Environment & Weather
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by IL Dept of Agriculture   
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 14:14

Detections bring the number of infested Illinois counties to 26.

SPRINGFIELD, ILL. - A destructive pest that feasts on ash trees has been discovered for the first time in two northern Illinois counties.  The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDoA) today confirmed infestations of the emerald ash borer in Lee and Henry counties.

"In Lee County the beetle was discovered at an industrial site on the est side of Dixon," program manager Scott Schirmer said.  "The detection in Henry County occurred at Baker Park Golf Course in Kewanee."

The emerald ash borer is a small, metallic-green beetle native to Asia.  Its larvae burrow into the bark of ash trees, causing the trees to starve and eventually die.  While the beetle does not post any direct risk to public health, it does threaten the ash tree canopy.

Currently, 39 Illinois counties are under quarantine to prevent the "man-made" spread of the beetle.  The quarantine prohibits the intrastate movement of potentially-contaminated wood products, including ash trees, limbs and branches of all types of firewood.  Although the beetle had not been confirmed in Lee County until now, it is located adjacent to infested counties and already is within the quarantine boundaries.  Henry County, however, is not.

"The quarantine boundaries will need to be adjusted," Schirmer said. "Meantime, I'd encourage residents of Henry County to put the quarantine guidelines into practice by making sure not to transport any firewood or untreated wood products outside of their county of origin.  I'd also encourage tree companies, villages and cities to familiarize themselves with the rules and regulations pertaining to the processing and transporting of ash materials."

The emerald ash borer is difficult to detect, especially in newly-infested trees.  Signs of infestation include the presence of metallic-green beetles about haft the diameter of a penny on or around ash trees, thinning and yellowing leaves, D-shaped holes in the bark of the trunk or branches and basal shoots.

Since the beetle was first confirmed int eh Midwest in the Summer of 2002, it has killed more than 25 million ash trees.  Anyone who suspects a tree may be infested is urged to contact either their county extension office, village forester, or the IDoA.  For more information, visit www.IllinoisEAB.com.


U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to Attend Pheasants Forever Rally for Iowa’s Outdoor Legacy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Pheasants Forever   
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 13:36

Event to raise awareness and support for conservation throughout the state

Des Moines, Iowa – Sept. 26 – Pheasants Forever is pleased to announce Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former Iowa Governor, plans to speak at the organization’s Rally for Iowa’s Outdoor Legacy event this weekend.  The two-day conservation rally and summit for all residents of the Hawkeye state is slated for September 28 & 29 at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines.  The first-time event will bring together Iowans for a common cause: the protection of the state’s outdoor resources.

As part of Saturday’s conservation summit, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will address the Rally’s attendees. The Secretary is slated to speak at Saturday's luncheon.

In addition to Secretary Vilsack’s address, the weekend rally includes several speakers and panelists who are to highlight challenges and opportunities for conservation in Iowa as well as lessons from around the U.S. and other countries. Sessions and panel discussions include, but are not limited to, Private Land Management for Wildlife Diversity & Outdoor Recreation, Natural Resources Management and Economic Development, and Agriculture & Environmentalism – Perspectives from the Field.

“This rally is to remind Iowans that we live in an incredible state, but if we don’t take charge of our natural resources and work to protect them, we stand to lose them,” says Matt O’Connor, Pheasants Forever Iowa Conservation Director, “If our natural resources disappear, so will our healthy ecosystems and our outdoor heritage. I believe those attending will further appreciate and understand all that Iowa has to offer and what we can do to protect our state.”

Renowned outdoor advocates and conservationists Shane Mahoney and Dave Murphy will act as the summit’s keynote speakers. Mahoney is the Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Biodiversity, Ecosystem Science and Sustainability at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.  He is recognized as an international authority on conservation. Murphy is the Executive Director of the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM). CFM is the largest private citizen conservation organization in Missouri. CFM has over 100,000 members and 80 affiliated organizations acting as leaders in conservation of natural resources and protection.

Iowa’s Conservation Summit Details

  • Weekend tickets include Friday reception, Saturday luncheon, and Iowa’s Outdoor Legacy dinner and auction Saturday evening. Tickets are now available and can be purchased here.
  • All Pheasants Forever members are invited. Find out more information HERE
  • Event sponsors include Iowa Pheasants Forever, Iowa Association of County Conservation Boards, Iowa’s Water & Land Legacy, Iowa’s Natural Heritage Foundation and others.

Iowa is home to 105 Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever chapters and nearly 20,000 combined PF and QF members. For more information about the rally or to reserve tickets, call Mark Langgin, representative of Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy, at (515) 244-3468 or Matt O’Connor at (563) 926-2357 / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For all other inquiries, please contact Rehan Nana, Pheasants Forever Public Relations Specialist, at (651) 209-4973 / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 130,000 members and 700 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent, the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure.


Gov. Branstad extends Disaster Emergency Proclamation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Monday, 24 September 2012 14:22

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today authorized a proclamation of disaster emergency to extend the original proclamation signed on July 26, 2012. The extension is effective immediately and will last for 30 days from today.

The extended proclamation allows overwidth and overweight loads of hay, straw and stover. As a result of the drought experience by the state of Iowa, the effects of the drought continue and circumstances and reasons for issuance of the proclamation remain and continue.

Specifically, this proclamation, as did the original, allows for:

  • Overweight loads: Hay, straw and stover may be transported in loads weighing up to 90,000 pounds gross weight without obtaining an overweight permit normally required by the Iowa Department of Transportation. Overweight loads cannot travel on the interstate without a permit.  This proclamation applies to noninterstate roadways.  Specific axle weight limits do apply. Visit the Iowa DOT’s website www.iowa.dot.gov to see the maximum gross weight table and determine the legal limits for your vehicle/trailer combination.  A vehicle that is overweight, but not overwidth, can travel at all hours.
  • Overwidth loads: A vehicle transporting these goods can be overwidth, without an Iowa DOT permit, if they do not exceed 12 feet 5 inches wide.  An overwidth load can travel on any road, including the interstate, as long as its gross weight does not exceed 80,000 pounds.  Movement must occur between the hours of 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.  All flags, signs and lights normally required are still needed.
  • Overweight and overwidth loads: A vehicle transporting these goods can be both overwidth, up to 12 feet 5 inches, and overweight, up to 90,000 pounds.  However, these vehicles cannot travel on the interstate.
  • Driver hours of service: The driver hours-of-service regulations pertaining to persons transporting these specific agricultural goods are suspended. Certain rest periods must be provided to drivers to prevent fatigued or ill drivers from operating on the roadways.

For additional details, call 1-800-925-6469 or visit the Iowa DOT’s website at www.iowadot.gov where a question and answer sheet can be found.


Brucemore’s Autumn Landscape Hike PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Tara Richards   
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 12:41

Brucemore's bucolic landscape—with its rolling yards, soaring trees, timber-lined pond, and stunning gardens—is more than a beautiful setting, it also exhibits over 120 years of history. Embrace the harvest season by joining Brucemore’s gardeners on Saturday, October 20 at 10:30 a.m. for the Autumn Landscape Hike. Witness the subtle and spectacular dressings of the 26-acre autumnal landscape highlighted by the dusky plum and rusty barn red colors of the season.   Discover current landscape issues, the role of public use, and the seasonal chores required to preserve the historic grounds. See how planting choices with sensitivity to native species and seasonal display affect the overarching impact of a landscape design. Seek advice from Brucemore gardeners and ask questions on topics ranging from particular plantings to landscape design.

Admission is $10.00 per person and $7.00 per Brucemore member. Space is limited. Purchase tickets online at www.brucemore.org, by calling (319) 362-7375, or by visiting the Brucemore Store and Visitor Center.

Experience Brucemore, an unparalleled blend of tradition and culture, located at 2160 Linden Drive SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. At the heart of the historic 26-acre estate stands a nineteenth-century mansion filled with the stories of three Cedar Rapids families.  Concerts, theater, programs, and tours enliven the site and celebrate the heritage of a community.  For more information, call (319) 362-7375 or visit www.brucemore.org.


National Governors Association Selects Illinois for Industrial Energy Efficiency Grant PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Erin Wilson   
Monday, 17 September 2012 07:29

Quinn: CHP cuts manufacturing costs, air pollution

CHICAGO – September 13, 2012. Illinois is one of four states chosen by the National Governors Association (NGA) for a prestigious “Best Practices Policy Academy” grant to boost industrial productivity through use of energy efficiency and Combined Heat and Power (CHP).

The bipartisan NGA said Illinois earned the award due to its, “…approach to advancing industrial energy efficiency by engaging a wide range of stakeholders across the state to develop solutions linked to the state’s energy efficiency goals.”

“Industry is part of Illinois’ heritage, from the stockyards and blast furnaces of our parents’ generation to the high tech corridors of today,” Governor Quinn said. “Manufacturers can trim energy costs and sharpen their competitive edge by using CHP and other homegrown measures.”

Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is an efficient and clean approach to on-site power generation. Under conventional CHP, fuel is burned in a “prime mover” such as a gas turbine, with the waste heat “recycled” to provide heating, cooling and/or dehumidification. Under “Waste Energy Recovery” (WER), the fuel is burned in a furnace or boiler to provide heat to an industrial process, with excess heat “recycled” to generate electricity on-site.

Following a national trend, energy expenditures by Illinois’ 14,700 manufacturers have increased by 25 percent since 2000.

The NGA grant will address ways to enhance Illinois industry through energy efficiency and CHP in nine manufacturing sectors: primary metals, petroleum and coal products, chemical, food, nonmetallic mineral products, paper, fabricated metal products, machinery, and plastic and rubber products.

There are currently 139 CHP units in Illinois - accounting for 1,367 MW of electricity generation - powering factories, farms, schools, hospitals, museums, wastewater treatment plants and more. Large CHP facilities include the Archer Daniels Midland plants in Decatur and Peoria, University of Illinois campuses in both Champaign and Chicago, Eastern Illinois University and U.S. Steel’s Granite City Works. Others include the Brookfield Zoo, M&M Mars Candy Company, Great Lakes Naval Training Center and three veterans’ facilities.

Among the newer Illinois CHP installations is a 3 MW CHP system at the Illinois River Energy Ethanol Plant in Rochelle which was installed with the help of Federal stimulus funds and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The DCEO also provided assistance to build CHP plants at a Stephenson County dairy farm, and at wastewater treatment plants in Danville, Decatur, Downers Grove and Fox Lake.

Illinois is a leader in sustainability and energy efficiency, with efforts like the Green Governments Coordinating Council, ‘Illinois Energy Now Trade Ally Program’ and other energy-saving initiatives. In addition to the $12,000 grant, NGA will provide specialized assistance and work closely with the “Illinois team” to develop an action plan by April 2013 for use in other states. The Illinois team – still in formation – will include the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Energy Resources Center, Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois DCEO’s State Energy Office, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pollution Prevention, Office of the Governor and representatives of the State’s manufacturing and power utilities sectors.

The bipartisan National Governors Association has been the voice of the nation’s Governors since 1908. The NGA’s Center for Best Practices is the research and development arm of NGA that directly serves the nation’s governors. Through the Center, governors may learn what does (and doesn’t) work, obtain tailored assistance in designing new policy programs and receive timely information about cutting-edge programs in other states.


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