Tag Archives: streams

My Top Ten Water Wishes 2015

PaintingWater news and alerts continued to receive notice throughout 2014. Severe drought as well as dramatic flooding again topped U.S. headlines. My personal Top Water Wishes for the New Year include a quick look back at some of the important water stories that streamed through our offices this past year.

  1. Wishing for increased understanding of the vital, intrinsic relationships between our economy and ecology. >More http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/secretary-jewell-discusses-path-for-both-economy-and-ecology/
  1. Wishing the real price tag for nature’s defenses was better understood. >More http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/what-is-the-price-tag-for-natures-defenses/
  1. Wishing that governments and policy-makers recognize some of the many values and opportunities of public-private partnerships and refocus efforts to restore our water resources. >More http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/service-and-conservation-corps-will-soon-add-waders-in-the-water/
  1. Wishing environmental data be better leveraged for business, government and non-profits. >More http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/benefits-of-big-data-for-environmental-management/
  1. Wishing that we respect how precious our water resources are to all life and all development.>More http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/10-cities-that-could-run-out-of-water/
  1. Wishing for more consistent implementation of Clean Water standards across the U.S. >More http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/wyoming-finalizes-its-first-stream-mitigation-procedure/
  1. Wishing that invasive and damaging strategies for species ‘restoration’ will be abolished. >More http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/rotenone-1952-called-and-wants-its-fisheries-management-strategy-back/
  1. Wishing that we can stem the steady tide of wetland losses. >More http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/wetland-losses-go-on-and-on/
  1. Wishing that we will undam the nation’s longest undammed river. >More http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/the-yellowstone-river-still-the-longest-undammed-river-in-the-lower-48/
  1. Wishing that we will all spend more time near water! >More http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/science-shows-being-near-water-makes-you-happier-healthier-more-connected/
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Billions Moving to Fund California Water Projects

California’s  Proposition 1, known as the ‘Water Bond,’ passed in November’s election. The measure provides for $7.5 billion to fund water projects and programs addressing water conservation and recycling, groundwater cleanup and water storage — all pressing concerns as California continues in a deep drought.
The bond allocates money to different types of programs including,  $1.5 billion for watershed restoration programs, which may include increasing river flows for wildlife.  >Read More via HuffPost http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/04/prop-1-water-bond_n_6097526.html

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River as Sewer System

In his fact-filled and thought-provoking critique of man’s long history of impacts on the Snake River, Richard Manning, writing in a recent High Country News asks the reader to acknowledge one basic fact.  “The Snake River Plain,” he writes “sprawling over 15,600 square miles, is a desert.  The river system and about 10 inches of rain a year are its water supply entire.”

From this common point, Manning traces a worrisome, dizzying inventory of human impacts, reflecting on the cumulative effects of man’s development on this once-pristine watershed, finally concluding “Idaho’s Sewer System is the Snake River.”    >Read More via https://www.hcn.org/issues/46.13/idahos-sewer-system-is-the-snake-river

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Change the Course – Returning Water to Our Rivers

Sandra Postel writes recently in the blog Water Currents: “It’s a sad truth that many major rivers – the blue arteries of the Earth – no longer reach the sea.   Our demands for water – to drink, grow food, produce energy and make all manner of material things – have sapped streams of their flow and ecosystems of their vitality.  The web of life, of which we are a part, is fraying.”

It’s this fact that has given rise to a new initiative being backed by some big partners. Change the Course is being piloted in the iconic and heavily depleted Colorado River Basin, which provides water to some 40 million people and 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares) of irrigated land.  With its conservation partners and sponsors (including Disney, Coca Cola and others), the effort has helped return 2 billion gallons (7.6 billion liters) to rivers throughout the watershed, as well as to the Delta, once one of the world’s great desert aquatic ecosystems.  >Learn More http://changethecourse.us/

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Clean Water Act – Agencies Seek Comment on Proposed Rule

With rulemaking intended to clarify jurisdiction for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under the Clean Water Act, the recent notice for public comment has expectedly attracted lots of attention.  Release of the rule has been met with cautious praise as well as criticism.

In release of the proposed rule, USEPA and USACE are acting to protect resources like intermittent and ephemeral streams, which many argue are the lifeblood of some of the Nation’s most fragile landscapes. >Read Details

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/epa-proposes-greater-protections-for-streams-wetlands-under-clean-water-act/2014/03/25/4811cd36-b42c-11e3-b899-20667de76985_story.html

Ongoing loss of U.S. wetlands despite the Clean Water Act and its requirement for ‘no net loss’  has further drawn attention onto the agencies and the unsustainable plight of the nation’s precious water ‘collectors and filters’.  >See Trends

http://www.fws.gov/wetlands/Documents/Status-and-Trends-of-Wetlands-in-the-Conterminous-United-States-2004-to-2009.pdf

The proposed rule is supported by the latest peer-reviewed science, including a draft scientific assessment by EPA, which presents a review and synthesis of more than 1,000 pieces of scientific literature. The rule will not be finalized until the final version of this scientific assessment is complete and is open for public comment for 90 days from publication in the Federal Register.

More information: www.epa.gov/uswaters  Watch Administrator McCarthy’s overview: http://youtu.be/ow-n8zZuDYc  Watch Deputy Chief of Staff Arvin Ganesan’s explanation: http://youtu.be/fOUESH_JmA0

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Sustainability Execs Faced with Managing Risk of Mother Nature’s Fury

Arizona Canal Photo courtesy U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Arizona Canal photo courtesy U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

It wasn’t so long ago that the job of a sustainability executive was to make a company more “green” or “eco-friendly.”

But as GreenBiz.com producer Joel Makower points out in a recent blog post things are changing.

“Risk and resilience haven’t typically been part of most companies’ sustainability vocabularies,” writes Makower, “But Mother Nature’s fury is changing that, as droughts, floods, hurricanes and wildfires disrupt companies and their supply chains.”

Hurricane Sandy, so close to a huge metropolitan area, was a huge wake up call to the kind of disruption a major weather event can cause. But Sandy was far from the only weather event that upended business and society. Among the worldwide increase in extreme weather, the most obvious areas of vulnerability are food, fuel and water.

When we started Trout Headwaters nearly 20 years ago “climate change” was just coming to the fore.  The frequency with which we now see extreme weather events has infused our company with a renewed sense of urgency.

Nature offers us a most effective protection against weather extremes, if we would only recognize these protections.  Marshes, wetlands, and riparian buffers naturally protect against wind and water erosion, flooding, and drought.  These margins between land and water serve as barriers, sponges and filters to regulate water levels and filter pollutants.  But we have to take care of them, so they can take care of us.

Businesses, which think regularly about risk mitigation, are just beginning to think about climate change and resource constraints like other business risks.  “Keeping an eye on this is becoming part of the job of a growing handful of sustainability executives in global companies,” writes Makower… As the World Economic Forum wrote in a paper, “Global Risks 2012,” “rising greenhouse gas emissions” and the “failure of climate change adaptation” are in the same risk quadrant as food shortages and terrorism.”

Read more: http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2013/02/25/state-green-business-sustainability-becomes-matter-risk-and-resilience

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Wyoming Finalizes Its First Stream Mitigation Procedure

WSMPThe United States Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District Wyoming Regulatory Office has approved the first Wyoming Stream Mitigation Procedure (WSMP) for the state.

The WSMP establishes a method for calculating compensatory mitigation debits and credits that will provide predictability and consistency.   Such a procedure is necessary for allowing the development of mitigation banks in the state.  The practice of using compensatory mitigation to minimize unavoidable losses of aquatic resources is an important component of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Clean Water Act Section 404 Regulatory Program.

According to the WSMP document, Wyoming’s procedure was adapted from similar methodologies used in other Corps Districts that have been in effect for several years, and is based on the Montana Stream Mitigation Procedure  originally drafted a decade ago, but updated this year as well.

The idea of mitigation banking has been around for 30 years, and has steadily gained ground as a preferred method of protecting aquatic resources.  In 2008, the EPA and the Corps issued revised regulations governing compensatory mitigation.  The 2008 Compensatory Mitigation Rule (22 CFR Parts 325 and 332) established equivalent and effective standards for all three compensatory mitigation mechanisms: mitigation banks, in-lieu fee mitigation, and permittee-responsible mitigation.  Since mitigation banking is the most reliable form of compensatory mitigation, these regulations establish a hierarchy for the use of banks when appropriate credits are available.

Mitigation bank credits may be purchased by a permittee from a mitigation bank where aquatic resources (e.g., wetlands, streams, riparian areas) are restored, established, enhanced, and/or preserved in advance of impacts.

The WSMP represents an important step forward for Wyoming’s aquatic resources.

Read more: http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/Portals/23/docs/regulatory/WY/WSMP_Feb2013.pdf

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10 Cities That Could Run Out Of Water

watershortageTopping Trout Headwaters’ list of water wishes for the new year was: “Wishing that all water users will increase their conservation efforts so that healthy flows may be returned to our rivers.”

Securing access to plentiful, renewable sources of fresh water is among the biggest struggles large cities around the world face. Growing populations and declining fresh water supplies – from rapidly depleting aquifers as well as drought-stricken reservoirs and rivers – mean that cities are scrambling to find solutions.

“The ultimate price for not taking care of our streams and rivers is chronic water shortage,” says THI President Michael Sprague. “These shortages are upon us.  We need to work even harder to reverse this trend by protecting and restoring our freshwater resources before many suffer the consequences.”

The Weather Channel looked at 10 major U.S. cities facing some of the nation’s most acute water shortages, and the hurdles they face in obtaining enough water to meet their citizens’, and industries’, needs.

The list begins with the driest major city in Texas.

Read more: http://www.weather.com/news/science/environment/10-cities-could-run-out-water-20131212?utm_source=Water+Headlines+for+December+18&utm_campaign=Water+Headlines+Dec+18&utm_medium=email

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“Emergency Response” for Streams and Rivers Becoming More Common

A scientifically-based assessment can aid quick, sound decision-making in an emergency.

A scientifically-based assessment can aid quick, sound decision-making in an emergency.

With unpredictable weather patterns becoming the new normal, it may be time to take a fresh look your flood risk.  At Trout Headwaters we are definitely seeing a distinct increase in the number of emergency calls we receive.  When a structure or critical resource is under threat of flooding time is of the essence.

Streams, rivers and wetlands do flood, most often during spring runoff or summer rain storms. An emerging pattern in the West of drought, followed by fire, followed by rain, can wreak havoc on the stability of streambanks. High spring runoff or heavy rain events can very quickly turn a peaceful stream into a raging torrent eating away at unstable banks.

Lush streamside vegetation and a healthy stream hydrology mean resilient streambanks, but if you do find yourself in an emergency situation, our firm’s expert team of engineers, hydrologists and biologists can  deploy quickly to provide an assessment of the damage and potential threat to your property.  Our patented RiverWorks Rapid Assessment System allows us to complete a thorough stream or river assessment quickly, even turning around a report and suggested remedies within 24 – 48 hours.

THI’s “green” approaches to streambank stabilization not only stave off further damage, but also strengthen over time as banks recover the type of deep-rooted, woody vegetation that means stability long term, along with added habitat values for fish and wildlife.

For more information or to discuss your concerns, contact THI today.

You may also like: For Builders, Architects, and Homeowners – Building Near a River or Stream?

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After Nearly 20 Years, Who Are THI’s Top EcoBlu Clients?

THI-TCN photo 1

After nearly 20 years in the steam, river and restoration industry, Trout Headwaters has developed a great appreciation for client relationships resulting in project outcomes that exceed expectations.  Our client-first philosophy means we give each and every project, regardless of size, scope, or location, our full commitment to client satisfaction.  Because some projects span many months or even years, good client relationships are critical to achieving the greatest potential for any given site.

Characteristics of Our Clients

Leadership, clear goals, and direct communication are the most important factors contributing to the success of our clients’ natural resource projects. A single, decisive, point of contact between our company and you or your representative makes for the most efficient and satisfactory outcomes. Our clients manage their resources based upon a mission that emphasizes environmental sustainability. They understand the immense value of freshwater resources, and that preserving and protecting these resources benefits all of us for generations to come. We grow and maintain professional relationships with resource owners and managers from the following sectors:

Recreational Ranch Owners

Rural landholders or recreational ranch owners may enjoy their property as a main residence, a recreational get-away, or a recreational business.  Whether a guest ranch or a real estate investment, we help to restore and optimize ecological potential.  Our firm helps to create an ecological environment that provides for unmatched recreational fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing, thereby increasing real land values.

Agribusiness Owners

We see a changing paradigm for agribusiness. Agribusiness firms are now not just landholders, but also subject to new opportunities, liabilities, and regulations. This requires a unique set of expertise regarding water usage alternatives, and water quality and quantity protections. We understand where the value lies, whether improving water-use efficiencies or re-purposing water rights for alternative designations.

Alternative Energy Developers

We work with alternative energy supply companies to ensure compliance with water regulatory concerns.  We use tools like conservation banking to provide mitigation credits to developers when needed. We help reduce risk by providing the expertise and oversight needed to protect and conserve water resources within a particular service area.

Land Developers

Building sustainable, green developments means recognizing the natural capital of the land.  Valuable natural assets like streams, rivers, ponds and lakes, once thought of as wastelands, are now highly sought-after amenities.  From consulting to design, to installation, we work to make comprehensive green development a proven strategy for developers. We help create value in regulatory driven markets, developing innovative asset/liability strategies to attract new customers and retain existing environmentally conscious customers.

Natural Resource Investment Managers

Natural resource investment managers manage natural resources, and natural-resource related investments for public and corporate pension plans, corporations, foundations, endowments and high net worth individuals.  Their holdings may be domestic and/or international. We help by providing attractive risk management, and asset management plans to ensure quality and value in natural resources throughout the investment cycle.

Conservation Organizations

Conservation organizations are highly varied in size, structure and area of emphasis, but the common goal is to protect and preserve the natural resources we all share. An example is a nonprofit working to restore healthy floodplains and the priceless ecological services these areas provide. We provide a turnkey approach from consulting to design to installation on projects of all sizes and scopes to create a proactive, sustainable, restoration strategy tied to the goals of your organization.

Government

Since 1995 we have worked with government agencies to help green the policies of stream and river restoration.  We’ve completed successful demonstrations of softer, green restoration technologies to replace hard structures like riprap.  The work we do is reliable, sustainable, and maintenance-free. The treatments we develop and apply are natural, and more cost-effective than traditional hard engineering. When riparian areas and wetlands are restored instead of restrained, they are free to provide valuable ecological services we all need.

Are you interested in THI’s products and services for freshwater resource renewal and repair?  We’d love to hear from you.  Contact us today to discuss your project ideas.

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