Environment & Weather
Des Moines, Iowa, Selected for Green Design Assistance PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Kris Lancaster   
Friday, 14 September 2012 14:59

(Kansas City, Kan., Sept. 12, 2012) - EPA has selected Des Moines, Iowa, to receive technical assistance for green infrastructure design under its Greening America’s Capitals program. The benefits for Iowa’s capital city will include wider sidewalks, narrower traffic lanes, better lighting, improved bus stop shelters, permeable pavement, and rain gardens that can minimize stormwater runoff.

“This project will help revitalize an area of Des Moines that has been a focus of local investment, spurring economic and social benefits in Iowa’s capital city,” said Karl Brooks, regional administrator.  “We hope to inspire government and community leaders to expand this work elsewhere in Iowa.”

The focus of the project is a proposed streetscape plan for a one-mile segment of Sixth Avenue. The Sixth Avenue Corridor serves as the northern gateway to the city’s downtown, and is an official Main Street Iowa Urban Neighborhood District and has direct access to the Des Moines River. The city plans to use the Sixth Avenue project to guide designs for other planned streetscape improvements throughout the community.

A team of designers and landscape architects that specialize in green infrastructure approaches will produce schematic designs and illustrations during a three-day design workshop that will take place in Des Moines later this year or early next year.  Additionally, this project could be the testing ground for city actions, such as changes to local codes and ordinances to better support sustainable growth and green building.

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For more information: www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/greencapitals.htm

Governor Branstad, Lt. Governor Reynolds urge Iowans to prepare during Family Preparedness Month PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Office of Governor Terry Branstad   
Thursday, 13 September 2012 07:59

(DES MOINES) – On the 11-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, Governor Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds are reminding Iowans of the importance of being prepared for emergencies and disasters.


“The anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is an opportunity to encourage Iowans to take steps now to prepare themselves, their families and their communities for any emergency,” said Branstad.


Governor Branstad has proclaimed September as Family Preparedness Month in Iowa. Preparedness Month was created in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in an effort to educate the public on how to prepare for emergencies.


The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division (HSEMD), Safeguard Iowa Partnership (SIP) and Iowa Emergency Management Association (IEMA) are partnering to encourage Iowans to take a Pledge to Prepare by taking just one simple step to be more prepared for emergencies. The pledge can be found at www.beready.iowa.gov, www.safeguardiowa.org or www.iowaema.com.


“We hope that taking the Pledge to Prepare will encourage Iowans to think about what they will need to do if they are in an emergency situation,” said Reynolds.


In addition to the evident benefits of being better prepared, those who take the pledge may be eligible to win prizes by entering the Pledge to Prepare contest. Individuals, families and groups are invited to record and submit a video showing how they are taking the pledge. Videos must be submitted by Sept. 20. HSEMD, SIP and IEMA will choose the top five videos and ask the public to select their favorite in an online vote Sept. 24-28.


Iowans who don’t submit a video may still enter their Pledge to Prepare in a random drawing. Pledges may be submitted online or via FAX through Sept. 30. Winners for the contest and drawing will be announced Oct. 1. Target has joined HSEMD, SIP and IEMA in this effort and will provide gift cards and a NOAA weather radio as prizes for the contest and drawing. SIP is also providing emergency preparedness kits to contest and drawing winners.


For more information on Family Preparedness Month and the Pledge to Prepare contest and drawing, visit www.beready.iowa.gov, www.safeguardiowa.org or www.iowaema.com.



Foresty Field Day Tour PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Julie Jacobs   
Monday, 10 September 2012 14:25
Rock Falls, IL - Jerry and Marge Misek were selected as 2011 Illinois’ Tree Farmers of the Year. A tour of their Jo Daviess County Tree Farm, Acorn Acres, is being sponsored by the Illinois Tree Farm Program and the Northwest Illinois Forestry Association on Saturday, September 29th.

The tour is open to the public and will start with registration from 9:00 to 9:45 am. There will be a $5.00 registration fee to cover lunch and snacks.

Following registration, small groups will start a walking tour of moderate difficulty through the forest. There will be 8 ten minute stops on the half mile tour. At each stop, speakers will discuss their topic and answer brief questions. Topics covered are: regeneration from the 1998 wind storm damage; tree diseases; pond establishment; commercial thinning of Black Walnut; Bush Honeysuckle eradication; Shiitake mushroom production; selecting crop trees in a pre-commercial Black Walnut thinning; and Black Walnut sale.

Lunch will follow the forestry tour with short presentations, door prizes, and a Woodmizer sawmill demonstration. The afternoon quarter mile walking tour will include 6 stops. The stops will include: CRP warm season grass establishment; CRP shrub plantings; dry dam; grass waterways, diversion and rock checks; wildlife food plot, firebreaks, and alternative warm season grasses; and a shallow water pond.

The event will take place rain or shine, so please dress accordingly. The morning walking tour will last 2 hours and the afternoon tour will last 1 ½ hours. Attendees should have the ability to walk over the trails. Come to the tour and enjoy a walk in a hardwood forest adorned with fall colors, meet some great people, and maybe pick up a useful idea or two.

102 East Route 30, Suite 3 • Rock Falls, IL 61071 • Phone: 815-625-3854 • Fax: 815-625-4072 • www.blackhawkhills.com

The Acorn Acres Tree Farm is located 6 miles southeast of Elizabeth, IL. To reach the tour site from the north, take Route 20 to Derinda Road (2 miles east of Elizabeth), turn south and travel 3 ½ miles to Skene Road. Turn left on Skene Road and travel ½ mile to the farm lane. The address is 3093 East Skene Road.

From the south, take Route 78 north of Mt. Carroll for 2 miles and turn left on Elizabeth Road. Travel approximately 6 miles and at the stop sign, turn right on Zion Road. Continue on Zion Road and it will turn into Massbach Road as you enter Jo Daviess County. Stay on Massbach Road (do not take a left at the “to Elizabeth” sign) and drive through Massbach. About 1 ½ mile north of Massbach, turn left on Skene Road and travel 2 miles to the farm lane. (Travelers from the south may also just follow the blue Massbach Ridge Winery signs and go 1 ½ mile north of the Winery to Skene Road.) Directional signs will be posted at Skene Road and on Route 20 at Derinda Road.

Contact Jerry or Marge Misek by email @ This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone 815-598-3215 with questions or for more information.


News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Courtney Boothe   
Wednesday, 05 September 2012 14:35

Refurbished Condos Will Feature Huge Green Space On Roof


Muscatine, IA (September 2012) – Installation of green roof on the The Pearl View Condos of Muscatine, Iowa is happening now through the end of the day on Friday.  The condos, located in the newly refurbished Hotel Muscatine, will feature over 2,000 square feet of green roof. The roof will be covered with the LiveRoof® 6” Deep System. It will feature two custom sedum base mixes with over 30 unique varieties.  Walkways and a patio will create an enjoyable space for both entertaining and enjoying the exquisite views of the Mississippi River. Four custom grass and wildflower mixes are being used, totaling 26 different perennial accent varieties.


Besides being beautiful, the green roof’s vegetation soaks up rainfall and reduces storm water runoff.  The green roof helps reduce rooftop temperatures during summer, thereby protecting and extending the life of the roof membrane.  Green roofs are estimated to double the life of roofing materials and they work as insulation to reduce heating and cooling costs.  In addition to using plants that are well-established in soil specially engineered for the extremes of a rooftop environment, the LiveRoof® System also features a patent-pending hybrid design combining the best features of all green roof systems. The LiveRoof® System reduces labor costs to maintain compared to most systems, since the established plants thrive as their own living mulch.


About Roof Top Sedums: Roof Top Sedums was established in 2007 and is a Regional LiveRoof® Licensed Grower servicing Iowa, Western Illinois, Eastern Nebraska, Eastern Kansas, and most of Missouri.  The business is 100% women-owned and certified nationally as a Women’s Business Enterprise.  Co-founder Roxanne Nagel explains, “Green roofs have become widely accepted as an integral part of sustainable renovations. We are equally excited about the future of LiveWall® and our role to provide an exceptional product in our region.”  For more information on projects previously grown by Roof Top Sedums or information about the LiveRoof® System, visit www.rooftopsedums.com.


Governor Quinn Vetoes “Plastic Bag” Bill, Calls it a Roadblock to Innovation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Erin Wilson   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 14:01

Victory for environment

CHICAGO – August 26, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today vetoed a bill which would have removed the right of home rule communities to implement innovative solutions to the plastic bag litter problem. In his veto message, the governor said the bill is more restrictive on municipalities than any other plastic bag regulation in the country, which would have created a roadblock for locals to choose policies that fit the needs of the area.

The governor also reiterated his commitment to working with communities, businesses and advocates to pass a better bill in the next legislative session to increase recycling.

“Justice Louis Brandeis once called states the ‘laboratories of democracy’ for our nation. Let’s not tie the hands of innovative Illinois municipalities that are laboratories of reform for Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “While well-intentioned, this legislation is a roadblock to innovation that would do little to boost recycling in Illinois. We can do better."

Senate Bill 3442, also known as the “plastic bag” bill, would have required manufacturers to register with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and stamp a number on each plastic bag. The bill would have outlawed the purchase of plastic bags from non-registered manufacturers and prohibited municipalities from enacting their own recycling programs, fees or outright bans on plastic bags.

The bill was opposed by the Illinois Municipal League and 150 municipalities who saw it as an undermining of home rule. Under the 1970 Illinois Constitution, home rule enables municipalities to exercise greater control over local problems. Illinois currently has 209 home rule units whose authority would have been weakened by this bill.

“This bill was an assault on the principle of home rule and the idea that innovations can come from municipalities,” said Mayor Don Gerard of Champaign, whose City Council was moving towards regulation of plastic bags in retail stores. “If the City of Champaign and other towns want to put a fee on plastic bags or ban them or do nothing, it should be our choice.”

Municipalities around the nation are tackling the plastic bag litter problem with innovative methods. Washington D.C., for example, has imposed a nickel per bag fee which has reduced plastic bag usage by 80 percent. Outright bans have been enacted by 40 local governments in California (including San Francisco and Los Angeles County), Seattle, Austin and elsewhere.

Plastic bag litter is a growing and expensive problem throughout the nation. Plastic bags are found tangled in trees, littering waterways and harming wildlife. Governor Quinn is committed to enacting policies that prevent pollution and safeguard our communities and natural resources. Today’s veto received praise from environmental advocates.

“With this veto, Governor Quinn has completed the 2012 legislative session with a perfect record for the environment,” said Jennifer Walling, Executive Director of the Illinois Environmental Council.

“Illinois has a history of upholding home rule authority. This bill would have handcuffed communities wishing to implement innovative solutions,” said the Sierra Club’s Jack Darin, one of 14 signers of a letter from religious and environmental groups urging a veto.

In addition, Governor Quinn noted the efforts of 13-year old Abby Goldberg, whose online petition drive to stop the bill garnered 175,000 signatures. Last year, the 7th grader at Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake, Illinois, was given the assignment in her environmental awareness class to design an environmental project. She decided to convince her village board to enact a ban on plastic bags. When she learned that a bill was moving through the Legislature to prevent Grayslake and other towns from enacting such a ban, she took action.

“I love animals. When I saw birds and turtles choked by plastic bags, it hurt,” Goldberg said. “I’ve learned that no matter what your age, you can make a difference.”

Opponents to the bill and those urging a veto include the Illinois Municipal League, Northwest Municipal Conference, nearly 150 municipalities, Sierra Club, Illinois Environmental Council, Environment Illinois, Illinois Recycling Association, Chicago Recycling Coalition, Prairie River Network, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Center for Neighborhood Technology, Natural Resources Defense Council, Faith in Place, Protestants for the Common Good, Illinois Policy Institute, Surfrider Chicago, Center for Oceanic Awareness, the 175,000 signers of Abby Goldberg’s online petition and others.


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