Environment & Weather
Xstream Cleanup Results: VOLUNTEERS CLEAN UP OVER 47,000 LBS OF MATERIAL PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Erin Vorac   
Monday, 13 August 2012 13:01
QUAD CITIES—Volunteers at the ninth annual Xstream Cleanup on Saturday, August 11 removed approximately 47,407 pounds of debris from area waterways and illegal dumpsites. Cleanups were held at 43 locations in Bettendorf, Buffalo, Davenport, LeClaire, McCausland and Lost Grove Lake, in Iowa; Milan, Moline, Rock Island and Silvis, in Illinois.

• 1,476 volunteers worked a total of 4,226 hours and collectively gathered 1,499 bags of trash, 658 tires, 16 appliances, 16 bicycles, 22 pieces of furniture, 37 televisions and 16 mattresses. This was the equivalent of 28,840 pounds of trash, 15,744 pounds of tires, 1,200 pounds of appliances, 368 pounds of bicycles, 330 pounds of televisions and 925 pounds of mattresses for a grand total of 47,407 pounds. In addition, volunteers removed 46,060 pounds of material from Living Lands and Waters’ barge. The material was hand sorted by volunteers and 30,000 pounds were recycled.
Additional items found, not reflected in the pounds above, included:
• Construction-related items: wire fencing, wood, metal, construction debris, road construction sign, barricade, tarp, barrels, chain link fence.
• Weaponry: partial gun, knife, BB gun, handgun without the barrel (turned into police), holster & bullets.
• Children’s-related items: slippy slide, kiddie pools, bounce house, stroller, scooter, Batman belt, basketball, soccer ball, goal post.
• Automotive-related items: car parts, car bumper, windshield, 25 car batteries, car fender, tire rim, motorcycle front end, engine block.
• Home-related items: box spring, bed frame, kitchen sink, carpet, toilet, bathroom sink, vacuum cleaner, grill, grill cover, lawn chair, futon.
• Miscellaneous items: wedding dress, backpack, high heels, jewelry, a concrete elephant, moonshine parts, purse and several drivers’ licenses, wallet with driver’s license, dollar bill, check, cash register.
In addition, this year the following locations worked on beautification efforts:

• Greenvalley Nature Preserve in Moline: chipped 10 yards of European Buckthorn.
• Fairmount Cemetery in Davenport: removed one 50 foot long by 15 foot wide trailer of brush from the prairie.
• Nahant Marsh in Davenport: removed seven 12 foot trailers of brush from the prairie.
Photos of several cleanup sites can be viewed on-line at www.xstreamcleanup.org

This event was sponsored by the following:

Presenting Sponsors: Group O and Riverboat Development Authority.
Platinum Sponsors: Alcoa, iLivehere® and Living Lands & Waters.
Gold Sponsors: Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, 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, Oystar Packaging Technologies, Quad City Conservation Alliance, Radish magazine, Sears Seating and Wallace’s Garden Center.
Bronze Sponsors: Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Downtown Davenport Partnership, Eastern Iowa Grain Inspection, Mel Foster Company, Midas Auto Systems Experts and THE National Bank.
Logistics Sponsors: Cities of Bettendorf, Buffalo, Davenport, LeClaire, McCausland, Milan, Moline, Rock Island and Silvis. Allied Waste, Bi-State Regional Commission, Keep Rock Island Beautiful, Partners of Scott County Watersheds, River Roots Live and Waste Commission of Scott County.

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Illinois River wetlands gain world recognition PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Kara Beach   
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 14:53

Hennepin, Lewistown marshes attract endangered species, international praise

LEWISTOWN – August 8, 2012. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon today dedicated two wetlands along the Illinois River that gained international prestige this year for transforming flood-prone land into natural habitats for endangered and native species and plants. Restoration of one wetland, the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge near Hennepin, helped bring back the pied-billed grebe from risk of extinction in Illinois, while the restoration of the Emiquon Complex near Lewistown has attracted thousands of American coots.

During a meeting of the Illinois River Coordinating Council (IRCC), Simon led council members and local conservationists in a joint celebration and dedication recognizing the Dixon refuge and the Emiquon Complex. The marshy ecosystems were officially designated Wetlands of International Importance by the federal government earlier this year in accordance with the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, an international treaty signed by 162 nations committed to the protection of wetlands.

The Ramsar designation is a sought-after accolade for wetland advocates as it calls global attention to local conservation efforts and demonstrates the government’s commitment to maintaining the ecological sites. In the case of Dixon and Emiquon, it highlights restoration efforts that returned the wetlands to their natural state. The sites are also home to several state and federal endangered species, including the Common Moorhen, Piping Plover, Yellow-headed Blackbird, and King Rail.

“The Dixon refuge and Emiquon Complex are international models of environmental restoration,” Simon said. “By returning this land to its natural state, we created a home for plants, fish and birds that were being driven to extinction and an environmental tourism destination that will attract visitors from all around. I want to thank the Ramsar Secretariat for recognizing the work that’s been done to restore these natural resources and helping to boost efforts moving forward.”

Dixon and Emiquon are two of three sites from the United States that received Ramsar designation this year and join the ranks of recognized sites around the world including along the Nile and Danube rivers. Of the over 2,000 designated sites, 34 are in the U.S. including the Cache River-Cypress Creek Wetlands and the Upper Mississippi River Floodplain Wetlands in Illinois.

To be designated as a Wetland of International Importance, a proposed site must meet at least one of nine criteria that validate its global importance. These criteria include supporting 20,000 or more waterbirds, housing vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered species and supporting at least 1 percent of the population of one species or subspecies of waterbird.

The 14,000 acre Emiquon Complex, which includes the Emiquon and Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuges and the Emiquon Preserve, is jointly managed by The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Emiquon met or exceeded eight of the nine criteria including the presence of 4.5 percent of the continental population of American coots and supporting hundreds of thousands of ducks, geese, and other waterbirds including the Pectoral Sandpiper, far surpassing the Ramsar criterion of 20,000.

The Emiquon Preserve is a major source of economic development, pumping $1.1 million into Fulton and Mason counties in 2009, according to a study by the University of Illinois. The study estimated that 17,000 tourists visited the preserve in 2009 to take advantage of the hiking, fishing, boating, wildlife viewing and waterfowl hunting opportunities that are available.

“This designation not only validates our successes to date, but also provides hope for conserving the ecological health of the Illinois River and other great rivers around the world as we share lessons learned at these sites,” said Doug Blodgett, director of river conservation at The Nature Conservancy and an IRCC citizen member.

The 2,700 acre Dixon Waterfowl Refuge is managed by The Wetlands Initiative and met six Ramsar criteria including serving as an important example of the region’s rare native landscape and supporting biodiversity including 148 animal and plant species that are vulnerable to extinction in Illinois. This includes plants such as the yellow monkey-flower, royal catchfly, and decurrent false aster.

The refuge is open to the public daily for hiking, bird-watching, and paddling. A 30-foot-tall observation tower provides an expansive vista of the restored lakes and marsh, while a half-mile boardwalk trail from the boat launch parking lot allows up-close views of unique wetland plants and wildlife. These opportunities attract between 5,000 and 8,000 visitors annually.

“At the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge, 260 bird species and more than 570 native plants are contained in one of the most diverse natural areas in the state,” said Paul Botts, executive director of The Wetlands Initiative. “There is a rich variety of habitat communities, including a rare seep. When standing in the refuge, you almost feel like you are in ancient wilderness. This certainly is one of the most significant sites on our planet to support a diversity of life.”

The celebration, dubbed A Great Day for the Illinois River, was held at the Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown, but attendees were connected to participants at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge through a live video feed. Speakers at the ceremony included Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller and Ivan Zavadsky of the United Nations Development Programme’s Global Environment Facility.

In addition to the IRCC, Simon also chairs the Mississippi and the Ohio and Wabash river coordinating councils. These councils promote the environmental and economic health of Illinois’ rivers and tributaries. The councils are composed of a diverse group of citizens, not-for-profit organizations, and state and federal agencies, and hold quarterly meetings across the state to gather local input on conservation issues.

 
Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds release statements on additional disaster designations PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Office of Governor Terry Branstad   
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 14:30

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, today, issued statements on the USDA disaster designation of four additional Iowa counties as primary natural disaster areas and six counties listed as contiguous disaster counties due to the drought.

On July 16, Gov. Branstad sent a letter to Sec. Vilsack requesting a drought disaster declaration for impacted Iowa counties. The letter to Sec. Vilsack can be viewed here. As a result, 42 Iowa counties were designated as disastrous on Aug. 1.

Gov. Branstad released the following statement:

“Today’s disaster designation of 10 additional Iowa counties demonstrates the impact that the drought has made on Iowa’s agricultural industry. The Lt. Governor and I would like to extend our gratitude towards Sec. Vilsack in recognizing the needs of these additional counties. This disaster designation will provide affected Iowans with additional resources during these difficult times.”

Lt. Gov. Reynolds released the following statement:

“The governor and I know that farmers can and will overcome the current drought conditions, and we will continue to work with federal and state partners to provide necessary resources for Iowans.”

 
Xstream Cleanup this Saturday PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Erin Vorac   
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 09:42

WHAT: Xstream Cleanup—over 1,600 volunteers will team up to clean up 43 waterways and other areas in need of care in the Quad Cities.

WHEN: Saturday, August 11, 2012. 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Preliminary results of the cleanup will be available by 3 p.m. Saturday. Call Erin Vorac at 563-349-3345.

WHO: Over 1,600 volunteers of all ages, some working in teams and representing businesses and organizations throughout the Quad Cities.

WHERE: 43 sites are targeted for cleanup.

See https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=gmail&attid=0.2&thid=13906d6e4ecf37c2&mt=application/pdf&url=https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui%3D2%26ik%3D7484cc5eec%26view%3Datt%26th%3D13906d6e4ecf37c2%26attid%3D0.2%26disp%3Dsafe%26zw&sig=AHIEtbTEeJRQhdNO4vnenrQhHI6Vmxf1bA.

  • Iowa: Bettendorf, Buffalo, Davenport, LeClaire, McCausland and Scott County; Illinois: Milan, Moline, Rock Island and Silvis

 
Simon: Illinois River sites gain international prestige PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Justin Stofferahn   
Tuesday, 07 August 2012 11:08
LEWISTOWN – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon will dedicate two wetlands along the Illinois River that gained international prestige this year for turning flood-prone farmland into natural habitats for endangered and native species and plants. Restoration of one wetland, the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge near Hennepin, helped bring back the pied-billed grebe from risk of extinction in Illinois.

The dedication ceremony for the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge and the Emiquon Complex near Lewistown comes during a meeting of the Illinois River Coordinating Council, which Simon chairs. The marshy ecosystems were designated Wetlands of International Importance by the federal government in accordance with the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, an international treaty signed by 162 nations committed to the protection of wetlands. The designation recognizes the sites as international models of restoration and expresses the government’s commitment to maintaining the ecological character of the site, Simon said.

The celebration, dubbed A Great Day for the Illinois River, will be held concurrently at the Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown and the Dixon Refuge. Speakers at the two sites will be connected through a live video feed. After the river council meeting, attendees at Emiquon will have an opportunity to canoe and kayak, while visitors at Dixon can take a guided nature walk.

DATE: Wednesday, Aug. 8

TIME: 1:15 p.m. media availability, 1:30 meeting start

LOCATION: Dickson Mounds Museum, 10956 North Dickson Mounds Road, Lewistown

 

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