Red River water quality gets mixed reviews | The Town Talk |

Science is science. Facts are facts. Scientist says Red river water quality is pretty good as far as US river quality goes but citizen group Red river cleanup disagree. It would seem the truth is dependent on your perspective. Comparatively the river’s water quality meets State standards for fish and recreation with low levels of bacteria and salinity but if you live in the Red river valley as part of the community you see the effects of illegal dumping and other activities affecting water quality in larger safety and aesthetic senses. In other words, the standards are set higher because you live there. Both truths are valid with in their defined context – brings to mind NIMBY.

Ronnie Kay with Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality says about water quality of the Red River “is safe to swim in. It is safe to boat in and it is of high quality for fish to live in.”

But if you ask people who stage cleanups and eye the banks of its many tributaries, it needs help.

“It’s a cesspool,” says Adam Willard, who heads the Red River Cleanup, with annually brings out river boosters to pick up plastic foam, plastic bottles and other debris that clogs the river’s tributaries. “I have ridden with the sheriff’s marine division up Twelve Mile Bayou and Cross Bayou and can show you places where guys dump illegal trash into the bayous that eventually gets into the river, where black substances are boiling up out of the ground… We’ve found meth labs on the banks. It’s horrendous. Just how people treat it, eventually it’s going to die. I don’t see how anyone can say it’s in good shape.”

Ken Guidry with the Red River Waterway Commission said “my understanding is the (U.S. Army) Corps (of Engineers) has made sufficient inroads into point source pollution,” referring to natural sources of salt — salinity — in Texas and Arkansas. “Other than that we are not aware of any pollution sources that impact the river.”
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From Maine to Michigan


IJC reporting on boundary from Maine to Michigan:

“New low water records were set in January 2013 for the Great Lakes of Michigan and Huron, now in their 14th consecutive year of low water levels. This period is the longest duration of low water on record and has resulted in lowering the long-term average level for the lakes.

Swinging like a pendulum, the Red and Souris River basins have fluctuated from deluge in 2011 to drought in 2012.  For 2013, record snowpack levels, an extended winter and the unknown impact of spring and summer rainfall heighten the impending flood risk. Board member Todd Sando reported that the elevation of the “100-year flood has now doubled” in the Souris, as the basin is still reeling from the devastation caused by 2011 flooding. The Commission accepted a Souris Plan of Study and will be deliberating and providing recommendations to the governments in the near future. 

Further east, the memories of surviving more than 60 days of elevated flood waters in 2011 persist in the Lake Champlain-Richelieu River watershed. The Commission accepted a report by the Work Group tasked with developing a Plan of Study, which would further evaluate structural and non-structural options for water management in the transboundary watershed shared by Vermont, New York and Quebec. The IJC will deliberate on the Work Group’s findings and recommendations prior to issuing advice to governments. 

The IJC’s first international watershed board is the International St. Croix River Watershed Board, which helped to increase understanding of native alewives and the importance of restoring passage to the full length of the river.  A recent change in Maine state law allows the return of the native alewives.”


Barge explodes 3 Injured

Red River radio reports fire/explosion of barge on Mobile river in Alabama. According to AP:

“Authorities say three people were brought to University of South Alabama Medical Center for burn-related injuries. The three were in critical condition early Thursday, according to hospital nursing administrator Danny Whatley.
“Across the river, the Carnival Triumph, the cruise ship that became disabled in the Gulf of Mexico last February before it was towed to Mobile’s port, was evacuated, said Alan Waugh, who lives at the Fort Conde Inn in downtown Mobile, across the river from the scene of the explosions. Waugh saw the blasts and said throngs of Carnival employees and others were clustered on streets leading toward the river as authorities evacuated the shipyard.”
For more….

OK Slip Falls Tract

Highest waterfall in the Adirondack Mtns has been acquired by state and available to hikers. Read on about access and the plans to make trails and parking accessible to public. Link follows:

“The highest waterfall in the Adirondacks has been unavailable to explore, accept distant views from trail less Kettle Mountain, until now.  New York State purchased the 2800 acres of what is now called the OK Slip Falls Tract on April 23, 2013.   The seldom seen OK Slip Falls will become one of the popular destinations in the Adirondacks.  We hope the NY DEC constructs a large parking area and improves the dirt road into the tract to handle the future traffic.

There are no official trails in this newly acquired tract that also includes Blue Ledge, OK Slip Pond and a couple of other ponds.  There seems to be an access road that leads toward OK Slip Pond and then on to Carter Pond.  The access road is off of NY 28 about 8.5 miles east of Indian Lake.  The GPS coordinates of the junction of OK Slip Road and NY 28 is N43 46.373 W74 06.733 for those who have a GPS devise in their vehicle.  We have included a couple of maps below.  The bottom topo map shows an old trail that leads from OK Slip Pond toward the falls.

There are few pictures found of the falls, here is one from NY Falls website, taken from Kettle Mountain.  According to reports, the DEC plans to have this tract open by the summer 2013.  The waterfall drops about 250 feet into a gorge.  We will be updating this page when we get more info. Please send us any info that you might find to share with other hikers.


Controversy over Delaware River dredging project – Dredging News Online

Living in Roxbury we are just a few miles from the headwaters of the East Branch of the Delaware river. This bearly navigable stream runs through town but as it flows south it becomes the might Delaware streaming with industry.
The controversy concerns dredging the river to increase the opportunity for more traffic and thus advance more commerce to boost regional economies. Here, economy and river ecology seems to be at odds with each other.
Sturgeon, horse shoe crabs, birds, oysters and groundwater will suffer most from dredging of the Delaware river while shipping industry reaps the benefits. Dredging projected to be finished by 2015. Here is an excerpt from article and link:

“Voigt said the purpose of the project is to make shipping more efficient in the Delaware River by deepening the river from 40ft to 45ft. The dredging is currently underway between Philadelphia and the bottom of the Delaware Bay. The channel is 100 miles long, and the hope is larger and heavier ships will be able to navigate the channel, he said.

“The main beneficiary of the project is the shipping companies, and more specifically, container and dry bulk shipping companies,” Voigt said. “Oil tankers and companies will also benefit.”

In addition to the environmental risks, some people, such as Director of the New Jersey Sierra club Jeff Tittel, think the project benefits companies while pushing the cost off on the taxpayer.

UD Review said a big concern for Tittel is the dumping of dredge spoils on environmentally sensitive areas and beaches. As the project dredges the river, they pull up contaminated sediment, which affects the land it is displaced on, he said.

“When you take those dredge spoils and put them on the land, whatever chemicals are in them will leach out and get into the groundwater and potentially the drinking water,” Tittel said.

Many environmental advocacy groups in the region, including van Rossum’s Delaware Riverkeeper, have opposed the project from the outset due to the possible harmful effects on the Delaware watershed and the Delaware River wildlife.”

Water Wars: the Red River

Flooding of Mississippi river and its tributaries, drought in the Southwest and low/high water levels of the Great Lakes, water is in the news:

“On one side was Texas, accused of trying to divert water from Oklahoma under terms of a four-state compact that entitled each state up to 25% of the Red River’s bounty. On the other side was Oklahoma, asserting that Texas can get the water from within its borders or elsewhere.

The battle is being watched closely by other states with similar interstate compacts, such as the one the two states share with Arkansas and Louisiana. There are as many as 50 such compacts, mostly in the West, and at least nine with similar provisions.”
Read on ….

Many Along Lakeshore Watching Water Levels Closely – Rochester, News, Weather, Sports, and Events –

Reporting from Greece, NY:

“If we have a hot summer, it’s going to be terrible,” said Smith of Hamlin.

Last summer the International Joint Commission held a series of public meetings to gain input for a yet to be released lake flow management plan.

Lake Ontario’s level is above its level of one month ago, but below its mark of a year ago, according to data published by the IJC.

“Low water is a good thing it actually keeps the wetlands diverse, keeps the mosaics of different plants that filter our water and cleanse our water,” said Jim Howe of the Nature Conservancy

There are two items that will be unveiled by the IJC in the near future. First, an Adaptive Management Plan for the entire Great Lakes basin which is expected by the end of May. Second, the IJC continues to deliberate on its Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River regulation plan, according to IJC spokesman Frank Bevaqua.

Another set of public meetings is expected, though dates have yet to be announced.

Mississippi River stays in check, for now : News

The mighty Mississippi reeks havoc on barges and river commerce comes to standstill. One death reported. Bottomline, sand bags holding back floodwaters and other measures mediate river crest. Here is a smattering of newspaper excerpts about the cresting and its effects on local communities and actions taken by local officials from St Louis Post Dispatch and St Louis Today:

“Mississippi River stays in check, for now.
AmeriCorps volunteers and Missouri National Guardsmen from the 2175th Military Police unit from Hannibal continue to shore up the temporary flood walls along South First and Washington streets in Clarksville on Sunday, April 21, 2013, as the Mississippi River continued to slowly rise. By Tim Logan 314-340-82913…

River towns prepare for rising Mississippi as victims of flash floods clean up…

Rains brought fast-rising water in Jefferson County, Metro East, but slowly rising Mississippi River also looms….

Nixon declares flood emergency, activates Guard. Nixon issued his emergency declaration Friday after strong storms earlier in the week led to flooding…..

Downpours swamp homes in St. Louis metro area, Mississippi River building toward major flood

One woman, died in the flooding, De Soto police said….

The big river didn’t get too big. At least for now. Sandbags held back the cresting Mississippi River from several towns north of St. Louis on Sunday, while the forecast for the immediate vicinity remained high but manageable.

The Pike County hamlet of Clarksville, Mo., where volunteers, National Guard troops and even a few dozen prisoners had spent the last few days stacking sandbags to protect the historic downtown, remained dry, city officials said. And the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lowered its forecast for Clarksville and other northern Missouri towns, suggesting water won’t get any higher.

“It’s going really good today,” said City Clerk Jennifer Calvin. “Everything’s kind of at a standstill, and holding at that level. Now it’s more of a monitoring situation.”

Closer to St. Louis, some roads remained closed and sand-bagging efforts continued in low-lying areas, but the biggest action was on the river itself.

More than 100 barges broke loose of their moorings in south St. Louis County about 10:30 p.m. Four of them hit the Jefferson Barracks Bridge, prompting the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Missouri Highway Patrol to shut down all but one lane in each direction while crews inspected it for safety. Nine barges full of coal sank, according to the Coast Guard, though most of the rest had been retrieved by Sunday afternoon.

By late Sunday afternoon, all lanes of traffic had been reopened.”

The Great Lakes and Lake Baikal

Baikal lake in Russia is similar to Great Lakes in USA in that they each represent 1/5 of the worlds fresh water. They are also similar since we exploit and pollute them for their resources. Earth and Sky excerpt reads:

If you exclude polar ice caps and glaciers, Lake Baikal holds over one-fifth of all surface fresh water on Earth. Unlike other deep lakes, it contains dissolved oxygen right down to the lake floor. That means creatures thrive at all depths in the lake.


Photo credit: Kyle Taylor

Most of Lake Baikal’s 2,000-plus species of plants and animals are found nowhere else in the world. Scientists believe up to 40 per cent of the lake’s species haven’t been described yet. Species endemic to Lake Baikal have evolved over tens of thousands, perhaps millions, of years. They occupy ecological niches that were undisturbed – until the last few decades.

Now, industrial development, paper mills, mining, agriculture, and general population growth on the lake’s shores are putting toxic compounds, fertilizers and other pollutants into Lake Baikal.

Find out more about Lake Baikal and how scientists are studying how the lake is changing: How is pollution changing Lake Baikal? Read on at:

Quincy Herald-Whig: River expert: ‘Without flood control, nothing else matters’

Having grown up on the Might Mississippi, flood control saves lives and prevents disruptions to transportation and flow of commerce. An excerpt from The Quincy Hearld-Whig reports:

The U.S. House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment met Tuesday to hear testimony on what sponsors hope will be the first reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act since 2007. Panel members got an earful from a variety of speakers representing different waterway interests.

Coastal constituencies asked for greater sand dune establishment to combat storm surges. Spokesmen for U.S. ports and the dredging industry urged the federal government to spend all of the $1.6 billion in cargo fees collected each year on dredging.

River issues came up too, but didn’t get the focused attention proponents wanted. That is expected to change as flooding hits the national news.

“On the Illinois River we expect this to be a flood of record and it’s going to be parallel to about the ’73 flood on the Mississippi,” Klingner said.

A record flood will capture national attention.
Read on…