TOPIC: Army Corps of Engineers

Great Lakes invasion threat

Asian carp gets all the press, but there are 40 other species swimming in the Chicago River that could spring an unwanted invasion into the Great Lakes. So says a new report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as relayed by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Dan Egan. At issue is whether the Army Corps should build an electric barrier to separate the Chicago River from Lake Michigan. Many environmentalists say the barrier should be built now, but the Army Corp is still in studying/evaluation mode.

Carp nearing the Great Lakes

Here is somewhat alarming news involving Asian carp, which threaten to disrupt the ecology of Lake Michigan. “With no fanfare,” reports Dan Egan of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers posted on its website this week news that nine water samples taken above the barrier in recent weeks have tested positive for the giant, jumping fish.” Seven of these samples were taken from Chicago’s Lake Calumet, which lies just a few miles away from Lake Michigan. What was discovered was not fish themselves but strands of DNA. Perhaps it got there, reports Egan, “through sewage discharges or contaminated bilge water from barges.”

Five feet high and rising (the ocean, that is) at Hampton Roads

Darryl Fears reports on a realistic approach to climate change in a great Washington Post snapshot of the area around Hampton Roads, Virginia.  Including the cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach, this part of the country is particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels because the land itself is sinking due to long-term geological processes. In a few generations, Virginia Beach could be left without a beach, and the Norfolk Naval Station could be more underwater than even the Navy likes to be. (more…)

Army Corps v. California trees

Six years and thousands of miles away from the poorly designed flood walls and levees whose post-Katrina failure inundated New Orleans, environmental groups in California have filed a federal lawsuit to prevent what they contend is an unproven, costly and potentially damaging flood protection strategy ordered by US Army Corps of Engineers.

The Corps, under scrutiny after a natural disaster became a man-made catastrophe, decreed in 2007 that local levee districts would in the future lose guarantees of federal aid and loans unless all trees and shrubs were removed from levees under its nominal jurisdiction around the nation. (more…)

In the High Sierra, it never rains but it pours

Sacramento river levee

Massive federal irrigation pumps, sucking up a bounty of water after an abundant California rainy season, are wreaking  havoc on already-stressed fish species, while state and federal officials fret that sudden and sustained heat in the High Sierra could cause devastating flooding. (more…)

Modest progress on Asian carp

Asian Carp

The White House, seven federal agencies, and eight Great Lakes states have agreed upon an updated plan to get Asian carp out of Chicago area waterways that lead to Lake Michigan, reports the Northwest Indiana Times’ Bowdeya Tweh.

The effort calls for continuing to search for Asian carp DNA in water samples past an electric barrier system, using electronic transmitters to track movement of certain fish and using commercial fishermen to reduce the Asian carp population downstream of the barrier system. Underwater cameras and hydroguns to kill fish in certain areas also were discussed as technologies that could be employed.

There’s not much new here. While seven federal agencies are part of the effort, the real legwork comes from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (more…)

For California water supply, $150 million spent to not solve the problem

California salmon run

Four years and $150 million into a major study of plans to re-engineer elements of California’s main source of water, a National Science Foundation review found the multi-billion-dollar proposal confused, poorly defined and inadequately researched.  That’s the gist of a piece by Gosia Wozniacka of The Associated Press picked up by the Riverside Press Enterprise.

Power brokers managing California’s fresh water supplies have long sought more access to the state’s two major rivers — the Sacramento and the San Joaquin. But taking too much water from the rivers creates all sorts of problems: (more…)

Water, water not everywhere (especially not in the Southwest)

As trapped carbon dioxide raises temperatures around the world, water will become even more scarce in the already arid southwest, according to a report released yesterday by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, together with the Army Corps of Engineers.

While a story by Bettina Boxall in the Los Angeles Times says California as a whole will end the century receiving about as much water as it does today, though precipitation will be distributed differently. (more…)

Defending Chicago’s carp plan

Dan Egan has a very good piece in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that lays out the battle between Chicago and the rest of the Midwest on Asian carp and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s dithering. Showing his Wisconsin loyalties, Egan suggests that Chicago is the culprit for the possible invasion of carp into Lake Michigan. But the real source of frustration is the Army Corps: the city of Chicago and state of Illinois, like the rest of the Midwest, are holding their breath as the Obama administration plans to release a study on the carp issue . . . in 2015. (more…)

No easy way out on water issues in California

After years of admonishment about wasting water, residents of perennially dry California are watching billions of gallons of the life giving liquid roll out to sea as a prodigious rainy season draws to a close.

With irrigation districts, water districts and enviros engaged in battles spreading out across the decades, Matt Weiser 0f the Sacramento Bee wades into the battle with a primer on efforts to boost water supplies in California and the substantial hurdles these projects must clear. (more…)