Today in WaterWise News:
EPA to blame for Colorado river spill - Protection of underwater world increased in 2015 - States prepare lawsuits over President Obama's climate policy - Senators request U.S. Army Corps of Engineers help with Asian Carp issue - Three years post-Sandy reflections - Sea level rise experiences large and small - Dredging for ports and inlets - and, Are CA public beaches under threat?
Wall Street Journal - The U.S. government has concluded that a lack of technical expertise was the driving factor behind a rupture that spilled three million gallons of toxic water into a Colorado river in August as the Environmental Protection Agency was trying to clean up an abandoned gold mine. Interior Department investigators said in a report Thursday that a project team contracted by the EPA didn't correctly analyze that status of the abandoned mine, underestimating the toxic water that had built up inside. "This error resulted in development of a plan to open the mine in a manner that appeared to guard against blowout, but instead led directly to the failure," according to the report, written by officials at the department's Bureau of Reclamation. The document, the first comprehensive federal report on the Aug. 5 mine blowout, directly blames EPA, which has apologized for the accident. Read more.
Washington Post - The Pacific island nation of Palau's announced Thursday that it is designating a 193,000-square-mile fully protected marine reserve that would be the sixth largest such area in the world and would help protect over a thousand species of fish and some 700 species of coral. The news is even more momentous given that plans to set aside over 1 million square miles of highly protected ocean have now been announce din 2015 alone, more than during any prior year, according to figures provided by the Pew Charitable Trusts. That is an area bigger than Alaska and Texas combined. "When you think about it from the perspective of the planet, the last 12 or 13 months, there's bee n more of the planet protected than at any time in our history," said Matt Rand, Pew's Global Ocean Legacy project director. Read more.
New York Times - As many as 25 states will join some of the nation's most influential business groups in legal action to block President Obama's climate change regulations when they are formally published Friday, trying to stop his signature environmental policy. In August, the president announced that the Environmental Protection Agency rules had been completed, but they had not yet been published in the government's Federal Register. Within hours of the rules' official publication on Friday, a legal battle will begin, pitting the states against the federal government. It is widely expected to end up before the Supreme Court. "I predict there will be a very long line of people at the federal courthouse tomorrow morning, eagerly waiting for file their suits on this case," said Jeffrey R. Holmstead, a lawyer for the firm Bracewell & Giuliani who represents several companies that are expected to file such suits. Read more.
Associated Press - Michigan's U.S. senators say a recent discovery about small fish and electric barriers shows the need for quick action to prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported last week that some juvenile fish could be caught in underwater spaces beneath commercial barges and pulled across electric barriers near Chicago meant to keep the invasive carp away from Lake Michigan. In a letter Thursday to the Office of Management and Budget, Sen.s Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters request funding of interim measures while the Army Corps of Engineers studies whether defenses could be upgraded at a nearby lock and dam complex. The Corps says it may put more electric barriers at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam or test new technologies there. Read more.
Fed Biz Opps - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District has a requirement for the above subject. THIS IS A NOTICE FOR SOURCES SOUGHT ONLY. THIS IS NOT A REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL OR INVITATION FOR BID. THERE IS NO BID PACKAGE, SOLICITATION, SPECIFICATION OR DRAWINGS AVAILABLE WITH THIS ANNOUNCEMENT. IT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A PROCUREMENT COMMITMENT BY THE US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, IMPLIED OR OTHERWISE...The purpose of this sources sought announcement is to gain knowledge of interested, capable, and all qualified small businesses including but not limited to Small Business, 8(a) Small Business Development Program, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, and Hubzone firms. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code 237990; Size Standard $27.5 million. Read more.
Newsworks - Tangier island is a place caught between its past and its future. Most of the residents on the island in the Chesapeake Bay are descendants of the original British families who first settled here. They speak with a unique Cornwall, England-tinged accent, and though the crab industry here is shrinking in importance, Tangier still identifies as a town sustained by the bay's bounty, as it has been for generations. But the island's biggest threat is a very twenty-first century one: sea-level rise. Standing in front of one of Tangier's two churches on a late-summer afternoon, longtime resident Carolyn Charnock explained to me that during Nor'easters, storm waters flood the streets here, blocks inland from the harbor. Read more.
Observer - Next week will mark the three-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy's landfall in New York City - but whether the city is any safer than it was the day before the deadly storm depends on whom you ask. "I'm here to say: yes, we are safer now than we were before Sandy," Daniel Zarrilli, director of recovery and resiliency for Mayor Bill de Blasio, told a City Council committee today. "And we also have more to do before we'll be satisfied." Unsurprisingly, members of the Council representing some of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the storm did not quite agree. "If I were to go to my district tonight at a meeting with the community, or school or a function and ask people if they thought the city was better prepared for a storm than they were three years ago, very few hands would go up," Queens Councilman Eric Ulrich said. Read more.
Newsworks - After Superstorm Sandy left the New Jersey coastline in ruins three years ago, residents and officials were left with two big questions: first, how would the communities rebuild? And second, how would they protect the coastline along the Atlantic Ocean from the next big storm? But after communities started getting back on their feet, putting preventative measures in place for future storms wasn't mad ea priority as much as some would have liked. "I expected there to be a consensus out there that dunes and shore protection features are important and worth having in place," says Brad Smith, an environmental field specialist with Stockton University's Coastal Research Center. Smith's expectations weren't met, though, because coastal management became a contentious issue after Sandy, in part because the scientific community itself didn't agree on the best methods. Read more.
CBS News - A study released Wednesday by the World Health Organization said long term exposure to radiation, even low levels, can dramatically increase the risk of getting cancer. Vinita Nair has the story on dozens of sites where low radiation levels have led to spikes in cancer. Watch video.
The Star - Since securing state and federal permits to dredge the federally-authorized shipping channel, it has been widely understood within the Port St. Joe Port Authority that before the first turn of the shovel there had to be a place for its contents to go. The Port Authority last week formally moved ahead on the construction of that place, or more accurately places. A joint participation agreement was formalized between the Florida Department of Transportation, the Port Authority and the board's engineer on the dredge project, Hatch Mott MacDonald, to design the infrastructure to accommodate some 5 million cubic yards of spoil. Enough, said Tommy Pitts, project manager with Hatch Mott, to raise a five-mile stretch of highway about 20 feet. "This is a massive project," Pitts said. Read more.
Huffington Post Los Angeles - The heart of California's Coastal Act is its requirement that development not interfere with the public's right to access the beach. Yet, this right is increasing at risk as private landowners seek to shore up their own properties by building seawalls, revetments, and other structures on top of publicly owned beaches. The result is a loss of beach access statewide that will only get worse as sea levels are predicted to rise. A case in point is Broad Beach in Malibu. The development at Broad Beach has been in a precarious situation since it was built in the lat 1970s. The beach has been eroding significantly over the past 40 years, and properties face an entirely predictable risk from being built too close to the sea. Area property owners seeking to protect their investment have armored the beach in an effort to slow or prevent natural erosion. Read more.
Construction Dive - Nearly three years ago, Superstorm Sandy made U.S. landfall, bringing with it an estimated $69 billion of damage and nearly 60 deaths to coastal New York and New Jersey. While storms of Sandy's size always deliver a mixed bag of water and wind damage, this storm's legacy, particularly in the New York City area, will be the floodwaters that immobilized transportation systems, destroyed homes and businesses, and left one of America's most vibrant economic hubs determined to keep it from happening again. Read more.
Sea Coast Online - there was standing room only at the Wells Town Hall Tuesday evening where dozens of residents turned out for a public hearing on the potential purchase of sand from the Piscataqua River in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, that would be moved and placed off the shore of Wells Beach - at a cost to the town of more than $1 million. The 375,000 cubic yards of sand would come through the Piscataqua River turning basin dredge, if it's authorized by Congress this winter, said Town Manger Jonathan Carter. "If authorized, that turning basin in the Piscataqua River will be widened and the materials that come out of that project will be distributed either to certified EPA sites or given to municipalities up and down the coast that may want the ledge materials and sand materials," Carter said. "This project has been in the planning stages for about seven to eight years." Read more.
Florida Times-Union - The Georgia Ports Authority will spend $152 million in upgrades at the Port of Brunswick over the next decade, Executive Director Curtis Foltz said Tuesday at the annual state of the ports address. Speaking to a crowd of business owners, elected officials and others, Foltz said that to ensure efficient processing of cargo from bulk commodities to vehicles and for continued growth, the port's capacity must be higher than the current demand, Foltz said. In one of those projects, the Georgia Ports Authority has applied to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a fourth berth at the roll on-roll off terminal on Colonel's Island, he said. That berth will cost from $30 million to $40 million. The GPA is preparing 40 acres on Colonel's Island for paving to get it ready for new customers who could be attracted to Colonel's Island by the rapidly growing auto market in the Southeast, Foltz said. Read more.
Tampa Bay Newspapers Weekly - It was standing room only at the Oct. 12 board meeting of the Tierra Verde Community Association where Tampa Bay Watch president, Peter Clark gave his presentation on the closure of Shell key pass. The meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. garnered such interest that a last-minute second presentation was scheduled for 7:30 p.m. that evening to accommodate the overflow. With what looked to be a make-shit white sheet tacked to the wall as a screen, Clark presented a slide show of Shell Key that showed aerial views of the affected area from 1951 until just a month or two ago. The progression of slides document the seepage of sand over the last 15 years into the channel until the Shell Key pass completely closed in May. Read more.