Environment & Weather
Loebsack Welcomes Gov. Branstad’s Disaster Declaration PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 09:52

Total of 8 counties affected by strong storms and flooding now available for state assistance

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after Governor Branstad issued a disaster declaration for three additional counties in Eastern Iowa.  People who qualify in Iowa, Lee and Muscatine Counties are now able to apply for state grants to help with home or car repairs, replacement of clothing or food, and for the expense of temporary housing.  Last week, disaster declarations were made for Cedar, Johnson, Mahaska, Scott and Washington Counties.

“I am pleased with the Governor’s actions to make assistance available to folks in Eastern Iowa who have seen the brunt of the damage from the recent storms and flooding,” said Loebsack.  “Over the weekend, I toured some of the affected areas and saw firsthand the damage that occurred.  I will continue to fight to ensure those with significant property damage get the help they need.”

For more information, Iowans should visit www.dhs.iowa.gov and click on the Disaster Assistance link.

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Governor Quinn Requests FEMA Help with Flood Damage Assessments PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 09:18

Documentation Will Support Request for Federal Assistance

MEREDOSIA – Governor Pat Quinn today asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist with damage assessments in several Illinois counties devastated by flooding and severe storms. The assessments, which will begin on April 29, will provide the documentation necessary to support a request for federal assistance.

“We have seen some of the worst flooding damage to neighborhoods and homes across our state in Illinois history,” Governor Quinn said. “The state will continue to take every step to secure assistance from the federal government that will help our communities recover.”

Since Thursday, Governor Quinn has surveyed damage on the ground and from the air and met with local officials in some of the hardest hit communities, including Elmhurst, Des Plaines, River Forest, Bellwood, Riverside, Moline, Quincy, Bartonville, North Aurora, Marseilles, Ottawa, North Utica and Morris.

Personnel from FEMA, IEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration and local emergency management agencies will begin assessing damage to homes and businesses in Cook, DuPage and Lake Counties on April 29. The teams will move to other affected counties as floodwaters recede so they are able to accurately assess the damage. Governor Quinn has declared a total of 44 counties state disaster areas.

Counties included in the state disaster declaration are Adams, Brown, Bureau, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Cook, DeKalb, Douglas, DuPage, Fulton, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Jersey, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kendall, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Livingston, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, McHenry, Mercer, Morgan, Ogle, Peoria, Pike, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Scott, Stark, Tazewell, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago and Woodford.

The state disaster declaration makes available a wide variety of state resources that can help affected communities respond and recover from flooding. It came after assessments by emergency officials and the governor, and begins the process of securing federal relief.

As of today, the state has fulfilled more than 80 requests for assistance from counties including:

Department of Transportation

  • More than 240 IDOT personnel and 153 trucks and equipment have been deployed to deliver sandbags, plastic, pumps, hoses, trucks and drivers to communities.
  • Conducting flyovers of flooded areas for situational awareness.
  • Providing guidance to communities on pumping equipment needs.

Department of Corrections

  • Inmate crews are assisting with sandbagging efforts in several communities.
  • Over 660 inmates have worked around the clock to fill more than 80,000 sandbags since Friday.

Department of Natural Resources

  • DNR boats and conservation police officers have assisted with home and medical evacuations, transportation, river rescues, missing person searches and other flood-related responses.

Illinois Emergency Management Agency

  • Provided 40 StarCom radios to the Algonquin Police Department for emergency communications.
  • Deployed liaison teams to Quincy and Milan to coordinate response efforts along the Mississippi River.
  • Coordinating requests for assistance from affected counties with state resources.

Illinois National Guard

  • UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter and two crew members assisted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with overflight of the Des Plaines and Little Calumet Rivers to survey integrity of flood control systems and infrastructure.

Illinois State Police

  • Continue to assist motorists and local public safety agencies with flood-related issues.

Department of Public Health

  • Provided information on tetanus shots to local public health departments, hospitals and medical offices.
  • Monitoring situations at nursing homes and long-term care facilities affected by flooding.

Department of Central Management Services

  • Procured work gloves for inmate crews assisting with sandbagging.

Governor Quinn activated the State Incident Response Center on Thursday to coordinate the deployment of state personnel and assets to assist local governments in the affected areas. The state’s flood response is coordinated by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

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Living Lands & Waters Giving Away 500,000th Tree PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Natalie Linville-Mass   
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 09:12

Davenport, IA/April 22, 2013 - Chad Pregracke’s Quad Cities-based environmental group is half-way to its goal of distributing one million trees as part of their MillionTrees Project.  In the spirit of Earth Day (today), Living Lands & Waters will be presenting the 500,000th tree to Bowlesburg Elementary School in Silvis Illinois at 1:30p on Monday April 22nd.

Following the presentation, several Bowlesburg students and Living Lands & Waters staff will plant a total of four trees on Bowlesburg School property.  As the recipient of the 500,000th tree, Bowlesburg will also be presented with a $500 gift card to go towards the purchase of environmentally-themed books for their library.

Living Lands & Waters, an East Moline, Illinois non-profit organization has been distributing trees throughout April to individuals, families, schools, park districts, businesses and organizations throughout 10 states.  The goal of the MillionTrees Project is to grow and plant 1 MILLION trees.

Trees provide shelter and nut-bearing hardwoods are a viable food source for wildlife and migratory birds.  Slow-growing hardwoods like oaks have a harder time re-establishing themselves without help, and are often crowded out by faster growing species, like cottonwoods, willow and silver maples. Re-establishing hardwoods helps increase biodiversity, reduce erosion and run-off and improve water and air quality.

More information on the MillionTrees Project can be found at www.livinglandsandwaters.org/get-involved/million-trees

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CONSERVATION COUNTS ON EARTH DAY AND EVERY DAY FOR IOWA FARMERS PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Laurie Johns   
Monday, 22 April 2013 15:14

Virtual Tours Show Progress of Iowa Farmers

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – April 19, 2013 – Iowans can see how today’s farmers are always seeking new ways to protect the land and water, while providing a wide array of food choices for consumers, by taking virtual farm tours.  Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is launching ‘Conservation Counts’ (www.iowafarmbureau.com/conservationcounts), an online resource where consumers can see how farmers use conservation practices on their farm and the progress that statewide voluntary measures have brought in the last 30 years.  The Conservation Counts website goes live April 22nd, the 43rd observance of national Earth Day.

“Conservation methods are different on every farm because the terrain is different, the soils are different and the crops we grow are diverse.  So when it comes to conservation, forcing a one-size-fits-all approach would be a detriment to the progress we need to make in protecting the land and water,” said IFBF President Craig Hill.

“Today’s responsible farmers are always looking for new ways to help them not only maintain but improve the integrity of their land and watersheds.  Some farmers plant trees (http://www.supportfarmers.com/Programs/gfpp/case-studies ) through the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmer’s Green Farmstead Partner Program; many more farmers plant grassy buffer strips to protect streams; some use no-till methods or cover crops, or terraces to hold nutrients and reduce erosion.  On my farm, I use precision agriculture where I spoon feed plants nutrients/fertilizer at the right time, right place and right amount so they get only what they need which is better for the plant and the environment. And, there are also innovations in seeds and equipment which help today’s farmers use less fertilizer,” said Hill.  “Progress and new ideas are what it takes to meet our nation’s food needs, while protecting the land.  One in six jobs in this state are tied to agriculture.  By 2050, it’s estimated the global population will be over 9 billion, which requires 100 percent more food than we’re growing today.  The Nutrient Reduction Strategy (http://www.nut\rientstrategy.iastate.edu/ ) shows farmers all the options they can use on their farms to get us there.”

Voluntary conservation measures have brought progress.  In the last 30 years, soil erosion in the U.S. has been reduced by 43 percent, according to the USDA’s National Resources Inventory report.  Iowa’s erosion rate was down 33 percent, thanks to a combination of practices being put in place, such as buffer strips, terraces, no-till, cover crops, restoring wetlands, installing bio-filters and grassy waterways in fields.  Today’s responsible farmers continue to search for new ways to protect the land and watershed; seven major conservation practices used on Iowa farms are estimated to remove as much as 28 percent of the nitrate, 38 percent of the total nitrogen, and up to 58 percent of the phosphorus that otherwise would be present, according to the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development’s Conservation Practices in Iowa: Historical Investments, Water Quality and Gaps.

“Farming is never a one-year proposition. It’s something we do over time and we are continually learning.  It’s never static; you always want to be getting as much information as you can, and then putting it to work on your farm,” said Ankeny farmer, Mark Kenney, who uses no-till, has restored grasslands on his farm and this year is taking more land out of production to plant new grassy buffer strips to reduce erosion on his Nevada-area farmland.

Learn more about how today’s responsible farmers embrace new conservation methods by checking out ‘Conservation Counts’ at www.iowafarmbureau.com/conservationcounts or follow them on Facebook at IowaFarmBureau or Twitter at (#ConservationCounts13).

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About Iowa Farm Bureau

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to helping farm families prosper and improve their quality of life.  More than 153,000 families in Iowa are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve economic growth, educational improvement, and environmental quality in their communities.  For more information about Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit the online media center at www.iowafarmbureau.com.

 
Governor Quinn Declares 38 Counties State Disaster Areas PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Brooke Anderson   
Monday, 22 April 2013 15:08

Disaster Declaration Issued to Ensure Continued Support for Affected Areas

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Pat Quinn today declared 38 counties state disaster areas after surveying flood damage caused by several days of severe storms and heavy rainfall across much of Illinois. The disaster declaration will accelerate and expand access to state emergency resources as well as allow the state to formally pursue federal relief and support. Flash flooding and rapidly rising rivers and streams have forced evacuations, damaged or destroyed homes and businesses, caused power outages and closed numerous roads.

“Illinois has seen an incredible level of devastation and reports indicate that conditions will get worse in the coming days,” Governor Quinn said. “We want to ensure that every county gets the assistance they need and this declaration will give every affected community access to available resources. As we wait for the floods to pass, all Illinois residents should continue to take precautions, and stay off the roads if possible."

Counties included in the Governor’s declaration include: Adams, Brown, Bureau, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Fulton, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Jersey, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McHenry, Mercer, Morgan, Peoria, Pike, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Scott, Tazewell, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago and Woodford.

The state disaster declaration makes available a wide variety of state resources that can help affected communities respond and recover from flooding. The state of Illinois has personnel and assets that can be mobilized to help local government officials with disaster recovery, including trucks, heavy equipment and work crews to speed debris removal, and provide assistance with security and other public safety issues. The state disaster declaration comes after assessments by emergency officials and the governor, and will begin the process of securing federal relief.

On Thursday morning, Governor Quinn was briefed on the state’s flood assistance efforts at the State Incident Response Center (SIRC) in Springfield. He later surveyed damage on the ground and met with local officials in Elmhurst, Des Plaines, River Forest and Westchester.

The SIRC was activated Thursday morning and will remain operational as long as necessary. Liaisons from several state agencies are working with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to coordinate the deployment of state personnel and assets to assist local governments in the affected areas. As of late Thursday, assistance provided in response to requests from local government included water pumps and Illinois Department of Corrections inmates filling sandbags.

For flood safety information and real-time updates, please visit Ready.Illinois.gov. For traffic updates please visit GettingAroundIllinois.com/gai.htm.

The state’s response to the floods includes:

·         Illinois Department of Transportation is ensuring public safety through road closures, message boards and other road-closure assistance to affected communities.

·         Illinois National Guard is coordinating with IEMA in the event troops are needed to assist flooded communities.

·         Illinois Department of Central Management Services is monitoring conditions at state facilities to ensure state agencies can continue to provide critical services to the public and is prepared to procure flood-fighting supplies if needed.

·         Illinois Department of Corrections had 30 inmates at the Pittsfield Work Camp in Pike County assist with filling sandbags for local public safety officials.

·         Illinois Department of Public Health is providing local public health departments, hospitals and medical offices in the affected areas with information on tetanus shots.

·         Illinois State Police is assisting motorists stranded by floodwaters and working with local public safety officials on road closures.

·         Illinois Emergency Management Agency is coordinating the state’s response and has deployed staff throughout the affected areas to assist local officials.

·         Illinois Department of Natural Resources dispatched conservation officers to Sycamore to assist with evacuation of residents in a flooded mobile home park.

·         Office of the State Fire Marshal is coordinating with fire departments throughout the state to assess any flood-related issues they’re experiencing.

·         American Red Cross has opened shelters in Roanoke, Oglesby and Lisle and is continuing to assess the need for shelters and other assistance.

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