Big River Magazine
Mississippi River stories and news

Moving a Neighborhood - St. Feriole Island

Story From Big River December 1997

Where can I buy BIG RIVER?

Big River Bookshelf
Order online

River Links

Big River Reader

Big River Advertisers

Buy single issues of Big River

Interested? You can subscribe to Big River
- or -
Pick up Big River at a bookstore or local newsstand- locations- or -

Purchase a single issue online


September-October 2007
News Excerpts and More Information

Follow the links for more information about news in Big River. Subscribe now to read more. (Ask to start with this issue.)

Go, Ducks!
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s preliminary report from its annual Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey, 41 million ducks nested in over 1.3 million square miles of Canada and the United States, including Alaska this year, which is 14 percent more than in 2006 and 24 percent more than the average population from 1955 to 2006.
Wetland habitat conditions for ducks and other waterfowl were the same or slightly better than last year.
Many species of ducks are more populous than last year, while at least two declined. Canvasbacks, mallards, blue-winged teal, green-winged teal, gadwall, redheads and wigeons are doing better than they have on average since 1955.
Scaups’ numbers are down 33 percent from the long-term average and pintailed ducks are down 19 percent.
The Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey, done by scientists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Canadian Wildlife Service, samples the continent’s most important nesting grounds.
Meanwhile, following its annual May waterfowl survey, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources came up with a different view of the duck population in its state, with total duck populations down by about six percent, although the number of breeding mallards had increased 51 percent over last year.

WRDA Watch
Washington D.C. — During late spring and early summer both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate passed the 2007 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) by large margins. Among many other items, WRDA funds and authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to double the length of some locks on the Upper Mississippi and expand environmental restoration projects. WRDA is supposed to be reauthorized every two years, but Congress last approved it in 2000.
Proponents of the Ecosystem Sustainability Program for the Upper Mississippi River System, formerly known as the Navigation Study of the Upper Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway (Nav Study) are especially pleased, because this is the closest it has come to passage.
The initial price tag of $3.7 billion would include the cost of seven new 1,200-foot locks and $1.7 billion for habitat restoration. The economic value of building new locks has been debated since the early days of the study, but is supported by shipping and agriculture interests.
In addition, this WRDA calls for the Secretary of the Army to recommend a framework for long-term wetlands protection, and conservation and restoration in coastal Louisiana, another very costly project.
At least one critic has warned that the 2007 WRDA is loaded with pork-barrel earmarks. Dr. Ronald D. Utt, in a memo for the Heritage Foundation, which appears on its web site, warns that wealthy and influential coastal beachfront property owners have lobbied successfully to get big dollar beach replenishment projects added as earmarks. He cites $101 million for beach replenishment at Ocean City, Sea Isle City, and contiguous New Jersey seashore resorts and $65 million for a Lido Key Beach, Florida, replenishment project.
The House and Senate versions of the bills were in conference committee over the summer to reconcile differences between them. When the conference committee completes its work, the bill will head to President Bush’s desk for final approval.

To read these and other stories, subscribe now and ask to start with the September-October 2007 issue.