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NFC: Fw: RiverCurrents: September 21, 2001

RiverCurrents: September 21, 2001 
Brought to you by www.americanrivers.org: 
The online community for river activists and river friends 
AOL KEYWORD: American Rivers 
Quote of the week 
From the hills I gather courage, visions of the days to be 
Strength to lead and faith to follow, all are given unto me 
Peace I ask of thee, O River -- Peace, peace, peace. 
-- from a Girl Scouts song, as remembered by American Rivers 
President Rebecca Wodder 
Read more in an open letter from Rebecca to members, 
colleagues, and friends of American Rivers: 

In river news this week... 
Water quantity, water quality: 
* Washington 
* Texas 
* Louisiana 
* Vermont 
* Montana 
In the wake of the terrorist attacks: 
* Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 
* Hudson River 
NEW! -- Featured tools 
This new section of RiverCurrents will spotlight new reports and 
other useful conservation tools on our website. 
* New report: River of Renewal -- revitalizing Upper Mississippi River
riverfront communities 
* Case studies and factsheets on hydropower dam reform 
* Wild & Scenic rivers: guides for river protection 
This week's river news 
1) Water shortages: Eastern Washington 
Wells are slowly sucking ground water out of a large area 
of the Columbia Basin, reports the San Francisco Chronicle 
Online (9/17/01).  
Wells for homes, towns, industries and farms are drawing 
down the water level, leading to concerns for the future. 
In what is called the "Odessa subarea," an area which covers 
2,000 square miles of eastern Washington, water is being 
removed faster than it can be replaced. 
Tests show that the water level has dropped between 200 and 
300 feet in the past three decades. The drop has caused the 
state Ecology Department to discuss the possibility of refusing 
any new applications for water rights for large users in the 
area - however, cutting off new permits won't stop the decline. 
If adopted, that rule would not apply to new domestic wells. 

2) Water shortages: Texas 
The drought in South Texas has heightened tensions between 
the United States and Mexico over water rights to the Rio Grande. 
As reports the New York Times (9/18/01), because of the drought 
Mexico has said that it will fail to meet its September 30 
deadline to turn over millions of gallons of water to farmers 
in the US for irrigation as required by treaty. 
Mexico also says it needs to retain even more water because of 
the drought. Though Mexico says it needs the water for its own 
crops, angry farmers and water officials in Texas say Mexico is 
saving the water for the next year's crops to give them a 
competitive advantage over the US. 
As reports the Times, "under a treaty signed by the two countries 
in 1944, Mexico agreed to send the United States one-third of the 
runoff from six tributaries to the Rio Grande, or at least 350,000 
acre- feet per year (an acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons)." 
In exchange, the US would give Mexico 1.5 million acre-feet 
of Colorado River water. 

3) Water conservation: Seattle 
The city of Seattle has formally adopted a water-conservation 
ordinance which will speed up voluntary conservation efforts, 
retrofit low-income housing for conservation, and create a block 
of water to protect the environment. 
As reports the Seattle Post Intelligencer (9/19/01), Seattle's 
new plan is aimed at saving water and aiding imperiled salmon. 
Beginning on November 1, 2001, the new ordinance will "gradually 
set aside an environmental block of water to protect fish, starting 
with 2 million gallons per day this year and topping out at 12 
million gallons per day in 2015." 
The ordinance is a compromise between two water conservation 
initiatives -- I-63 and I-63B -- both of which would increase 
conservation efforts, but result in different cost and rates. 
The water that will be saved can be sold to suburban water districts to 
replace already existing withdrawals of water that threaten salmon. 

Get the message? 
Our message boards are buzzing -- Come see what people are talking
...And post your own message! 
Some current topics: 
-- New video about riparian buffers 
-- Your favorite river quotes 
-- Most Endangered Rivers 

4) Water conservation: Louisiana 
The state of Louisiana has decided to select a consulting 
firm by early November to draft a state water management plan. 
A new commission called the Louisiana Ground Water Management 
Commission was recently created by the Legislature to declare 
parts of underground water reservoirs as critical areas and 
to limit pumping there. 
At this time, anyone can create a well to pull an unlimited 
amount of water from underground aquifers. However, there are 
growing concerns that some larger users are lowering 
underground water levels, forcing neighbors to go dry. 
As reports the Baton Rouge Advocate (9/18/01), "water in some 
of those aquifers, which took centuries to fill, is being 
pumped faster than it is naturally replaced." 
The concern is that water levels could drop low enough so that 
it would no longer be economical or possible to pump from deep 
wells. The commission is charged with producing a management 
plan for Louisiana's water resources by the end of 2002 so 
proposed new laws can be considered by Legislature in 2003. 
Most Endangered Rivers Report 
Last chance for your nominations! 
Don't miss the chance to nominate your river for this 
report, to be released in April 2002. 
Get major media attention for your river and reach key 
Click here to see the nomination form: 
Questions? Call Rebecca Sherman at 202-347-7550 x3052 or email 
outreach at amrivers_org 

5) Water quality: Vermont 
Vermont waterways are being polluted by old residential 
septic systems, even though water quality has improved 
significantly in recent years. 
As reports the Boston Globe (9/17/01), many Vermont homes 
rely on their own septic systems instead of municipal sewers, 
but many of the septic systems are aging. 
The state Legislature is having difficulty agreeing on how to 
change septic regulations. Of the 94 homes and businesses that 
were tested to determine the cause of high bacteria levels in 
the Mad River, almost 60 percent were operating poorly and it 
was not possible to fix the problem on site. 

6) Water quality: Montana 
Despite concerns for endangered grizzly bears and bull 
trout, as well as the quality of lakes and streams in 
Montana, the U.S. Forest Service and the state of Montana 
have released a study indicating that the Rock Creek Mine 
will be allowed to proceed.  
The study clears the way for a government "record of decision" 
on the silver and copper mine to be built on a tributary of 
the Clark Fork River. In Noxon, MT where the economy is weak, 
the mine has strong support. 
However, political and business leaders elsewhere fear the mine 
will harm tourism by polluting the river that fills Lake Pend 
Oreille. The mine would bore three miles under the Cabinet 
Mountain Wilderness Area. (The Spokesman Review, 9/14/01) 

7) Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 
Some conservationists fear that drilling will proceed 
in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska following 
the recent terrorist attacks. 
As reports Grist Magazine (9/17/01), "if oil prices spike 
and bombs begin to rain on the Arab world, the thinking goes 
that enviros and aligned politicians won't be able to resist 
a riptide of public sentiment in favor of jamming a drill 
into any piece of land capable of spitting out a drop of oil."  
There was talk this week that Alaska Sen. Frank Murkowski (R) 
would try to put drilling language in any bill that reached the Senate. 
At the same time, Alaska Rep. Don Young (R) suggested that 
"eco-terrorists" should be considered among possible suspects 
of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. 

8) Hudson River 
The recent terrorist attacks on the United States has forced 
the EPA to delay its decision on dredging New York's Hudson 
River. Because the EPA offices at 290 Broadway in Manhattan 
were evacuated, the decision on whether to take on the $460 
million dredging plan has been put on hold for at least two 
weeks. EPA workers hoped to return to their offices by the end of 
this week. PCB-laden sediments line a 35-mile stretch of the 
Hudson north of the Troy Dam. 

RiverCurrents readers: 
In the wake of the terrorist attacks, American Rivers President Rebecca 
Wodder has written an open letter to members, colleagues, and friends. 
Read the letter here: 

Last week, RiverCurrents contained a news brief about the National
Wilderness Institute. 
We failed to note that NWI's coalition is made up of property-rights and
groups. Readers should also know that Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) and Rep.
Don Young (R-AK) 
sit on the advisory board of NWI. In the future, we will be more diligent
about giving you full 
information about the groups we mention. 
River photo contest: 
Last opportunity to enter your photos and win great prizes! 
American Rivers and GORP.com, the leading outdoor recreation 
and adventure travel website, are sponsoring a national photo 
contest to celebrate America's rivers. 
Until October 1st, photographers are invited to submit photos 
of their favorite rivers. 
In a unique twist, visitors to GORP.com will be able to "vote off" 
submitted photos until a winning photo is determined. 
The grand prize is a complete kayak package, including an inflatable 
Tahiti Classic Kayak by Sevylor, complete with paddle and helmet. 
The twenty finalists will win a case of Poland Springs water and a pair 
of Slot Canyon White Water shoes from Mountain Athletics by Timberland.  
Voting will take place during the first two weeks in October when
to GORP.com and American Rivers will begin "voting off" photos until
is one photo left.   
Full details of the contest are available at 
Friends of RiverCurrents, 
If you have comments or suggestions about RiverCurrents, we'd 
love to hear them. Please send them to asouers at amrivers_org. 
American Rivers is a national non-profit river conservation organization.

We aim to protect and restore rivers and to foster a river stewardship
We publish RiverCurrents to provide the river conservation community with

a weekly summary of river news and information. Inclusion of stories,
briefs, and links should not necessarily be seen as an endorsement by 
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