Katherine Ellen Foley on the problem with “clean” hydropower. “Globally, the reservoirs created by dams may actually contribute almost a gigaton of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions—about 25% more than they had previously thought. This means that we’ve almost certainly been underestimating how much greenhouse gas we’ve been shooting into the atmosphere.”
Another reason to let rivers run their natural course….too late to stop China’s 3 River Dam on Yangtze.
“Since April, over 3000 Native American people have been camping in Cannon Ball, North Dakota. They are trying to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which would run underneath the Missouri river near the Cheyenne river reservation.”
Introduction of a new tool to help managers make critical water decisions concerning the Red river Basin between to USA and Canada. Read on:
“Understanding the facts makes it easier to achieve cooperative solutions to complex problems such as managing nutrient pollution,” said IJC U.S. Section Chair Lana Pollack. “A geographic display of information can be a powerful aid to understanding the facts.”
Excerpt from WashingronTimes on historic flooding:
IJC Future steps could include recommendations for flood control structures, such as a dam that was begun in the 1930s in Quebec but was never finished.
Low-lying areas around the lake in Vermont and New York were inundated by the spring runoff that kept the lake above flood stage for more than two months in 2011.
“The International Lake Superior Board of Control, under authority granted to it by the International Joint Commission, expects to increase the Lake Superior outflow for the month of May.
The increased outflow is expected to exceed the capacities of the hydropower plants on the St. Marys River in May, and therefore the excess will be released through the control structure at the head of the St. Marys Rapids.
“The outflow of Lake Superior will be adjusted over the next several months to accommodate expected maintenance at the hydropower plants, and to reduce the potential for adverse consequences of high and fluctuating flows in the St. Marys Rapids.”
It also follows two periods of public review and feedback, and builds upon considerable co-operative work and planning that has been undertaken in the basin in recent years.” The Plan of Study identifies five themes of concern, and strongly recommends funding for 32 projects and activities to support a balanced approach to water quality management, in response to concerns by governments, researchers, local residents and indigenous peoples about the basin’s ecosystem health.
Commentary on Colorado water use living document agreement follows:
“Rising demand from population growth and industry, if continued through 2050, threatens to leave 2.5 million people in Colorado with a water supply shortfall. Unless solutions are found to meet the gap between water demand and supply, the result could be, among others, agricultural dry-up. Therefore, and in response, in May 2013 Governor Hickenlooper ordered the development of a first-ever Colorado Water Plan. In mid-November the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) sent the Governor a draft of this plan that aims to shape the future of the resource in the state. The plan, which took a year-and-a-half to craft, was a monumental and unprecedented effort that involved the work of hundreds of individuals and organizations throughout Colorado. It is generally agreed that a variety of methods will need to be included in the Plan to meet the water supply needs of the state—conservation, development of already Identified Projects and Processes (IPP’s), agricultural “buy and dry,” and development of “new supply” projects. Taken together, these are referred to as the ‘four legs of the stool.’ The Colorado Water Plan will provide a roadmap for the future while protecting private ownership of water rights. The CWCB members are careful to point out that the roadmap is a ‘living document’ that can be changed over the years. There was a ceremony on December 10th in Denver to formally accept the draft plan and to celebrate. A final plan must be completed by December 2015.”
Johnson told her colleagues that IJC Plan 2014 would negate the benefits from dredging completed this fall by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredging of the Oak Orchard Harbor.
The dredging removed more than 10 years of sediment from a federal channel actively used by boating, sport-fishing and recreation activities. Allowing for higher-highs and lower-lows in lake levels would wash that maintenance away, Johnson said.
“Dredging our harbors cost well over $1 million, and yet the federal government-appointed IJC has put forth a plan that would devastate our harbors,” said Johnson, who cited estimates of $3.5 million in damages to shoreline protection systems. “This is government at its worst.”
The IJC wants to hear from you before submitting its recommendations to the Governments of Canada and the United States. The International Lake of the Woods Basin Water Quality Plan of Study is available for review and comment for a 30-day period, from November 12 to December 11, 2014.