Environment & Weather
President Obama approves Branstad’s request for Presidential Disaster Declaration PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Thursday, 01 August 2013 14:03

DES MOINES—Gov. Terry E. Branstad today received word that President Obama approved his request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration for 10 counties impacted by June severe weather.

The counties included in the declaration are: Allamakee, Benton, Buchanan, Butler, Cedar, Clayton, Delaware, Howard, Jones and Winneshiek.

The Governor sent the request for the declaration on July 18 in response to significant damage that was caused by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that began June 21 and continued through June 28, 2013. This is the state’s fourth Presidential Disaster Declaration for 2013.

The declaration by the President will provide federal funding to the declared counties under the Public Assistance Program. A Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance puts into motion long-term federal recovery programs, some of which are matched by state programs, and designed to help public entities and select non-profits. Public Assistance funds may be used for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities and may include debris removal, emergency protective measures, repair of damaged public property, loans needed by communities for essential government functions and grants for public schools.

The Governor also received notification that the Presidential Disaster Declaration includes funding to conduct hazard mitigation activities for the entire state. With this funding, Iowa will be able to minimize the impact of future disasters by taking steps now to strengthen existing infrastructure.

This Presidential Disaster Declaration is the 18th Major Presidential Disaster Declaration Iowa has received since March 2007.




Living Lands & Waters 2013 Barge Party In A New Location PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Natalie Linville-Mass   
Tuesday, 30 July 2013 10:46
Rock Island, IL /July 29, 2013 – Local residents will have a chance to tour Living Lands & Waters’ Teamwork Barge Thursday, August 8th from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Schwiebert Riverfront Park on 1st Avenue in Rock Island, Illinois. Chad Pregracke and his Living Lands & Waters’ staff and crew will be on hand to celebrate sixteen years of river cleanups, environmental education workshops, the MillionTrees project and engaging communities in river stewardship.

Since 1998, Living Lands & Waters has worked in 18 states along 22 rivers hosting over 700 cleanups and with the help of 70,000 volunteers they have removed 7 million pounds of debris from our nation’s waterways.

Since 2012, Living Lands & Waters has hosted over 60 Student and Teacher Workshops in their educational classroom on the Teamwork Barge. Nearly 2,000 students and over 200 educators have come through and had a hands on look at our river environment. Students and Teachers alike learned about the importance of their rivers as a natural resource and delved into multiple disciplines including technology, language, and the arts.

Chad Pregracke, founder of Living Lands & Waters, was nominated for a CNN Hero Award for “Defending the Planet”. He also was the keynote speaker at the National Environmental Summit, a five day camp to inspire high school students to spark change in their communities. Pregracke also had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. this month to attend an event honoring the winner of the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award. Pregracke was one of about two dozen past honorees invited to the event.

In April, the MillionTrees Project presented its 500,000th tree to Bowlesburg Elementary School in Silvis, Illinois. This tree marked the halfway point of the environmental group’s goal of distributing one million trees. Thousands of volunteers have been involved in packaging and planting trees throughout the Midwest this year.

The Living Lands & Waters Barge Party is held annually in appreciation of volunteers, supporters and fans of LL&W’s efforts.  It is a celebration of the power of committed staff, volunteers and sponsors working together to meet an important need.

“We really loved having the Barge Party at Lake Davenport Sailing Club in the past, we just simply outgrew the location with the growing attendance. We are really excited for the new location, Schwiebert Park is one of the coolest parks along the Mississippi.” says Pregracke.

The menu for this year’s Barge Party will feature a fish fry & shrimp boil dinner.  The party will also feature live music by Justin Morrissey and The Candymakers, as well as a silent art auction, featuring everything from recycled items to handmade sculptures.

The Barge Party will also feature a Best Boater Award. Nominate yourself or a fellow boater for the Best Boater Award. Living Lands & Waters will select five finalists to receive two complimentary tickets to the Barge Party. The winner will be announced at the party and will receive a $100 gas certificate and commemorative plaque. Visit http://www.livinglandsandwaters.org/events/view/barge-party for more details.

Tickets for the event are $40 per person. Reservations can be made online at livinglandsandwaters.org. Spots are limited, so please make your reservation soon to guarantee a seat.

Chad Pregracke started Living Lands & Waters in 1998 as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the beautification and restoration of America’s major rivers and to the education of people about environmental issues. From his single boat beginning, LL&W has grown into an internationally known organization with a fleet of barges and workboats.  LL&W engages thousands of volunteers each year in river cleanups, hands-on environmental educational workshops, the Great Mississippi River Cleanup, Adopt-a- River-Mile program and the MillionTrees Project.


Twenty Iowa Cities Benefit from $42.3 Million in Low-Interest State Revolving Fund Loans for Water Quality Initiatives PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Emily Toribio   
Friday, 26 July 2013 14:25

Cities of Bonaparte, Burlington, Cambridge, Davenport, Deloit, Des Moines metro area, Dubuque, Gilmore City, Granger, Hills, Indianola, Keokuk, Lambs Grove, Lidderdale, Maquoketa, Melbourne, Monmouth, Sabula, Schleswig, and Sioux City receive
State Revolving Fund Loans to Further Water Quality Projects


Des Moines – Twenty Iowa cities will benefit from a combined total of more than $42.3 million in low-cost water quality loans through the State Revolving Fund. State Revolving Fund Construction Loans are a low-cost construction financing option available for Iowa cities and municipalities for water quality initiatives. Planning & Design Loans are zero percent loans that assist with the first-phase of project expenses. The Iowa Finance Authority and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources jointly administer the State Revolving Fund.

“I commend the twenty cities that recently tapped into the low-cost financing offered through the State Revolving Fund for their shared commitment to advancing affordable, quality water for Iowans,” said Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Dave Jamison. “These low-cost loans will mean quality water and will help to maintain affordable water rates for thousands of Iowans for generations to come.”

“Many Iowa cities and municipalities have a wide-array of water quality improvement needs, and we are encouraged to see them take advantage of the low-cost financing through the State Revolving Fund in order to reach their community’s needs,” said Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Chuck Gipp.

The State Revolving Fund has awarded Iowa communities and municipalities more than $2 billion in Construction Loans and $123 million through Planning & Design Loans since program inception. The loans are made available as part of the State Revolving Fund. For more information on Planning & Design Loans, as well as other State Revolving Fund programs, visit IowaSRF.com.

The Iowa Legislature created The Iowa Finance Authority, the state’s housing finance agency, in 1975 to undertake programs to assist in the attainment of low- and moderate-income Iowans. IFA also administers the State Revolving Fund (SRF) in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The SRF assists communities with the costs of upgrading or constructing local wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects.


Recent loan recipients:


Loan recipient



Project Type


City of Lidderdale              



Drinking Water Construction


Chris Andersen, 712.210.1783


City of Deloit



Planning & Design Loan

Karen Nemitz, 712.269.7993

City of Schleswig



Planning & Design Loan

Jane Smith, 712.676.3361


City of Granger



Planning & Design Loan

Kristy Trzeciak, 515.999.2210

City of Burlington

Des Moines


Planning & Design Loan

Steve Hartman, 319.753.8176


City of Dubuque



Clean Water Construction

Ken TeKippe, 563.589.4133


City of Gilmore City



Planning & Design Loan

Chris McKee, 515.373.6326


City of Maquoketa



Drinking Water Construction

Brian Wagner, 563.652.2484

City of Monmouth



Clean Water Construction

Stephanie Balichek, 563.673.5791

City of Sabula



Planning & Design Loan

Ronda James, 563.687.2420


City of Lambs Grove



Clean Water Construction

Christina Machin, 641.891.1309


City of Hills




Planning & Design Loan


Bonnie Hansen, 319.679.3197

Keokuk Municipal Water Works



Drinking Water Construction

Bill Cole, 319.524.5285

City of Melbourne



Clean Water Construction

Mary Pothast, 641.482.3338


Des Moines Metro Wastewater Reclamation Authority



Clean Water Construction

Scott Hutchens, 515.323.8031

City of Davenport



Clean Water Construction

Tom Leabhart,563.326.7729


City of Cambridge



Drinking Water Construction

Debra Thompson, 515.220.4541


City of Bonaparte

Van Buren


Planning & Design Loan


Nancy Nelson, 319.592.3400

City of Indianola



Clean Water Construction

Jean Furler, 515.961.9410


City of Sioux City



Clean Water Construction

Jade Dundas, 712.279.6957


City of Sioux City



Clean Water Construction

Jade Dundas, 712.279.6957

City of Sioux City



Clean Water Construction

Jade Dundas, 712.279.6957









Governor Quinn Reminds Residents to Take Special Precautions During Excessive Heat PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Grant Klinzman   
Monday, 22 July 2013 07:56

More Than 100 State Cooling Centers Open Across Illinois

CHICAGO – Ahead of another day of extreme heat, Governor Pat Quinn is reminding Illinois residents to take special precautions and make use of the state’s cooling centers. Earlier this week, the Governor opened more than 100 cooling centers around Illinois in order to help those without air conditioning stay cool.

“High heat and humidity is dangerous for everyone on Illinois – young, elderly and in-between,” Governor Quinn said. “I urge residents to take the proper precautions to stay safe as we endure another day of heat.”

The cooling centers are located at Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) offices throughout the state. IDHS cooling centers are open to the public during regular business hours from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m on weekdays. In addition to the IDHS cooling centers, the Illinois Tollway Oases in the Chicago area are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Governor Quinn and the Illinois Department of Public Health are encouraging everyone in Illinois to watch for signs of heat-related illnesses. Symptoms of heat-related illness include headaches, skin that is hot to the touch, increased body temperature, loss of consciousness, seizures and irregular heartbeats.

To stay cool and avoid illness, people should increase their fluid intake, but avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol and sugar; decrease strenuous, outdoor physical activity; and remain in air-conditioning when possible.

The Illinois Department on Aging also encourages relatives and friends to make daily visits or calls to senior citizens living alone. When temperatures and humidity are extremely high, seniors and people with chronic health conditions should be monitored for dehydration and other effects of extreme heat. Additionally, seniors should eat lighter meals, take longer and more frequent rests, and drink plenty of fluids.

To find a cooling center near you, call the IDHS hotline at (800) 843-6154 or visit keepcool.illinois.gov.


News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Brandy Welvaert   
Thursday, 18 July 2013 14:58

QUAD-CITIES—Over the last 10 years, Xstream Cleanup volunteers have pulled nearly 900,000 pounds of garbage and debris from area waterways. In 2013, organizers hope to break one million pounds as they usher in a second decade of Xstream.

“You can’t pick up a million pounds of junk all by yourself, but in concert with friends and neighbors—and with the support of organizations and municipal entities—we’re almost there. It’s amazing what Quad-Citians can do when we band together, and the results of Xstream Cleanup are a testament to the great power of our combined efforts,” said longtime event chair Curtis Lundy.

Xstream Cleanup 2013 will be held 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10. Registration is open online at xstreamcleanup.org. Deadline to register is Aug. 1.

The Xstream Cleanup committee formed in September of 2003 following the successful summertime Duck Creek Cleanup. At that time, Chad Pregracke of Living Lands & Waters suggested that the group expand the cleanup to include sites in Illinois and Iowa. Xstream Cleanup was born.

The first annual Xstream Cleanup was held August 18, 2004. That morning, over 1,300 volunteers bent down and picked up over 80,000 tons of debris from 28 sites throughout the Quad-Cities. The debris included 1,300 bags of trash, 270 tires, 50 pieces of furniture, 45 bicycles, 40 railroad ties, 30 appliances, 18 drums and more.

Xstream Cleanup continues to grow. In 2008, invasive species removal—the removal of non-native plants—was added. And in 2013, volunteers will have another opportunity to make a difference in water quality, this time through marking storm drains with messages that discourage illegal dumping.

“Xstream Cleanup always has been about water quality. While we enjoy seeing our natural areas free from trash, we’re cleaning up because garbage on the ground, sooner or later, creates polluted water. Our goal is to help keep Quad-Cities waterways clean for our community, the environment, and everyone downstream,” said longtime volunteer Lundy.

Today the Xstream Cleanup committee includes representatives from area cities, as well as representatives from several organizations and businesses throughout the community. The event is made possible by the generous, ongoing support of many proud sponsors.

For more information about Xstream Cleanup, or to sign up, visit xstreamcleanup.org.

Xstream Cleanup 2013 is sponsored by the following. Presenting Sponsors: Group O and Riverboat Development Authority. Platinum Sponsors: Alcoa, THE National Bank, Living Lands & Waters™ and Waste Commission of Scott County. Gold Sponsors: Iowa American Water, Rock Island County Waste Management Agency and The Moline Foundation. Silver Sponsors: Alter Metal Recycling, DHL Global Forwarding, Independent Insurance Agents of Scott County, McCarthy-Bush Corporation, MidAmerican Energy, Radish magazine, R. A Jones, Quad City Conservation Alliance, Sears Seating and Wallace’s Garden Center. Bronze Sponsors: Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Downtown Davenport Partnership, Eastern Iowa Grain Inspection, Great River Brewery and Midas Auto Systems Experts, Inc. Logistics Sponsors: Cities of Bettendorf, Buffalo, Davenport, LeClaire, McCausland, Milan, Moline, Rock Island and Silvis; Bi-State Regional Commission, Keep Rock Island Beautiful, iLivehere™, Partners of Scott County Watersheds, Republic Services and River Roots Live.

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