2015 Groundwater Foundation National Conference Call for Papers

October 20-22, 2015
Embassy Suites
Lincoln, Nebraska
For more information: http://www.groundwater.org/conference.html

The Groundwater Foundation began in 1985 with enthusiasm and passion for groundwater. Now, 30 years later, the Foundation celebrates this milestone by looking to the future: it truly is just the beginning.

Groundwater is perhaps an even more critical resource now than three decades ago. Increased demand for groundwater for drinking water, agriculture, and industry, along with ever-changing threats from contamination, puts groundwater at an important juncture – one that necessitates action by each and every one of us.

The 2015 Groundwater Foundation National Conference will serve as a call to action on behalf of groundwater.  The future is upon us, and action is needed to identify challenges and develop approaches and solutions to address them. From climate change and growing societal needs to a wide variety of emerging contaminants, each of us will need to be prepared to prevent and mitigate the potential risks to this precious resource.

Through knowledgeable speakers, educational workshops, and unique tours, conference participants will find tools and experiences to help them take action to protect groundwater in their communities.

Abstracts are now being accepted for the 2015 National Conference. Deadline for submission is March 31, 2015.

National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation – April 1-30

The Wyland Foundation’s Annual National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation held every Earth Month (April 1-30) is a competition that encourages cities across the nation to see who can be the most water wise by asking their residents to take a series of informative, easy to use pledges online to conserve water, energy and other natural resources. The non-profit campaign is presented nationally by Toyota and the Wyland Foundation, in association with NLC, EPA Office of Water, U.S. Forest Service, the Toro Company, Bytelaunch, Inc., Wondergrove Kids, and mayors and water agencies across the country.

Now in it’s fourth year, the challenge has become widely recognized as one of the most engaging, zero-cost outreach tools especially designed for cities and water utilities to encourage conservation in the United States. As a leader, your participation helps conservation-minded residents of your city win over $50,000 in eco-friendly prizes including a Toyota Prius v, water-saving home products, home improvement gift cards and more.

Complete the registration form to show your support and to receive additional information, promotional materials, and ideas for making the challenge a success in your city.

Army Corps Project Pits Farmland Against Flood Threat

Read the full story at NPR.

For years, some small towns and farmers along the Mississippi River have been battling each other over a flood project set up by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

On the western shore, farmers in southeast Missouri need the project to protect their valuable farmland. But small river towns on the eastern side of the river say the project protects those influential farmers at the cost of their small communities. As a last-ditch effort, the opposition to the project is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to kill the project all together.

Green bonds and beyond: 4 ways to fix water infrastructure

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

It is common knowledge that U.S. water infrastructure needs investment to address a wide range of issues from water scarcity to the impacts of droughts and climate change.

According to a recent Circle of Blue report, U.S. utilities will need to spend about $633 billion over the next two decades to supply water and to treat sewage. The article also highlighted the release of Navigating to New Shores report (PDF) from the Johnson Foundation, which addresses U.S. infrastructure needs and innovation.

My interpretation of the Circle of Blue report’s conclusions are summarized below.

Voluntary plan to reduce fertilizers not enough to shrink Gulf’s ‘Dead Zone’, new study says

Read the full story in the Times-Picayune.

Major voluntary strategies used on Midwest farmland to curb fertilizers that feed the annual low oxygen “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico don’t remove enough nutrients to succeed, according to a new, peer reviewed scientific study.

But combining those strategies with new techniques, including strategically restoring wetlands in some Midwest locations, could reduce nitrogen runoff from farmlands by 45 percent, said the study published in the Journal of the American Water Resources Association.

Sen. Peterson sponsors legislation to fight toxic algae in Ohio

Read the full story in The Highland County Press.

State Senator Bob Peterson (R–Sabina) this week introduced Senate Bill 1, which seeks to ramp up the state’s efforts to fight toxic algae and support clean drinking water.

Peterson jointly sponsored the measure with Senator Randy Gardner (R–Bowling Green).

The legislation would establish the Office of Harmful Algae Management and Response under the direction of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA). The new department would work with local governments and water treatment plants to coordinate support for Lake Erie and inland lakes with other state agencies.

The new effort would also update provisions to support agriculture’s role in working to reduce phosphorus in Lake Erie and inland lakes.


EPA, Army Corps officially withdraw Waters of the U.S. Interpretive Rule

Read the full story in Farm Futures.

The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers late Friday issued a memorandum of understanding to withdraw the Waters of the U.S. Interpretive Rule, which outlines which conservation activities provide farmers an exemption from Clean Water Act permitting.

Congress requested that EPA and Army Corps withdraw the IR in its “Cromnibus” funding legislation, passed in December.