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Federal Water Tap, January 21: Flawed Levees, Flushed Science

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in its first-ever inventory of the state of federal flood control systems, found that 22 percent of the levees surveyed were rated “unacceptable”, according to the Associated Press. The corps, claiming the threat of terrorism and sabotage, would not say why those levees were so rated. Some 40 percent […]


Federal Water Tap, August 6: Drought, Oil Spill, Infrastructure

Before adjourning for a five-week vacation, the House of Representatives passed a US$383 million drought-relief bill, the Hill reports. To pay for it, farmland conservation programs will be cut. Critics say that this is short-sighted because these programs protect, among others things, the soil’s ability to hold moisture. “If Congress is serious about assisting farmers […]


Ed Wargin

Ed Wargin set out almost 17 years ago to document the Great Lakes, and he’s almost finished. The Fresh Coast Project is an effort to document the Great Lakes as a single unit. “I have felt through the years that we needed a solitary type of message, that we needed to look at the Great […]


Federal Water Tap, July 16: Climate Change and U.S. Agriculture

Climate change will have the greatest economic effect on crops in the Midwest’s Corn Belt states, where annual loses could range from US$1.1 billion to US$4.1 billion by 2030. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service used four climate projections, a crop-growth simulation, and a model for predicting how farmers would change their crop […]


Federal Water Tap, June 18: EPA Framework for Stormwater and Sewers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the final version of its new framework for addressing the twinned problems of stormwater and sewer overflows. Nearly eight months in the making, the framework will give municipalities greater flexibility in how they meet federal water quality standards by allowing them to fix the most dire problems first. The […]


Draft USGS Water Strategy Collides With Tough Budget Situation

Some key programs identified in the draft, which was released earlier this week, are also facing budget cuts for the 2013 fiscal year. Photo courtesy of Jennifer LaVista, USGS USGS scientist Paul Frederick manually checks the water levels near a streamgage on the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Brett Walton Circle of Blue Data […]


Federal Water Tap, March 19: A Busy Week for Congress

Hear Ye, Hear Ye Last Thursday the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs heard testimony on tribal water rights settlements. Federal officials talked about the Obama administration’s preference for negotiated settlements instead of litigation. Some 16 negotiations are in progress, two of which—the Blackfeet and the Navajo-Hopi—have legislation under consideration in Congress. The chair of the […]


Federal Water Tap, October 31: Open Government and Flood Money

That Record Does (Not) Exist This item is not explicitly about water, but it does touch on a basic tool for keeping the government honest. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA, for short) requires federal agencies to provide records at the public’s request, with certain exemptions for things like classified documents. The Department of Justice, […]


Federal Water Tap, August 15: Making Water Investments

The Price of Restoration As part of the Everglades restoration project, the Department of Agriculture announced it would allocate $100 million to the state of Florida under the Wetlands Reserve Program, the Miami Herald reports. The money will be paid to ranchers in four counties northwest of Lake Okeechobee who give up development rights on […]


Federal Water Tap, March 28: Clean Water

USAID Newsletter The U.S. Agency for International Development published its bi-monthly newsletter last week. In this edition of “Global Waters”, read about the agency’s work with wastewater treatment in the Philippines, urban water provision in Africa, and a partnership with Coca-Cola. US, World Bank Say ‘We Do’ At a ceremony held on World Water Day, […]