The U.S. Senate on Friday confirmed President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, giving Trump a lieutenant poised to make deep cuts to the EPA and transfer some if its enforcement responsibilities to states and localities.
Researchers have completed the first flights of a NASA-led field campaign that is targeting one of the biggest gaps in scientists’ understanding of Earth’s water resources: snow. NASA uses the vantage point of space to study all aspects of Earth as an interconnected system. … Enter SnowEx, a NASA-led multi-year research campaign to improve remote sensing measurements of how much snow is on the ground at any given time and how much water is contained in that snow.
The near-failure on Sunday evening of the auxiliary spillway at Oroville Dam and the ongoing emergency operations to contain flood waters in California’s second-largest reservoir and shore up its eroding outlet are a tale of caution for the nation’s aging dam fleet. … Dam safety experts cite money as the most significant impediment to safer dams.
For five years, the 10,000 residents of Newport, Oregon, have known the reservoir that stores their drinking water is unsafe. The city built two dams on the Big Creek River in 1951 and 1969, long before Oregonians knew about the high risk of a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.
As the nation’s 84,000 dams continue to age, a growing number of people downstream of these structures are at risk, according to experts and data of the nation’s dams. … California has 1,585 dams, according to the National Inventory of Dams database. Fifty-two percent of those dams are considered a high hazard, the fourth-most of any state.
The U.S. Geological Survey joins its many partners in other federal agencies, at universities, and in state and local governments in recognizing the importance of the Water Resources Research Act (WRRA) of 1964.
Signed into law 50 years ago by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 17, 1964, the WRRA established a Water Resources Research Institute in each state and Puerto Rico.
From The New York Times, in a commentary by David Bornstein:
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that public water systems lose, on average, one-sixth of their water — mainly from leaks in pipes. The E.P.A. asserts that 75 percent of that water is recoverable.
Three U.S. states with anticipated water supply deficits in the coming decades reached milestones in July in their deliberations on how to meet the demands of cities, farmers, and industries. … A few plans have already been published. California, for example, released its five-year update in January.
Attendees of the U.S. Conference of Mayors will vote Monday on a resolution that encourages cities to use natural solutions to “protect freshwater supplies, defend the nation’s coastlines, maintain a healthy tree cover and protect air quality,” sometimes by partnering with nonprofit organizations.
The U.S. Forest Service is seeking public comment on a proposal addressing water provided for ski areas on national forest lands through the permitting process. The proposal would help to ensure public winter recreation opportunities on Forest Service lands are available in the long term.
From the Los Angeles Times, in a commentary by David Horsey:
“One of the great environmental success stories of our time is how the air in L.A. has gotten dramatically better over the years, thanks to auto emissions standards. … There are other good stories … It should be noted that every one of these positive outcomes resulted from government action.”
“Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today [May 27] joined Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow to launch a new era in American conservation efforts with an historic focus on public-private partnership.
“Yesterday [May 27], Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack launched a new era in American conservation efforts with an historic focus on public-private partnership. The Regional Conservation Partnership Program will competitively award funds to conservation projects designed by local partners specifically for their region.