Headlines This Week

The following are summaries of prominent wetland issues that received recent media coverage in 2009.

Click on the title of the summary to link to an article or related page directly.

Although multiple articles exist may for each topic, the chosen article was selected for conciseness and credibility. If you are looking for a specific clip, or if you would like to add an article to this week's page or archives, please E-mail the webmaster

News Catagories:

  • Wetland Events
    Upcoming festivities and events that remind us to appreciate these natural communities. If you are looking for a specific activity, please visit our calendar.
  • Mitigation Projects
    Wetland mitigation banks are collections of created or restored wetlands that developers can purchase to offset the loss of other wetlands that they develop. To help get permits to build in wetlands, developers buy land, or ‘credits,’ in the banks. That land is then set aside and can never be developed.
  • Constructed Wetlands
    Constructed wetlands are designed specially to treat both point and non-point sources of water pollution.
  • Legislation
    These new laws and still-in-debate laws that will impact wetland development and preservation.
  • Special Topics
    Other eclectic wetland topics including hurricanes, wildlife, stormwater runoff, invasive species and disasters, to name a few.

*Please note:* Due to copyright restrictions we cannot post whole articles on our site. We may only provide summaries and links to the actual stories at their online media sites. Some media sites, for example The New York Times Online, will require readers to log-in or pay a fee for full-length articles more than a few days old.


Wetland Events

Visit our calendar for a listing of local conferences, workshops and festivals.

2009 Events Coming Soon!


Wetland Restoration Projects News

Florida | Everglades | National | Global


Lake Okeechobee: EPA Sued to Limit Phosphorus in Florida's Largest Lake
By Environment News Service
Environmental groups filed a lawsuit today in U.S. District Court to compel the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set more protective pollution standards for Florida's Lake Okeechobee and its tributaries.--March 9, 2009

Indian River Lagoon: Indian River Lagoon Project One Step Closer
By the Palm Beach Post
Post reporter Larry Lipman wrote, "The long-awaited $1.2 billion Indian River Lagoon project, a key component of the Everglades restoration plan, moved another step closer to reality Friday when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave its approval. The project report, signed Friday by Lt. Gen. Carl A. Strock, now goes to John Paul Woodley Jr., the assistant secretary of the Army, for his review and approval before being submitted to Congress. Lawmakers have indicated they want to include the project in this year's Water Resources Development Act, which key members have said they want to pass before Congress adjourns in October. -- August 7, 2004

Fernandina Beach: Plan is to change Egans Creek to saltwater marsh
By the Florida Times-Union
Times-Union reporter Alison Trinidad wrote, "Workers have put in three pipes with self-regulating tide gates beneath Atlantic Avenue to allow salt water to enter the Egans Creek Greenway. The tidal flow should bring in seeds to convert the area into a salt marsh habitat. The $2.8 million mitigation project, which began construction in June 2003, is designed to revert the freshwater greenway between Atlantic Avenue and Jasmine Street into a saltwater marsh. The Department of Transportation initiated the project to create wetlands to offset wetlands it destroyed for two road projects in Jacksonville. --July 24, 2004

Citrus County: Budget may boost water cleanup projects
By the St. Petersburg Times
SP Times writers Amy Wimmer Schwarb and Barbara Behrendt wrote ”The state's proposed $58-billion budget includes $620,000 for water cleanup projects in Citrus County. But the biggest legislative boon for Citrus and other counties might be yet to come. Included in the budget under review by state lawmakers is $500,000 for the county to buy property near the headwaters of the Homosassa River, and $120,000 for a Southwe st Florida Water Management District plan to clean lyngbya algae from Kings Bay. “ – April 29, 2004


Everglades: EAA/U.S. Sugar Land Purchase
By the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation
On April 1, 2009 Governor Crist announced a change to the U.S, Sugar deal necessitated by the current state of the economy and declining ad valorum tax revenue. In the previous deal, the district would have paid $1.34 billion for 180,000 acres. The new deal calls for the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to buy 72,500 acres for $533 million with an option to purchase an additional 107, 500 within 10 years. --April 1, 2009

Everglades: Water project gets rush money
By the Palm Beach Post
Post reporter J. Christopher Hain wrote, "The $8.4 billion Everglades restoration got a big financial boost Thursday when Gov. Jeb Bush and water managers unveiled plans to borrow $1.5 billion, repay it with local property taxes and build eight projects sooner than planned. Bush's announcement at the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge met cautious enthusiasm from some environmentalists but immediately became political fodder for his brother's presidential campaign opponent, John Kerry." -- Oct 15, 2004

Florida: Everglades Mercury in sharp decline, UF researchers say
By UF News and Public Affairs
The article begins, “By analyzing nearly a century of data, University of Florida researchers have been able to prove definitively that mercury levels in the Everglades have dropped dramatically during the last decade after reaching dangerously high levels in the early 1990s. The researchers say the study confirms what earlier findings had suggested: that controls on emissions from waste incinerators, combined with a reduction in the use of mercury in household items, are helping eliminate the toxin from the massive wetland. They say their findings may also shed light on the ongoing debate over expanding emissions controls to other industries…” – July 15, 2004

Everglades: U.S. Sugar agrees to vacate land key to Everglades project
By The Sun-Sentinel
Neil Santaniello wrote, “ U.S. Sugar pledged Thursday to quickly vacate 18,500 acres of sugar-growing land needed to store water for the Everglades, while a second sugar behemoth said it still would resist government notices to move off the site. Gov. Jeb Bush praised U.S. Sugar, saying he remained "hopeful other sugar companies will follow suit." The message was aimed at Florida Crystals, which has chosen so far not to heed notices to prepare to abandon another 24,000 acres of the Everglades Agricultural Area south of South Bay needed for the same water-banking project. --May 1, 2004

Everglades: Wetlands mitigation rules change
By Naples Daily News
Naples reporter Eric Staats wrote that the mitigation rules for developers are changing: "The state Department of Environmental Protection approved the new rule in August, but delayed its effective date for six months. Friday was the last day developers had to apply for state permits under the old rule. The state Legislature passed a bill in 2000 that directed the DEP to write the new rule, called a Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method, or UMAM. ...Among the rule's effects in South Florida is a new twist on the way the Water Management District will calculate mitigation requirements for affecting wetlands infested with melaleuca.... The old rule calculated mitigation requirements on an acre-to-acre basis. The new method focuses on making sure mitigation plans replace wetland functions...." - Jan. 31, 2004

Everglades: Everglades mineral assets
By Naples Daily News
Naples columnist Joel Eskovitz wrote, "The Collier family is now taking another look at drilling underneath more than 765,000 acres of the Everglades, just 18 months removed from a proposed deal with the federal government to give up oil and gas leases under that land. The initial agreement, reached in May 2002, was contingent on the Interior Department paying out $120 million to the family; the first $40 million installment was included in President Bush's budget proposal last February. But an Interior Department investigation into how that price was reached made legislators leery of funding the project, and it was not included in the final spending plan Congress passed and the president signed into law last week." - Jan. 31, 2004

Everglades: Breakthrough treatment technology approved
From the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers newsletter
The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works “has approved a large-scale test of a new technology that holds great promise for removing phosphorus from waters entering the Everglades ecosystem. The technology, known as periphyton-based stormwater treatment areas (PSTA), is modeled after an ecological process that has occurred in the Everglades for thousands of years. PSTA uses periphyton, a mat-like complex of microscopic plants and algae that occurs naturally in the Everglades … The small-scale demonstration showed that this PSTA technology can reduce phosphorous levels from 80 parts per billion to less than 10 ppb, the standard established by the Everglades Forever Act.” – Jan 2004


Nationwide: A Cleaner Clean Water Act
By The New York Times
The Obama Administration has rightly declared its support for Congressional efforts to restore the broad reach of the Clean Water Act. The law, passed in 1972, was intended to protect all of the waters of the United States, large and small. That mission has since been muddied by two Supreme Court decisions that narrowed the law's scope, weakened its safeguards against pollution and confused federal regulators.--June 1, 2009

Chesapeake Bay: Blue ribbon panel pushes for permanent Chesapeake Bay Financing Authority
By the Associated Press
AP Writer Gretchen Parker reports, "A panel appointed by Chesapeake Bay watershed governors is calling on state and federal officials to create a $15 billion bay financing authority - a permanent, revolving fund to pay for restoring the estuary. The fund would require an investment over the next six years of $12 billion in federal money and a total of $3 billion from Washington D.C. , and the watershed states - Maryland , Virginia , Delaware , West Virginia , Pennsylvania and New York." -- Oct 27, 2004

Minnesota: Partnership between Minnesota and USDA will restore Wetlands - $4 million will help envioronmentally sensitive land on more than 7,000 acres
By the US Department of Agriculture
Minnesota's application to become the second state in the nation to participate in the USDA's Wetlands Reserve Enhancement
Program (WREP) has been approved officials announced today Through Minnesota's WREP plan, the state will provide $1.2 million and USDA will provide $2.8 million. The state portion of funding will come from funds previously appropriated by the legislature to BWSR for the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Reserve program, which focuses on habitat restoration and protection, water quality enhancement, and water retention and storage. The application submitted by the state also indicated that Minnesota will develop a long-range wetlands restoration strategic plan in coordination with USDA. The targeted restoration funds will focus on approximately 7,250 acres
throughout Minnesota . -- Oct 25, 2004

Minnesota: Glacial Ridge Becomes Nation’s Newest Wildlife Refuge
By the Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy wrote, "The nation’s largest tallgrass prairie and wetland reconstruction project will form the heart of the country’s newest wildlife refuge - the 35,000-acre Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge, the partners in the project announced today.  The new refuge, located in northwestern Minnesota, will link 12 existing conservation areas, protect important habitat for migratory waterfowl and ground nesting birds and provide opportunities for public recreation. The property is open to the public for a wide variety of recreational activities, including hiking, hunting, fishing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing." -- Oct 12, 2004

San Francisco: $3.2 million pledged to restore marsh
By the San Francisco Chronicle
Reporter Erin Hallissy writes, "Nearly 25,000 acres of Suisun Marsh, which is home to endangered birds, mammals and fish and is part of the Pacific Flyway migratory route, will be restored with a $1 million federal grant and $2.2 million in matching funds, officials said Wednesday.The money will be used on lands owned by 27 agencies or groups, including Ducks Unlimited, California Waterfowl, the state Department of Fish and Game and the Coastal Conservancy, to improve the ecology of the marsh.The marsh, which is California's largest wetland, encompasses 100,000 acres along southern Solano County." -- Sept 9, 2004

California: San Dieguito wetlands work to start in spring
By the San Diego Union Tribune
Tribune reporter James Steinberg wrote, "Like the final piece of a sprawling ecological jigsaw puzzle, the addition of the $4.25 million Boudreau parcel to the San Dieguito River Park clears the way for restoration of the San Dieguito Lagoon wetlands. The project is scheduled to begin in the spring and continue until 2008. It will cost $65 million to $85 million, cover about 440 acres on both sides of Interstate 5 and involve dredging and excavating about 2 million cubic yards of soil." --July 25, 2004

California: Massive wetlands restoration project begins on San Francisco Bay
By the Associated Press
AP reporter Terence Chea wrote, "One of the nation's most ambitious environmental projects is underway following the release of thousands of gallons of brackish water from salt ponds wildlife officials will convert to tidal marsh along the southern fringe of San Francisco Bay.The project, which could take more than 30 years, aims to restore habitat for endangered species and migratory birds, improve flood control and create recreational areas in 15,100 acres of former industrial salt ponds. The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project is the biggest effort to restore
wetlands since the Florida Everglades and the largest ever undertaken on the
West Coast. It's part of an even more ambitious goal: the restoration of 100,000
acres of bay wetlands that were diked and filled to accommodate a growing
population in the decades after the Gold Rush." -- July 20, 2004

Nebraska: USDA announces first Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program partnership
The US Derpartment of Agriculture has committed $26 million toward restoration along Nebraska’s Lower Missouri River from now until 2007. The project is set to purchase 18,800 acres along a 200-mile corridor. Through the construction of wetlands, the project will create a continuous wildlife corridor; provide habitat for numerous species of birds, reptiles, amphibians and plants; allow for a buffer strip zone between the river and cropland to improve water quality; restore additional habitat for the endangered pallid sturgeon; and increase the natural flood storage capacity of the river system. – June 29, 2004

Midwest: North American Wetlands Conservation Act Funds 13 Wetland Conservation Projects in the Midwest
The North American Wetlands Conservation Council in March approved nearly $500,000 in funding for small grants to fund 13 wetland restoration projects in the Midwest, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced. . .Eleven of the projects are in the Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes Region Joint Venture and two are in the Minnesota portion of Prairie Pothole Joint Venture. All projects will help achieve the goals identified in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and the Joint Venture Implementation Plans. The council awarded 43 small grants nationwide for 2004, totaling just under $2 million. For detailed descriptions of each project, click the article title above. – April 6, 2004

Hawai'i: U.S. EPA, NRCS Announce Strategy To Protect Hawai'i's Coral Reefs
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service have facilitated the development of a strategy with state and local partners that will reduce pollution impacts to coral reefs and improve coastal water quality in Hawai'i. The Hawai'i Local Action Strategy will: reduce pollution to improve coastal water quality and coral reef ecosystem health; improve coordination between federal and state agencies, land managers and marine scientists; improve knowledge of how land management affects coral reef health and; increase awareness statewide of pollution prevention and control measures. –April 5, 2004


India: As Mumbai Spills Over, Floodwater Creeps Closer
By The New York Times
As this city prepared recently to inaugurate a shiny new bridge that officials promise will ease Mumbai's chronic traffic jams, Dilip da Cunha was peering at the underbelly of the city's waterways and drainage systems --July, 13, 2009

China: Wetlands Key to National Development
By China Daily
China Daily published, “China's forestry authority plans to protect more than 70 percent of the country's wetlands by 2020 as part of a national ecosystem rehabilitation effort and to sustain the economy. "In the next 16 years, the State Forestry Administration (SFA) will carry out a national programme aimed at intensifying wetlands' protection and further contribute to the sustainable development of China's economy, as well as social progress," a senior official said yesterday in Beijing.” – June 29, 2004

China: WWF to help Hubei set up wetland preservation network
By Xinhua News Agency.
Xinhua News wrote, "The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) will cooperate with the forestry bureau of central China's Hubei Province in establishing a wetland preservation network, said the source with the provincial government. According to the agreement, WWF will finance Hubei's wetland protection programs including the establishment of the provincial wetland database, the maintenance and construction of wetland preserves, training of related personnel and the publicity work. WWF would also restore the varieties of wildlife species of thewetland and help harness and control the Yangtze River, said Wang."-- April 12, 2004

Wetland Mitigation Project News

Florida | National | Global


Louisiana: Wetlands mitigation bank proposed; ChevronTexaco would sell credits on 7,200 acres to evelopers
By the Times-Picayune
Times-Picayune reporter Mary Swerczek wrote, “ChevronTexaco is proposing turning 7,200 acres of mostly cattle-grazing land in Paradis into cypress swamp and hardwood wetlands to sell to people who want to develop wetlands elsewhere. If approved, the project would be the largest wetlands mitigation bank in Louisiana and one of the few near the state's coast, where such banks are most needed, state officials say. – July 3, 2004

Constructed Wetlands News

Florida | National | Global


New Zealand: Storm water treatment performs well
By the Waikato Times
New Zealand has completed its’ first constructed wetlands designed to treat storm water. These wetlands were designed to remove pollutants from storm water while enhancing the natural values of the Kirikiriroa Stream gully. Water quality tests say the wetlands are performing well. – July 1, 2004


Legislation and Regulation News

Florida | National | Global


Crawfordville: Circuit Judge finds flaw in Wakulla wetlands ordinance in ruling against county
By Tallahassee.com
Circuit Court judge N. Sanders Saul ruled a temporary injunction against Wakulla County and teh county's code enforcement board Wednesday in reference to applying a 2006 wetlands ordinance against the Crum and Tucker families.--July 8, 2009

Statewide: Activists want Clean Water Act enforced by feds, not Florida

By the Associated Press
AP writer David Royse reports, "Environmental groups said Tuesday they have filed a lawsuit to try to force the federal Environmental Protection Agency to control water pollution in Florida instead of leaving the job up to state regulators. Enforcement of the federal Clean Water Act has been delegated to Florida's Department of Environmental Protection for about a decade, and conservation groups allege DEP has done a poor job." -- Oct 5, 2004

Crystal River: Council opposes wetland request
By the St. Petersburg Times
Times reporter Raghuram Vadarevu writes, " The City Council has chimed in one of the city's most controversial issues: a South Carolina developer's request to fill wetlands on property in the newly annexed section of Crystal River . … The RealtiCorp project, known as The Preserve at Crystal River , straddles Penn Drive and abuts W Venable Street , just south of the Crystal River Airport , and is part of the 500-plus acres that the city annexed in April. The project would accommodate an anchor retail store, smaller shops and a complex of single-family homes." -- Oct 4, 2004                        

Tampa: M/I Homes Fined $200,000 For Wetlands Fill
By the Tampa Tribune
Tribune reporter Julia Ferrante writes, " A developer who filled wetlands in central Pasco without a federal permit will be among the first large contributors to the county's new Environmental Lands Acquisition Program. M/I Homes of Tampa, which is building the Ballantrae subdivision north ofState Road 54 and east of the Suncoast Parkway, was fined $200,000 for failing to secure a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit, according to a written statement. It will be used to buy and manage environmentally sensitive land in place of the wetlands destroyed." -- Sept 6, 2004

Tallahassee: State Orders Study Of Wetlands, Springs
By the Tampa Tribune
Gov. Bush and the Florida Cabinet rejected a controversial land use change in Wakulla County, saying the change is compliant with the county’s comprehensive plan. “In sending the plan amendment back to Wakulla, the Cabinet
instructed the county commission to investigate groundwater connections between
wetlands on the site and the Spring Creek spring system - the highest-volume
spring system in the state,” wrote the Tribune’s Mike Salinero. The Cabinet wants to see storm water controls and documentation of geology and underground water movement before the property is turned into an urban subdivision. – June 25, 2004

Gainesville: City wetland rules changed by commission
By The Gainesville Sun
Sun Staff Writers Cindy Swirko and Jeff Adelson wrote, “Changes to Gainesville's regulations on land development in wetlands were approved by the City Commission Monday night despite some opposition from residents. The modifications are needed to implement changes to the city's comprehensive plan. The previous plan had a "no net loss" policy regarding wetlands. The plan now allows mitigation, or preservation of wetlands, on a site miles away.” – April 13, 2004

Everglades: Supreme Court Dodges Major Ruling In Everglades Pollution Case
By the Associated Press
AP Writer Gina Holland wrote, "The Supreme Court, sidestepping a major decision on the government's power to regulate clean water, told a Florida court Tuesday to reconsider a pollution dispute involving the Everglades. The ruling extends a six-year fight between the 500-member Miccosukee Indian tribe and a water district the Indians accuse of illegally dumping pollutants into Florida's Everglades. . . The district was sued in 1998 by the Miccosukees and Friends of the Everglades under the federal Clean Water Act. At issue was whether the district should be required to get permits for water pump facilities." --March 24, 2004

Everglades: Wetlands mitigation rules change
By Naples Daily News
Naples reporter Eric Staats wrote that the mitigation rules for developers are changing: "The state Department of Environmental Protection approved the new rule in August, but delayed its effective date for six months. Friday was the last day developers had to apply for state permits under the old rule. The state Legislature passed a bill in 2000 that directed the DEP to write the new rule, called a Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method, or UMAM. ...Among the rule's effects in South Florida is a new twist on the way the Water Management District will calculate mitigation requirements for affecting wetlands infested with melaleuca.... The old rule calculated mitigation requirements on an acre-to-acre basis. The new method focuses on making sure mitigation plans replace wetland functions...." - Jan. 31, 2004

Everglades: Everglades mineral assets
By Naples Daily News
Naples columnist Joel Eskovitz wrote, "The Collier family is now taking another look at drilling underneath more than 765,000 acres of the Everglades, just 18 months removed from a proposed deal with the federal government to give up oil and gas leases under that land. The initial agreement, reached in May 2002, was contingent on the Interior Department paying out $120 million to the family; the first $40 million installment was included in President Bush's budget proposal last February. But an Interior Department investigation into how that price was reached made legislators leery of funding the project, and it was not included in the final spending plan Congress passed and the president signed into law last week." - Jan. 31, 2004


Nationwide: On the issues -- environment
By the Daily Texan
The Editorial Staff of the Daily Texan wrote, "In May 2004, a Yale survey found that 10 percent of voters consider environmental policy the most important issue of the election. But because environmental effects often take years or even decades to observe, it is more difficult to engage voters on the results of most policies… Although environmental issues rarely shape the final outcome of an election, the handful of invaluable undecided voters in swing states may look to environmental impact as an issue that gives them a clear line to draw between the candidates." -- Oct 5, 2004

Massachusetts: Environmentalists decry state plan to relax wetlands regulations
By the Associated Press
Massachusetts: The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is proposing amending rules for dealing with wetland fill violations. According to the Associated Press, “the department said the changes will allow staff to stop spending time on minor violations and instead concentrate efforts on landowners who are illegally filling in larger areas of wetlands.” While the amendment will allow investigators more time to find and document violations, the proposed rules would ignore smaller fill projects, potentially making it easier for homeowners to construct housing additions and swimming pools in floodplains. The proposal was open for public comment. – June 25, 2004

Virginia: Seeking $32,500 fine, EPA says Suffolk wetlands destroyed
By the Virginian-Pilot
Virginian Pilot reporter Scott Harper wrote, “The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking $32,500 in fines from three local companies for allegedly destroying about eight acres of nontidal wetlands near the Suffolk-Chesapeake border. The companies deny the charge, saying the property in question is not a wetland and should not be regulated as such… The case illustrates a common rub between property owners and regulators in wetlands-rich Hampton Roads - determining what exactly is a wetland and what is not. The difference, while often hard to see, can mean huge savings for developers in time, energy and money. If a parcel is deemed to be a wetland, its development is subject to local, state and federal rules; if not, the parcel can be built upon much quicker and without government oversight.” -- May 6, 2004

National: Bush touts wetlands preservation
By the Associated Press
AP wrote, "On the fringe of the Everglades, President Bush pledged to expand the nation's wetlands Friday before making a fund-raising run across Florida that reeled in $4.4 million for Republicans. . .Though Bush spent most of the day banking campaign money, his official business was to reinforce a promise he made Thursday in Maine to increase and safeguard the country's wetlands. Bush directed six federal agencies to restore and create at least 1 million acres of wetlands, improve 1 million acres and protect 1 million acres over the next five years. 'For years, our nation has sought to slow the loss of wetlands,' Bush said, with his back to a slow-moving river here at the Rookery Bay Estuarine Research Reserve in southwest Florida on the western fringe of the Everglades. 'I believe we must change that goal to one that says we'll have an overall increase in wetlands every year. Instead of just reducing loss, the goal of this country must be to increase wetlands.' " -- April 24, 2004

National: Bush plans wetlands expansion over 5 years
By USA Today
Writers Traci Watson and Tom Kenworthy wrote, "President Bush announced a five-year plan Thursday that aims to create 1 million acres of wetlands and restore another million acres damaged by development and farming. Bush, speaking on Earth Day, said his plan would more than make up for the thousands of acres of wetlands that are destroyed each year due to agriculture and construction. "Instead of just limiting our losses, we will expand the wetlands of America," Bush said from a nature reserve in Maine. Some environmentalists lauded the wetlands plan as a step in the right direction. But scientists and others said that creating wetlands, as Bush wants to do, is extremely difficult because wetlands are such complex ecosystems." -- April 23, 2004

For more info, read Bush's explanation of his 5-year wetland expansion plan: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040422-4.html

Michigan: Governor Granholm Signs Directive to Better Protect Wetlands on Public Land
In a parallel article the Associated Press wrote, "Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Wednesday signed an executive directive telling the Department of Environmental Quality to institute a process for preserving wetlands on public land. . .Granholm said the executive directive will require Michigan to protect smaller wetlands on public lands not now being protected. About 5 percent of Michigan's 5.6 million acres of wetlands, or 270,000 acres, are now unregulated unless the DEQ or a local government protects them." April 21, 2004

Minnesota: ATVs May Be Allowed In State Wetlands
By the Associated Press
AP wrote, "A bill to grant broader wetlands access to all-terrain vehicles is headed for the Minnesota House floor. The House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday advanced a bill that would allow driving on all wetlands on private property and those classified as peat bogs on public lands. The measure would allow driving on other public wetlands when they are frozen . . . " -- April 15, 2004

Northwest: Clean Water Act Now Protects Some Canals and Ditches Too
By The Los Angeles Times
Staff writer Elizabeth Shogren wrote "The Army Corps of Engineers' regional office covering Oregon and Washington state has agreed to extend Clean Water Act protections to irrigation canals and drainage ditches that are connected to navigable or interstate waterways. As part of a settlement resolving a legal challenge by an environmental group, the wetlands and streams that flow into these artificial channels also will be granted protection from being polluted or filled by developers . . . The settlement follows the Supreme Court's rejection Monday of developers' appeals contesting decisions by corps districts to assert Clean Water Act jurisdiction over ditches leading to larger waterways . . . " -- April 9, 2004

Special topics

India: Migratory Birds Change Course
By the Global News Wire
Wire reporter Marcus Dam wrote, "The conversion of wetlands into human settlements in the urban areas over the years has forced migratory birds arriving in the West Bengal region, as elsewhere, to change course. Instead, they choose water bodies less threatened by the development process, mainly those in the districts of the State, for their seasonal sojourn." -- Oct 28, 2004

Nationwide: Several Bird Species Threatened
By the Palm Beach Post
Post reporter Willie Howard writes "Nearly 30 percent of the nation's birds are in significant decline, according to the National Audubon Society's State of the Birds report, released last week. The report, which appears in the October issue of Audubon magazine, will be produced annually to raise awareness about threats to birds and the environment. It cites loss of native grasslands, overgrazing, loss of wetlands, pollution, invasions of non-native plant species and poor land management as reasons for the declines... To see a summary of Audubon's bird report online, go to www.audubon.org/bird/stateofthebirds." -- Oct 24, 2004

Statewide: Florida leads nation in mercury-contaminated water, study finds
By the Palm Beach Post
Post writer John Murawski writes,"Florida tops the nation in mercury-contaminated water that can cause
seizures, palsy and retardation in fetuses and children, according to a new study. The federal government warned last week that fish in virtually all of the nation's lakes and rivers are contaminated with mercury, a highly toxic chemical. Because of the state's size, Florida has more coastline under mercury advisory - more than 5,000 miles - than any other state, according to the Florida Public Interest Research Group, a private advocacy organization. And Florida ranks second in the nation for lake acreage with mercury pollution, the group said in a report issued Thursday." -- Oct 15, 2004

Hurricane Season:
Preventing floods: More Water, More Worry for Florida (subscription required)
By the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Constitution reporter Charles Seabrook writes, "In early August, water levels in the lakes and rivers of Central and South Florida, including the Everglades, were below normal because of the summer's low rainfall. Then came Hurricane Charley on Aug. 13. Officials with the South Florida Water Management District said that if that storm had a silver lining, it was in leaving the lakes and streams brimming with water." "

Hurricane Season:
Environmental contamination : Acidic spill tops 41-million gallons

By the St. Petersburg Times
Reporter Janet Zink wrote, "At least 41-million gallons of contaminated water have spilled from a Riverview phosphate plant into a creek that leads to Hillsborough Bay. Another 20-million could end up in the creek by today, officials said. Cargill Crop Nutrition, a fertilizer manufacturer, mixed the highly acidic wastewater with a neutralizing agent, hoping to minimize its environmental impact. Company and government officials also counted on heavy rainfall brought by Frances to help dilute the polluted water. But initial test results show the creek water was much more acidic than normal. The spill poses no threat to humans, company officials said. But it was unclear Monday how badly fish and other wildlife would be harmed." -- Sept 7, 2004

Hurricane Season:
Natural Benefits:
Hurricanes Bring Environmental Renewal
By the South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Associate Press reporter Rachel La Corte writes, " Along with their destructive force, hurricanes can have beneficial effects as part of the rhythm of nature. Storms that erode beaches, uproot trees and flatten wildlife habitats may also refresh waterways, revive dry areas and bulk up barrier islands with redistributed sand." -- Sept 8, 2004

Hurricane Season:
Residents blame county for neighborhood flooding
By Tampa Bay's 10 News
News reporter Ned Roberts writes, "Land O’ Lakes - While some Bay Area rivers are receding, flooding continues to be a problem. In one Pasco County neighborhood, residents say their flooding could have been avoided. Retention ponds are full in the Carpenter’s Run subdivision near Land 0’Lakes, threatening to flood several homes. Residents blame the county for over-developing nearby wetlands, leaving the ponds with nowhere to drain." -- Sept 9, 2004

Hurricane Season:
Wildlife Impacts: Frances disrupts turtles' nesting season (subscription required)

By the South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Sun-Sentinel reporter David Fleshler wrote "Thousands of sea turtle nests were destroyed by Hurricane Frances as the storm tore through their most important beaches in the middle of nesting season. Robbin Trindell, biological administrator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said the hurricane may have destroyed 40 percent to 60 percent of the loggerhead and green sea turtle nests made in 2004, a year that had already seen a sharp decline in turtle nesting. The storm swept away the beach at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, a 20-mile stretch in Brevard County that holds about one-fourth of the sea turtle nests made annually in the United States." -- Sept. 10, 2004

Lousiana: New wetlands museum could be built by 2008
By the Associated Press
"Terrebonne Parish officials hope to build a children's museum by 2008 that
would tell visitors about south Louisiana's wetlands and how they are threatened
by land loss.The South Louisiana Wetlands Children's Discovery Center, slated to be built in Houma, would include hands-on exhibits giving visitors a firsthand feel for what is happening to the vital wetlands." -- August 14, 2004

Florida: Experts: Water costs to rise in Florida
By the Associated Press
"Water costs need to rise in Florida in order to protect natural resources
while supporting the state's growing population, experts said Wednesday at a
state conference on water issues. Raising water rates is the most obvious way to pay for developing water sources, such as purified sea water, as an alternative to overused ground water supplies, experts said. Other funding options include property taxes, a fee on real estate sales, or eliminating the sales tax exemption on bottled water." -- July 21, 2004          

Texas: Invasion of foreign species threatens Galveston Bay watershed; First-ever tally lists 296 exotic plants, animals
By The Houston Chronicle
Florida is not the only state being overrun by non-native species. Houston Chronicle Environment Writer Dina Cappiello wrote, “In the first comprehensive list of invasive species in the region, scientists at the Environmental Institute of Houston and the Houston Advanced Research Center tallied 296 invasive plants and animals that threaten (or eventually will) the natural state of the Lower Galveston Bay watershed - an expanse of land and water that covers five counties, from the dams of Lake Houston and Lake Livingston to Christmas Bay.” Texas has been taking efforts to reduce invasive species populations since 1995, but says current inventories of species lag behind other states, including Florida, Hawaii and the Northeast. –- May 7, 2004

California: Diesel Fouls Marsh Near San Francisco
By the Associated Press
AP Writer Terence Cheaa wrote, "A pipeline that pumps petroleum from refineries in the San Francisco Bay area ruptured, gushing diesel fuel into a marsh that serves as a key nesting ground for migratory birds and prompting an emergency cleanup effort Thursday. The exact amount spilled into Suisun Marsh, about 25 miles northeast of San Francisco, won't be known until the pipe is fixed and refilled, officials said. A worst-case scenario put the damage at 1 million gallons, said Mark Merchant, a spokesman for the Environmental Protection Agency (news - web sites). However, the spill may involve only a few hundred gallons, said Dana Michaels, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Fish and Game, and was limited to a diked area of roughly 600 acres, so that the fuel can't escape to the rest of the marsh." --April 29, 2004

Wisconsin/Florida: Cranes close to completing Florida-Wisconsin migration
By the Associated Press
The AP wrote, "Nearly all of the three dozen whooping cranes reintroduced into Wisconsin over the past three years have completed their spring migration north from Florida, a state wildlife official said Tuesday. . . Each year since 2001, the group has trained a new flock of juvenile whooping cranes to follow ultralight aircraft from the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge so the birds learn the 1,200-mile migration route between Wisconsin and a wintering range in west-central Florida. . . The only other migrating flock of whooping cranes has about 175 birds.They fly from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast each winter." For more on the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, visit: http://bringbackthecranes.org -- April 27, 2004