Each week, the Freshwater Society publishes a digest of important regional, national and international articles and research on water and the environment. Scan the articles here, then follow the links to read the articles in their entirety where they originally were published.
Pawlenty joins call for Asian carp summit
Gov. Tim Pawlenty seconded a call for an emergency summit to find ways to protect the Great Lakes from an invasion of Asian carp.
Saying the invasive species threatens both ecological and economic interests, Pawlenty agreed with Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s request for a meeting to discuss building a physical barrier to keep the fish out of the region. Pawlenty also sent a letter asking President Barack Obama to convene the summit.
An Asian carp was recently found near Lake Michigan, on the wrong side of an electric barrier designed to keep the fish out of the Great Lakes. Scientists are concerned the carp could disrupt habitat and fisheries in the Upper Midwest.
Both of Minnesota’s Democratic senators, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, are supporting proposed legislation expediting a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study of the problem.
–The St. Paul Pioneer Press
Oil spill commission faces unique task
The presidential commission appointed to study the causes of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and to recommend improvements for offshore drilling has navigated tight spots as it prepares to begin work this week.
Unlike the commissions that investigated space-shuttle accidents and the Three Mile Island nuclear incident, the Deepwater panel must analyze what went wrong while things still are going wrong.
That real-time analysis of a catastrophe “makes this commission pretty unusual,” said Amy Zegart, an associate professor at UCLA’s School of Public Affairs who has studied the more than 600 presidential commissions convened in the past two decades.
–The Washington Post
Lake Superior warms early this year
C’mon in — the water’s fine (relatively speaking). Long notorious for its bone-chilling frigidity, Lake Superior is far warmer than normal for this time of year, and could be headed for record-setting high temperatures later this summer.
Thanks to less ice last winter and an early spring, the top layer of the big lake will be “exceptionally warm by August,” according to researchers at the Large Lakes Observatory at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
Temperatures in the top 30 to 50 feet of water usually peak at 59 degrees in mid-August, but they hit that mark this week. The record of 68 degrees, reached in 1998, could well be matched or broken.
The heat is welcome news for swimmers and some species of fish, but streams feeding the largest Great Lake have seen some fish kills.
–The Star Tribune
Public comment sought on Reitz Lake pollution
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is requesting comments on the draft water quality improvement report for Reitz Lake in Waconia in Carver County. The report summarizes a study, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load, that focused on pollution in the lake caused by excess nutrients. The public comment period begins July 12 and continues through Aug. 11, 2010.
This is the second public comment period for this TMDL due to changes made to the original draft report. Those changes included an increase in the overall needed reduction in pollutant loading as well as revisions in the pollution allocations among the contributing sources.
The draft TMDL calls for phosphorus reductions for Reitz Lake. The phosphorus is transported to the lake in runoff from agricultural lands, feedlots, lawns and other urban surfaces, and failing septic systems. Phosphorus in the runoff that reaches the lake must be reduced if excessive growth of algae is to be reduced.
The Reitz Lake draft TMDL report is available here.
Written comments on the draft TMDL report should be submitted to Chris Zadak, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road N., Saint Paul, MN 55155-4194. They must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 12. Anyone who has questions about the review and comment process may call Zadak at 651-757-2837 or 1-800-657-3864,
or e-mail him at Chris.Zadak@state.mn.us.
–MPCA News Release
Cass County feedlot agrees to pollution fine
Crow Wing Feeders LLC, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency have reached an agreement that requires the company to pay $15,000 for alleged feedlot violations at its cattle feedlot in Cass County, Minn.
MPCA staff inspections in December of 2009 revealed several violations relating to an unpermitted construction and expansion, discharges, and failure to obtain required permits. According to inspection reports, the company expanded its feedlot to nearly 2,700 head of cattle without obtaining a required National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. NPDES permits are required when a feedlot exceeds 1,000 cattle. The company also used unpermitted and uncertified liquid manure storage areas for manure and manure-contaminated runoff. These areas were not engineered or designed in accordance with Minnesota statutes, and the company failed to submit a permit application, and plans and specifications prior to constructing them.
In addition to paying the $15,000 civil penalty, the company was required to empty and close the manure storage areas and land apply the manure and contaminated soils. The firm must also limit the number of cattle on the feedlot to its current registered number of 840.
–MPCA News Release