Environment & Weather
National Weather Service Quad Cities Winter 2012/2013 Newsletter PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Sandra Stevens   
Thursday, 24 January 2013 08:44
The Winter 2012/2013 issue of the National Weather Service Quad Cities' newsletter is now available on our website at http://www.weather.gov/quadcities/?n=additional-links#newsletter. This link also contains all past issues of our newsletter.  There is also a temporary link under the Top News of the Day section on our main webpage.

 
Press conference to be held by River Action and the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend (CFGRB) PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Natalie Anderson   
Friday, 18 January 2013 09:11

Where: Nahant Marsh, 4220 Wapello Avenue, Davenport

When:  1:30 p.m. January 23

Who:  River Action, Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, Nahant Marsh staff, and 30 visiting Augustana College students

A press conference will be held at the Nahant Marsh Education Center, 4220 Wapello Avenue, Davenport, at 1:30 P.M. on Wednesday, January 23rd to announce a $25,000 grant from CFGRB to River Action’s QC Wild Places program. This event will be held in conjunction with Augustana College students touring the marsh on their annual Symposium Day.

Established in 2011 with the support of the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, the QC Wild Places program started as a way to combine the efforts of local natural areas and their managing organizations in collaboration with River Action and area funders. Because wilderness areas are run by various organizations with staff and budgets of varying sizes, it is often difficult for them to receive the funding and publicity they need to increase awareness and make improvements. QC Wild Places is a program dedicated to preserving natural areas around the Quad Cities through service, funding, and awareness. QC Wild Places projects include funding for site improvements, community outreach and awareness, an Explorers Program for children, and conservation efforts. Member sites are located in eight counties around the Quad City region all within an hour’s drive of the Quad Cities.

The program brings together 63 natural areas run by 19 organizations and 27 site managers. Select projects include funding a mountain bike trail extension at Sunderbruch Park in Davenport, the construction of a new footbridge at Black Hawk State Historic Site in Rock Island, a trail identification system at Illiniwek Forest Preserve near Hampton, and the site of the news conference, Nahant Marsh - where a sand prairie and turtle nesting site restoration with viewing platform is being built with funds from QC Wild Places provided in part by the CFGRB.

Since 1964, the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend has been dedicated to supporting local nonprofit organizations in our community.

“QC Wild Places is a great example of how the Community Foundation can partner with nonprofits beyond traditional grantmaking,” said Matt Mendenhall, Vice President of Programs at the Community Foundation. “Our membership in the River Partnership of Community Foundations has helped us bring national funding and expertise to QC Wild Places, and we look forward to that type of success with other local nonprofits.”

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How You Can Help Tackle the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Thursday, 17 January 2013 14:16
Activist Shares 5 Tips to Reduce Plastic Waste
& Ocean Pollution

It’s a growing problem in the northern Pacific Ocean and one that could change life on our planet within the next 20 years.

“I remember the first time I felt it; I was paddling out on my surfboard and noticed a mushy, plastic-like substance sliding through my fingers. That’s what started my obsession with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” says charity fundraiser and environmentalist Veronica Grey. “The patch is located between Hawaii and California in the northern Pacific Ocean, where millions of small bits of plastic have gathered in a vortex of ocean currents known as a gyre.”

As someone with ample experience raising awareness for worthy causes, Grey paired her professional skills with her personal passion for the ocean, creating the award-winning documentary “Aqua Seafoam Shame,” (www.Pacific-TV.com), which spotlights the mess in the ocean that has garnered precious little media attention, she says.

“Fifteen years ago The Patch was the size Texas, but now it’s the size of the continental United States,” says Grey, who used her iPhone to shoot the documentary, which features renowned scientists, journalists and environmentalists.

Plastic in the ocean has far-reaching implications that, if not addressed within 20 years, could change life on this planet, she says. To date, 177 species of sea life are known to ingest plastic; other species feed on those creatures, extending the chain of damage.

“People eat the seafood that eats plastic, and the planet gets its rain from the oceans, which are being polluted at an exponential rate,” she says. “We use significantly more of our planet’s surface as a dump than for growing food; this has to change.”

To begin addressing plastics pollution, Grey encourages people to use alternatives:

• Americans buy 2 million bottles of water every five minutes; ditch plastic bottles and use glass or recyclable cans.

• Carry a cost-effective canvas bag instead getting disposable plastic bags at the grocery store. We waste 10 billion plastic bags every week!

• Do not line your trash cans with plastic bags. Use paper bags or nothing.

• Skip the lid on your to-go drinks. The paper cup is normally recyclable but the lid usually isn't.

• Remember that each and every time you flush; it all ends up in the ocean. Be mindful of what you toss in your toilet!

About Veronica Grey

Veronica Grey is an award-winning author and filmmaker. A graduate of UCLA, she is a regular contributor to TV stations across the country and is the recipient of the 2011 New Media award from the Pare Lorentz Film Festival. “Aqua Seafoam Shame” is a critically acclaimed documentary that explores the diagnosis that 25 percent of our planet's surface is now a landfill, due to the Pacific garbage patch and plastics. The movie also explores the process by which conscientious companies, some because of her encouragement, switched from plastic to a more sustainable alternative. Grey was born on PI (3.14) in PI (Philippines Island) and she is recognized as a numbers savant.

 
Become a Mater Conservationist in 2013 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Thursday, 17 January 2013 09:50
If you are interested in understanding the nature around you and making good choices for the environment, the Iowa Master Conservationist program should be on your “to do” list for the new year.

The course will teach topics such as wildlife diversity, prairies and grasslands, wetlands and waste reduction. Participants will receive 32 hours of instruction from February to July, 2013 with many of the classes held at outside locations. A second part of the experience is participation in local natural resource related projects of the student’s choosing. Co-sponsored by Nahant Marsh and ISU Scott County Extension and Outreach, the course has support from the Extension Wildlife Programs at Iowa State University.

Registrations are accepted at ISU Scott County Extension and Outreach and there is a maximum class size of 25 so early registrations are encouraged. Participants must be 18 years of age and register by February 11, 2013. Cost is $150.

Contact the Scott County Extension office (563-359-7577) for registration information or Nahant Marsh (563-323-5196) for additional course information.

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Branstad, Reynolds fight onerous RICE rule on behalf of Iowans, EPA accepts their alternative PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Jimmy Centers   
Thursday, 17 January 2013 09:03

Changes will save families, businesses and communities significant initial and annual costs

(DES MOINES) – The Governor’s Office today announced the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has accepted Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds’ alternative to the RICE rule. After signing an Executive Order, meeting with EPA head Lisa Jackson, and pushing for the elimination of burdensome regulations, Branstad has secured significant savings for Iowa families, businesses and communities.

“Lieutenant Governor Reynolds and I made a commitment to Iowans when we took office to fight burdensome government regulations regardless if they came from the state or federal government,” said Branstad. “Recognizing this unnecessary onerous rule would raise costs on Iowa families, I signed Executive Order 72 to rescind the Iowa’s adoption of the rule. I am pleased to learn the Environmental Protection Agency has listened to my concerns over the rule and opted against requiring generators to be retrofitted with expensive components.”

Average Iowa families faced the potential of hundreds of dollars in utility bills if the RICE rule would have been implemented. As the RICE rule was originally written, back-up diesel generators used by municipal utilities in several of Iowa’s rural communities would be required to be retrofitted with very expensive new parts, even though the engines are rarely used.  These new requirements would have meant higher utility costs for residents in sixty-seven Iowa communities.

“This is an issue that came up in one of our town hall meetings, and the governor and I pledged to take action,” said Lt. Gov. Reynolds. “This is the benefit of visiting all 99 counties each year and listening to the concerns of Iowans.”

Gov. Branstad met with EPA head Lisa Jackson on June 20, 2011, to express his concerns over the costs being passed on to Iowans. Branstad explained that the costs of retrofitting the generators, which would be passed on to Iowa consumers, were extraordinarily high given the little amount the generators are used each year and the rule should be rescinded.

Yesterday, the Governor’s Office was informed the EPA finalized changes to the RICE Rule which will help keep utility costs low for hard-working Iowa families.  Specifically, the EPA updated the rule with a broader usage definition of emergency use, which will allow utility companies to use these important back-up engines during winter storms or power outages, without necessarily having to retrofit the engines with the expensive new components.

According to the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities, the following communities/municipal utilities utilize diesel engines and would be affected by the RICE rule: Algona, Alta, Anita, Atlantic, Bancroft, Bellevue, Bloomfield, Brooklyn, Cascade, Coggon, Coon Rapids, Corning, Dayton, Denison, Dike, Durant, Earlville, Estherville, Forest City, Cowrie, Graettinger, Grand Junction, Greenfield, Grundy Center, Harlan, Hopkinton, Independence, Indianola, La Porte City, Lake Mills, Lake Park, Lamoni, Laurens, Lenox, Manning, Maquoketa, McGregor, Milford, Montezuma, Mount Pleasant, New Hampton, Ogden, Onawa, Osage, Panora, Pella, Pocahontas, Preston, Primghar, Rock Rapids, Rockford, Sibley, Strawberry Point, Story City, Stuart, Summer, Tipton, Traer, Villisca, Vinton, Waverly, West Bend, West Liberty, Whittemore, Wilton and Winterset.

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