Iowa may offer carp a back door to Minnesota

The Freshwater Society blog publishes a digest of important regional, national and international articles and research on water and the environment. Scan the articles here, then follow the links to read the articles in their entirety where they originally were published.

Asian carp’s back-door route to Minnesota
There’s a back door for Asian carp to sneak into Minnesota, and fisheries officials are worried the invaders already might have found it.

Commercial fishermen recently caught dozens of Asian carp in northwestern Iowa’s Great Lakes, one of that state’s most popular vacation spots. Those waters connect with lakes and streams in southwestern Minnesota, so the haul came as an unwelcome surprise to Minnesota officials who’ve been more focused on the higher-profile fight against Asian carp infiltrating up the Mississippi.

“We view it as a big threat. … These fish don’t recognize political boundaries,” said Ryan Doorenbos, area fisheries supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Windom.
–The Associated Press

Free showing of Leopold documentary
The National Park Service, the Mississippi River Fund, the Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul and Curt Meine are sponsoring a free film screening and discussion of “Green Fire:  Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time.”

The documentary about legendary environmentalist Aldo Leopold will be shown from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, May 17, at the St. Anthony Main Theater, 115 Main St. SE, Minneapolis.

No registration is required.

Court upholds wild rice pollution rule
A bitterly contested rule established decades ago to protect Minnesota’s wild rice from pollution that comes primarily from mining has been upheld by a Ramsey County District Court.

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce sued the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in 2010 at the height of a contentious argument over the state’s iconic plant, which has become a potent symbol in the growing controversy over the potential environmental impact of new mining projects in northern Minnesota. The controversy has pulled in environmental groups, industry, Indian tribes, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and even the Minnesota Legislature.

The chamber, the state’s largest business lobbying group, accused the PCA of holding mining companies to a different standard from other industries on how much sulfate they can discharge into lakes and streams. It also argued that the sulfate rule was vague and that the PCA applied it capriciously.

But Ramsey County Judge Margaret Marrinan dismissed those claims, saying that the state’s standard is in line with the federal Clean Water Act and that the state uses it appropriately.
–The Star Tribune

BWCA land swap bill introduced
Just days after the Minnesota Legislature approved a plan to trade state land in the Boundary Waters for federal land outside the federal wilderness, U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack has introduced the deal in Congress.

Cravaack, R-North Branch, introduced the bill that would order the U.S. Forest Service to trade for about 86,000 acres of state land locked inside the 1.1 million-acre federal Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. In exchange, the state would get a similar amount of Superior National Forest land outside the wilderness — acres that could then be mined, logged and otherwise managed for state revenue, primarily to stock the state’s public school trust fund.

The bill would direct the U.S. secretary of agriculture, who oversees the Forest Service, to conclude the exchange within one year.
–The Duluth News Tribune

Where are the mid-sized walleyes?
Something puzzling is happening on Mille Lacs Lake, the giant walleye lake in east-central Minnesota, and it’s got officials with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wondering what they should do.

DNR researchers are finding a lot of big females laying billions of eggs. That’s no surprise — it’s the desired result of stricter limits on size and numbers of walleye that can be taken. And the DNR is finding no shortage of young fish.

The puzzle is in the middle: Nid-size fish, those 14 to 20 inches, aren’t showing up in good numbers in test nets, said Rick Rick Bruesewitz, area fisheries supervisor in Aitkin. “We have lots of little fish out there, but they just aren’t making it into the fishery,” he said.

A report found that the number of those fish now, compared with 1987-1997, has dropped 39 percent for females and 60 percent for males.
–The Rochester Post Bulletin

NRCS targets 3 Minnesota watersheds
Minnesota State Conservationist Don Baloun announced the launch of a new National Water Quality Initiative committed to improving three impaired waterways in Minnesota.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will manage the initiative by making funds available to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in the selected watersheds. “The Water Quality Initiative will further NRCS’ partnership efforts to improve water quality using voluntary actions on private lands,” Baloun said.

Through this effort, eligible producers in Chippewa, Elm Creek, and Seven Mile Watersheds will invest in voluntary conservation actions to help provide cleaner water for their neighbors and communities. The selected watersheds were identified with help from state agencies, partners, and the NRCS State Technical Committee.

Using funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, NRCS will provide funding and advise to producers to install conservation practices such as cover crops, filter strips and terraces in watersheds with impairments where the federal investment can make a difference to improve water quality.
–NRCS News Release

Rains break Minnesota drought 
The drought is officially over for nearly all of Minnesota.

The new map issued by the U.S. Drought Monitor shows that only about 10 percent of Minnesota remains in drought, the state’s best showing since last September. From late January until just seven weeks ago, 96 percent of the state was in a moderate to severe drought.

The shrinking remaining pockets of drought include part of the North Shore, some of northwestern Minnesota along the Canadian border and part of south-central Minnesota.

Greg Spoden of the Minnesota Climatology Working Group said the data show the drought has broken. He said the recent heavy rain has recharged dry soils, which will be good for agriculture. But because the soil has captured nearly all that precipitation, he said, it will still take some time for some larger lakes to rise to normal levels.
–The Associated Press 

Free showing of Leopold documentary
The National Park Service, the Mississippi River Fund, the Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul and Curt Meine are sponsoring a free film screening and discussion of “Green Fire:  Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time.”

The documentary about legendary environmentalist Aldo Leopold will be shown from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, May 17, at the St. Anthony Main Theater, 115 Main St. SE, Minneapolis.

No registration is required.

Research blames cows for California smog
While people typically blame Southern California’s smog on automobiles, a new study suggests that cows might be just as responsible, if not more so.

A large fraction of the region’s smog, especially the smallest particles, is ammonium nitrate. Those particles form when ammonia, which is generated by cars with certain types of catalytic converters and by bacteria that consume cattle waste, reacts with nitrogen oxides that are produced in large quantities in automobile emissions.

Data gathered in and around the Los Angeles basin in May 2010 suggest that the region’s 9.9 million autos generate about 62 metric tons of ammonia each day. However, ammonia emissions from dairy farms in the eastern portion of the basin — home to about 298,000 cattle — range between 33 and 176 metric tons per day, researchers report in Geophysical Research Letters.
–Reuters

Groundwater pumping raises sea levels
Groundwater for irrigation, drinking and industrial use, evaporating or running into rivers and canals, could cause sea level rises, a U.S. journal reported.

Researchers writing in Geophysical Research Letters say groundwater, once pumped to the surface for use, doesn’t just seep back into the ground but eventually ends up in the world’s oceans. “Other than ice on land, the excessive groundwater extractions are fast becoming the most important terrestrial water contribution to sea level rise,” lead study author Yoshihide Wada of Utrecht University in the Netherlands said.

Sea level rise caused by groundwater pumping from 1970 to 1990 was canceled out as people built dams, where water was trapped instead of emptying into the sea, Wada said. His research shows that changed in the 1990s as populations started pumping more groundwater and building fewer dams.
–UPI

Company to pay $10,000 for water pollution
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has penalized Flame Metals Processing Corporation for improper disposal of waste and wastewater at its processing plant in Rogers.

An extensive investigation by Hennepin County’s Department of Environmental Services led the MPCA to conclude that the company sent toxic wastewater treatment sludge and filters with a potential to release toxic fumes in common waste situations to a regular solid waste landfill instead of a hazardous waste facility equipped to properly handle the waste. The company also discharged wastewater that did not meet limit requirements for discharge to the publicly owned wastewater treatment facility.

The MPCA has assessed Flame Metals a $10,000 penalty for the violations. In addition, the company will be required to implement a supplemental environmental project with a minimum investment of $90,000. The company chose to purchase new wastewater treatment equipment at a cost of $235,700. This new equipment is designed to effectively treat cyanide and help ensure wastewater discharged from the facility exceeds the requirements for discharging to the public facility.
–MPCA News Release

Army Corps promises options on carp 
Obama administration officials say a new timetable developed by the Army Corps of Engineers should speed up the search for a permanent way to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp and other invasive species.

Officials said the corps will present a shortlist of options by the end of 2013 for preventing the carp and other fish from migrating between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins through waterways in the Chicago area. Congress will have the authority to make a final choice.

Members of Congress and state officials said the corps’ previous plan to develop a single recommendation by late 2015 was not fast enough.
–The New York Times

Saving a Georgia river from over-use
Read a National Geographic article about a Nature Conservancy effort to help Georgia farmers pump  less irrigation water from the Flint River.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack profiled
Read a Des Moines Register profile of U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and the challenges he faces as Congress re-writes the half-trillion-dollar  Farm Bill.

Minnehaha Creek joining climate change study
The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, in partnership with the cities of Minneapolis and Victoria, is participating in a two-year study of Minnesota’s changing weather and what it may mean to metro communities and how they manage stormwater runoff. A key component of the project is community input which is getting underway this month at a special forum. The Are We Ready? Forum is planned from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, at the St. Louis Park Recreation Center.

Climate research, current weather patterns and projected trends show a significant increase in both the frequency and severity of rain events across Minnesota. This study will look at how these events could affect flooding potential, local water bodies and stormwater infrastructure and how they might impact land uses and development patterns. In addition to scientific analysis, this project also includes a participatory planning process to help inform local decision makers as they determine how to create effective stormwater adaptation plans for their communities.

Enforcement  increased for invasives
Anglers and boaters can expect stepped-up patrols and citations for violating the state’s aquatic invasive species laws, according to Lt. Col. Rodmen Smith, Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division assistant director.

“We are setting the expectation of the angling and boating public that they will follow the laws to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, that they will be checked for AIS violations, and that they will cited if a violation is found,” Smith said.

The increased patrols beganwith the walleye opener on  May 12 and continue through the Memorial Day weekend and into the summer.

Minnesota law prohibits the possession or transport of any AIS in Minnesota. Conservation officers and peace officers may stop and inspect motorists pulling boats or other marine equipment upon a “reasonable belief” that AIS are present.
–DNR News Release

South Florida cuts water use
South Florida has suffered through some dreary declines of late — home values, paychecks and the Miami Dolphins, for instance. But in the case of the public thirst for one precious commodity — fresh water — the decline has actually turned into a major money-saving plus.

The 53 water utilities serving Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties pumped about 83 million fewer gallons a day in 2010 than they did in 2000 — despite a population that grew by some 600,000 over the decade — according to a new draft analysis produced by the South Florida Water Management District.

Do the math and it adds up to South Floridians using about 20 percent less water each day for drinking, bathing and sprinkling yards per person than they did a decade ago.
–The Miami Herald

China’s groundwater threatened 
Groundwater in about 55 percent of the cities monitored across China is not safe to drink, according to a national annual report on the situation of the country’s land and resources in 2011. The outlook is not optimistic, according to the report, which was released by the Ministry of Land and Resources.

Monitoring conducted in 2011 found groundwater quality declined in parts of Gansu, Qinghai, Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hubei and Yunnan provinces. About 200 key cities across the country were monitored in the report, which covered more than 4,700 testing sites.

The problem of groundwater pollution is spreading from cities to the countryside, according to a national pollution control plan aimed at improving water quality over the next decade.
–China Daily.com

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: