Washington Post- A river delta is, by definition, a place in flux — coastal land naturally sinks, and is naturally rebuilt by the flow of a vast river that carries in new sediment. Across the globe, from the Amazon to the Nile to the Yangtze, we humans rely on such deltas for the many benefits they bring — access to fisheries, good locations for shipping, and much else. But we don’t just rely on them — we change them. We dam rivers upstream and channelize them downstream – actions that reduce the flow of sediment and, thus, the growth of land. Meanwhile, we cut channels through wetlands and cause land to sink further by pulling lots of oil and gas and water out of it.
The Guardian- Rich nations spend huge sums to keep the seas at bay but wealth may not save them indefinitely. New research suggests that the probability of flooding in cities and megacities built on river deltas is on the increase and over time, the Mississippi and the Rhine may become up to eight times more at hazard from rising tides, storm surges or catastrophic downstream floods. The study, published in the journal Science, calculates the challenges ahead for 48 major coastal deltas in the Americas, Europe and Asia, right now home to populations of more than 340 million people.
The Hill- The federal government is getting more confident that this year’s Atlantic Ocean hurricane season will be mild. The National Hurricane Center, a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said Thursday there is a 90 percent chance that the Atlantic hurricane season will be “below normal.”Forecasters now believe there will be six to 10 named storms, one to four hurricanes and up to one major hurricane. Thursday’s announcement updated a May forecast, predicting a 70 percent chance of a below-normal season.
The Hill- The Obama administration is teaming up with three major unions to encourage creation of jobs that will be needed to implement the new climate rule for power plants.The Department of Energy (DOE) said Thursday that it will provide technical assistance and similar help to the Utility Workers Union of America, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the United Steelworkers, and other unions that want to join.The program is aimed at pushing states and others to comply with the climate rule in ways that maximum preservation and creation of jobs like upgrading power plants, installing renewable energy and building energy infrastructure, the DOE said.
The Hill- One of the country’s largest coal mining companies has agreed to pay the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) $2 million to settle allegations over water pollution. The EPA alleged that Arch Coal Inc. subsidiaries illegally discharged pollutants at mines in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, in violation of the Clean Water Act. In addition to the penalty, Arch has agreed to upgrade certain parts of its operations to better protect against future pollution.“Businesses have an obligation to ensure that their operations don’t threaten the communities they serve, especially those that are overburdened by or more vulnerable to pollution,” Cynthia Giles, head of the EPA’s enforcement office, said in a statement.
Pallone.house.gov- Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) requested that the U.S. Army conduct a study on the effectiveness of beach erosion structures when used in concert with beach replenishment projects. The letter requesting the study was led by the Congressional Coastal Communities Caucus, of which Pallone is a co-chair. In the letter, the lawmakers wrote, “The impact of beach loss on a coastal community can be profound, negatively affecting both the safety and socio-economic well-being of coastal populations…A study on the effectiveness of these beach erosion structures when used in concert with beach and dune nourishment is needed to guide federal, state and local policymakers as they work to better protect beaches and the safety of coastal communities, and should be conducted by an internationally respected organization like the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences.”
Tampa Bay Times- Four conservation groups notified the state Department of Environmental Protection on Thursday that they intend to sue over its permitting of seawalls that block sea turtles from nesting on Florida beaches. The agency has already been under fire from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its permitting because all sea turtles are legally protected species. The notice, filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club, the Florida Wildlife Foundation and the Surfrider Foundation, contends the DEP is violating federal law by handing out seawall permits in nesting territory with no regard for the turtles. Earthjustice is representing the groups.
EcoRI- The most enduring reminders of Superstorm Sandy are erosion and, of course, the ongoing expenses to repair the damage. In Rhode Island, the storm’s immediate damage tallied $11 million, followed by some $42 million in recovery costs. Shoreline destruction, Sandy revealed, can be sudden and dramatic, even when a storm weakens considerably before it reaches southern New England. Rhode Island beaches in South County were hit hard, retreating dozens of yards. Outsized waves and coastal flooding, called storm surge, destroyed sand dunes and parking lots, and lifted homes and businesses off their foundations.As plans take shape to slow ongoing erosion and protect against future storms, one approach to beach repair merits consideration: letting nature run its course. Billions of dollars in federal aid have been made available to rebuild and develop projects that protect against hurricanes and the perils of rising seas. However, the option of doing nothing has worked, so far, for a new channel, or breach, carved by Superstorm Sandy into the southern coast of Long Island, N.Y.
Half Moon Bay Review- The superintendent of the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary indicated last week that her agency would support some efforts to shore up Surfer’s Beach, and local officials consider the communiqué a positive sign. In a letter dated July 28, GFNMS Superintendent Maria Brown wrote that her agency would coordinate with the San Mateo County Harbor District and a host of state and federal agencies as they seek to ease erosion at one of the area’s most popular beaches.
Higgins, Army Corps of Engineers detail $2.179 million dredging project underway in Black Rock Channel
Niagara Frontier Publication-Congressman Brian Higgins joined U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District Commander Lt. Col. Karl Jansen to announce a $2.179 million dredging project in the Black Rock Channel. "This is a project that provides economic and environmental returns, cleaning up decades-old contaminants and opening up the navigation channel for recreational and commercial vessels," said Higgins, a member of the Great Lakes Task Force. "Western New York is just starting to experience our potential as a great waterfront community, but with that must come a continued commitment protecting and enhancing the fresh water at our doorstep."