Jan 4, 2013

Corps: Low water level won't disrupt traffic on Miss. River - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

St. Louis, Mo. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers claims it's winning the battle against the low Mississippi River.

The Corps says there will be no river shutdown, despite river stages running about four feet less than usual.

It appears the removal of about 890 cubic yards of limestone from the critically low waters 130 miles south of St. Louis is proving to be a success. It will make the channel two feet deeper within two to three weeks.

"During the time that the Army Corps contractors are removing rock, which is roughly 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., we gather up all the vessels that are waiting north and south" says Capt. Steve Teschendorf of the U.S. Coast Guard. "They actually do a quick survey of the area where rocks were removed and we open it up."

The effort should keep river traffic moving until river levels go up in the spring. River levels usually go up in the spring because of rain and melting snow.

Restoration Agriculture by Mark Shepard - New Permaculture Book

Restoration Agriculture

Real-World Permaculture
for Farmers

Order online
or call 1-800-355-5313.

Free U.S. shipping
if ordered by January 31st.
Mention coupon code acorn13.

Around the globe most people get their calories from “annual” agriculture — plants that grow fast for one season, produce lots of seeds, then die. Every single human society that has relied on annual crops for staple foods has collapsed. Restoration Agricultureexplains how we can have all of the benefits of natural, perennial ecosystems and create agricultural systems that imitate nature in form and function while still providing for our food, building, fuel and many other needs — in your own backyard, farm or ranch. This book, based on real-world practices, presents an alternative to the agriculture system of eradication and offers exciting hope for our future.

Softcover, 344 pages. Includes full-color photo section.

Item #7170 — $30.00

“A fascinating vision for recasting our relationship to nature and the land.” — Anna LappĂ©, activist & author

“This book . . . will be invaluable and is destined to be a permaculture classic.” — Geoff Lawton, managing director, Permaculture Research Institute of Australia

“Restoration Agriculture describes the reasons why permanent agriculture is needed, the ecological systems behind farm-scale permaculture, and the step-by-step of how to get there.” — Faye Jones, executive director, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Eduction Service (MOSES)

an interview with the author, Mark Shepard

the book

Related Links:

Permaculturist Mark Shepard in Yellow Springs ...
Apr 22, 2011 - 8 min - Uploaded by meganbachman
Permaculturist Mark Shepard in Yellow Springs, Ohio

106 Acre Profitable Permaculture Farm - Interview ...
Apr 13, 2011 - 47 min
In this interview we discuss Mark Shepard's 106 acre profitable permaculture farm - New Forest Farm

2 1/2 Hour Presentation Below! EXCELLENT!!!   Monte Hines
Mark Shepard on Restoration Agriculture
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kb_t-sVVzF0
Mark Shepard of Viola, Wisconsin speaks to organic farmers about his permaculture farm, his experiences and techniques in modeling

Mark Shepard inspects a chestnut in his nut orchard, New Forest Farm, in Viola, Wis. The fresh “culinary chestnut” that you roast in the oven could be the same seed stock you plant in the yard.
T.C. Worley / New York Times News Service

Related Links:
Chestnuts worth singing about
Permaculture: Leadership for Sustainable Futures
P. A. Yeomans
Darren Doherty Talks on Regenerative Farming and R...
Great Lakes Ecosystems: Proceedings of the Midwest...
A Land Ethic

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Fracking is transforming our energy economy–but it’s also causing earthquakes — MSNBC

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
Sal Gentile 12/08/2012

(Graphic courtesy of Up w/ Chris Hayes) In just the past few years a revolution in carbon extraction technology has radically transformed our energy economy. Previously untapped natural gas reserves, trapped by giant rock formations thousands of feet below the Earth’s surface, are now accessible to us thanks to something called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” The natural gas boom that we are now experiencing has cut natural gas prices in half since 2008, and has hastened the demise of the coal industry, which now only provides a third of our energy supply. The political establishment has been almost universal in its praise of this development, calling natural gas a healthier alternative to oil and coal and “an ideal energy source that we potentially can use for the next hundred years,” as President Obama put it in July. Indeed, energy independence–and the economic opportunities that come with it–may be an admirable goal. But then there’s this: fracking is causing earthquakes. Federal scientists presented a new study this week to the American Geophysical Union that suggests natural gas drilling is the likely culprit behind a skyrocketing number of earthquakes in the Raton Basin in Colorado and New Mexico. From 1970 to 2001, there were just five earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater in that region. Then, companies began injecting what’s called “wastewater fluid” from natural gas drilling into the Earth. After that, from 2001 to 2011, there were a total of 95 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater–an increase of 1,900%. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey concluded in their report that “the majority, if not all of the earthquakes since August 2001 have been triggered by the deep injection of wastewater related to the production of natural gas from the coal-bed methane field.” The spike in seismic activity isn’t the only anecdotal evidence of the harm caused by fracking, either. Much of the science remains contested and preliminary, and activists on both sides have produced studies to buttress their claims. But anti-fracking activists have called for the practice to be restrained until the extent of its health effects can be fully known. For example, researchers at Cornell University published a report in January demonstrating an anecdotal link between fracking and illness in food animals. The authors compiled 24 case studies of farmers in six shale-gas states whose livestock experienced health problems after being exposed to fracking chemicals. As they wrote in their report, “The most dramatic case was the death of 17 cows within one hour from direct exposure to hydraulic fracturing fluid.” Even those experts who acknowledge these potentially noxious effects argue that the alternative to fracking–an increased reliance on especially dirty sources of energy, like coal–is far worse. ”We know that emissions from burning coal cause tremendous damage to health,” Lynn Goldman, dean of the School of Public Health at George Washington University and one of three academic experts reviewing the health effects of fracking for the state of New York, told the Associated Press last week. “A decision not to frack is a decision to use more coal.” Indeed, that argument is a popular one among proponents of natural gas, including President Obama. The science does seem to indicate that natural gas burns much more cleanly than coal, producing far less carbon and reducing our impact on the climate. But even that apparent benefit is far more complicated than it seems. While natural gas itself produces fewer direct carbon emissions, the risk of methane leakage during the hydraulic fracturing process potentially makes fracking just as bad for the climate as coal and diesel, if not more so. Natural gas is made up mostly of methane, which is as much 100 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. When energy companies drill down to extract that methane, they try to contain as much of it as possible. But some of it inevitably leaks out. The resulting greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas “undercuts the logic of its use as a bridging fuel over coming decades, if the goal is to reduce global warming,” Robert Howarth, a researcher at Cornell University, wrote in a study last year. The fact that fracking is no better than coal or diesel, Howard wrote, suggests that “substituting shale gas for these other fossil fuels may not have the desired effect of mitigating climate warming.” Much more study remains to be done, and the technology may well improve enough in the coming years to make fracking a safe and reliable source of energy. But given the preliminary evidence that fracking can sicken livestock, pollute the environment and even cause seismic activity, many activists are left to ask: What, exactly, is the case for fracking? Instead, they argue, we should be investing more aggressively in renewable sources of energy, and pursuing a future where our energy economy is no longer dependent on fossil fuels. “Drilling for natural gas has some disastrous environmental consequences. It will speed climate change, not help stave it off,” Howarth, the Cornell researcher, wrote in an op-ed for the New York Daily News last month. “We should focus on reducing the use of fossil fuels, not finding more of them.”

Jan 1, 2013

Mississippi Receding Faster Than Expected, Shippers Say - Bloomberg

Mississippi River Recedes Faster Than Expected, Shippers Say
A floating buoy marks the edge of the shipping channel on the Mississippi River south of St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Water levels in the Mississippi River south of St. Louis are falling faster than anticipated, requiring more urgent action to keep the nation’s busiest waterway open, according to a group of shipping companies.

Debra Colbert, senior vice president of the Waterways Council Inc., said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers now projects river levels may fall to a point at which many tugboats can’t operate by Jan. 3 or Jan. 4. Previous estimates indicated that the river would remain navigable until at least the middle of the month, she said.

A floating buoy marks the edge of the shipping channel on the Mississippi River south of St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

“The problem is the window to do anything about this is closing quickly,” Colbert said today in a telephone interview.

Shippers carry about $7 billion in goods including crude oil and grain on the Mississippi in December and January. Tugboat and barge operators have warned that thousands of jobs in Illinois, Missouri, Louisiana and other states in the country’s midsection were at risk if the river shuts down, and they’ve asked Washington to find ways to increase the flow.

Most tugboats need about 10 feet of water to operate effectively. By the end of next week, only vessels with a draft of no more than 8 feet will able to run through the area of the river near Thebes, Illinois, 128 miles (206 kilometers) south of St. Louis, Colbert said. The draft is the distance from the surface of the water to a boat’s lowest point.

“Only a handful can navigate at 8 feet,” Colbert said. Lower than that, “We’re effectively shut down.” That point could be reached around Jan. 12 or Jan. 13, she said.
Pessimistic Assessment

Colbert said the Arlington, Virginia-based group received the more pessimistic assessment from the Corps in an e-mail on Dec. 24. The forecast apparently doesn’t include precipitation estimates from a storm that today dumped snow in parts of the Midwest.

The council is repeating calls for President Barack Obama’s administration to release more water from the Missouri River, the Mississippi’s largest tributary.

The Army Corps has rejected those calls, saying releasing more water from reservoirs along the Missouri would put drinking-water supplies and wildlife at risk and may raise hydropower electric bills.

The Corps has released water from Carlyle Lake in southwest Illinois to add about 6 inches of depth to the lowest point on the Mississippi.

Corps officials have said they thought tugboats and barges would be able to continue to operate on the river.
‘Cautiously Optimistic’

“We remain cautiously optimistic that if we do have any interruptions, it will be short in duration as we continue to maintain a safe and reliable navigation channel,” Major General John Peabody, the Corps’ Mississippi Valley Division commander, said in a statement released yesterday. The Corps is also looking at the possibility of additional releases from other reservoirs, Peabody said.

Michael Petersen, a Corps spokesman in St. Louis, said he wasn’t aware of the Dec. 24 forecast cited by the Waterways Council.

The agency is also working to remove rock formations near Thebes to provide tugboats more room to operate.

Mississippi River barge traffic is slowing as the worst drought since the 1930s combines with a seasonal dry period to drop water levels, prompting shippers, including Archer-Daniels- Midland Co. (ADM) and AEP River Operations LLC, to seek alternatives.

The Waterways Council and the American Waterways Operators, an Arlington, Virginia-based trade association representing the tugboat and barge industry, earlier this month estimated that Mississippi River traffic supports about 20,000 jobs and generates $130 million in wages for states along the waterway in December and January alone.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Snyder in Washington at jsnyder24@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net

Dec 31, 2012

Gunstock Carving Books

Gunstock Carving: A Step-By-Step Guide to Engraving Rifles and Shotguns

Gunstock Carving: Power Techniques

A couple of reportedly good sources for learning... looking forward to reading... Monte

Repaired and Restored Walnut Stock - Winchester 1922 Model 12, 16 gauge

Larger Image

Had fun in the wood shop repairing and restoring old Model 12 Winchester 16 Gauge walnut stock... used tung oil to finish...  Monte

Hands-On Agronomy : Neal Kinsey and Charles Walters

About the Author:
Neal Kinsey has been called a "consultant's consultant." Through his in-depth courses, he has trained thousands of consultants and sophisticated growers in the methodology of soil element balancing using cation exchange capacity. Kinsey specializes in building and maintaining soil for quality crop production and travels the world consulting in and teaching the Albrecht methods of soil fertility balancing. His understanding of macro- and micronutrient balance in the soil is hard to match. In addition to consulting on crops such as corn, cotton, soybeans, rice, wheat and other small grains, he also works with significant acreages of citrus, vegetables, grapes, alfalfa, pastures, oats, melons, almonds, avocados, coffee, bananas, turf grass, and most other crops grown around the world.

Charles Walters is the founder and executive editor of Acres U.S.A. He has penned thousands of articles on the technologies of organic and sustainable agriculture and is author or co-author of many books on the subject, including: Eco-Farm; Weeds - Control Without Poisons; Fertility from the Ocean Deep; A Farmer's Guide to the Bottom Line; Grass, the Forgiveness of Nature; Minerals for the Genetic Code; and others.

Some reviews:

Complex topic made simple...  Monte Hines

Dec 30, 2012

"After the Storm" - Threats To Our Watersheds

After the Storm - Envionmental Protection Agency 2006 - EPA 841-C-06-001 - After the Storm: Co-Produced by the U.S. EPA and The Weather Channel. The show highlights three case studies—Santa Monica Bay, the Mississippi River Basin/Gulf of Mexico, and New York City—where polluted runoff threatens watersheds highly valued for recreation, commercial fisheries and navigation, and drinking water. Key scientists and water quality experts, and citizens involved in local and national watershed protection efforts provide insight into the problems as well as solutions to today's water quality challenges. After the Storm also explains simple things people can do to protect their local watershed-such as picking up after one's dog, recycling household hazardous wastes, and conserving water. The program is intended for educational and communication purposes in classrooms, conferences, etc.