Washington Post - These days, climate change momentum is everywhere. It's in U.S. politics, as the Clean Power Plan promises significantly curb U.S. emissions by 2030. It's in the clean energy industry, as a solar and wind boom couldn't possibly arrive at a more opportune time. It's in the international arena, as the nations of the world appear finally on the verge of a carbon agreement this December in Paris. An most of all it's in the hearts and minds, as Pope Francis, arriving in the U.S. as a climate rockstar the likes of which we've really never seen before, tells a billion Catholics and then some that climate change is a moral issue - gives the Paris talks even more momentum. Those who have followed the climate issue over the years - generally a pretty depressing task - aren't used to so much good news all at once. So it can be hard to know what it means, and what it doesn't. Could it ultimately signify that it's time to feel optimistic that the world is, finally, on the verge of being "saved"?
Wall Street Journal - Banks are clashing with regulators over loan reviews that could crimp the flow of new credit to the oil patch. The dispute is focused on the relatively narrow issue of loans secured by oil and gas companies' reserves, but it highlights the much broader point of how post crisis regulation of the financial industry is affecting sectors from Wall Street. On one side are the bankers who have been grappling with the plunge in oil prices and the need to shore up billions of dollars in credit extended to the energy industry. On the other are regulators eager to prevent another financial crisis while not knowing what it might be. Caught in the middle are the small- and medium-size exploration and production companies that rely on credit lines that use their energy reserves as collateral.
Washington Post - Budget hawks in Congress may stand their ground on wasteful spending, but shutting down the government is no example of fiscal frugality. Lost work, back pay and wiped-out jobs for federal contractors and other private-sector workers loom as just some of the costs of a closure that will happen in six days unless Democrats and Republicans in Congress break their impasse over abortion, military spending and other issues to pass a new budget. The last time this happened, for 16 days in October 2013, the White House put a price on it: 6.6 million days of lost work, $2 billion in back pay for 850,000 federal employees who did no work and 120,000 private-sector jobs gone. The effects, according to an accounting by the Office of Management and Budget and later by the Government Accountability Office, also added up to less effective government serves as federal agencies spent much of their time ramping up for a closure before it happened, then recovering afterwards from delays to their operations.
Army Times - Soldiers can expect a range of new and more complex risks with the progression of climate change - and not just getting too hot, an Army scientist said at a forum on health readiness. Soldiers face heat-related injuries, much more than that, Army science adviser Dr. Steven Cersovsky told a panel on Tuesday. Climate change presents a major, multi-pronged threat to the military, ranging from increased disease to global instability that could push soldiers into a fight, he said. Cersovksy is science advisor for the Army Public Health Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. He spoke at a "Hot Topics" forum on health readiness in Arlington, Virginia, presented by the Association of the U.S. Army. He described a variety of issues raised by climate change in a panel on "Enabling Health Readiness in a Complex World."
Wall Street Journal - A traffic jam of over 800 boats and barges has formed along a stretch of Ohio River, as maintenance work ties up on of the busiest domestic shipping routes for grain, coal and other natural resources. The delays started nearly a month ago after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers partially closed a lock outside Brookport, Ill. that allows vessels to navigate a portion of the Ohio River near where sit feeds into the Mississippi River. That created a bottleneck that by midday Wednesday totaled 72 tow boats and 757 barges, according to Martin Hettel, a senior manager with AEP River Operations, a large inland river vessel operator.
Washington Post - The world's tallest building stand in Dubai. The largest city is in Japan. Brazil's Amazon is the largest rain forest. And the largest airport sits in the middle of a Saudi Arabian desert. But the world's largest man-made oyster reef is in Maryland. It was finished just days ago, and rests at the watery bottom of Harris Creek on the Eastern Shore, spread across more acres than the national Mall. Why is this a big deal? The reef in the creek is the foundation of Maryland's bid to resuscitate its troubled oyster population, overfished to near oblivion for decades and attacked by a couple of killer diseases as vicious as the bubonic plague. Oysters are more than a food that pair with a dash of lemon and sauce; they are cleaning machines that filter dirty water in the polluted Chesapeake Bay.
WKSU - Twice a year, a six-mile stretch of the Cuyahoga River has enough sediment dredged out of it to fill more than 22,000 dump trucks. This allows shipping traffic to continue between Lake Erie and Cleveland's industrial sectors upriver. An executive order earlier this year by Gov. John Kasich prohibits open lake dumping of dredged material. For Ohio Public Radio, WCPN's Brian Bull reports on alternative efforts to make use of all that muck. Outside the ArcelorMittal steel plant, a crane repeatedly dips its clamshell shovel into the Cuyahoga River, then dumps a murky, grayish soup onto a nearby barge. To most people, this is sludge. But to Jason Ziss, "this is good material, this is really nice stuff."
The Chronicle - Greens Bayou Wetlands Mitigation Bank makes up 1,400 acres of protected marshland and hardwood forest tha flies just inside Houston's beltway. Two decades ago, this land was a mix of cattle pasture, some clumps of trees and swamp. Harris County acquired the land in the early 90s, and worked with Army Corps of Engineers to designate it as a "mitigation bank." It works like this: the federal government says wetlands are so important to our environment that there can be no net loss. S when developers or agencies build something on wetland, they can purchase credits from a wetlands mitigation bank to offset the loss. The bank then preserves the wetlands in perpetuity. The program is run by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Capital Gazette - It took two weeks to spread the sand, set the boulders and plant the cordgrass. It took more than one year to earn the permit approval. The newly built natural shoreline along Chase Creek on the Severn River was celebrated Tuesday afternoon during a gathering of neighbors and environmentalists in Arnold. And Severn Riverkeeper Fred Kelly said the delayed project revealed "institutional problems" that have slowed efforts to repair local creeks - but are beginning to improve. The Pines on the Severn community association applied in 2013 for a state permit to rebuild the shoreline. It took longer than anyone expected, but no quite three years to finish the work.
Coastal News Today - In what amounts to the largest estuary restoration project in the Western United States, leaders of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' San Francisco District have proposed a nearly $175 million plan help protect the heart of Silicon Valley from catastrophic flooding. It's a region that is home not only to the giants of the technology industry but some of the nation's most expensive residential real estate now at significant risk of flooding because of climate change and predicted sea level rise. "One of the nation's most vital economic areas is at risk," said Lt. Col. John Morrow, commander of the Corps' San Francisco District, as he presented the results of the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Interim Feasibility Study to Corps leadership in Washington, DC, Sept. 11.
USACE Galveston District awards small business contract for shoreline protection at Pelican Island Placement Area
Costal News Today - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District awarded a contract in the amount of $2,123,000 to RLB Contracting Inc, a small business, for placement of rip rap and articulating concrete block in order to minimize erosion of the existing Pelican Island Placement Area containment dikes in Galveston County, Texas. "The Pelican Island Placement Area receives dredged material from the Galveston Harbor project which helps to maintain navigation for the Port of Galveston and industries along the channel," said Tricia Campbell, an operations manger with the USACE Galveston District's Navigation Branch.
Coastal News Today - When it comes to America's coast, greatness is in the eye - and heart - of the beachgoer. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what makes a great beach great depends on perspective. For a coastal engineer, a great beach is stable (or on that is regularly resorted), wide, with coarse sand and shell, a healthy dune and gentle slope into the water. Most of the rest of us would like that, too, except some of us prefer finer sand. Coastal engineers don't like that as much, because finer sand erodes more quickly. A beach manager likes all those things, too, but he or she also has some preferences about what makes a great beach great.
NOAA Press Release - The ocean is home to many archeological gems below its surface. Protecting these underwater cultural heritage sites - traces of human existence that have cultural or historic character - is no easy task. Many U.S. statutes and maritime and international laws exist for site protection, but with regulation and enforcement divided among various governing agencies, until recently this information was difficult to locate. With the Ocean Law Search tool's online database, the hunt for ocean-governing statutes is now much easier. Users are able to search through hundreds of legal documents, including environmental and historic preservation statutes, legislative histories, court decisions, and other documents related to the protection of underwater cultural heritage on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.
Seattle News - Has someone put a curse on Seattle's central waterfront, a hex on the city's front porch, this once-handsome portal to the Pacific? Surely some form of dark spell must have been cast. How else to explain the most recent snafu? For more than two years, ever since Bertha, the much-maligned 6,700-ton boring machine began her stalled 1.8 mile subterranean journey, the waterfront has turned into a clutter of cement trucks, beeping backhoes, and cyclone fences enclosing a maze of makeshift ramps crisscrossing deep open pits. It does make one pine for the days when a person could sit on a dock, smell the briny air, gaze upon the white-capped Olympic Mountain, and watch seagulls cawing for fires flutter past kitschy tourist shops.
CT Post - The city has received $825,000 in federal grants that will pay for critical planning and engineering work that may later lead to "hardening of there municipal beaches, Milford officials said. "The purpose of this grant is to have projects that are 'shovel ready' for when funds do become available - whether through bonding or grants - we're ready to go," said Chris Saley, director of Milford's Department of Public Works. "We'll also be getting the necessary permits from DEEP (the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection) and other agencies, which can be time-consuming." The grant is from the Department of Housing's Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program for storm resiliency and restoration projects, according to city officials. Of the total, $325,000 is to be used for a stretch of the beach on the city's West End, Walnut and Wildermere beaches.