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NFC: Fw: [currents] RiverCurrents for the Week of April 7, 2000
--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Julie Lowe" <JLowe at amrivers_org>
To: "currents List Member" <robertrice at juno_com>
Date: Sat, 8 Apr 2000 15:20:53 -0400
Subject: [currents] RiverCurrents for the Week of April 7, 2000
Message-ID: <MDAEMON-F200004081526.AA262057MD64045 at amrivers_org>
Thanks for subscribing to RiverCurrents Online, the weekly summary of
river-related news. The goal of this service is to provide its readers a
quick look at the news and events concerning America's rivers each week.
Inclusion of stories should not necesarily be seen as endorsement by
American Rivers, but merely reflect what's occuring on our rivers across
nation. This service is made possible by American Rivers. Questions,
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River News for the Week of April 7, 2000
MOST ENDANGERED RIVERS: American Rivers will release its fifteenth annual
report, America's Most Endangered Rivers of 2000, on Monday, April 10th
press conference to be held at the National Press Club in Washington,
at 9:30 am. The report ranks the most endangered rivers in the country
threatened by serious and immediate environmental degradation. Scheduled
speakers at the event include freshwater biologist Anthony Ricciardi of
Canada's Dalhousie University. Thirteen rivers in the following states
be listed this year as the nation's most endangered: Alabama, Alaska,
Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas,
Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska,
Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington
State, West Virginia, Wisconsin
* * *
LOWER SNAKE RIVER DAMS: The US Army Corps of Engineers has extended the
comment period by one month on its draft study of whether to breach four
lower Snake River dams to aid salmon and steelhead restoration efforts.
reports the AP (4/3), the Corps agreed to extend the deadline until April
30th, based on requests from several agencies and other groups, including
the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Corps will base its
recommendation on the engineering requirements, biological-environmental
effects, economic effects and social and cultural effects of dam removal.
If you would like to register your comments in support of dam removal,
please visit www.salmonforever.org.
* * *
POLLUTED RUNOFF: A federal judge in San Francisco has made what is being
considered a significant ruling by upholding the right of the US
Environmental Protection Agency to set limits for polluted runoff into
nation's waterways. As reports the San Jose Mercury News (4/6), "such
could force city and state officials to launch major education campaigns
telling people to use fewer pesticides and fertilizers." Polluted runoff
the leading cause of water pollution in the United States. The ruling
also lead to some household products being banned and the implementation
rules for treating storm water more effectively before releasing it. The
ruling is a result of a lawsuit filed by the California Farm Bureau
Federation and a Mendocino County couple against the EPA, "arguing that
Clean Water Act does not allow the government to regulate runoff from
homeowners, farmers, logging companies and other ``non-point'' sources."
couple had wanted to log their land, but were forced to follow several
restrictions since the logging could impair the Garcia River. They
the restrictions would cost them as much as $750,000. However, the judge
said Congress intended to include non-point source pollution in the Clean
In a related story, the National Wildlife Federation this week released
results of a survey showing that three-fourths of the states are ignoring
provisions of the Clean Water Act pertaining to polluted runoff from
and forests. As reports the Federation, 38 states "have done little to
address" non-point source pollution under federal law. The report,
"Pollution Paralysis II: Code Red for Watersheds," endorses proposals by
EPA to set Total Maximum Daily Loads standards for runoff, reports the
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (4/6). The report also says that states have
reluctant to deal with the runoff issue due to "a combination of
intimidation ... and bureaucratic inertia."
* * *
ALABAMA STURGEON: The Wild Alabama and the Biodiversity Legal Foundation
have sued U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials over a private
designed to keep the Alabama sturgeon off the endangered species list.
Wildlife Service had signed an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers and the Alabama-Tombigbee Rivers Coalition that would boost
efforts to capture and breed the sturgeon. The coalition and state
political leaders are hoping to keep the fish off the endangered species
list, fearing a listing would restrict commercial activities on Alabama's
rivers and cost jobs. But the environmental groups say the plan falls far
short of protecting the rare fish, reports the Birmingham News (4/7).
* * *
COLORADO RIVER: A recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service shows that ammonia leaking from the Atlas mill
tailings near Moab, Utah is killing fish in the Colorado River.
results from the study show that ammonia in the water around the mill
tailings is several hundred times higher than standards set by the Utah
Division of Water Quality, reports the Deseret News (4/4). According to
state of Utah, anything above 1.3 milligrams of ammonia per liter of
is lethal to fish, and one test revealed 1,500 milligrams of ammonia.
Environmentalists have been pushing to move the 10.5 million tons of
tailings to a site well away from the Colorado River, which could cost as
much as $300 million. Utah Rep. Chris Cannon (R) is expected to introduce
legislation soon that would move the tailings and transfer authority for
site from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to the Energy Department.
* * *
RIO GRANDE: Three resolutions requesting the federal government to speed
projects on the Rio Grande just above Elephant Butte Reservoir have been
passed by the Rio Grande Compact Commission. As reports the Albuquerque
Journal (4/4), one resolution asks that the government speed up its
to dig a proposed channel that will lessen sediment buildup above the
reservoir where New Mexico legally delivers water to Texas. A second
resolution asks the Bureau of Reclamation and the Corps of Engineers to
comprehensive study of the river above Elephant Butte, and the third asks
the Bureau to conclude discussions with the Fish and Wildlife Service on
its operations affect endangered species.
* * *
HUDSON RIVER: Zebra mussels are presenting the latest threat to the
River in New York as they consume so much oxygen from the Hudson River
the ecosystem is degrading, causing other aquatic species to leave. As
reports the New York Times (4/4), this foreign invasive mussel migrated
the northeastern United States in the late 1980s and has since then been
reducing the food supplies for other clams. They are now causing the
River ecosystem to reach a "danger point," reports a study published in
publication Environmental Science and Technology (April). Fortunately,
however, the zebra mussel also filters the river water, removing small
particles that cloud the water and reduce the penetration of sunlight.
Otherwise, their effect would be almost twice as bad, since more sunlight
aids the growth of water celery, an underwater plant that gives off
* * *
PENNSYLVANIA WATERWAYS: This week the Secretary of Conservation and
Resources announced on behalf of Pa. Gov. Tom Ridge 22 grants totaling
than $1 million to help nonprofit organizations and local governments
protect and enhance waterways across the state of Pennsylvania. As
the PR Newswire (4/6), the DCNR approved 11 Rivers Conservation Program
grants to help communities develop river-conservation plans that will
"outline local strategies that municipalities, residents and
groups can use to effectively implement river-conservation initiatives,
as streambank stabilization and Stream ReLeaf riparian forest buffers;
mine remediation; water-quality monitoring; public accessibility for
recreational opportunities; and citizen participation." Additionally, 11
rivers-conservation implementation or development grants were approved.
* * *
ATLANTIC SALMON: This week the Maine Senate passed a bill by a 23-12 vote
open three northeast rivers for catch and release fishing. As reports the
Bangor Daily News (4/7), the bill (LD 2579) passed in first reading to
salmon fishing on the Penobscot, St. Croix and Saco rivers despite
by environmentalists who argued that river stocks were too depleted to
support the activity. As stated by Sen. Marge L. Kilkelly, D-Wiscasset,
a catch-and-release fishery will harm the salmon stocks. The bill will
proceed to the house.
Interested in Legislative Policy Updates? Email Suzy McDowell at
smcdowell at amrivers_org with your name, address with nine-digit zip code,
and email to be placed on the weekly river policy update listserve.
American Rivers is also involved in a campaign to reform operations by
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to restore habitat for river wildlife and
reduce future flood losses. To receive periodic updates on this
email Suzy McDowell at smcdowell at amrivers_org with your name, address
nine-digit zip code, and email address.
For more news, visit American Rivers at www.amrivers.or
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