcats, Gila monsters and other wildlife. It’s hard to believe that only a decade ago, this wetland oasis did not exist. For full blog post, click here.

Caribbean coral reefs could disappear "within a few decades" 

By Brad Plumer – Vox.com – July 7, 2014
Coral reefs in the Caribbean are on track to "virtually disappear within a few decades," a major new report warns. But there's also a way to slow decline. Protecting just a single fish — the brightly colored parrotfish — could help save the reefs from doom. There's little doubt that the Caribbean's coral reefs have declined sharply since the 1970s, under heavy stress from invasive pathogens, overfishing, coastal pollution, tourism, and now global warming that's heating up the oceans. For full story, click here.

Nature’s Dying Migrant Worker

By Josephine Marcotty – Star Tribune – Video
On a cool January day in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Steve Ellis culled his sick bees. The only sounds were their steady buzz and the chuffing of the smoker he used to keep them calm as he opened the hives, one by one, to see how many had survived. The painful chore has become an annual ritual for Ellis, and, hardened now like a medic on the front lines, he crowned another box with a big rock to mark it. For full story and to view video, click here. 

The Mercury-Laden Fish Floated for School Lunches 

By Ret Talbot – Discover Magazine – June 25, 2014
It’s Thursday morning at the Portland Public Schools central kitchen on Riverside Street in Portland, Maine. A crew of white-coat-clad kitchen employees is preparing locally landed Acadian redfish fillets topped with oyster cracker crumbs and seasoned with Old Bay for more than 2,000 elementary school students. This facility prepares local seafood once a month as part of the district’s commitment to the local food movement. For full article, click here.

'Superweeds' choke farms

By Donnelle Eller – The Des Moines Register – June 23, 2014
Arkansas farmer Tommy Young says Southern growers have lived through nearly a decade of torment, fighting a destructive, fast-growing weed that can carry a million seeds, grow as tall as an NBA player and is unfazed by several herbicides. Now that weed — Palmer amaranth — is in five Iowa counties on the state's border, and agronomists are working to determine whether it is herbicide resistant. It has the power to choke the state's economy and environment — and increase prices for consumers. For full story, click here.

Wetland Breaking News - July 2014

WEBINARS
MEETINGS

TRAINING




WEBINARS










JULY










July 22, 2014
1:00 p.m. -2:30 p.m. EDT.




The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency webinar on Building Climate Resiliency with Green Infrastructure










July 23, 2014
12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m  EDT 



U.S. EPA's Safe and Sustainable Water Resources Program, Office of Research & Development will hold the U.S. EPA Water Research Webinar: Stressor Identification Process and CADDIS










July 24, 2014
2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m  EDT



Webinar sponsored by the Association for Metropolitan Water Agencies, the Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center, and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions: Innovation and effective stakeholder engagement on water and energy. To register, click here.










July 30, 2014
1:00 p.m. -3:00 p.m. EDT.



ASWM's July Members' Webinar: Wetland Link International North America Webinar II: Best Practice in Designing, Building and Operation of Wetland Education Centers

To register, click here











AUGUST










August 7, 2014
1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. EDT



Webinar: A Climate-Smart Approach to Adaptive Management of North-central California Coast and Ocean Habitats, Species and Ecosystem Services










SEPTEMBER










September 9, 2014
10:00 AKDT



Webinar: Climate Change Adaptation for an at Risk Community – Shaktoolik Alaska










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



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










MEETINGS













JULY










July 21-24, 2014
Helena College, University of Montana, Helena, Montana




Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation's 6th Annual Floodplain Resource Seminar










July 27-August 1, 2014
Fort Worth, Texas



The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in partnership with the South Central Chapter of the International Erosion Control Association, the City of Fort Worth, the Dallas Fort Worth Airport, the North Central Texas Council of Governments, and the States of Region 6 is hosting the 16th Annual EPA Region 6 Stormwater Conference










July 28-August 1, 2014
New Orleans, Louisiana



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










AUGUST










August 27-29, 2014
Grand Rapids, Michigan



Michigan Wetlands Association Conference 2014: New Directions in Wetland Protection and Management










SEPTEMBER










September 9-10, 2014
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington



University of Washington 5th Annual Pacific Northwest Climate Science










OCTOBER










October 8-10, 2014
Charleston, South Carolina



9th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference: "Improving Water Quality through Relationships, Regulations and Research"










October 13-15, 2014
Berkley, California



SAVE THE FROGS! Wetland Restoration Workshop.  Please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . 










October 23, 2014
Bronx, New York 



The Wildlife Conservation Society, NOAA and Partners will host the Symposium on Urban River










NOVEMBER










November 17-20, 2014
Charlotte, North Carolina



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










November 18-19, 2014
Washington, DC



Association of Climate Change Officers 4th Annual Defense, National Security & Climate Change Symposium










DECEMBER











December 15-19, 2014
San Francisco, California




American Geophysical Union’s 47th annual Fall Meeting. Abstract deadline is August 6, 2014.










FEBRUARY 2015











February 3-5, 2015
Stevenson, Washington



River Restoration Northwest will hold their 14th Annual Stream Restoration Symposium.  Pre-symposium short courses will be held on February 2, 2015 and field trip on February 6, 2015. Session Proposals due August 16, 2014.


February 10-12, 2015
Albuquerque, New Mexico




Tamarisk Coalition 2015 Conference Advancing Riparian Restoration in the West










MARCH 2015











March 12-13, 2015
Denver, Colorado




The Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute 2015 Annual Land Use Conference: Western Places/Western Spaces: Building Fair and Resilient Communities. Proposals due by August 1, 2014.










TRAINING













JULY










July 22-24, 2014
Pocono Mountians, Pennsylvania



The Swamp School: Wetland Plants Field ID Workshop










AUGUST










August 18-21, 2014
St. Michaels, Maryland



Environmental Concern course on Grasses, Sedges and Rushes










August 18-22, 2014
St. Michaels, Maryland



Blue Lion Training is offering this online Live-stream, Interactive Field Course: Wetland Delineation Training










August 19-22, 2014
Holland, Michigan



Michigan Wetlands Association is offering a course on Wetland Plant Identification










SEPTEMBER










September 15-18, 2014
National Conservation Training Center,
Shepherdstown, West Virginia



The Conservation Fund: Strategic Conservation Planning Using a Green Infrastructure Approach. Registration deadline is August 15, 2014.










September 22-26, 2014
St. Michaels, Maryland



Environmental Concern course on Basic Wetland Delineation










September 25-26, 2014
Denver, Colorado



Urban Watersheds Research Institute course on Stormwater BMP and LID Selection, Design & Economics










September 30-October 3, 2014
San Antonio, Texas



Stream Mechanics Workshop 3: Natural Channel Design Applications in Semi-Arid Environments










OCTOBER










October 1-2, 2014
Boston, Massachusetts



The Northwest Environmental Training Center course on Environmental Forensics in Water










October 14-17, 2014
National Conservation Training Center, Shepherdstown, West Virginia



Stream Mechanics course Natural Channel Design Review Checklist Workshop












NOVEMBER










November 6, 13, 20, and December 4, 2014
New Brunswick, New Jersey




Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education course ArcGIS Editing & Data Development 










November 17-20, 2014
Richmond, Virginia



Richard Chinn Environmental Training: Wetland Delineation Training










DECEMBER











December 8-9, 2014
St. Michaels, Maryland



Environmental Concern course Winter Woody Plant ID










SPECIAL EVENTS











September 28, 2014


World Rivers is a celebration of the world's waterways. For more information, click here or here.





























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


Wetland Breaking News: July 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

  • Setting the Record Straight on Waters of the US
  • Report Shows Declining Trend in Prairie Pothole Wetlands
  • Worthwhile trade-off
  • After once being listed for extinction by 2000, wood storks now officially off endangered list
  • Lawmakers urge court to block Chesapeake cleanup
  • Putting a Price Tag on Nature's Defenses
  • ASWM’s July Members’ Webinar - Wednesday July 30, 2014 - 1:00-3:00 p.m. EDT

NATIONAL NEWS

  • U.S. House committee considers reigning in EPA's CWA Power Grab
  • House Hearing on EPA’s Expanded Interpretation of its Permit Veto Authority Under the Clean Water Act
  • House Holds Hearing on Proposed Waters of the United States Rule - July 9, 2014
  • EPA Provides Tool to Help Communities Become More Flood Resilient
  • Creeping Up on Unsuspecting Shores: The Great Lakes, in a Welcome Turnaround
  • Gannett exclusive: BP shuts down internal oil spill claims program
  • Report warns world's oceans at point of collapse
  • 'Dead zone' the size of Connecticut expected along Louisiana coast, scientists say
  • World's Hottest May Is Now May 2014: NOAA
  • Experts foresee shortages as the nation's freshwater supply dwindles
  • Republican U.S. senators take aim at EPA proposed water rules
  • Thune Amendments Address Wetlands Determinations Backlog and Expedite CRP Emergency Haying/Grazing
  • In odd twist, industry agrees to ban "microbeads"
  • EPA, Army Corps Extend Comment Period For Rule Clarifying Water Act Jurisdiction
  • Draft Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan Available for Public Input

STATES NEWS

  • AK: What's killing the Yukon's salmon?
  • AK: Alaska: New Placer Mining Permits Proposed
  • AZ: National Park Service calls development plans a threat to Grand Canyon
  • CA: Delta water getting saltier, fish kills show
  • CA: Synergy Oil seeks relocation deal with environmental angle
  • DE: Dilemma for Delaware beaches' renowned water quality
  • DE: Delaware gets millions to help beaches, wetlands
  • FL: Florida County Goes To Court Over 'Acid Fracking' Near Everglades
  • FL: 'Microplastics' imperil marine life in Tampa Bay, worldwide
  • IL: CNT Initiative Helps America Become "Rain Ready"
  • LA: St. Bernard Parish wetlands project to move forward after council resolution
  • MD: Study: Bay phosphorus pollution progress may be overstated
  • MN: Crossing, and protecting, a gem of a St. Croix River
  • MN: Study: Chemicals spreading in Minnesota groundwater
  • MN: Conservation officers work to preserve wetlands in Central Minnesota
  • NC: House Coal-ash Bill Raises Concerns about Groundwater Rules
  • NC & SC: Utilities Plan Major Project To Secure Water Supply In Carolinas
  • NC: On N.C.’s Outer Banks, scary climate-change predictions prompt a change of forecast
  • NC: NC scientists find that oyster reefs can grow faster than sea-level rise
  • ND: ND pipeline leaks about 1M gallons of saltwater
  • OH: In Rare Effort, Ohio Scientist to Test Water Before Fracking Soars
  • OH: Report: Muskingum Watershed 4th most polluted in U.S.
  • TX: Dow Chemical's Water Woes Signal Trouble
  • WA: River of no return
  • WV: MCHM could be more toxic than reported, new study
  • WV: CDC survey says one-fifth of residents reported health issues after spill
  • WV: In key ruling, judge finds Alpha mining ‘conductivity’ pollution damaged water quality
  • Washington D.C.: Inside D.C.'s Massive Tunnel Project

WETLAND SCIENCE

  • U-M computer model shows Straits pipeline break would devastate Great Lakes
  • Hope for Frogs in Face of a Deadly Fungus
  • Research shows Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused lesions in fish: scientists
  • Not Just Bees: Controversial Pesticides Linked to Bird Declines
  • Large Rivers In U.S. Are Becoming Less Acidic
  • Can Coral Save Our Oceans?
  • The Disaster We've Wrought on the World's Oceans May Be Irrevocable
  • Study: Mountaintop mining harms fish in streams
  • Water Samples Teeming with Information: Emerging Techniques for Environmental Monitoring
  • 2014 Spring Duck Index
  • North Slope birds nesting earlier to keep pace with earlier snowmelt, study says
  • Dispersant chemical found in beach oil patties four years after BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, new study says
  • Research raises new concerns about climate impact of natural gas
  • Climate change to profoundly alter Great Lakes region, summary report says
  • Money Men Tally Cost of Climate Change
  • Climate Change is Altering Migration Habits of Emperor Penguins
  • Gulf operations still unsafe despite reforms -- CSB probe
  • A precipitation shift from snow towards rain leads to a decrease in streamflow

RESOURCES & PUBLICATIONS

  • Government Liability and Climate Change: Selected Legal Issues
  • Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades: The Fifth Biennial Review, 2014
  • Report: Next Steps for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate

POTPOURRI

  • Great Barrier Reef impact from dredging could cost ‘as much as $1bn’
  • Agent Orange Ingredient Could Soon Be Used to Kill Superweeds
  • Supreme Court upholds rules curbing greenhouse gases from power plants
  • The River Geronimo Knew
  • Caribbean coral reefs could disappear "within a few decades"
  • Nature’s Dying Migrant Worker
  • The Mercury-Laden Fish Floated for School Lunches
  • IA: 'Superweeds' choke farms

WEBINARS, MEETINGS, TRAINING

Webinars

  • Building Climate Resiliency with Green Infrastructure
  • Stressor Identification Process and CADDIS
  • Innovation and effective stakeholder engagement on water and energy
  • Wetland Link International North America Webinar II: Best Practice in Designing, Building and Operation of Wetland Education Centers
  • A Climate-Smart Approach to Adaptive Management of North-central California Coast and Ocean Habitats, Species and Ecosystem Services
  • Climate Change Adaptation for an at Risk Community – Shaktoolik Alaska
  • Stream Restoration as a Pollutant Reduction Strategy

Meetings

  • 6th Annual Floodplain Resource Seminar
  • 16th Annual EPA Region 6 Stormwater Conference
  • Ecological and Ecosystem Restoration: Evaluating the Science and Practice of Restoration
  • New Directions in Wetland Protection and Management
  • 5th Annual Pacific Northwest Climate Science
  • Improving Water Quality through Relationships, Regulations and Research
  • SAVE THE FROGS! Wetland Restoration Workshop
  • Symposium on Urban River
  • EcoStream - Stream Ecology and Restoration Conference
  • 4th Annual Defense, National Security & Climate Change Symposium
  • American Geophysical Union’s 47th annual Fall Meeting
  • 14th Annual Stream Restoration Symposium
  • Advancing Riparian Restoration in the West

Training

  • Wetland Plant Field ID
  • Grasses, Sedges and Rushes
  • Live-stream, Interactive Field Course: Wetland Delineation Training
  • Wetland Plant Identification.
  • Strategic Conservation Planning Using a Green Infrastructure Approach
  • Basic Wetland Delineation
  • Wetland Breaking News - July 2014Stormwater BMP and LID Selection, Design & Economics
  • Natural Channel Design Applications in Semi-Arid Environments
  • Environmental Forensics in Water
  • Natural Channel Design Review Checklist Workshop
  • ArcGIS Editing & Data Development
  • Wetland Delineation Training
  • Winter Woody Plant ID

Special Events

  • World Rivers


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Wetland Breaking News

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

Wetland Breaking News: July 2014The items presented in Wetland Breaking News do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or of the Association of State Wetland Managers. Send your news items, comments, corrections, or suggestions to 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 and Marla Stelk, Editors; Laura Burchill and Sharon Weaver, Assistant Editors. Executive Director: Jeanne Christie.  Association of State Wetland Managers, 32 Tandberg Trail, Ste. 2A, Windham, ME 04062. Telephone: 207-892-3399 Fax: 207-892-3089

All photos by Jeanne Christie, ASWM


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