Wall Street Journal - Two years ago, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a new flood map for the New York City region, one that substantially expanded what's known as the "100-year floodplain" - areas where there is at least a 1% chance of flooding in any given year. FEMA's map, a preliminary document still subject to final approval and its first significant update since 1983, would expand the number of city residents in the 100-year floodplain by 83% to 400,000. It nearly doubles the number of structures in the zone to 71,5000.
Washington Post - Last month, a scientific paper appeared that kicked off what is, by any stretch, the most interesting climate science debate of the year. In the paper, former NASA climate expert James Hansen, who is widely credited with putting the climate issue itself on the map, collaborated with 16 other researchers to outline a pretty dire climate scenarios. Their vast paper contemplated alarming new climate feedback loops involving the Southern Ocean, which could lead to rapid Antarctic ice sheet destabilization and dramatic sea level rise, potentially this century.
New York Times - ...Then, on Aug. 5, the Gold King split open while a team contracted by the Environmental Protection Agency was investigating the source of a leak. The accident sent a yellow plume south into the Animas River and turned Western waterways into a mustard ribbon, causing three states and the Navajo Nation to declare states of emergency. The accident heightened a debate here over the future of this region's old mines, and served as a reminder, some critics say, that the Gold King's toxic demise could be repeated at any thousands of abandoned mines around the country.
Circle of Blue - A New Mexico senator wants to institute royalties for hardrock mining. President Obama signs algae legislation. Clean Power Plan will deliver water benefits. Nuclear regulators release Yucca Mountain groundwater report. The EPA considers easing the path for Indian tribes to administer Clean Water Act standards. National Science Foundation gives out water-energy-food research grants. The National Park Service squares off against the bottled water industry.
The Town Talk - Rocky Morales is watching his small Louisiana town of Delacroix slowly melt into the water. The woods where he played hide-and-seek as a boy are gone. It's all water and mud back there now. So, too, is the nearby marsh where townsfolk once trapped for muskrat, otter and mink. Many of the fishermen who once lived here - his friends and relatives - have disappeared as well, fleeing behind the levees protecting New Orleans out of fear one more hurricane will send the rest of Delacroix into the sea.
Iowa City Press-Citizen - Johnson County beach-goers looking for a final summer swim before school starts should be aware of two unpleasant dangers - toxic algae and E. coli. August is the peak month for blue-green algae blooms are an increasingly common threat to Iowa lakes during the summer. The blooms are caused in part by agricultural fertilizer, sewage, and other sources that carry excess nitrogen and phosphorus into the water.