Category Archives: Non-Virginia

California Drought 2012-2014 – A Quick Summary and Sources of Information, as of July 17, 2014

[This post replaces one put up on 2-28-14]

It’s an event of national significance when persistent and severe drought afflicts California, the nation’s third largest state in land area and largest in population (with over 37 million people as of the 2010 Census), and the source of over $44 billion worth of agricultural products in 2012, about 11 percent of total U.S. cash farm receipts that year (according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, at, 2/28/14).   As of the July 15, 2014, edition of the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (online at, 100 percent of California was categorized as being in “severe,” “extreme,” or “exceptional” drought (the Drought Monitor’s three driest categories, out of five).   This has been the situation since May 2014, but as far back as June 2013, over 50 percent of the state was rated as in severe-or-worse drought.

The following comments in the February 25, 2014, and July 15, 2014, editions of the Drought Monitor add some more perspective on the current California drought:
Feb. 25, 2014
“From a broader perspective, California completed its 12th-driest year from July 1, 2011—June 30, 2012, and its 11th-driest year from July 1, 2012—June 30, 2013, according to the National Climatic Data Center.  During the last 120 years, the only comparable period for dryness occurred from July 1, 1975—June 30, 1977, when California experienced its fourth- and third-driest years on record.  …Heat has certainly not helped California’s drought situation; Needles, Calif.—with a high of 90°F on February 19—reported its earliest ever 90-degree reading (previously, 90°F on February 24, 1904).  Sandberg, Calif., has reached or exceeded the 70-degree mark on 7 days in February; the previous standard of 4 days was established in February 1963.”

July 15, 2014
“…With June [2014] in the books, NCDC [National Climatic Date Center; online at] rankings for California for the July 2013-June 2014 period were the warmest and 3rd driest since 1895.  The only drier July-June periods were in 1923-24 and 1976-77.  This is the first time California experienced 3 consecutive years in the top 20 for dryness: 2011-12 ranked 20th, 2012-13 ranked 18th, and statewide precipitation has averaged 67% of normal during this 3-year period, and was just 56% of normal in 2013-14.  Fortunately California’s reservoirs hold more water than they did in 1977 when the state experienced its 4th and 2nd driest years on record from July 1975-June 1977.  However, a recent study estimated that this drought will cost California $2.2 billion in 2014, with a loss of over 17,000 agricultural jobs.”

On July 16, 2014, the California Water Quality Control Board announced that mandatory restrictions on residential water use would begin August 1, with violators subject to fines of $500 per day.

Below are links to five other information sources (besides the U.S. Drought Monitor) to help you learn about and follows this significant event in the Golden State.

California Department of Food and Agriculture, Sacramento, online at, phone: (916) 654-0466.  (For agricultural statistics, see

California Department of Water Resources, Sacramento, online at; phone: (916) 653-5791.

California Institute for Water Resources/University of California-Davis, online at, phone: (510) 987-9124.  (For drought-information resources, see

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) California Water Science Center, Sacramento, online at; phone: (916) 278-3000.

PBS “NewsHour” reports:
*February 14, 2014, “California’s historic drought strains towns and farms in Sonoma County,” online at (8 min./4 sec.);
*July 16, 2014, “California’s ‘water cop’ urges residents to take drought seriously with mandatory restrictions,” online at (9 min./38 sec.).

A Water Conference Sampler from around the United States, Canada, and Mexico; June 26, 2014 Edition (Updated 7-24-14)

Here are some water  and water-related meetings in the United States, Canada, and Mexico in coming months.  This list is updated as the Virginia Water Resources Research Center learns of new events and a new version is re-posted quarterly.  If you would like an event added, please send basic information (date, location, event title, event organizer, Web site, and contact information) to with subject line: For Water Central Editor.  This post is for non-Virginia events; for water meetings and other events in the Old Dominion, please see the Virginia Water Resources Research Center’s online Quick Guide to Virginia Water Events.

Much of this information was provided by the Virginia Water Monitoring Council (VWMC).  For more information on the VWMC, please visit

Jul. 27-30, 2014, Lombard, Ill.: Soil and Water Conservation Society International Annual Conference.  More information:; phone (515) 289-2331.

Jul. 28-30, 2014, National Conservation Training Center, Shepherdstown, West Va.: Fourth Biennial Colloquium on Hydrologic Science and Engineering.  The theme for this meeting is “Water Across the Critical Zone–Scaling from Local to Global Hydrology.”  Organized by the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. (CUAHSI).  Click here for more information; or contact Emily Geosling, CUAHSI, 196 Boston Ave, Suite 3000, Medford, MA 02155; phone (339) 221-5400, ext. 204; e-mail:

Jul. 28-Aug. 1, 2014, New Orleans, La.: Conference on Ecological and Ecosystem Restoration.  Organized by the National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration and the Society for Ecological Restoration.  More information:

Aug. 10-15, 2014, Sacramento, Calif.: Ecological Society of America 2014 Annual Meeting.  More information:

Aug. 17-21, 2014, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada: American Fisheries Society Annual Conference.  Co-organizer is Fisheries and Oceans Canada.  This year’s theme is “From Fisheries Research to Management: Think and Act Locally and Globally.”  More information:

Aug. 18-19, 2014, Charlotte, N.C.: Municipal Wet Weather Stormwater Conference.  Organized by the U.S. EPA Region 4 Office and the Southeast Chapter of the International Erosion Control Association (IECA) Region One.  More information:

Aug. 19-22, 2014, Iowa City, Iowa: Fourth International Conference on Emerging Contaminants in the Environment (EmCon2014). Organized by the University of Iowa and several partners.  More information:; David Cwiertny, (319) 335-1401;

Aug. 25-27, 2014, Denver, Colo.: 2014 Unconventional Resources Technology Conference.  Conference organization created and sponsored by the Society of Petroleum Engineers, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, & Society of Economic Geologists.  More information:

Sep. 3-7, 2014, New Orleans, La.: Society of Environmental Journalists Annual Conference.  More information:

Sep. 8-10, 2014, Asheville, N.C.: 2014 Water Education Summit.  Organized by North Carolina State University and several partners.  More information:; Karen Hall, (919) 515-8242 or

Sep. 9-12, 2014, San Francisco, Calif.: Specialist Conference on Watershed and River Basins Management.  Organized by the University of the Pacific and the International Water Association.  More information:

Sep. 14-19, 2014, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada: Oceans ’14.  Sponsored by the Marine Technology Society and the Oceanic Engineering Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.  More information:

Sep. 15-17, 2014, Kansas City, Missouri: One Water Leadership Summit 2014.  Organized by the U.S. Water Alliance’s Urban Water Sustainability Council.  More information:; phone (202) 223-2299; e-mail:

Sep. 16-18, 2014, Portland, Ore.: “Who Will Own the Forest?” Conference.  Organized by the World Forestry Institute.  More information:

Sep. 21-25, 2014, St. Louis, Mo.: Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Annual Meeting.  (Virginia’s member of this organization is the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.)  More information:

Sep. 24-25, 2014, National Conservation Training Center, Shepherdstown, W. Va.: 2014 Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Conference.  This year’s theme is “The Future of Mid-Atlantic Water Infrastructure: Challenges and Solutions.” Organized by the National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) and its Mid-Atlantic member institutes in Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.  More information:

Sep. 27-Oct. 1, 2014, New Orleans, La.: Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference.  More information:

Sep. 30-Oct. 2, 2014, Louisville, Ky.: America’s Watershed Initiative Summit. Organized by The Nature Conservancy and the University of Florida.  More information:

Oct. 5-11, 2014, Salt Lake City, Utah: International Union of Forest Researchers World Congress.  This year’s theme is “Sustaining Forests, Sustaining People: The Role of Research.”  This meeting is held every five years. This year, it’s being held along with the joint annual meeting (Oct. 8-11) of the Society of American Foresters and the Canadian Institute of Forestry.  More information:; phone (301) 897-8720 (Society of American Foresters in Bethesda, Md.).

Oct. 8-9, 2014, Kalispell, Mont.: Annual conference of the Montana chapter of the American Water Resources Association (AWRA).  The theme for this year’s conference is “Floods, Forests, and The Flathead.”  More information:; or contact Nancy Hystad at

Oct. 8-10, 2014, Charleston, S.C.: 9th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference.  The theme this year is “Improving Water Quality through Relationships, Regulations, and Research.”  Organized by the Southeast Stormwater Association. Presentation proposals are being accepted through February 28.  More information:;; (866) 367-7379.

Oct. 14-15, 2014, St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Water Resources Conference.  Organized by the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center.  More information:; (612) 624-9282; e-mail:

Oct. 15-16, 2014, Columbia, S.C.: South Carolina Water Resources Conference.  Organized by Clemson University.  More information:; Dawn Anticole White at (864) 656-2618 or

Oct. 15-17, 2014, Dayton, Ohio: Natural Areas Conference.   Organized by the Natural Areas Association and Five Rivers MetroParks.  More information:

Oct. 19-22, 2014, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: Geological Society of America Annual Meeting. More information:; phone (303) 357-1000; e-mail:

Oct. 20-23, 2014, St. Louis, Mo.: 39th Climate Diagnostics and Prediction Workshop.  Organized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  More information:

Oct. 22-24, 2014, Raleigh, N.C.: Southeastern Alternative Fuels Conference and Expo.  This year’s theme is “Driving the New Economy.” Organized by the North Carolina Solar Center at North Carolina State University.  More information:; Andrea Bachrach, (919) 515-5693 or

Oct. 27-30, 2014, Baltimore, Md.: BioCycle East Coast Conference 2014 (on composting, organics recycling and renewable energy).  More information:

Nov. 1-6, 2014, Washington, D.C.: 7th National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration, combined with the 24th Biennial Meeting of the Coastal Society.  Organized by Restore America’s Estuaries (headquartered in Arlington, Va.) and The Coastal Society.  The meeting’s theme is “Inspiring Action, Creating Resilience.”  More information:; phone (703) 524-0248.

Nov. 2-5, 2014, Long Beach, Calif.: International annual meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.  More information:; phone (608) 273-8080.

Nov. 9-13, 2014, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: 35th Annual Meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) North America.  More information:

Nov. 12-14, 2014, Portland, Ore.: Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE) Conference.  More information:

Nov. 12-14, 2014, Cholula, Puebla, Mexico: International Conference on Hydrometeorological Risks and Climate Change.  Organized by the Universidad de las Americas Pueblas (UDLAP).  More information:

Nov. 16-20, 2014, New Orleans, La.: Water Quality Technology Conference and Exposition.  Organized by the American Water Works Association.  More information:

Nov. 17-20, 2014, Charlotte, N.C.: EcoStream–Stream Ecology and Restoration Conference.  Organized by the North Carolina State University Stream Restoration Program.  More information:

Nov. 19-21, 2014, St. Petersburg, Fla.: National Clean Water Law Seminar.  Organized by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies.  More information:

Dec. 9-12, 2014, Las Vegas, Nev.: National Groundwater Association Expo.  More information:; phone (800) 551-7379; e-mail:

Dec. 15-19, 2014, San Francisco, Calif.: American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.  More information:; phone (202) 462-6900.

Virginia (and Elsewhere) Water News Headlines Sampler for May 21-29, 2014: Stream-fencing, Sea-level Rise, Natural Gas, Werowocomoco, USDA Grants, VEE Grants, Maryland Wind Energy Proposal, West Virginia Watewater Grants, and Montana Study of Trout and Climate Change

Following are headlines and notes for a selection of water-news stories from the period May 21—29, 2014, that occurred in Virginia, occurred in nearby areas, or are otherwise relevant to Virginia. The headlines are grouped by topics and—within those groups—from newest to oldest.  Explanatory notes have been added in brackets after the publication and date.  Unless otherwise noted, all places mentioned are in Virginia.  As of 5/30/14, all headlines listed below had working hyperlinks to take you to the full article, but those links may or may not be working at later dates.

Chesapeake Bay Clean Up/Restoration
Dubious Stream-Fencing Numbers Reveal Limitations of Bay Model, Lancaster [Penn.] Farming, 5/24/14 – Virginia has an objective of adding stream-side fencing to restrict cattle access to 4,700 miles of streams in Chesapeake Bay tributary watersheds by 2025; the Commonwealth and the Chesapeake Bay Program are working to make on-the-ground estimates of progress toward this goal correspond more closely to information used in the Bay Program’s computer models that assess progress toward the goals of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).

Climate Change (see also below under “Montana” for another climate item)
Hampton Roads landmarks in crosshairs of climate change, Daily Press, as published by Stars and Stripes, 5/21/14; and Sea Level Rise Endangers Historic Sites Around Chesapeake Bay, Associated Press, 5/21/14 – On May 20, 2014, the Union of Concerned Scientists released “National Landmarks at Risk: How Rising Seas, Floods, and Wildfires are Threatening the United States’ Most Cherished Historic Sites.”  The 84-page report, available online at, presents case studies of sea-level-rise risks at 23 U.S. coastal areas, including four in Virginia: Fort Monroe National Monument, Jamestown, the NASA Langley Research Center, and the NASA Wallops Island Flight Facility.

U.S. groups seek more time to comment on Dominion LNG export project, Reuters, 5/21/14 – On May 21, 2014, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Earthjustice filed petitions with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), asking that the agency extend by 60 days the current mid-June deadline for public comment on FERC’s environmental review of the proposal by Richmond-based Dominion Resources to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal at Cove Point, on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

Dominion considers new W.Va.-Va.-N.C. pipeline, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 5/28/14 – Richmond-based Dominion Resources is considering a 480-mile, natural gas pipeline that would transport gas extracted from Appalachian shale formations from West Virginia through Virginia to North Carolina.

East Coast menhaden harvest decreased 26% from 2012, Bay Journal, 5/27/14 – In 2013, the first year of new restrictions imposed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the harvest of Atlantic Menhaden along the eastern United States coast—including the Chesapeake Bay—decreased by 26 percent from 2012.

Land Use
Werowocomoco National Park? It would benefit both tourism and scholarship, William & Mary News, 5/21/14 – On May 20, 2014, Va. Gov. Terry McCauliffe toured Werowocomoco, the York River site at the center of the Algonquin Indian people led by Chief Powhatan in the 1600s and now proposed for a national park.

Paying for Water
USDA launches $1.2 billion in competitive grants for conservation projects, Charlotte [Va.] Observer, 5/30/14; and New federal farm program should help fight Chesapeake Bay pollution, Roanoke Times, 5/28/14 – On May 27, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) started the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, a program authorized by the new Farm Bill passed in February 2014.  Over the next five years, the program will offer $1.2 billion in competitive grants (requiring a match) for conservation projects nationwide.

Virginia Environmental Endowment awards nearly $300K in grants, Augusta Free Press, 5/25/14 – In late May 2014, the Virginia Environmental Endowment announced about 14 grants totaling about $300,000 for projects on water quality, environmental literacy, land conservation, and “emerging” environmental issues.

Outside of Virginia But in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Gov.’s veto might not end wind debate, The (Gaithersburg Md.) Gazette, 5/21/14 – The Pioneer Green company, based in Austin, Texas, is proposing to build the Great Bay Wind Energy Center, a wind-generating project across the Chesapeake Bay off of Somerset County, Maryland.  On May 16, 2014, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley vetoed a Maryland General Assembly bill that would have delayed the project; Assembly members have expressed concerns about possible impacts on the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, located across the Bay from Somerset County in St. Mary’s County. Information from Pioneer Green is available online at

W.Va. clean water loan program marks milestone, Associated Press, as published by [Steubenville, Ohio] Herald-Star, 5/21/14 – In May 2014, West Virginia’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund reached the $1-billion mark in loans (320 total) since 1992 to localities for wastewater-infrastructure projects.

In Montana, but with Worldwide Implications
Climate Change Accelerates Hybridization between Native and Invasive Species of Trout, U.S. Geological Survey News Release, 5/25/14 – On May 25, 2014, the scientific journal Nature Climate Change published “Invasive hybridization in a threatened species is accelerated by climate change,” research by scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), University of Montana, and the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Department.  The USGS news release on the research asserts that the study is the first to support directly the assumption that “climate change could decrease worldwide biodiversity through cross-breeding between invasive and native species.”  The research study is available online at

Virginia Water News Headlines Sampler for May 10–20, 2014: Natural Gas, Proposed Power Plants, Biofuels, Soil Remediation along James River, 2014 Va. General Assembly Stormwater Bill, Industrial Sludge, Maryland Oysters, National Water Projects Bill, and Antarctica Glacier Melt

Following are headlines and notes for a selection of water-news stories from the period May 10—20, 2014, that occurred in Virginia, occurred in nearby areas, or are otherwise relevant to Virginia.  The headlines are grouped by topics and—within those groups—from newest to oldest. Explanatory notes have been added in brackets after the publication and date. Unless otherwise noted, all places mentioned are in Virginia.  As of 5/21/14, all headlines listed below had working hyperlinks to take you to the full article, but those links may or may not be working at later dates.

Natural gas drilling draft edited; no action taken [in Washington County, Va.], Bristol Herald-Courier, 5/19/14 – As of mid-May 2014, the Washington County Planning Commission was considering the draft of an ordinance to impose local regulations on the areas allowed, environmental protections required, and financial assurances required for natural-gas drilling in the county.  Any ordinance recommended by the planning commission would then go to the county’s board of supervisors.

Dominion Hosts Groundbreaking Event for Brunswick County Power Station, Dominion Virginia Power news release, as published by PR Newswire, 5/16/14 – Construction actually started in September 2013 on Dominion Virginia Power’s $1.27-billion, 1358-megawatt-capacity, natural-gas fired power plant in Brunswick County, Va.  As of mid-May, the plant was about 17-percent complete, with opening expected in 2016. The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) approved Dominion’s application for the plant in August 2013.

Session addresses questions on proposed Smyth County plant, Bristol Herald-Courier, 5/15/14 – On May 15, 2014, Competitive Power Ventures (headquartered in Silver Spring, Md.; online at held a public forum in Atkins, Va. (Smyth County) on the company’s proposal to build a 700-megawatt (MW)-capacity, natural-gas-fired power plant.  The company filed its request for air-emission permits with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality in January 2014 and intends to seek additional needed federal, state, and local permits over the next year.

Sweet Briar plants native grasses to produce biofuels, Lynchburg News & Advance, 5/12/14 – Sweet Briar College, in Amherst, Va., is partnering with FDC Enterprises (headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa; online at to plant 500 acres of native grasses that will eventually be harvested to produce biofuels.  The work is a demonstration project funded by a Conservation Innovation Grant is from the U.S. Natural Resource Conservation Service.

Exxon to do soil remediation, park upgrades at Ancarrow’s Landing, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 5/10/14 – In May 2014, the ExxonMobil company agreed to restore for reuse approximately four acres of Ancarrow’s Landing along the James River, as part of the company’s environmental remediation of soil contaminated by arsenic and lead during operations between the 1920s and 1960s by the former Virginia Carolina Chemical Corporation.

Governor visits VIMS to sign stormwater management bill, William & Mary News, 5/19/14 – On May 15, 2014, Virginia Gov. Terry McCauliffe ceremonially signed companion bills passed by the 2014 Virginia General Assembly (HB 1173/SB 423) that delayed for six months (until January 2015) the deadline for localities to implement a local stormwater-management program, and provided that the Department of Environmental Quality will establish such a program if a locality chooses not to do so (if the locality is not required by the federal Clean Water to have a municipal separate storm sewer system, or MS4).

Counties should follow King and Queen’s lead and urge State Water Control Board to deny industrial sludge permit [editorial], Tidewater Review, 5/14/14 – On May 12, 2014, the King and Queen County Board of Supervisors voted to request that the State Water Control (SWCB) not grant a permit for Synagro, LLC (headquartered in Baltimore, Md.; online at to land-apply residual solid materials from industrial wastewater treatment to about 16,200 acres of farmland in King & Queen, King William, New Kent, Goochland, Hanover, Prince George and Surry counties.  The material would come from area hog-processing, poultry-processing, and paper-processing plants.  The SWCB is to consider Synagro’s permit application on June 27, 2014.

Out of Virginia but in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Maryland’s Oyster Population Continues to Improve, Highest since 1985, Southern Maryland News Net, 5/14/14 – In mid-May 2014, Maryland announced that the state’s fall 2013 oyster survey indicated that the “oyster biomass index” (a combined measure of oyster abundance and size) had doubled since 2010 and was at its highest value since 1985, when this monitoring started.

Water projects authorized by House, Associated Press, as published by Washington Post, 5/20/14 – On May 20, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Water Resources Reform Development Act of 2013 (H.R. 3080), which among other things provisions authorizes over $15 billion for 34 water-related projects nationwide for navigation, flood-risk-management, hurricane-risk-reduction, and environmental restoration.  A restoration project in Virginia’s Lynnhaven River would receive about $23 million under the measure.  The House vote was on a conference report to reconcile the House bills with the Senate’s version, (S.601), which was passed by that body on May 15.  The Senate was to consider the conference version during the week of May 19-23, 2014.  Information on the content and status of Congressional bills is available online at the Library of Congress’ Web site.

NASA-UCI Study Indicates Loss of West Antarctic Glaciers Appears Unstoppable, NASA News Release, 5/12/14 – On May 12, 2014, NASA announced that researchers at that agency and at the University of California-Irvine have published research finding that glaciers in West Antarctica are “irreversibly” melting and that the melting will contribute to rises in sea levels for decades or centuries.

Coral Reefs and Protection of Coastlines Worldwide are Focus of Research Published May 14, 2014

A study conducted by an international team of researchers and published in May 2014 found that coral reefs provide an important protective barrier for the world’s developing coastal communities that are facing increased storm activity and flooding.  According to a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) news release on the study (one of the co-authors is at the USGS’ Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center), the researchers’ key findings were the following: “Coral reefs provide substantial protection against natural hazards by reducing wave energy by an average of 97 percent (studies across all tropical oceans); [t]he reef crest, or shallowest part of the reef where the waves break first, dissipates 86 percent of wave energy on its own; [and the] median cost for building artificial breakwaters is…$19,791 [U.S. dollars] per meter, compared to $1,290 per meter for coral reef restoration projects” [emphasis in original].  The research article is “The effectiveness of coral reefs for coastal hazard risk reduction and adaptation,” by Filippo Ferrario et al., Nature Communications 5, May 13, 2014; journal Web site:

Source: Coral Reefs are Critical for Risk Reduction & Adaptation, U.S. Geological Survey News Release, 5/13/14.

Preliminary Severe Weather Reports for April 27 and 28, 2014, from NWS/Storm Prediction Center

Below are the National Weather Service/Storm Prediction Center’s maps of preliminary (not yet verified) reports of high winds, hail, and tornadoes in the continental United States on April 27 and  April 28, 2014, including fatal tornadoes in Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Mississippi, and Oklahoma.  (For two news accounts, see Killer Tornadoes Rip Through Arkansas, Oklahoma, National Public Radio, 4/28/14; and Tornadoes cause damage, injuries in Miss., Ala., Associated Press, as published on, 4/28/14).

storm report


Storm report April 28

The 4/27/14 storm-report map and text of reports are available online at; the same for April 28 is available at  From either link, you can also access the Center’s archive of maps and reports going back several years.


West Virginia Chemical Spill on Jan. 9, 2014 – April 16 PBS Update Includes Discussion of New West Virginia Chemical-storage Law

On April 16, 2014, the PBS NewsHour broadcast an update on the January 2014 chemical spill into the Elk River near Charleston, West Virginia.  The segment includes the following:
*review of the basic facts of the spill;

*discussion of a law passed in 2014 by the West Virginia legislature, Senate Bill 373, which creates the “Above-ground Storage Tank Water Resources Protection Act” authorizing various actions related to chemical-storage tanks and protection of water resources (for a news account of the bill, see Tomblin Signs Storage Tank Bill, Charleston Gazette, 4/1/14);

*discussion of a long, detailed article published April 7, 2014, in The New Yorker magazine (Chemical Valley: The coal industry, the politicians, and the big spill) on the historic role of the chemical and coal industries in West Virginia’s economy and politics.

The 10 min./19 sec. PBS video is available at this link:

Water-Energy Connections Examined in Fall 2013 Issue of Headwaters Magazine from Colorado Foundation for Water Education

The Fall 2013 issue of Headwaters, published by the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, examines the connections among energy extraction, power production, and water use.  The focus is on Colorado, of course, but the articles offer information and perspectives useful for understanding water-energy connections in other states, too.  See, for example, “Water Fuels Power” (page 7); the comparison of costs and water use for six sources of energy for electrical power (pages 14-15); and “How Hydraulic Fracturing Works” (pages 20-21).

The publication’s archive is available online at; or contact the Foundation in Denver at (303) 377-4433 or

Preliminary Severe Weather Reports for April 3, 2014, from Storm Prediction Center; and a Look-back at the Massive Tornado Outbreak of April 3-4, 1974

Below is the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center’s map of preliminary (not yet verified) reports of high winds, hail, and tornadoes in the continental United States on April 3, 2014 (as of 8:59 EDT, or 1349Z/Greenwich Mean Time, on 4/4/14).  (No reports came in from Virginia.)  The 4/3/14 storm-report map and text of reports are available online at, and at that site you can also access the Center’s archive of maps and report lists for previous days going back several years.

yesterday Reports Graphic
The severe weather of April 3 this year came on the 40th anniversary of a massive tornado outbreak of April 3-4, 1974.  That event brought 148 tornadoes to 13 states from Missouri to the Carolinas and resulted in 330 deaths, over 5000 injuries, and $600 million in property damage.  A detailed account of the April 1974 tornado outbreak is available from the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) , online at

Drought in the Great Plains is Focus of Apr. 1-4, 2014, Symposium in Lincoln, Neb.

Maybe it’s not dry right now (early March 2014) where you are (say, Virginia), or maybe it is (say, California, in a big, serious way).   But in the Great Plains of the United States, drought and its effects on water resources are a constant reality or at least threat, and this has had a powerful influence on the region’s history, culture, economics, environment, and law.  Those impacts of drought are the focus of “Drought in the Life, Cultures, and Landscapes of the Great Plains,” Apr. 1-4, 2014, in Lincoln, Nebraska.  This is the 40th annual symposium of the Center for Great Plains Studies, located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  For more information, visit; phone (402) 772-3082; or e-mail:

39 Niobrara river cliff at Fort Niobrara NWR Jul13 2011

A Great Plains water resource: the Niobrara River in Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge, near Valentine, Nebraska, July 13, 2011.