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
http://sandandgravel.com 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.”
This report is just out from the USGS upon request of the Congress on ‘substantial’ drop in Ogallala water levels in certain areas. Link to report provided. This is USGS posting:
The U.S. Geological Survey has released a new report detailing changes of groundwater levels in the High Plains Aquifer. The report presents water-level change data in the aquifer in two separate periods: from 1950–the time prior to significant groundwater irrigation development–to 2011, and 2009 to 2011.
In 2011, the total water stored in the aquifer was about 2.96 billion acre-feet, an overall decline of about 246 million acre-feet (or 8 percent) since pre-development. Change in water in storage from 2009 to 2011 was an overall decline of 2.8 million acre-feet. The overall average water-level decline in the aquifer was 14.2 feet from pre-development to 2011, and 0.1 foot from 2009 to 2011.
The study used water-level measurements from 3,322 wells for pre-development to 2011 and 7,376 wells for 2009 to 2011.
The High Plains Aquifer, also known as the Ogallala Aquifer, underlies about 112 million acres (175,000 square miles) in parts of eight states Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. The USGS, at the request of the U.S. Congress, has published reports on water-level changes in the High Plains Aquifer since 1988. Congress requested these reports in response to substantial water-level declines in large areas of the aquifer.
This multi-state, groundwater-level monitoring program has allowed water-level changes in all eight states to be tracked over time and has provided data critical to evaluating different options for groundwater management. This level of coordinated groundwater-level monitoring is unique among major, multi-state regional aquifers in the country.
The report “Water-Level and Storage Changes in the High Plains Aquifer, Predevelopment to 2011 and 2009–11” is available online.