Watershed Currents, Aug 22, 1997, issue #2
Announcing the second issue of "Watershed Currents." This bulletin will
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Watershed Currents - Vol. 1, Number 2 August 22, 1997
Table of Contents
- Call for American Heritage Rivers Candidates
- Agriculture Impacts Stream Biodiversity For Many Years
- New Conservation Buffer Initiative
- Hawaiian Farmers Get Water Back
- Columbia Gorge faces Challenges
- Continued Friction Over Hog Feedlot Issues
- Minnesota River Leaders Project Emphasizes Communication
- Position Announcements
- Web Sites of Interest
The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy is pleased to introduce
"Watershed Currents," news, events, and resources about watershed
organizing. Our objective is to provide watershed organizations a
networking and communications tool that is free and easy to use.
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CALL FOR AMERICAN HERITAGE RIVERS CANDIDATES
President Clinton announced in the 1997 State of the Union Address a new
initiative, the American Heritage Rivers, to support communities'
efforts towards economic prosperity, a healthy environment, and historic
and cultural preservation. 10 rivers will be designated as
American Heritage Rivers in early 1998. The support given to
communities surrounding designated rivers include special recognition, a
dedicated person to act as a liaison to federal agencies, and an effort
to attract foundation and corporate involvement.
The application period is open from early September to early December.
All applicants will receive a technical assistance package, including an
invitation to an American Heritage Rivers symposium on partnering with
government agencies, as well as relevant site-specific data and
computer software for their river. To receive an application, call
1-888-40RIVER, or visit the web page at http://www.epa.gov/rivers.
AGRICULTURE IMPACTS STREAM BIODIVERSITY FOR MANY YEARS
Virginia Tech researchers, in collaboration with the University of
Minnesota, studied the effects that the negative impacts of agriculture
have on the health of streams. They found that the recovery of stream
biodiversity to pre-disturbance levels may take several years. The
researchers studied topographical maps and aerial photographs dating
back to the 1950s of two tributaries of the Tennessee River. This
information, along with satellite images, was entered into a geographic
information system (GIS) to create land-use maps that vary with time.
They then sampled the streams for biodiversity. Diversity was greater
in forested rather than agricultural streams, as expected. However,
areas that had significant forest regeneration over the last 50 years
had diversity levels similar to present-day agricultural areas.
The findings suggest that forest regeneration alleviates some of the
detrimental physical effects of conventional agriculture, but an
increase in the diversity of organisms takes longer than expected.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University press release, Aug
NEW CONSERVATION BUFFER INITIATIVE
The USDA will help landowners install two million miles of conservation
buffers by the year 2002. The program was initiated by a new
public-private partnership called the National Conservation Buffer
Agricultural Secretary Dan Glickman stated that "Agricultural producers
and other landowners who install buffers can improve soil, air and
water quality; enhance wildlife habitat; restore biodiversity; and
create scenic landscapes." Glickman noted that conservation buffers are
a good use of marginal land, while the best land remains in crop
MMI's FOCUS, Spring/Summer 1997, p. 31.
HAWAIIAN FARMERS GET WATER BACK
Early this century, U.S. agribusinesses blasted tunnels through the
mountains of Oahu, diverting headwaters to plantations of pineapple and
sugar cane. These plantations have been phased out, but the landowners
want to keep the water diversion for housing and industrial
development. Traditional farmers and environmentalists are fighting
back, however, and have successfully returned some of the diverted
waters to their natural streams.
An interim order has temporarily split the water 50/50 between the
traditional farmers and developers, but farmers hope to retain all of
the water. They are claiming the water under traditional Hawaiian
gathering rights. In addition to supporting the farmers, the water would
restore the habitat of an indigenous species of freshwater shrimp that
lives only in those streams. Furthermore, the reef habitat off-shore
depends on the freshwater water flow from the streams.
The farmers are receiving legal advice from the Sierra Club Legal
Defense Fund. More information about the project can be obtained by
calling (415) 627-6700.
Mindy Penybacker, E, THE ENVIRONMENTAL MAGAZINE, Jul-Aug 1997
COLUMBIA GORGE FACES CHALLENGES
The Columbia River celebrated 10 years as a National Scenic Area in
1996, thanks to efforts of the Trust for Public Land (TPL) and Friends
of the Columbia Gorge. TPL was able to protect nearly 16,000 acres in
the Gorge due to the efforts of local elected officials, particularly
Oregon's former U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield. The result is an 85-mile
corridor of astonishingly diverse terrain, located only 30 minutes from
Development pressures, however, will challenge these successes. More
than 500,000 people are predicted to move to the Portland metropolitan
area by 2010, and the National Scenic Area is close enough to serve as
a bedroom community for this new population. Secondly, current
environmental protections on many private lands will expire soon if the
government does not purchase these tracts. This will allow landowners
to build in a manner that could impact all of the adjacent public
lands. Furthermore, with the retirement of Senator Hatfield, advocates
are afraid that the land acquisition program will be dramatically
Lauri Aunan, executive director of Friends of the Columbia Gorge, feels
that increased awareness is the solution. "We need to bring in a new
generation committed to protecting the Gorge," she says. "People have a
perception it has been saved. That's not true."
Jonathan Nicholas, LAND AND PEOPLE, Fall 1996, pp. 20-24.
CONTINUED FRICTION OVER HOG FEEDLOT ISSUES
NATIONAL - The National Resources Defense Council, the Environmental
Defense Fund, and the Center for Rural Affairs withdrew from the
National Environmental Dialogue on Pork Production (NEDPP). The groups
plan to work together to incorporate a pro-active agenda for a clean
environment and sustainable pork production. They have withdrawn from
NEDPP because the process was too flawed and community groups were not
adequately represented in the dialogue. Press Release from CLEAN WATER
NETWORK, Jun 24, 1997
NORTH CAROLINA - Due to the outrage that has resulted from animal waste
spills and other environmental problems caused by hog operations, some
of the nation's largest producers are relocating to southwest Utah.
One of the reasons cited for the move was that the citizens of Utah
have not expressed as many environmental concerns about industrial hog
farming as citizens of North Carolina have. Several corporations are
working together to build the world's largest hog operation in Utah,
with an expected production of 2.5 million hogs annually. AGWEEK, Aug
IOWA - The Tama County Conservation Board is suing the Tama County
Zoning Board of Adjustment over a ruling which allows the construction
of a hog lot within one mile of Otter Creek Lake and Park. The lake
is a popular recreation area. AGWEEK, Aug 11, 1997
MINNESOTA - McLeod County is struggling to develop a feedlot ordinance,
as required by the State of Minnesota. County officials are concerned
that large outside investors will build feedlots in the county,
especially hog operations. Many local farmers, however, feel that the
guidelines in the draft are too rigid and would not allow them to
expand operations in the future. RURAL MINNESOTA, Aug 14, 1997
MINNESOTA RIVER LEADERS PROJECT EMPHASIZES COMMUNICATION
The River Leaders Project is a new initiative , where people engaged in
efforts to enhance the Mississippi River gather to share ideas,
build common ground, and develop a shared vision. The River Leaders
Project grew out of a luncheon last fall and two meetings were held
this past spring. Through these meetings a number of short-term
projects and long-term initiatives were developed. Projects currently
discussed include investigating new funding sources for river work,
improving coordination between cities, agencies, industry, and
community groups, and investigating American Heritage Rivers
designation. More information can be obtained through the Friends of
the Mississippi River at (612) 222-2193.
Sarah H. Clark, Friends of the Mississippi River, Summer/Fall 1997
The Mississippi Headwaters Board, an eight-county joint powers board
mandated to "protect and enhance the outstanding values" of the
Mississippi River's first 400 miles, seeks qualified candidates to fill
the position of Director. Based in Walker, Minnesota. Call (218)
547-7263 for a copy of the job description.
A graduate student/research associate position is available to conduct a
financial analysis of windbreak renovation techniques at the University
of Minnesota. Funding is through the National Agroforestry Center.
Work is part-time over the next two years. Contact Melvin J. Baughman
at (612) 624-0734, e-mail: email@example.com for more
WEB SITES OF INTEREST
Know Your Watershed: The Conservation Technology Information Center's
watershed homepage. A warehouse of information on watersheds and
watershed organizing, including a calendar, newsletters, news releases,
and contacts. http://www/ctic.purdue.edu/cgi-bin/KYW.exe
River Network Online: A comprehensive list of events, information, and
related web sites. http://www.rivernetwork.org/~rivernet
IATP Watershed Program: A site dedicated to watershed organizing
including events, organizations, resources, and related sites.
EPA's Watershed Page: An array of information about EPA's
watershed-related programs, funding opportunities, and technical
"Watershed Management: Moving from Theory to Implementation," May
3-8, 1998, Denver, CO. Addresses watershed planning, protection,
restoration, and education. Follow-up to Watershed '96. Contact Nancy
Blatt at (800)666-0206, firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Multi-Regional Meeting on Water Quality: Standards, Criteria,and
Permitting," Aug 25-27, Hyatt Regency, St. Louis, MO. This EPA-sponsored
event is to be an exchange of scientific, technical, and policy
information. For more information see the web page at
"Surface Water Protection International 98 - Call for Papers," by Sep 10
(Conference is in Dallas Apr 28-30, 1998). Focus on wellhead and source
water protection: area delineation, monitoring and effectiveness.
Contact Source Water Protection '98, National Water Research Institute,
10500 Ellis Avenue, PO Box 20865, Fountain Valley, CA 92728, fax:
(714)378-3375, e-mail: NWRIemail@example.com.
"Land Stewardship Project 15th Anniversary Celebration," Sep 13, Scott
County, MN. Includes discussion about the work of Clean Up our River
Environment (CURE). Contact Rebecca Kilde, (612) 653-0618. "National
Water Quality Watershed Project Symposium," Sep 22-26, Washington DC.
Contact the Conservation Technology Information Center at
"River of Words: Exploring Watersheds Through Poetry, Art and Ecology,"
Oct 17-19, Berkeley, CA. Explore river and its watershed through maps,
drawings, walks and photos. Contact Carolyn Henne, GREEN, 206 S Fifth
Ave, Ste 150, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Phone (313) 761-8142, e-mail:
"WEFTEC '97: The Water Environment Federation's 70th Annual Conference
and Convention," Oct 18-27, Chicago, IL. More than 14,000 water
professionals congregate for technical education, exchange information,
and networking. Contact Water Environment Federation at (800)666-0206,
The Water We Drink: Ground Water in the Twin Cities Area, an extension
course on how the Twin Cities obtains and treats groundwater, and the
environmental threats to this water supply. Three classes on Thursdays,
Oct. 9-23. For more information, call the University of Minnesota’s
Compleat and Practical Scholar at (612) 624-8880.
"Managing Manure in Harmony with the Environment and the Society," Feb
10-12, 1998. WNC Manure Management Conference, Ames, Iowa. Contact is
Bob Ball, USDA-NRCS, Parkside Center, Suite 250, Columbia, MO 65203;
(573) 876-0900, fax: (573) 876-0913, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Produced by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), Mark
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