The $550 billion in new spending in the Senate-approved infrastructure bill includes $25 million in drought contingency planning funding for Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, which could help the states pay irrigators to temporarily reduce agricultural water consumption. The Bureau of Land Management and state water agencies are already using a similar, short-term payment program to divert water from agriculture and help protect Lake Mead.
A massive project that added two million cubic tons of sand to protect the British coastline of North Norfolk appears to be paying off two years later. Much of the sand has moved, but the coastline and infrastructure have been protected.
Residents along the northern beaches of Sydney, Australia, are paying to build a wall stretching nearly a mile to protect their properties from erosion during major storms. However, others in the area believe the 23-foot-high wall will allow the beach to wash away in favor of saving private homes.
Erosion is endemic along 70% of Hawaii's beaches on Maui, Kauai and Oahu, and there's no easy or enduring solution, according to a report by Shellie Habel, a coastal geologist with the University of Hawaii Sea Grant Program. Habel examines various possibilities, including shoreline hardening and restoration, but notes drawbacks with each.
The 2018 Pole Creek wildfire in Utah and subsequent heavy rains resulted in water flows that resembled chocolate milk, according to researchers at Brigham Young University. The rainstorm took only a few hours to deposit three months' worth of water on the fire-scarred area, leading to rapid sediment deposits in Utah Lake that would typically take at least a century to accumulate.
Rain gardens, bioswales, rain barrels, pervious pavement and other small green infrastructure projects have helped underserved communities in New Orleans reduce their flood risk and bolster their environmental resilience, according to an analysis by local nonprofits. "[E]very dollar invested in green infrastructure projects in New Orleans produces six times higher returns in economic, social and environmental benefits, with the potential for tens of millions of dollars in additional local benefits annually," the report says.
Extensive development along the Southeast US coastline is whittling away at and endangering protective salt marshes, according to a McClatchy report. The problem is compounded by climate change, rising seas and laws that prevent coastal regulators from restricting development.
The Marysville, Pa., Borough Council has created a commission that will oversee stormwater facilities and programs to meet federal MS4 requirements. The council also set aside $264,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act to fund MS4 projects, which could include efforts to keep pollution from entering the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay.
Federal Judge William Alsup of the US District Court for the Northern District of California has overturned a Trump-era rule that restricted state and tribal authority under the Clean Water Act to halt pipelines and other energy projects that could threaten waterways. The Environmental Protection Agency is working on a new regulation, which it expects to publish in spring 2023.
Register now and save for the 2021 Auburn University ESC Installer Training event on Nov. 17-18 and the Auburn Field Day on Nov. 19. The events will offer installer-based training on commonly employed erosion and sediment control practices in both horizontal and vertical construction with hands-on field demonstrations. Register now!
Vote now for candidates for the IECA Board of Directors. Please note: voting will happen in IECA Connect. Vote for each seat candidate by clicking on the "Vote for Candidate" button. Must be signed in and an IECA member to be eligible to vote. Voting ends this Sunday, Oct. 31. Vote now!
It is remarkable how powerful a force simple curiosity can be.
Susan Hill, writer
The International Erosion Control Association (IECA) is the world's oldest and largest non-profit, member organization that provides education, resource information and business opportunities for professionals who specialize in natural resource protection. For more information about IECA, please visit www.ieca.org.