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Water in the News

June 26, 2014

Farming rules to cut algae
Mansfield News Journal

North central Ohio’s agricultural producers already must be licensed to apply pesticides on their fields. Soon they will have to be certified to put down fertilizers as well. The extra requirement, signed into law earlier this month by Gov. John Kasich, comes in response to the habitual greening of several of Ohio’s larger bodies of water. Lake Erie, Buckeye Lake and especially Grand Lake St. Marys, in western Ohio, have in recent years been beset with harmful algal blooms.

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How much are the world’s ecosystems worth?
The Atlantic

Back in 1997, ecologist Robert Constanza and a team of researchers set out to quantify a seemingly unquantifiable abundance: the value, in dollars, of the world’s ecosystems. But first they needed a good, concrete list of what exactly it was the ecosystems provide. They came up with 17 discrete categories, which they labeled “ecosystem services,” although some are technically goods.

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Pressure builds against EPA water proposal
California Farm Bureau Federation

Proposed changes to the federal Clean Water Act have roiled farmers across the nation and created an uproar among many other water users — including cities and counties with parks and recreation areas, golf courses and local water agencies. If adopted, the proposed rule changes would expand the definition of “waters of the United States” to potentially allow federal agencies to regulate virtually every area of ground in the nation that gets wet or has flow during rainfall.

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Dead zone: Average for Gulf, above for Chesapeake
USA Today

The Gulf of Mexico “dead zone” — a region of oxygen-depleted water off the Louisiana and Texas coasts that is harmful to sea life — is predicted to be about average when it develops this summer, scientists from two federal agencies reported. The size of a separate dead zone in the Chesapeake Bay — the nation’s largest estuary — should be a bit above average, according to the forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Farm bill enables collaboration on conservation
Agweek

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently launched the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, a new farm bill effort that will expand partnerships and boost investments in clean water, soil and wildlife conservation projects. The concept behind the Regional Conservation Partnership Program is simple: To feed a growing global population in the face of climate change, we must ask a lot of our land and water resources.

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Congress looking to halt EPA ‘Water Rule’
Ohio’s Country Journal

The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry recently heard testimony from USDA Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie and several agriculture stakeholders on a proposed interpretive rule that accompanies the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s so-called Waters of the U.S. proposed rule. The proposed rule would redefine the term “waters of the U.S.” to include intermittent and ephemeral streams and would significantly expand EPA’s jurisdiction. The interpretive proposed rule lists 56 agriculture conservation practices that would be exempt from the Waters of the U.S. proposed rule.

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