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NFC: Fw: RiverCurrents for the Week of April 20, 2001



Title: RiverCurrents for the Week of April 20, 2001

Robert Rice
NFC President  www.nativefish.org
check out our email list at nfc-owner at actwin_com
Visit out Adopt A Tank , Exotics Removal, and Breeders Club Programs at the website
 
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Amy Souers <asouers at amrivers_org>
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2001 15:07:22 -0400
Subject: RiverCurrents for the Week of April 20, 2001
Message-ID: <B734868C757FD411B16700508B9A2C5711FCED@seattle>
 

RiverCurrents, April 20, 2001
 
Brought to you by www.americanrivers.org: The online community for
river activists and river friends
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In this week's issue...
 
1) EARTH DAY IS SUNDAY!
Do you have plans? Click here for 10 ways to love your river on Earth Day-- plus, some words of advice from Ed Abbey.
http://www.amrivers.org/feature/earthday.htm



2) MISSISSIPPI RIVER FLOODING
As sandbagging crews across the Upper Midwest once again scramble to protect homes and fields, it is time to ask the question: why do floods and the economic damage they cause continue to get worse?  

Click here for live footage and photos taken by Jeff Stein, American Rivers' Mississippi River regional representative.
http://www.amrivers.org/pressrelease/floodfacts4.13.01.htm


3) PROTECTING WETLANDS
New ruling closes loophole-- read an analysis by Kelly Miller, an American Rivers conservation associate working on Army Corps reform.

http://www.amrivers.org/feature/tullochloophole.htm


4) GROUP OF THE WEEK
Find out how two Indiana groups are blending art and activism
http://www.amrivers.org/groupoftheweek/group4.16.01.htm



5) WHAT'S A RIVER WITHOUT WATER?

Mark your calendar for July 30-August 2, 2001. American Rivers, The Nature Conservancy,
other non-profit organizations and federal resource agencies announce
"Managing River Flows for Biodiversity: A Conference on Science, Policy
and Conservation Action" in Ft. Collins, Colorado.

Register by May 1 to avoid late fees!

Protecting natural river flows is a challenge that grows as competing
demands for water increase.  This four-day conference will provide river
advocates with new knowledge, tools and networking opportunities to
advance flow restoration and protection goals.

Visit www.freshwaters.org/conference for
registration forms and additional information. Or contact Jamie Mierau
at American Rivers, jmierau at americanrivers_org.



6) NEWS BRIEFS
       Northwest salmon
       Coalbed mining
       Gold mining
       Nitrates and your health
       Alaska oil spill
       Hudson River
       Florida waters
       Potomac River cleanup


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THIS WEEK'S GEAR DEAL FROM ALTREC.COM

Rejuvenate & invigorate! Spring gear is here-- backpacks, shirts, pants, and footwear. Ten percent of your purchase supports American Rivers' conservation programs. http://www.altrec.com/mpgate/Ameri1/shop/


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NW SALMON: The Bush Administration's proposed budget appears to fall far short of what is needed to save threatened and endangered Snake and Columbia River salmon and steelhead, warned American Rivers and Save Our Wild Salmon. President Bush has pledged to restore salmon while retaining the Snake River dams.  But now, salmon advocates say that President Bush's budget breaks his campaign pledge by failing to adequately fund the recovery plan.  The new budget proposes some modest cuts to some programs, and modest increases to others, but on the whole appears to fall far short of the substantial additional funding necessary to implement the new federal salmon recovery plan.  For instance, funding the salmon plan would require increasing the National Marine Fisheries Service's salmon budget by $183 million - the president's proposed budget would actually cut NMFS's salmon funding.  

Gov. John Kitzhaber (D-OR) has estimated that funding the federal salmon recovery plan will require total funding of $718 million for fiscal 2002.  That would be an increase of $438 million over the $280 million salmon recovery budget for the current fiscal year. If the salmon recovery plan is not funded and implemented, or if it does not succeed in recovering Snake River salmon, the plan calls for the federal agencies to seek congressional authorization - as soon as 2003 - to remove the four lower Snake River dams. Funding the salmon recovery plan, said the salmon advocates, is even more important now than it was when the plan was written, thanks to low river flows and a power "emergency" that has led the Bonneville Power Administration to run the rivers in a way that generates electricity at the expense of salmon.  (American Rivers press release 4/187/01)

Read the press release: http://www.amrivers.org/pressrelease/snakepress4.17.01.htm
 

COALBED MINING: The US Environmental Protection Agency is planning to proceed with plans to study the economics and feasibility of requiring operators to treat or reinject water discharged from coalbed methane operations in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming, despite objections from the state. The state of Montana supports the study, though Wyoming officials say it is unnecessary since the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has already developed a position on the issue - that there are beneficial uses for surface discharges, most notably agriculture. As reports the Billings Gazette (4/13/01), the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has jurisdiction over federal water quality regulations and permitting in the basin, but the federal agency wants to complete the study for "its own permit program on tribal lands as well as its general oversight responsibilities."  Nearly all coalbed methane operators in Wyoming release the water they pump out of coal seams onto the ground without treatment, where it reaches streams and rivers. Though Wyoming and industry officials say the water is clean and will not pollute streams, Montana officials say they are already seeing "measurable increases in salinity and possibly other constituents in the Powder River." Results from the EPA study would be used by the federal agency only for permits for operations on Native American reservations.

Read more about the Powder River, one of this year's Most Endangered Rivers
http://www.amrivers.org/mostendangered/powder2001.htm



GOLD MINING: The Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mine in southern Teller County, Colorado is the state's largest heap-leach gold mine and has violated the Clean Water Act dozens of times since 1996. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the mine has been discharging polluted waters in two locations for years without permits. Specifically, the mine exceeded permitted amounts of cyanide, copper, ammonia or total solids it could release from Arequa Gulch nine times from July 1998 through August 1999. At the Carelton Tunnel outflow location, another 13 violations were identified from March 1996 to September 1996 involving zinc, suspended solids and overall toxicity. The Denver Post (4/13/01) reports that the agency first learned of the violations following a lawsuit filed in November by the Sierra Club and the Mineral Policy Center.

The mine was the first cyanide heap-leach mine to be permitted by the state after it adopted new mining controls after the Summitville mine disaster, and produces approximately 250,000 ounces of gold a year. Unless more gold is discovered, the mine is expected to cease operations in 2015.


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What's the newest way you can help a river? Adopt one! Find out how:
http://www.amrivers.org/mostendangered/intro.htm
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NITRATES: Women in Iowa who drink nitrate-polluted water have a higher risk of bladder cancer, says Peter Weyer, associate director of the University of Iowa's Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination. The university conducted the study that shows that even drinking water with nitrates in small quantities, well below federal health standards, was associated with increased bladder cancer in older women. Specifically, though the federal health limit for nitrates is 10 milligrams per liter, the study found that "women who drank water with nitrate concentrations of  2.4 milligrams per liter or higher were nearly three times more likely to develop bladder cancer than women who consumed the lowest amount of nitrate, 0.36 milligrams per liter." Men and younger women were not included in the study. Weyer says that Iowans should not quit drinking the water until further research is carried out, but that steps should be taken to keep nitrate sources such as fertilizers, sewage and animal manure, out of waterways. Iowa's waterways have some of the highest nitrate levels in the world, reports the Des Moines Register (4/16/01). Though the Des Moines Water Works keeps nitrates levels under the federal limit, it does produce tap water with the pollutant at levels associated with higher cancer risk in the new study.


OIL SPILL: Considered to be perhaps one of the largest spills ever on the North Slope in Alaska, 92,400 gallons of saltwater and crude oil leaked from a pipeline at the Kuparuk oil field this week. Though the saltwater/oil mixture was more than 97 percent saltwater, the spill was more than 100 degrees and saturated nearly an acre of tundra. Saltwater penetrates the ground and destroys plants as effectively as oil, which coats the surface rather than seeping into the ground. As reports the Anchorage Daily News (4/17/01), the exact cause of the spill remains undetermined, though more than likely erosion or corrosion to the pipe is the cause. The spill is the fourth major spill on the North Slope this winter and the second due to erosion or corrosion - and comes amidst debate on whether to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. The refuge, which might hold the largest undeveloped oil reserves in the nation, is about 90 miles east of existing oil fields. And though considered the largest, in 1998 the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that the refuge contains just a six-month supply of oil.

Click here for more on energy development and rivers:
http://www.amrivers.org/mostendangered/riversandenergy.htm



HUDSON RIVER: With the close of the public comment period, GE delivered 19 volumes worth of comments to the EPA on Hudson River PCB dredging. The delivery "trumped in volume any written opinions the agency has received over the last four months," says the Times Union (4/18/01). The 19-volume document included 20 reports from independent scientists that supported GE's argument that dredging would be devastating for the river, increasing PCB levels in fish in the upper river where right now it isn't safe to eat one. GE calls the EPA's plan to dredge 100,000 pounds of PCBs from the most contaminated section of the river north of the Troy Dam "defective." If the EPA's plan is carried out, GE would likely be responsible for its $460 million price tag under federal Superfund law. The EPA received about 33,000 e-mails and 16 cartons of correspondence by Tuesday evening, though the agency says that it is impossible to tell at this time if pro-dredgers or anti-dredgers received more mail.

Read more about the Hudson, one of this year's Most Endangered Rivers
http://www.amrivers.org/mostendangered/hudson2001.htm


FLORIDA WATERS: This week the Florida House approved a controversial bill that would permit the state to pump polluted water underground for storage, which legislators believe is necessary to deal with the severe drought being experienced by Florida. The bill now under consideration by Florida lawmakers would relax fecal coliform bacteria standards so that more water kept in aquifer storage and recovery wells could be stored underground. Much of this water, which under current law must be treated to meet federal drinking water standards, is used to replenish the Everglades. Environmentalists are concerned that the move would contaminate drinking water aquifers when the polluted water possibly migrates upward, reports the St. Petersburg Times (4/17/01).


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Bad news got you down? Do something about it! Visit
http://www.americanrivers.org/takeaction and do a good deed for rivers.
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POTOMAC RIVER: The 13th annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup wrapped up with a record year of 4000 volunteers who pulled 70 tons of trash, 1,817 balls, 679 tires, and an assortment of other interesting finds from the tributaries and shoreline of the river that passes through Washington DC. Included in the collection pulled from the river was a go-cart, treadmill, computer, taxi light, civil war era cannon ball, a wedding picture, 35 lbs. of golf balls and a burned coat still on its hanger. Press coverage of the cleanup and additional information can be found of the cleanup at www.potomaccleanup.org


National River Cleanup week is May 12-19: organize a cleanup on your river! Click here for more information:
http://www.amrivers.org/pressrelease/cleanupweekpress2001.htm


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A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS...AND A RIVER IS WORTH A THOUSAND
PICTURES

Don't miss the Rivers Photo Gallery!

Visit the Rivers Photo Gallery for images of rivers, fish and wildlife,
recreation, and more. We will be
updating the gallery with new images regularly. Consider bookmarking
this page-- it's your source for all of your river photo needs!
http://images.americanrivers.org/content/

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