A Day Late, But Never Short: Wednesday News Roundup

Author: Merritt Frey

I'm late with the Wednesday Roundup again but I have a good excuse. Several good excuses. First, I was at River Network's annual staff retreat on the banks of the booming Willamette River and they days were packed. Then, just when I thought I could squeeze in a late night blog posting I had had the chance to have dinner and play Legos with the man behind this incredible purchase of Columbia River habitat and his lovely family.

So here they are -- five stories and resources you won't want to miss from the last week:

New EPA Tool to Map Water Pollution
Alas, I was on a plane during the role out of the Discharge Monitoring Report (DMR) Pollutant Loading Tool from U.S. EPA, but I'd love to hear if you find it useful. I played around with it for a bit, and was pretty impressed. EPA's press release says the tool "...brings together millions of records and allows for easy searching and mapping of water pollution by local area, watershed, company, industry sector, and pollutant" and that searches can generate: "... “top ten” lists to help users easily identify facilities and industries that are discharging the most pollution and impacted waterbodies. When discharges are above permitted levels, users can view the violations and link to details about enforcement actions that EPA and states have taken to address these violations."

River Hero Nominations are Due February 3rd
River Network's River Heroes Award celebrates rivers and those who protect them by recognizing some of our victories and honoring those who provide us with leadership and inspiration along the way. You know you work with or volunteer alongside someone who knocks your socks off with their dedication, brilliance and/or joy -- celebrate them! Learn more and nominate your own River Hero by February 3.

Growing Pressure from States to Disclose Fracking Chemicals
As has become the norm, there was quite a bit of press coverage about the controversial practice known as fracking. This article from the Philadelphia Inquirer does a particularly good job of summarizing where the states are moving at least on the question of what the heck is in the chemical mixes used for fracking. The article states: "Texas is the fifth state to require the disclosure of well-by-well data with an online public clearinghouse, FracFocus.org. Colorado, Montana, Louisiana, and North Dakota also require posting of data with FracFocus." Other fracking stories this week included: the Wheeling News-Register; NBC4 in Ohio which summarizes an interesting poll finding Ohioans want to stop fracking until more studies are completed; and an opinion editorial in the Juneau Empire about fracking in Alaska.

Ghost River: Not Our Usual Hard News...
....but charming. Will Hunt's blog posting from the Paris Review chronicles the author's search for a now buried stream -- Minetta Brook. The Brook has long been buried under the streets and buildings of New York City but Hunt finds traces of it in the buildings, the fountains and even in the people all along its path. Around the country people are day-lighting creeks -- bringing buried streams to the surface -- as we relearn the value of these ecosystems.

Bringing the Clean Water Act Home -- Looking back at 40 Years of the Act in Kentucky
Last but certainly not least, Hank Graddy (coincidentally, a River Hero) of Kentucky River Watershed Watch -- a River Network Partner group -- wrote this great opinion editorial in the Lexington Herald Leader. The piece covers the pending 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, and brings home just what the Act has done for the rivers of Kentucky...and what it has failed to do. Graddy makes a wonderful case for the role of his group and groups like it in bringing the full power of the Act to bear on the problems still facing our rivers.

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