Environment & Weather
Loebsack, Schock Call for Critical Waterway Improvements PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Vonnie Hampel   
Tuesday, 12 March 2013 13:34

Washington, D.C. – Congressmen Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and Aaron Schock (IL-18) led a group of 21 Members of Congress in calling on the President to include support for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) in its 2014 budget.  This program supports navigation infrastructure improvements and ecological restoration on the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS).   The UMRS is the only river basin in the United States recognized by an act of Congress as both a nationally significant commercial navigation system and river ecosystem.

“Ensuring that the locks and dams on the UMRS are capable of providing effective traffic flow is critically important to the competitiveness of our agriculture and manufacturing industries, and ultimately the consumer,” the Congressmen wrote in a letter to the President.  “NESP has a real opportunity to be a model for constructing navigation infrastructure, and we look forward to this potential being realized for the benefit of the region and the nation.  We are hopeful that you will recognize the importance of NESP to the economy and ecosystem along the UMRS in your FY14 budget.”

A copy of the letter can be seen here.


Rock River Flooding Potential PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Shelly Chapman   
Monday, 11 March 2013 12:09

The National Weather Service has advised that there will be some moderate flooding along the Rock River based on the Joslin gauge.  Residents in low lying areas are advised to be prepared for potentially serious flooding.

More information is available at http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/forecasts.php?wfo=dvn


Green Building in Education Construction: “The Wave of the Future, and It’s Here Now” PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Mark McLaughlin   
Tuesday, 05 March 2013 16:42

Green Plans Revealed for Phase 2 of Western Illinois University Construction Project

IA/IL QUAD-CITIES – Bush Construction has been named as the general contractor for Phase 2 of the Western Illinois University Quad Cities (WIU-QC) Riverfront Campus in Moline, IL. According to Rob Davis, Bush Construction’s Project Manager for Phase 2, the contractor’s $29.5 million approved bid covers construction of three buildings. And like Phase 1, Phase 2 will be a green building project.
“Bush Construction was the contractor for the first phase of the Riverfront Campus,” said A.J. Loss, President of Bush Construction. “Phase 1 serves as an excellent example of how an educational facility can save energy and protect the environment through a well-planned combination of green technologies. We are proud to have been selected by Western Illinois University for Phase 2.”
A rendering of how one of the buildings in Western Illinois University QC, Phase 2, will look.

A rendering of how one of the buildings in Western Illinois University QC, Phase 2, will look upon completion.
“Green building in education construction is the wave of the future, and it’s here now,” said Dr. Joseph A. Rives, Vice President of Quad Cities and Planning for Western Illinois University. “We are very pleased with the work that Bush Construction did on Phase 1. They brought us a LEED certified, environmentally friendly facility on-time and under budget.”
Dr. Rives stated that the Phase 1 green building project has helped tremendously with student, faculty and staff recruitment. “Premier students want premier facilities,” he said, “and there’s no question – we have them.”
“For Phase 2, we are aiming for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification,” Davis said. “Phase 2 will utilize a strong combination of environment-friendly green features.” Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED is the world’s most widely used and recognized green building program. The LEED system is point-based, and the level of a LEED project – Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum – is determined by the number of points it has earned. A project can receive LEED points at various stages in its development, such as design or construction.
Phase 2 construction will feature classrooms, computer labs, science labs, offices and support space. The three buildings included in Phase 2 will house academic programs and services from the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Human Services, and Fine Arts and Communication. They will also include programs and services from the WIU 60th Street Campus in Moline, IL, including the library, classes offered through the Quad Cities Graduate Study Center, and WQPT-Quad Cities public television.
History of the WIU Riverfront Campus

In 2003, John Deere donated its former Technical Center in Moline, including 20 adjacent acres along the Mississippi, to WIU-QC, to serve as the site of a new Riverfront Campus. WIU-QC determined that work on the campus would be completed in two phases.
Jerod Engler of Bush Construction acted as Project Manager for the first phase. Phase 1 included the renovation of a two-story, 60,300-square-foot building, which houses the College of Business and Technology. This green building project consisted of partial demolition of the existing structure, multiple additions, and extensive remodeling. Phase 1 has received LEED Silver status.
The second phase is now beginning, and like the building in Phase 1, the three buildings in Phase 2 will feature a modern steel and glass look. “Phase 2 will continue with the same high standards as Phase 1,” said Bill Brewer, Assistant Director of Physical Plant, WIU-QC Operations and Maintenance. “Phase 2 will also maintain the strong commitment to environmental sustainability found in the first phase.”
According to Brewer, completion of Phase 2 is anticipated in Summer 2014.
Green Features Planned for Phase 2
In recent years, Bush has played a key role in numerous high-profile green building projects in the Iowa-Illinois Quad-Cities, including WIU-QC Riverfront Campus, Phase 1; Davenport Public Library, Eastern Avenue Branch; and the MetroLINK Transit Maintenance Facility, currently in progress. According to Davis, Phase 2 of Riverfront Campus will include numerous applications of green technology, including:
Vegetative Roofing: Whether you call it a vegetative, green, or living roof, this form of sustainable technology is often what people think of first, when they consider possible green building features. A vegetative roof is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium. The greenery is planted over a waterproofing membrane, and the roof may also include additional layers, such as root barriers and drainage/irrigation systems. Vegetative roofs absorb rainwater, provide insulation, and also help lower urban air temperatures.
Geothermal Technology: Geothermal systems use the Earth’s ambient, subsurface temperatures – a free, inexhaustible source of energy – to heat and cool buildings. The process employs a geothermal heat pump, which is a central heating/cooling system that pumps heat to or from the ground. It uses the earth as a heat source in cold weather, and as heat sink when temperatures rise. Geothermal technology substantially reduces the operational costs of heating/cooling systems.
Enhanced Commissioning: Commissioning is the process of verifying, in new construction, that a building’s subsystems achieve the project’s requirements, as intended by the owner and as designed by the architects and engineers. These subsystems can include HVAC, plumbing, electrical, building envelopes, and more. The main goal is to maximize the project’s efficiency, from the design phase through post-construction and occupancy.
Daylighting: Daylighting is the practice of positioning windows or other building openings so that natural sunlight provides effective internal lighting. Energy savings are achieved through the reduced use of electricity and the warmth gained from solar heat. Artificial lighting use can be reduced through daylight harvesting – a process in which dimming/switching electric lights respond automatically to the presence of daylight.
Waste Management/Recycling: When construction waste ends up in landfills, it increases the burden on landfill loading and operation. Whenever possible, it is best to minimize and recycle construction waste, demolition debris, and land-clearing debris – a process known as construction waste management. Specifications for the Phase 2 construction project stipulate that a minimum of 75% of construction waste will be recycled.
“We look forward to working with WIU-QC again on Phase 2,” said Loss. “We commend them for their commitment to green building, and for providing a healthy environment for their students and employees.”

For more information on Bush Construction, call (563) 344-3791 or visit www.BushConstruct.com. To find out more about Western Illinois University in the Quad Cities, visit www.wiu.edu/qc/.
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Think Spring and Liven Up Your Landscape at the Rock Island Library PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Rock Island Library   
Friday, 01 March 2013 15:12

Rock Island, IL: If you’re in the mood for spring, the Rock Island Public Library is ready to help you liven up your landscape with a new series of gardening programs in March and April.


The following Liven Up your Landscape programs start at 6:30 pm in the second-floor Community Room of the Rock Island Main Library, 401 19th Street.


Go Wild, Go Native: Wednesday, March 6. Looking for some new ideas for your garden? Head to the library for a program with Marilyn Andress from Interstate Resource Conservation and Development, RiverBend Wildland Stewards. Ms. Andress will share tips and recommendations and the benefits of adding wild and native plants to your garden.

Putting Some Herbs in Your Life: Wednesday, March 13. Herbs add flavor and color to your garden and your home. Peg Christensen, from QC Herbs, will share her knowledge about how easily you can add herbs to most areas of your life, including your kitchen, bathroom, closets and more.

Starting a Rain Garden: Monday, April 1. Dan Mays, Scott County Master Gardener, created his first rain garden more than a decade ago. Mr. Mays will share some tips and tricks to getting started, how he began his first rain garden, and some recommendations you won't find anywhere else. Attendees can also pick up an application for the City of Rock Island's Rain Garden reimbursement program at the end of the evening.

Flying Flowers in Your Garden: Monday, April 8. Can you identify the butterflies of our area by some of their caterpillars? Roxie and Dallas DeShane, River Bend Wildland Stewards, will share what host plants each butterfly prefers for their larvae, so you can attract these “flying flowers” to your garden this spring. Handouts will be available to help you plan and plant your garden.

Vegetable Gardening - A Feast for the Eyes and Palate: Monday, April 15. Learn how to make your vegetable garden the star of the neighborhood by choosing edible plants that are nutritious, tasty, and beautiful. From the flashes of gold dangling from a Sunshine Cherry Tomato on a decorative trellis to the bright blue peppers of a Filius Blue pepper plant, a vegetable garden can provide a feast for the eyes and for the palate. Sandy Russell from Tastes of the Rainbow will show how using organic or heirloom seeds can help you add extra color and flavor to your vegetable garden.


Programs are free and open to the public. For more news about Rock Island Public Library events, visit www.rockislandlibrary.org, call 309-732-7323 (READ), or follow the Rock Island Library on Facebook and Twitter. A monthly calendar of library events is available online and at library locations.


Governor Quinn Announces Investments to Continue Developing Millennium Reserve PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Richard Martin   
Friday, 01 March 2013 15:09

More Than $6 Million in State and Local Partnership Investments to Help Create the Largest Open Space Project in the Country

CHICAGO – March 1, 2013. Governor Pat Quinn today took another major step towards revitalizing Chicago’s Calumet region by announcing $6.8 in state and local investments to continue developing the Millennium Reserve, a 140,000-acre project to create the largest open space area in the country. The governor also signed an Executive Order creating a steering committee made up of federal, state and local partners that will oversee the vision for the reserve. Making the Millennium Reserve a reality is part of the governor’s ongoing commitment to protecting Illinois’ natural resources, creating jobs and strengthening communities.

“These key investments, along with the creation of the steering committee, will help us continue to create the Millennium Reserve and connect our Calumet communities through trails and green space,” Governor Quinn said. “By creating the largest open space project in the country, we are giving more children an opportunity to experience the great outdoors and continuing to make Illinois one of the nation’s greenest states.”

The Millennium Reserve Steering Committee will submit a preliminary report to the governor within six months of its first meeting, and will provide regular reports every six months thereafter. The steering committee will identify specific projects of regional significance, recommend major policy initiatives that could be pursued by the state of Illinois and partner organizations, and identify potential funding sources for projects within the Millennium Reserve.

"I want to thank Governor Quinn for creating the steering committee, and I look forward to helping him continue to help move this first-of-its-kind project forward," said John Rogner, who directs landscape conservation activities for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and will serve as chair of the steering committee. "Illinois' Millennium Reserve initiative will serve as a national model not only for the preservation and expansion of green space, but also for increasing outdoor recreation in urban communities."

“Americans spent more than $145 billion dollars in 2011 on outdoor recreation, including bird watching, hiking and fishing,” Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Marc Miller said. “Investments like these in open space projects and outdoor recreation make a lot of sense. The Calumet area of Chicago is home to some of Illinois’ richest biodiversity, with a wide variety of wildlife and plant species in the midst of an urban environment. In the Millennium Reserve, we are following Mother Nature’s course, and creating a destination for all Illinoisans and the 53 million tourists who visit the Chicago area every year.”

Standing inside the newly-constructed visitor center at William W. Powers State Recreation Area on Chicago’s South Side, Governor Quinn today announced the following investments within the Millennium Reserve boundaries:

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grants - The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has been awarded two federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants for work that will benefit the environment and the economy of Millennium Reserve. Nearly $400,000 is being invested for Greencorps Chicago (GC), which is the city of Chicago’s green jobs training program. GC will work on invasive species control at 15 sites in the Millennium Reserve. An additional $300,000 will support the expansion of green infrastructure projects in seven suburban communities.

Chicago Park District Projects - Using federal funding from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the IDNR is investing $200,000 in the Chicago Park District’s efforts to improve two recent land acquisitions within the Millennium Reserve. 

Recreational investments - The state of Illinois is using more than $5 million in federal grant funding to invest in recreation opportunities within the Millennium Reserve. $4.7 million from the federally-funded Illinois Transportation Enhancements Program (ITEP) will be used by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County to construct new links in the Cal-Sag Trail and the Thorn Creek Trail. Another $600,000 in federal Coastal Zone Management Program funding is being invested in expanding fishing opportunities for youth in the region.

William W. Powers Visitor Center - A $900,000 capital investment is being used to complete the new visitor center at William W. Powers State Recreation Area, due to open later this year. The exciting, contemporary facility will orient visitors to the state recreation area on Chicago’s South Side with exhibits engaging adults and children with the natural features and historical significance of Wolf Lake. Public meeting space within the visitor center building will be available for use by groups and partners in the Calumet Region.

The Millennium Reserve: Calumet Core initiative is built upon strong partnerships, community planning, and the work of active citizens and organizations who have sought to transform an economically-challenged industrial region into a re-envisioned community landscape that is economically, environmentally and culturally vital to the region. The project is part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to reconnect Americans, especially children, to America's rich outdoor treasures; build upon public and private priorities for conservation and recreation lands; and use science-based management practices to restore and protect our lands and waters for future generations.

For more information on the Millennium Reserve Initiative visit  http://millenniumreserve.illinois.gov.



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