“Ahead of Tuesday’s election, hundreds of thousands of Texans have already cast ballots on Proposition 6, which would amend the State Constitution so that $2 billion could be taken from the state’s savings account to help finance water infrastructure projects. …
“But whether or not the measure passes, Texas has a long way to go before solving its water deficit. The drought has shown little sign of letting up soon, and the state’s population explosion has not abated, either.
“Installation artist Christo (KRIS’-toh) has said opposition to his planned ‘Over the River’ project on the Arkansas River in Colorado is part of the art, and he welcomes debate over what is appropriate for his displays.”
“Lake Tahoe’s famously blue waters – which make it the clearest lake of its size in the United States – attract three million visitors to California and Nevada each year. But decades of development, and now climate change, threaten this national treasure.
“A record fall run of chinook salmon is heading up the Columbia River — more than any year since the Bonneville Lock and Dam was built in 1938, impeding natural access to the prized fish’s traditional spawning grounds and stirring a controversy that has yet to abate.
“On Tuesday, the millionth adult chinook salmon so far this year migrated upstream through the massive dam, a milestone that had never before been reached.”
“A U.S.-Canada treaty that governs operations of the fourth-largest river in North America — affecting everything from power prices and water supplies to grain shipments and recreation in the Pacific Northwest — should be renegotiated to make the system more flexible amid climate change and to aid threatened and endangered species that weren’t considered when the treaty was created decades ago, federal regulators recommended in a draft document released to The Associated Press.”
“Like communities up and down the Front Range, Boulder has long been known to be at high risk for flooding because it sits at the mouth of a canyon and is threaded with creeks. And officials here prepared for the inevitable.
From EPA Connect, The Official Blog of EPA’s Leadership, in a post by Nancy Stoner and Lek Kadeli:
“One of the great environmental success stories of our time is the Clean Water Act. …
“This week, EPA’s Science Advisory Board released for public comment a draft scientific report, ‘Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence.’”
“Today [Sept. 13] the U.S. Geological Survey led a congressional briefing featuring state and regional water stakeholders who spoke about vital uses of comprehensive water information that would be met by the National Water Census called for by the SECURE Water Act of 2009.
“The Santa Cruz River watershed, located on the Arizona-Sonora portion of the U.S.-Mexico border, depends for its perennial flow on an international treatment plant that treats wastewater on both sides of the border before discharging it into the river in Arizona. This treated wastewater has great value for nearby wildlife and ecosystem managers, property owners and communities. Now, USGS science has helped to quantify this value for the benefit of binational water policy makers and other stakeholders.
“There is a bend in the Penobscot River [Maine] here, embanked by an Indian burial ground, through which millions of fish used to make a strenuous journey upstream to spawn before returning to the sea. … But over the centuries, dams on the river and pollution from paper mills have helped wither the sea runs.
“The idea that glaciers change at a glacial speed is increasingly false. They are melting and retreating rapidly all over the world. But the unpredictable flood surges at the Mendenhall Glacier, about 14 miles from downtown Juneau, Alaska’s capital, are turning a jog into a sprint as global temperatures and climate variability increase.”
From the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Climatic Data Center (NCDC):
“The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during June was 70.4°F, 2.0°F above the 20th century average. The Lower-48 had its 15th warmest and 13th wettest June on record. The western United States and the East Coast were warmer than average, while much of the central and southeastern United States had near-average temperatures.
“The June nationally averaged precipitation total of 3.43 inches was 0.54 inch above the 20th century average.
“Severe drought parched the Southwest from Texas to California and heat waves set record-high temperatures. A New Mexico firestorm nearly killed 24 firefighters.
“Sound familiar? Those were actually the events of 1950 in America, not 2013. In that year, natural cycles in Pacific and Atlantic oceans’ sea-surface temperatures combined to create extreme heat and drought across the United States.
“The [U.S. Geological Survey] USGS operates some 7,000 stream gauges across the country, used by 850 other organizations for everything from watershed research to bridge design to water supply predictions. Each gauge costs around $14,000 to $18,000 to operate annually, and the budget cuts have jeopardized about 375.”
From the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):
“According to the July 9, 2013, U.S. Drought Monitor, moderate to exceptional drought covers 44.9% of the contiguous United States, an increase from last week’s 44.1%.The worst drought categories (extreme to exceptional drought) also increased slightly from 13.6% last week to 13.8%.