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  • Environment & Weather
    Governor Quinn Proclaims “Sister Rivers and Lakes Week” PDF Print E-mail
    News Releases - Environment & Weather
    Written by Katie Hickey   
    Thursday, 11 September 2014 14:18

    New Thompson Center Exhibit to Honor Illinois’ Relationship with

    World Waterways

    CHICAGO - Governor Pat Quinn today proclaimed September 7-13, 2014 as “Illinois Sister Rivers and Lakes Week” to celebrate the importance of the Illinois River and Lake Michigan, and address the shared challenges of waterways throughout the world. The Governor will salute Illinois’ eight “Sister Rivers and Lakes” partners on four continents with a free exhibit, open to the public this week in the James R. Thompson Center Atrium, 100 W. Randolph, Chicago.

    “Illinois was defined geographically, historically and economically by the Illinois River, Lake Michigan and other waterways, which are treasures to be preserved and protected for all time,” Governor Quinn said. “Through such innovative solutions as Mud-to-Parks and the Illinois Clean Water Initiative, we are ensuring that these waterways can be used for recreational and commercial purposes, while protecting the many fish, animals and birds that rely on them.”

    Governor Quinn has forged relationships with officials representing Brazil’s Capibaribe River, China’s Huangpu River, Ireland’s River Lee, Israel’s Lake Kinneret, Japan’s Saitama Prefecture, Mexico’s Lake Pátzcuaro, Poland’s Vistula River and South Korea’s Han River.

    Inspired by the success of the Sister Cities program, Governor Quinn launched “Illinois Sister Rivers and Lakes” in 2007 when, as Lieutenant Governor, he visited Poland and was struck by the beauty of the Vistula River. Since then, Governor Quinn has led trade missions to Seoul, South Korea; Shanghai, China; Israel; Mexico City; Recife, Brazil; Saitama, Japan; and Cork, Ireland, and has met with local water authorities in each nation to discuss shared challenges.

    The exhibit describes each of the “Sisters,” their historical significance and tourism opportunities. Governor Quinn’s solutions to such common problems as aging dams, obsolete water treatment facilities, invasive species and silt are also detailed. The exhibit documents Illinois’ pioneering role in fostering water technology companies, and how the Governor’s $2 billion Clean Water Initiative is helping local governments modernize their water treatment plants and pipelines, some of which date back to the 19th Century.

    On his website www.sisterrivers.Illinois.gov, Governor Quinn invites people across Illinois who are considering a trip abroad to consider visiting one of Illinois’ “Sister Rivers and Lakes.” Tourism opportunities include:

     

    ·         Enjoying geothermal springs and Marugami Falls in Japan’s Saitama Prefecture.

    ·         Butterfly-watching near Mexico’s Lake Pátzcuaro.

    ·         Long-distance swimming in Israel’s Lake Kinneret.

    ·         Seeing the Moonlight Rainbow Fountain over South Korea’s Han River.

    ·         Bass-fishing on Ireland’s River Lee.

    ·         Viewing Shanghai’s skyline from a ferry on China’s Huangpu River.

    ·         Biking along Brazil’s Capibaribe River.

    ·         Kayaking past ancient castles on Poland’s Vistula River.

    Governor Quinn also encourages people across Illinois to roll up their sleeves and volunteer for one of the many waterway clean-ups scheduled this fall:

    ·         September 20 - World’s Largest Shoreline Clean-up - Chicago’s Jarvis, Sherwin, Loyola, Hartigan, Pratt, Osterman, Montrose, Belmont, Oak Street, 71st Street, and Rainbow Beaches.

    ·         September 20 - World’s Largest Shoreline Clean-up - North Chicago’s Foss Beach.

    ·         September 20 - Somme Woods East, Chicago River, Northbrook.

    ·         September 21 - Illinois River Sweep, Allen Park, Ottawa.

    ·         September 21 - Illinois River Sweep, Forest Park Nature Center, Peoria Heights.

    ·         September 21 - 31st Annual Kankakee Iroquois River Clean-up, Various sites.

    ·         September 21 - Vermilion River Clean-up, Humiston Woods Nature Center, Pontiac.

    ·         September 21 - Sangamon River Clean-up, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, Mahomet.

    ·         September 21 - Fox River, Cornish Park, Algonquin.

    ·         September 27 - Blue Star Memorial Woods, Chicago River, Glenview.

    ·         September 27 - Kickapoo Meadows and Whistler Woods, Lake Calumet, Riverdale.

    ·         October 4 - LaBagh/Hernandez Woods, Chicago River, Chicago’s North Side.

    ·         October 15 - World’s Largest Shoreline Clean-up - Chicago’s 12th Street Beach.

    ·         October 24 - World’s Largest Shoreline Clean-up - Chicago’s 63rd Street Beach.

     

    The Governor’s proclamation is attached.

    ###

     
    IOWA WILDLIFE FEDERATION RELEASES TICK REPORT PDF Print E-mail
    News Releases - Environment & Weather
    Written by Brad Anderson   
    Wednesday, 20 August 2014 12:02
    Climate Change Has Led to Increases in Ticks, Mosquitos & Poison Ivy

    DES MOINES, Iowa – Today, in a statewide conference call with Iowa media the Iowa Wildlife Federation released a report detailing the increases in ticks, mosquitos, fire ants and poison ivy due to climate change.  The report, titled “Ticked Off – America’s Outdoor Experience and Climate Change,” was produced by the National Wildlife Federation, which includes 49 state affiliates and more than four million members committed to protecting wildlife and connecting Americans with nature.

    Leading the call was Joe Wilkinson, past President of the Iowa Wildlife Federation.  Joining Wilkinson was Dr. Yogesh Shah, Associate Dean of the Department of Global Health at Des Moines University, and Frank Szollosi, Regional Outreach Manager for the National Wildlife Federation based in Ann Arbor, MI.

    EXCERPT FROM REPORT: “Extreme weather is becoming more common. Droughts and floods are more severe and more frequent. Winter snow is melting away earlier in the spring and fall weather is slower and slower to come about. These and other aspects of climate change are impacting the plants and wildlife that are a central component of the American outdoor experience. We might like an early spring, but so do tiger mosquitoes with their bothersome presence and bites. An Indian summer may be welcomed by us, but it helps winter ticks survive in huge numbers…enough to suck more blood out of a moose than its body contains. Warm winters are a welcome mat for fire ants and deer ticks to expand their range northward where they can inflict pain or disease on unsuspecting people and wildlife. Poison ivy, which we always steer away from, is growing faster and becoming even more toxic, thanks to the rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”

    “Every increase in temperature by a degree or two increases mosquito populations by eight to tenfold,” said Dr. Yogesh Shah.  “Just like mosquitos, ticks tend to grow faster when it is humid and warm, and last year we had a 40 percent increase in Lyme disease in Iowa compared to the previous year.  If we keep the status quo, climate change will get worse and we will start seeing diseases that we never dreamed about.  If we do what climate scientists recommend to mitigate climate change, mosquito and tick populations will eventually come down.” 

    “Climate change is not so subtle anymore,” said Joe Wilkinson on today’s press call.  “Now the question is what are we going to do about it and when.  I hope this report will raise public awareness and make sure Iowans understand the significant impacts of climate change to our wildlife and public health.”

    BIOS ON CALL PARTICIPATIONS:

    Joe Wilkinson: Joe Wilkinson, President of the Iowa Wildlife Federation, is a lifelong Iowan from Solon, Iowa.  Wilkinson is an avid outdoorsman and a regular contributor to Iowa Outdoors Magazine.

    Dr. Yogesh Shah: Dr. Yogesh Shah is the Associate Dean for Global Health at Des Moines University, a position created in 2006 to establish global health experiences that DMU students increasingly seek.  Dr. Shah has been instrumental in establishing the City of Des Moines as a member of the World Health Organization’s network of age-friendly cities.  He also led the creation of the Heartland Global Health Consortium, and the creation of Heartland Climate Health Consortium, a collaborative of Iowa educational institutions to promote the effect of climate change on nutrition and human health.

    Frank Szollosi: Frank Szollosi is the Regional Outreach Campaigns Manager for National Wildlife Federation based in Ann Arbor, and works with a team of public policy and advocacy professionals to build the power of the conservation movement to mitigate the risks climate change presents wildlife, habitat and communities.  Frank previously served as a Press Secretary on Capitol Hill for Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, and was elected twice himself to serve as a Toledo City Councilman.   He recently earned a Master's of Science and Master's of Public Policy from the University of Michigan.
    ###

     
    ADVISORY: IOWA WILDLIFE FEDERATION TO RELEASE TICK REPORT PDF Print E-mail
    News Releases - Environment & Weather
    Written by Brad Anderson   
    Tuesday, 19 August 2014 15:39
    Climate Change Has Led to Increases in Ticks, Mosquitos & Poison Ivy

    DES MOINES, Iowa – Tomorrow in a statewide conference call with Iowa media the Iowa Wildlife Federation will release a report detailing the increases in ticks, mosquitos, fire ants and poison ivy due to climate change.  The report, titled “Ticked Off – America’s Outdoor Experience and Climate Change,” was produced by the National Wildlife Federation, which includes 49 state affiliates and more than four million members committed to protecting wildlife and connecting Americans with nature.

    Leading the call will be Joe Wilkinson, President of the Iowa Wildlife Federation.  Joining Wilkinson will be Dr. Yogesh Shah, Associate Dean of the Department of Global Health at Des Moines University, and Frank Szollosi, Regional Outreach Manager for the National Wildlife Federation based in Ann Arbor, MI.

    TUESDAY, AUGUST 19TH:

    WHAT: Statewide conference call with reporters to release the report “Ticked Off – America’s Outdoor Experience and Climate Change”

     
    Join A Park Ranger For A Tallgrass Prairie Walk PDF Print E-mail
    News Releases - Environment & Weather
    Written by Adam Prato   
    Monday, 18 August 2014 08:01

    WEST BRANCH, IOWA— On Monday, September 1 a park ranger leads visitors through the reconstructed 81-acre tallgrass prairie at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. Join to learn how and why the National Park Service is reconstructing this endangered habitat as part of the landscape commemorating Herbert Hoover's life. The walks begin at the tallgrass prairie observation deck by the gravesite parking lot at 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

    The walk is less than a mile and lasts about 60 minutes. Bring water, dress for the weather, and wear comfortable walking shoes. Hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, and insect repellent are also recommended.

    Also on September 1, Laura Ingalls Wilder historian Sarah Uthoff will present “In the Kitchen with Laura” at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m inside Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. Admission to “In the Kitchen with Laura” is free with paid admission to the museum.

    Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum are in West Branch, Iowa at exit 254 off I-80. Both are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time. For more information go online at www.nps.gov/heho or call (319) 643-2541.


    Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

    110 Parkside Drive

    PO Box 607

    West Branch, Iowa 52358


    319 643-2541 phone

    319 643-7864 fax

    www.nps.gov/heho


    Twitter: @HooverNPS

    Facebook: HerbertHooverNHS

     
    Settlement of Clean Water Act Violations Aims to Prevent Future Oil Spills by Cargill Inc. PDF Print E-mail
    News Releases - Environment & Weather
    Written by Ben Washburn   
    Tuesday, 12 August 2014 15:41

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Nine Tribal Nations)

    (Lenexa, Kan., August 11, 2014) – Cargill Incorporated, a privately held multinational corporation headquartered in Minnetonka, Minn., has agreed to settle allegations that it violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) at two different large oil storage facilities located in Blair, Neb., and Eddyville, Iowa.

    Through the settlement with EPA Region 7, Cargill will pay a civil penalty of $187,500 to the United States.

    The Clean Water Act requires facilities that store large quantities of oil to develop a Facility Response Plan (FRP) that outlines procedures for addressing “worst-case” discharges of oil. By being prepared and by conducting required response drills, facilities are better situated to prevent environmental harm from such releases. Each of Cargill’s two facilities produces and stores more than 1 million gallons of oil.  Combined, the two facilities have a total estimated storage capacity of more than 7 million gallons.

    “The Clean Water Act requires large oil storage facilities to have adequate response plans to prevent a spill from turning into a large scale environmental disaster,” said Karl Brooks, EPA Region 7 administrator.  “The lack of a Facility Response Plan for these facilities can have serious consequences for humans and the environment in the case of a spill.  This settlement helps protect the communities of Blair, Neb., and Eddyville, Iowa, if spills were to occur.”

    EPA identified the lack of a response plan during 2013 site visits at Cargill’s facilities in Blair, Neb., and Eddyville, Iowa.  Each facility required a Facility Response Plan (FRP) because the storage capacity of its denatured ethanol tanks exceeded 1 million gallons.  As a result of the visits, in June 2014 Cargill submitted to EPA signed and effective FRPs.

    The settlement resolves the FRP violations of the CWA by Cargill.

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