International Coastal Cleanup

Clean up your local waterway. Message from NOAA:

“Worried about the amount of trash on our coasts? Do gyres of bobbing plastic whirl through your head each night? Help wipe these worries from your mind and the beach by joining the International Coastal Cleanup on September 21, 2013.

With more than 550,000 volunteers scouring beaches, rivers, and lakes last year, this event is the biggest one-day cleanup of marine debris in the world. In the past, volunteers have turned up everything from bottle caps and plastic bags to toilet seats and cyborg sea-kitties. But each year cigarette butts take home the prize for most common item of debris found on the beach, with 2,117,931 of these toxic pieces of plastic turning up during the 2012 global cleanup alone.

To volunteer at a location near you, visit Ocean Conservancy online. The NOAA Marine Debris Program is a proud sponsor of the annual event, and last year NOAA volunteers cleaned up more than 2.8 tons (nearly 5,700 pounds) of debris from waterways and beaches in DC, Seattle, and Oahu.

Even if you can’t make it to your nearest waterway on September 21, you can still help reduce how much trash makes it to the ocean by planning your own beach cleanup and considering these 10 suggestions from Ocean Conservancy.”

State Sovereignty over Water

The supreme Court will rule on Tarrant  v Hermann soon. Here is some background on the issue. State sovereignty over its resources is at stake and could set a new precedent for other regional water compact disputes like Arizona or California. Here is an excerpt from Dallas paper:

The central question in Tarrant Regional Water District vs. Hermann is whether the Supreme Court will uphold the Red River Compact, a 35-year-old pact that sets markers on how Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana share water from the river. Each state signed the compact, and Congress approved it in 1978.
Among other points, the agreement stipulates that Texas has access to certain water basins in Oklahoma, just as Oklahoma has access to specific Texas basins. Oklahoma, however, has denied the Tarrant Regional Water District the right to seek a permit for its share of the water from one of the basins the compact covers.
The Tarrant district rightly has pressed this case all the way to the Supreme Court.
The justices may be tempted by sovereignty arguments that were used by Oklahoma legislators to sustain a moratorium on the sale or transfer of water from Oklahoma to Texas. Here’s the problem with that line of reasoning: Whenever a state enters into a compact, it by definition loses some of its sovereign rights. Chief Justice John Roberts emphasized that reality during oral arguments in this case back in April.

http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/20130611-editorial-supreme-court-should-uphold-red-river-compact.ece

Careful, the water is COLD!

These are important words to heed when play boating in cold water. Serious boaters wear wet suits in the water all year round. We never did growing up in the south with summer fun in the water, lakes, rivers, and oceans but now that I have been east, west, and north boating I see the foolishness of my ways. Even in Georgia in the spring the water temperature can be cold enough to induce hypothermia. Ever have your teeth chatter? That’s hyperthermia! Having to walk wet and cold as the sun goes down to retrieve your car after a run on the river can be enough to cause some unpleasant symptoms. If you don’t keep moving trouble is on the way. Do heed this warning from this excerpt about a group boating on Devils Lake recently:

“Even though the air temperatures are summer like, the water temps are still just crawling above freezing.  When you fall into the water cold shock can be instant, cold incapacitation within 2 minutes and hypothermia is not far behind. What’s more, people are not well prepared. What happens if you fall in? Are you actually wearing your life jacket? Do you know how your body reacts to cold water immersion? How will you get to shore?  Do you have warm clothes to change into?  Do you even have access to a dry towel?  As the old cliché’ goes, knowledge is the best piece of safety equipment you can have out there.”

For the whole story go to this link:

http://www.devilslakewisconsin.com/2013/05/17/careful-the-water-is-cold/

New Democrats Motion Passes: Navigable Waters Protection Act

The NDP convention considered the following motion:

2-06-13 Resolution to Reverse changes to Fish Habitat Protection, to Navigable Waters Protection, and to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act

Submitted by Gaspésie-Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Dartmouth—Cole Harbour

WHEREAS, instead of strengthening habitat protection and environmental oversight, the Conservative government has: gutted the Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act; weakened the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act; cut funding for science and research; and continues to ignore the threats of climate change to Canada’s oceans; and

BE IT RESOLVED that New Democrats call on the Conservative Government to reverse changes to fish habitat protection, to Navigable Waters Protection, and to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act;

and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the federal government immediately implement the 75 recommendations identified in the Cohen Commission Report, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that cuts to funding for fisheries science and ecosystem management be restored

MP Robert Chisholm spoke in favour of this motion.

MP Philip Toone (Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine) spoke in favour.

Motion passed.

USDA Invites Applications for Renewable Energy System and Energy Efficiency Improvement Projects | The Water Information Program

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: On March 29, 2013 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is seeking applications to provide assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Funding is available from USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today’s announcement is one part of the Department’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy. “The Obama Administration continues its commitment to help our nation become more energy independent by partnering with agricultural producers and rural small businesses as they build renewable energy systems and reduce energy usage,” said Vilsack.  “These investments will not only help our farmers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs, but also provide a new potential revenue source and stabilize their operations’ bottom lines.” REAP, authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, (Farm Bill) is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption and help meet the Nation’s critical energy needs.  USDA is accepting the following applications: http://www.waterinfo.org/node/6661

Chinese intrigued by IJC SUCCESS

The IJC settles water disputes between the USA and Canada. The organization was established by the 1909 International Boundary Waters Treaty. The IJC has been more successful in diffusing distributive water issues rather than regulatory. Afterall everybody gets something with distributive policies while regulatory policies aim to change behaviors. This short article written by Mike Vlasveld was published in the Blackburn News. The link to the article is attached: The International Joint Commission’s Great Lakes Regional Office is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Director, Dr. Saad Jasim says the relationship between Canada and the United States, shared at the Windsor office, is very unique. “We had a Chinese delegation come to our office and they had problems dealing with waters shared by provinces within the same country, and they can’t get an agreement on that,” says Jasim. “They said, ‘how can you get agreements and (the IJC) be going for 100-years?’ I said, ‘That’s by good dialogue, good understanding, and improvement of communication.’” Jasim says 40-million people live along the Great Lakes, and use the water for drinking, fishing, and recreation. He explains that it’s the job of his office to ensure the quality of the water is as high as possible. Most recently, the director says they held a workshop where 40 scientists from both countries sat down for two days to discuss algae bloom issues in Lake Erie. http://blackburnnews.com/windsor/windsor-news/2013/03/07/ijc-office-celebrates-40th/

Old Science may be solution to Falling water Levels in Georgian Bay

MP Bruce Stanton encourages his constituents of Simcoe North to Petition the IJC for solutions to Low water levels of Georgian Bay. The IJC is the ‘center for action’ on the solution for this issue. Mary Muter of the Sierra Club of Ontario remarked at the Oakwood Community Centre that ‘the IJC has had $17 million and seven years to come up with a solution’. IJC recommendation to do nothing is not popular among these folks. The US Army Corps of Engineers solution for low water levels for Georgian Bay was conceived 50 years ago. According to Muter, water flows would be slowed by installing underwater sills and repairing erosion damage. As reported by Sarvus, the project costs today would range from $100 to $200 million over 10 years with start up of $3 to $5 million.

Excerpt from Midland Free Press report by Gisele Winton Sarvus on public meeting and solutions to low water levels:

Muter and Scott Warnock [Tay Township Mayor] expressed their dismay with the IJC at last summer’s meeting in Midland that was attended by about 600 people with their ears open for solutions. “They provided no viable options for water level restoration. “It means do nothing and get used to it, folks,” said Muter. An excerpt from local paper A member of the audience asked if the water levels will continue to decline if nothing is done. Muter said that’s exactly what will happen because there are no water regulation systems on Georgian Bay and Lake Huron as there is on Lake Ontario, which has remained relatively stable. Lakes Simcoe and Couchiching drain into Georgian Bay and the five Great Lakes drain, eventually, into the Atlantic Ocean. All five Great Lakes are at lower levels than normal, but lakes Huron and Michigan have lost more water than the others. Human manipulation of the St. Clair River that drains Lake Huron into Lake Erie is one of the areas that is a major cause of the lowering of Lake Huron water, said Muter, and it’s the area where remedial work should start. “The reality is that it is possible to restore water levels,” she said. The St. Clair River has become a drain from Lake Huron because of a century of human intervention that includes mining, repeated dredging, removal of wetlands and creating a steel wall on the U.S. side that causes water to flow faster and causes more erosion that results in an even deeper channel.

http://www.midlandfreepress.com/2013/03/05/action-to-restore-georgian-bay-water-levels-needed-now

This is really something to be excited about! Act now!

Invasive species, septic leaching are top concerns

State of the Lake top concerns:  According to the article by Lynnette Hintze in the Daily Inter Lake – ‘Whitefish Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual “State of the Lake” program to look at areas of concern about the quality of Whitefish Lake. Mike Koopal, director of Whitefish Lake Institute, said, ‘The lake is clean and “very pristine,” but compared to its historical past, there’s evidence of some degradation.’ There are three confirmed areas of septic leachate contamination including City Beach Bay, Viking Creek and Lazy Bay area. Pharmaceuticals in the water are another emerging issue. Slimy muck is evident along the shoreline. Eurasian water milfoil is a problem in Beaver Lake. Divers pulled out weeds and installed barriers in Flathead County. Clean up of Whitefish River by removing contaminated soil from BNSF RAilway Company. BNSF contractors removed 450 cubic yards of petroleum contaminated sediment from Whitefish Lake from 1989 train derailment where diesel fuel spill into Mackinaw Bay. Questions from audience on how to prevent future derailments. A maximum of 45 trains can travel through Whitefish in a 24 hour period. Trains are often longer than 112 cars. There were 63,000 visitors to Whitefish Lake State Park last year.Economic impact of state parks in Montana is $289 million with $122 million impact here in Flathead Valley.

http://m.dailyinterlake.com/news/local_montana/article_09ce80f8-77da-11e2-a534-001a4bcf887a.html