The Bay Journal reports that the EPA will ramp up oversight of Pennsylvania’s programs to control farm runoff, which the agency says are falling far short of what is needed to meet the state’s nitrogen reduction obligations for the Chesapeake Bay.

The recent action stems from the agency’s review of states’ progress during 2012–13 in implementing their watershed plans intended to meet Bay nutrient and sediment reduction goals, as well analysis of additional actions planned through 2015.

By the end of 2015, the EPA is projecting that the Chesapeake Bay region will be about 6 million pounds of nitrogen short of the trajectory needed to meet goals. Almost all the shortfall is in Pennsylvania, which is actually projecting a slight nitrogen increase over the next two years. >Read Full Story via

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51-73vucbYL__AA160_Wallace Nichols organized the annual “Blue Mind” conference in 2011 and has recently released his new book “Blue Mind” combining personal stories and research to describe the healing power of water.  In a  recent interview with the Washington Post, Nichols explores how stepping out of our stressful lives and back into nature changes our minds and bodies.  “Oftentimes it leads to feelings of connectedness and that can lead to innovative thoughts.  Early humans seek a place to call home and seeing a place overlooking the ocean or river realized it makes them happy,” he said.

Read More via

Read Reviews of the new book via

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Coastal erosion is a global issue, causing an estimated $500 million per year in property loss and damage.  Shoreline hardening, including rock jetties, groins and seawalls have unfortunately exacerbated this situation by deflecting and increasing wave energy directed at unprotected shores.  Increasingly agencies,  municipalities, and even engineering firms have begun to realize that natural vegetation can play a key role in maintaining beaches and reducing the loss of shorelines.  Vegetation and reinforced vegetation both “roughen” and provide root reinforcement to the shoreline, serving to better absorb wave energy and dampen the forces of erosion.   Read “Beach Erosion- What can be done?” via

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This compelling PBS Nature documentary which first premiered in 2011 investigates the parallel stories of collapsing Pacific salmon populations and how biologists and engineers have become instruments in audacious experiments to replicate every stage of the fish’s life cycle

Each of the desperate efforts to save salmon has involved replacing their natural cycle of reproduction and death with human intervention or manipulation. The once great runs of Pacific salmon are now conceived in laboratories, raised in tanks, driven in trucks, moved by boats, and farmed in pens.

In its exploration of a hopelessly complex, and stunningly expensive approach to managing salmon, the film reveals one of the most ambitious plans ever conceived for taking the reins of the planet, ultimately exposing the real values of habitat restoration.

 See the full movie online via PBS

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Carl Zimmer writes recently in the New York Times that levees are not the only things that protect coasts from storm damage.  “Nature offers protection, too” he says.  “Coastal marshes absorb wind energy and waves of storms, weakening their impact farther inland.”  These coastal ecosystems and their services provide significant value he notes, shielding us from storms, reducing soil erosion, soaking up greenhouse gases and more.  In 1997 these ecosystems services were valued by a team of scientists at twice the gross national product of every country on Earth or in today’s dollars approximately $49 trillion. Since 1997 the release of hundreds of new studies, and the increased damage to these ecosystems across the world, have caused the team to reevaluate their estimate of these services, concluding that their earlier number was far too low.  >Read more via

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“We are increasingly learning the cost of losing landscapes once thought to be valueless.  The wetlands ecosystem provided numerous services to society that we now are beginning to sorely miss,” write the authors at the Center for American Progress.

The new CAP and OXFAM America report by Michael Conathan, Jeffrey Buchanan, and Shiva Polefka “The Economic Case for Restoring Coastal Ecosystems” released this spring makes a solid case – in support of jobs,  tourism, commercial fishing, and other businesses.  It demonstrates the real values of ecosystem restoration in positive returns both for ecosystems and for our economic outputs.

The strange myth that environmental protection is somehow bad for business clearly could not be further from the truth.  In fact, restoration not only protects vital ecosystem services necessary to our survival, but also contributes to positive economic growth and employment.  Read The Economic Case for Restoring Coastal Ecosystems via

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Brett Walton posts that water scarcity has driven prices upward 33 percent since 2010 and that the price of water rose again in 2014 about six percent on average according to a survey of water rates in some 30 major U.S. cities.  Water providers, he notes, are changing the structure of rate schedules, altering both monthly fees and volume fees in order to enable utilities to deal with dropping revenues resulting from water conservation.  In some cases explicit policies promoting water conservation have meant that less water sold is less money paid to utilities.  >Read More via

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Reuters reporter Scott Malone writes that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the recent graduating class at Boston College that they should play a role in pushing for new energy policies.  Kerry said the problems are not without solutions and reminded graduates that climate change and inadequate water are related to potentials for greater conflict and social instability.

The address follows on release of an 800-page report released earlier this month by the White House highlighting the effects that climate change could have on infrastructure, critical water supplies and agriculture.  >Read More via


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A recent Cornell University lecturer, Luc Gnacadja warns that the worldwide problem of soil erosion is contributing to poverty and hunger, threatening both food security and freedom.  Gnacadja recalled President Franklin Roosevelt’s admonition that ‘a nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself’ in his recent April lecture at Cornell.  Careless planting and other practices, he said, continue to cause severe land degradation in many parts of the world and he cautioned that in certain areas, agricultural practices are causing soil to erode almost 100 times faster than the rate at which soil can naturally regenerate.  >Read More via

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Montana Department of Environmental Quality have issued a joint notice advising plans currently being considered by the District Engineer at Omaha, Nebraska.  According to the notice NOW-2008-02556-MTB the applicant is intending to “conduct periodic placement of rock” on the existing diversion dam and to enable full flows to the applicant even in the event of severe water shortages in the Yellowstone.

The project reach at Intake Dam east of Glendive, Montana is occupied habitat for Pallid Sturgeon, an endangered species presently under federal and state protections.  According to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks:  “It’s present range in Montana includes the Lower Yellowstone River where damming, channelizing and diking has destroyed much of its habitat.”  More

Photo below of the dam on the Yellowstone River at Intake proposed for yet more rock.

Dam across Yellowstone-IntakeMT

Read a copy of the Public Notice:  NWO-2008-02556-MTB or via

The Public Comment period is open through June 6, 2014 by writing the US Army Corps of Engineers, PO Box 2256, Billings MT 59103 or calling direct to Cathy Juhas at USACE (406) 657-5910.

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