Minnesota, Ohio seek to join carp suit

Minnesota, Ohio join fight over Asian Carp
Minnesota and Ohio are seeking to join Michigan in its lawsuit seeking to prevent invasive Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes. Michigan asked the U.S. Supreme Court to force Illinois to sever connections between the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan. Here’s a link to a Star Tribune article on Minnesota joining the suit. And here is a link to a news release about Ohio’s action.

NPR documentary looks at Chesapeake pollution
National Public Radio last week aired a two-part series on pollution of Chesapeake Bay. The first broadcast examined agricultural pollution, primarily from manure and chemical fertilizers. The second broadcast looked at urban pollution: automobile exhausts, dishwasher detergents, lawn fertilizers and sewage.

Glowing tadpoles detect pollution
Here’s something cooler than a canary in a coal mine: Tadpoles genetically engineered to glow when they encounter water pollution.

African clawed frog tadpoles modified with jellyfish genes show promise as a faster and less expensive way to detect pollution than traditional methods, say a University of Wyoming professor and researchers in France.

What’s more, the green-glowing tadpoles indicate whether pollution exists in a form that can be absorbed by an organism and therefore might be dangerous to people. That’s more difficult with conventional methods.
–The Associated Press

Organic dairy farmers win Minnesota award
 Organic dairy farmers Joe and Tom Molitor have been named the December winners of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Good Farm Neighbor Award.  The Molitor brothers milk 300 cows and farm 1200 acres, all certified organic.  

The Molitors recently completed the Livestock Environmental Quality Assurance program in which they achieved environmental excellence in water, air, soil and wildlife habitat.  As organic farmers they can’t use commercial fertilizers and the program helped them determine how to more efficiently utilize their organic nutrients.  

The Molitors are also considered pioneers in dairy grazing in the Upper Midwest, having intensively grazed their cows for more than 20 years.  Tom Molitor says most of the farmland is used as pasture for rotational grazing which helps avoid the runoff found in a cow yard.  He says good environmental stewardship and animal care are the keys to running a successful dairy farm.

Winners of the MDA’s Good Farm Neighbor Award are selected by a committee representing the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and the MDA.
–Minnesota Department of Agriculture news release 

Colorado water use varies by region
Colorado Front Range residents are using less water, but some parts of the Western Slope have seen per capita water use explode in the past decade, according to a new state study.

 The number of gallons per person used daily in Denver and other South Platte River basin cities decreased 13.6 percent between 2000 and 2008, to 178 gallons from 206 gallons.

 Water use in Colorado Springs and Arkansas River basin communities decreased during that time by 11.2 percent to 190 gallons, down from 214.

The catch: Population growth still is pushing total water use up — and state officials project shortages.

 Water use rose to 256 gallons per person in the Colorado River basin, 332 in the Rio Grande, and 236 in the Dolores/San Juan, according to Colorado Water Conservation Board data.
–The Denver Post

Mojave protection bill scuttles power projects
Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation in Congress to protect a million acres of the Mojave Desert in California by scuttling some 13 big solar plants and wind farms planned for the region.

But before the bill to create two new Mojave national monuments has even had its first hearing, the California Democrat has largely achieved her aim. Regardless of the legislation’s fate, her opposition means that few if any power plants are likely to be built in the monument area, a complication in California’s effort to achieve its aggressive goals for renewable energy.
–The New York Times

Crystal Light drink mix promotes hydration
The phrase “just add water” is a staple on packages for convenience foods, an enticement that pancakes, ranch dressing, or macaroni and cheese are simply a turn of the faucet away. But a new campaign by Crystal Light, the sugarless powdered drink mix made by Kraft, turns that approach on its head, stressing not that water adds life to Crystal Light, but that Crystal Light adds life to water.

A television spot— by the Chicago office of McGarryBowen, part of Dentsu — features fit actresses frolicking in the ocean, a lake and a swimming pool, while a voiceover says, “Our bodies crave water, and women who drink Crystal Light drink 20 percent more of it.” The spot concludes with the tagline for the campaign, which includes print and online ads: “Water your body.”

The claim that Crystal Light drinkers are better hydrated draws on data from Kantar Worldpanel Beverage, a consumer research agency that is a subsidiary of TNS Global, which compared consumption levels of tap and bottled water drinkers with those who drink powdered beverages.
–The New York Times

Cracks found in Coon Rapids Dam
The Coon Rapids Dam on the Mississippi River has a new failure in its concrete apron — a problem that is not yet a safety concern but could cost millions to repair, a Three Rivers Park District inspection shows.

Repairing the cracked area with steel pilings could cost $1.5 million to $2 million, and reinforcing the entire apron could cost $6 million or more, Bill Holman of Stanley Consultants advised the park board.

Three Rivers officials are scheduled to discuss the problem with the Department of Natural Resources on Jan. 6 and with park board members later in the month.
–The Star Tribune