The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recommended approval of a plan for diverting groundwater from three counties in eastern Nevada, via hundreds of miles of underground pipelines, to Sin City. Six alternatives are looked at for the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s (SNWA) plan to siphon water from several rural valleys and to transport it 300 miles south to the shining city in the desert. The BLM recommends an 84-inch main pipeline to transport up to 114,000 acre-feet per year from four of those basins—Spring, Delamar, Dry Lake and Cave valleys. The route of the proposed pipeline, which is estimated to take 12 years to complete and cost $3.5 to $12 billion, also crosses the ranges of antelope, elk, mule deer and desert bighorn sheep and would alter the habitats of special status species including the desert tortoise, sage-grouse, pygmy rabbit, western burrowing owl, bald eagle, golden eagle, ferruginous hawk, bats, dark kangaroo mouse, Gila monster and Mojave Poppy Bee.
The Free Press
State agriculture officials will head to Washington, D.C., late this week to meet with Maine’s Congressional delegation and other officials about the demise of the 2008 Farm Bill, which expired September 30, and its disastrous impact on Maine’s dairy farmers. The high cost of feed and fuel, coupled with the Midwest drought and a federal milk pricing system based on a speculative market system, have caused production costs to skyrocket for Maine dairy producers, according to Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (ACF) officials.
The Daily Republic
Changes in weather conditions are happening faster than plants can adapt. While farmers nationwide planted the most corn this year since 1937, growers in Kansas sowed the fewest acres in three years, and have turned to less thirsty crops such as wheat, sorghum and triticale. Meanwhile, corn acreage in Manitoba, a Canadian province about 700 miles north of Kansas, has nearly doubled over the past decade due to weather changes and higher prices. Shifts such as these reflect a view among food producers that this summer’s drought in the United States — the worst in half a century — isn’t a random disaster. It’s a glimpse of a future altered by climate change that will affect worldwide production.
The Washington Post
In the worst wildfire season on record, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service ran out of money to pay for firefighters, fire trucks and aircraft that dump retardant on monstrous flames. So officials did about the only thing they could: take money from other forest management programs. The traditional method of averaging the cost of wildfires over the past 10 years to appropriate funds for fighting wildfires is inadequate at a time when climate change is causing longer periods of dryness and drought, resulting in longer wildfire seasons.