[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

NFC: Fw: RiverCurrents: September 28, 2001

Robert Rice
NFC president

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Amy Souers <asouers at amrivers_org>
Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2001 18:06:08 -0400
Subject: RiverCurrents: September 28, 2001
Message-ID: <B734868C757FD411B16700508B9A2C571A4029@seattle>

RiverCurrents: September 28, 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 
"The water threat is mostly science fiction." 
-- Richard Spertzel, a microbiologist who formerly led the United
biological-weapons inspection teams in Iraq, on the threat of a terrorist

attack that would contaminate the nation's water supply. 
(See story below) 
In river news this week... 
* Drinking water safety 
* Arctic Wildlife Refuge 
* Pacific salmon 
* Firefighting and the Endangered Species Act 
* Klamath River Basin 
* Mining lawsuit proceeds 
* Maine's Sandy River 
* Tennessee's Hatchie River 
Featured tools 
Reports and other useful conservation tools on American Rivers' website: 
* Stream Restoration Toolkit 
(with new material submitted by Tim Craddock of West 
Virginia's Save Our Streams program) 

* Report: Riverfront design based on ecological principles 

* Discussion paper: Working with the Army Corps to restore habitat 
This week's river news 

1) Water supply safety 
Following the recent terrorist attacks, the safety of our nation's
drinking water has become a concern for some.  As reports the New York
Times (9/26/01), though many experts think a terrorist attack on water
supplies is unlikely, cities and states are moving quickly to reassess
the safety of their water.  
A temporary ban has been placed on fishing, hunting, and hiking in the
watershed that feeds New York City. As Massachusetts officials evaluate
safety concerns, commuter roads that run atop dams or wind along the
water's edge have been sealed. In the Northwest, government officials and
private utility companies have ordered that dams remain closed
indefinitely and that staff be placed on high alert for disruption of any
Richard Spertzel, a microbiologist who formerly led the United Nations'
biological-weapons inspection teams in Iraq believes, "The water threat
is mostly science fiction." Other experts say that contaminating a public
water supply to cause widespread health problems verges on the
impossible. To pollute the water would require "truckloads of chemicals
or biological agents that would be difficult to produce and relatively
easy to spot." Rather than polluting water supplies, they say terrorists
are more likely to try to interrupt the water supply entirely by
destroying dams or aqueducts.

Keep the conversation going -- discuss "the safety of water supplies" 
on our Message Board: 

2) Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 
A group of Republican lawmakers claim drilling in Alaska's Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge is now necessary to maintain national security.
The San Francisco Chronicle (9/26/01) has quoted Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas
as saying, "The strength of our security, the health of our economy,
rests on expanding our domestic energy supply immediately." 
But this argument for drilling in the refuge may not be as solid as Rep.
DeLay would like. The United States actually used less oil from the
Persian Gulf, as a percentage of its total consumption in 2000 (13%),
than it did in in 1977 (20%).
And conservation experts say that had the United States conserved oil at
the same rate that it did from 1976 to 1985 or simply created cars that
averaged five miles per gallon more than today, we would no longer need
any oil from the Persian Gulf. 
Even if drilling in the Arctic Refuge is approved, it would be almost 10
years before any oil production is seen. 
Get tips on conserving energy at home: 

3) Pacific salmon 
According to a draft audit of the National Marine Fisheries Service
completed in August but never released, the Service has been hurting
salmon recovery more than it has been helping. As reports the Seattle
Times (9/25/01), "the federal effort to recover Northwest salmon has been
hurt by the inconsistent, unresponsive and unnecessarily arrogant and
confrontational conduct" of the agency. A 14-page draft of the report
called "Leadership Lacking in Northwest Salmon Recovery Effort" was
produced through interviews with more than 34 government, tribal and
industry officials. "More than 80 percent of these officials said that
the fisheries service had failed in collaborative efforts, with the
harshest criticism coming from state agencies and tribal organizations,"
reports the Times. 
The report was never finalized, but was instead summarized in an April
2000 confidential memo to William Hogarth, the acting assistant
administrator for fisheries at the time. A leaked copy of the draft
report and memo was released this week by officials of Okanogan County,
In other Pacific salmon news this week, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber
asked the federal government to appeal a judge's ruling that threw out
Endangered Species Act protection for Oregon coastal coho. In a letter by
Kitzhaber to Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, he explained his concern
that if the ruling holds, hatcheries would be used to rebuild salmon runs
and efforts to restore and protect the health of watersheds would fall by
the wayside. Last week in Eugene, U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan ruled
that the Oregon coastal coho salmon is not a distinct species from
hatchery salmon, since the National Marine Fisheries Service could not
identify any genetic differences between the wild and hatchery fish.
Book of the week -- don't miss this great river read 
When you use this link to buy the book, ten percent of your 
purchase goes to river conservation efforts. 
* A River Reader (by John Murray) 
"Barry Lopez, Rick Bass, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway and others write
about and celebrate rivers" 
If you're having trouble with this link, try here: 

4) Fighting fires...and the Endangered Species Act? 
After 4 firefighters died this summer in Washington, some blamed the
Endangered Species Act for the tragedy. Rep. Scott McInnis of Colorado
suggested that a helicopter was delayed from dropping water on the fire
because of concerns about federally protected fish in the Chewuch River. 
A recent report on the Thirtymile Fire did find that the decision to
dispatch the helicopter was delayed for several hours partially due to a
lack of clearance related to the Endangered Species Act. However, the
report also found that the delay did not directly cause the deaths of the
firefighters -- rather, the failure by managers and forest personnel to
identify escape routes, properly monitor weather reports or post lookouts
was to blame. 
As reports the Washington Post (9/27/01), the report found that the
"firefighters died because tired managers made poor decisions and the
victims were poorly trained and failed to deploy safety shelters quickly
enough or in the proper location." The report recommended several
changes, including clarifying the relationship between the Endangered
Species Act and firefighting.
The ESA at a glance: 

5) Klamath River Basin 
This week federal law enforcement officers left their posts at the A
Canal headgates near the Link River after guarding the facilities for the
last 74 days, reports the Klamath Falls Herald and News (9/26/01). The
officers were stationed there when the cutoff of water to the Klamath
Reclamation Project this summer led to protests and demonstrations. Since
the government shut off the irrigation water to help the endangered
species in the area, groups such as the Klamath Ag Relief Fund, Klamath
Bucket Brigade, Klamath Water Foundation and Farmers Against Regulatory
Madness have raised more than $210,000 (Klamath Falls News and Herald
Group of the week 
Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association 
Read an interview with Nancy Seamons and find out how 
the GCPBA is fighting for "fair and equal access" to the Grand. 

6) Mining lawsuit proceeds 
A federal judge has decided not to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Ohio
Valley Environmental Coalition against the West Virginia Department of
Environmental Protection, reports the Charleston Gazette (9/26/01). The
lawsuit maintains that state regulators should better monitor the effects
of stripmining on streams. 
Further, U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers allowed the Ohio Valley
Environmental Coalition to add the U.S. Office of Surface Mining as a
defendant in its suit. The coalition says the DEP does not properly study
the potential damage to streams from new mining permits before it issues
those permits. The case has become known as the CHIA case. CHIAs, or
Cumulative Hydrologic Impact Assessments, are water pollution studies.

7) Sandy River 
The Maine Board of Environmental Protection has turned down a proposal to
mine gravel from the Sandy River. In a 4-2 vote, the board rejected the
appeal by E.L. Vining & Sons' of the state Department of Environmental
Protection's denial of permits to mine from the Crandall Bar. As reports
the Kennebec Journal (9/27/01), the board said that the company failed to
prove that the proposed removal of 15,000 cubic yards of gravel would not
harm the river. The evidence the company did provide was considered
largely anecdotal and not scientific. According to DEP project analyst
Michael Morse, recent scientific evidence has shown that in-stream gravel
mining can have harmful effects on a river.
8) Hatchie River 
The excessive amount of silt flowing into Tennessee's Hatchie River is
causing flooding that is killing the bottomland forest in the Hatchie
National Wildlife Refuge. As reports the Knoxville News-Sentinel
(9/26/01), the river is one of the largest streams in the Lower
Mississippi Valley never to have been channelized and has been designated
as part of Tennessee's scenic rivers system. 
But because some of the tributaries that enter the river have been
channelized, their quickened flow is causing tons of sand and silt to
enter the Hatchie. When the Hatchie floods in response, the roots of oaks
and other trees are covered and are unable to breathe. Both the refuge
and the Nature Conservancy of Tennessee are trying to fix the problem.
None of their attempts have worked in the short-term, though they may be
beneficial eventually. The silt-laden floods lead to the deaths of more
than 100 acres of trees in the 11,556-acre refuge each year.
Most Endangered Rivers Report 
Last chance (this is it -- We're not kidding!) 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 

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 
American Rivers. 
If you'd like to support our conservation efforts, please consider
a member of American Rivers. 
Visit http://www.americanrivers.org/joindonate/default.htm 
or call 1-800-296-6900 x3009 to find out how. An American Rivers
also makes a nice gift. 
Additional information is available at our website,

--- StripMime Report -- processed MIME parts ---