NY Times - This city, once famous for its bubbling natural springs, sits about 17 miles from the shore of Lake Michigan. So when state and federal authorities began demanding that the city address a growing contamination problem in its aquifer, the answer seemed simple: Get water from the big lake. Surely, city leaders imagined, the needs of Waukesha, population just over 70,000, would be but a drop from the gigantic Great Lakes bucket, which amounts to one-fifth of the earth's fresh surface water. That little drop, however, has stirred up a colossal struggle.
Washington Post - Here's a news flash: fish need water to survive. In California, they're not getting much. If the state's severe drought continues the way it has for another two years, its salmon, steelhead and smelt are in danger of going away forever. Bettina Boxall has a compelling story in Monday's Los Angele Times, "The drought's hidden victims: California's native fish." A quote in the story from California's leading authority on native fish, Peter Moyle of the University of California at Davis, gets straight to the point: "We're going to be losing most of our salmon and steelhead if things continue." The die-off of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta smelt, Moyle said in the story is so massive that all that's left is the "last of the last."
Washington Post - Researchers are scrambling to determine what's behind the death of 30 whales in the Gulf of Alaska as unusually warm ocean temperatures continue to wreak havoc on the region. Since May 2015, 14 fin whales, 11 humpback whales, one gray whale and four unidentified specimens have been found dead along shorelines in the Gulf of Alaska, nearly half of them in the Kodiak Archipelago. Other dead whales have been reported off the coast of British Columbia, including four humpbacks and one sperm whale.
In Forum - Diversion officials said Monday they hope to find a private company to handle all aspects of the channel that is an integral part of the $2 billion Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion project. The prospect raised several questions when presented to the Moorhead City Council. A so-called public-private partnership, or P3, in which a private company assumes the responsibilities of design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of a public works project, has never been used for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project such as the F-M diversion. But diversion representatives, speaking in front of the Moorhead City Council on Monday, praised the P3 financing plan and said the corps wants to use the method for the first time on the diversion project.
Al Jazeera America - Darren Ogden, an affable federal fisheries biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, had time on his hands as July came to a close. This wasn't good. "It's never been this early or this bad," he said as a broad, green stretch of the Snake River sluiced and eddied after passing through Lower-Granite Dam. Ogden was 30 miles downstream from the Washington-Idaho border, and was heading an emergency operation to trap however many endangered sockeye salmon still survived in the river. Not being busy was a bad sign. These sockeye, who rocket up into the mountains of central Idaho every summer to spawn, have been to the edge of extinction once already.
Climate Progress - A 2011 New York Times Magazine story sounded the alarm: "Scientists consider Sacramento - which sits at the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers and near the Delta - the most flood-prone city in the nation." The article went on to note that experts fear an earthquake or violent Pacific superstorm could destroy the city's levees and spur a megaflood that could wreak untold damage on California's capital region. Post-mortem studies blamed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its flawed flood control system for the cataclysmic damage to New Orleans in August 20015. In 2005, the corps chief publicly owned responsibility, acknowledging that the levees that were supposed to prevent the flooding were improperly built and relied on old data: "This is the first time that the corps has had to stand up and say: 'We've had a catastrophic failure.'"
WaterWorld - This week, the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) is hosting the 2015 World Water Week (Aug. 23-28) at the City Conference Centre in Stockholm, Sweden. With the theme of "Water for Development," the event is bringing together water leaders from around the world and is focusing on the exchange of ideas and fostering new thinking to develop solutions for the world' most pressing water-related challenges. During an award ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 23, SIWI presented the Stockholm Industry Water Award to CH2M, a global engineering company, for its leadership in potable water reuse.
Fosters - The University of New Hampshire's Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping (CCOM) has received a $6.2 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to continue the work of the Joint Hydrographic Center, a NOAA partnership and national ocean-mapping research center. "This funding will support the ongoing research, training and development of state-of-the-art coastal and ocean mapping technologies that have made JHC a national center of excellence," said Larry Mayer, founding director of CCOM and co-director of the JHC.
The Michigan Daily - The University's Water Center - a unit of the Graham Sustainability Institute - has received a nearly $4 million dollar federal grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) announced Tuesday. The $3,978,545 million grant, which will help fund estuary conservation, is the second installment of a five year, $20 million contract from NOAA. Through the contract, the Water Center co-manages NOAA's Natioal Estuarine Research Reserve System, which provides grants aimed at improving preservation techniques for estuaries.
Associated Press - Sections of the Intracoastal Waterway near the Isle of Palms and near McClellanville are expected to be dredged thanks to almost $3 million earmarked for waterway maintenance. The Post and Courier of Charleston reports that the Charleston District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has received $2.4 million for the work and Charleston County has agreed to chip in another half million. Corps officials say that the federal government must first agree to accept the local money for the work. Mayor Rutledge Leland of McClellanville says it has been about a decade since Jeremy Creek, which is part of the waterway, in the fishing village was dredged.
Herald-Tribune - They came by kayak, sailboat, jet ski, paddleboard, pontoon boat, by whatever watercraft they could reach a Sunday afternoon beach party the likes of which they believe Sarasota has never before experienced. On a Big Pass sandbar at low tide stretched the equivalent of about three city blocks, 2,000 or more beachcombers - with dogs and children in two - joined "Party on the Pass," a rally to raise awareness for a cause launched by the environmental group Suncoast Waterkeepr and the Siesta Key group Save Our Siesta Sand. The two groups have united to call for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a thorough environmental study of its plan for dredging Big Pass to replenish the beaches of Lido Key. The Corps' permit application is still pending before the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.