Environment & Weather
Living Lands & Waters to Hold Annual Barge Party Featuring New Teamwork Barge PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Natalie Linville-Mass   
Friday, 20 July 2012 13:30

Davenport, IA / July 16, 2012 – Local residents will have a chance to tour Living Lands & Waters’ new Teamwork Barge Thursday, August 9th from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m at the Lake Davenport Sailing Club at Oneida Avenue and River Drive.  The 150-foot long barge features a handicapped-accessible classroom, which can host up to 60 students at a time, as well as sleeping quarters for an 8 person Living Lands & Waters crew.  The LL&W crew will be providing tours of the new classroom during the annual Barge Party, a celebration and appreciation event for volunteers and supporters of the environmental group.  Chad Pregracke and his Living Lands & Waters’ staff and crew will be on hand to celebrate fifteen years of river cleanups, environmental education workshops, the MillionTrees project and engaging communities in river stewardship. 

The menu for this year’s Barge Party will feature a fish fry & shrimp boil and Root Beer floats featuring River Rat Root Beer and Whitey’s Ice cream.  The Barge Party will also feature live music by Alan Sweet and Justin Morrissey and a silent art auction, featuring the works of nearly a dozen regional artists who donated river-inspired pieces, including salvaged material sculptures, mixed media painting, folk art, driftwood pieces, quilts and glass art.  Chad Pregracke will update guests on the progress they’ve made this year. “We couldn’t keep these barges running, making the river a cleaner place, without the support of Quad-Citians who volunteer and support Living Lands & Waters. It all makes a difference and we are so grateful,” said Chad Pregracke, Founder & President of Living Lands & Waters. Tickets for the event are $35 per person. Reservations can be made by calling the office at (309) 496-9848 or going to their website www.livinglandsandwaters.org. Spots are limited, so please make your reservation soon to guarantee a seat.

Teachers interested in exploring a workshop for their students should contact Tammy Becker at LL&W:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . “We have had over 1,600 teachers in our Educational Workshops dating back to 2003.  The new barge will create an opportunity for thousands of students to experience the river first hand” said Pregracke.   Also on display at the barge party will be LL&W’s new one-thousand horse power tow boat which is needed to push the new floating classroom.  The floating classroom was made possible by the generous support of five of LL&W’s long-term partners:  Cargill, ADM, Caterpillar, AEP River Operations and Ingram Barge Company, as well as hundreds of area union carpenters and skilled tradesmen.

The Living Lands & Waters Barge Party is held in appreciation of volunteers, supporters and fans of LL&W’s efforts, as a celebration of the power of committed staff, volunteers and sponsors working together to meet an important need.

Chad Pregracke started Living Lands & Waters in 1998 as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the beautification and restoration of America’s major rivers and to the education of people about environmental issues. From his single boat beginning, LL&W has grown into an internationally known organization with a fleet of barges and workboats.  LL&W engages thousands of volunteers each year in river cleanups, hands-on environmental education workshops, the Great Mississippi River Cleanup, Adopt-a- River-Mile programs and the MillionTrees Project.


U.S. Energy Department Launches “Clean Energy in Our Community” Video Series PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by U.S. Dept of Energy   
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 08:45

Video by Luther College highlights positive impact of clean energy in Decorah, Iowa

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Energy Department launched the “Clean Energy in Our Community” video series, which will feature small communities throughout the country that are striving to become more sustainable, are investing in the green economy, and are bringing the benefits of clean energy to local residents and workers.  The Energy Department kicked off the series with a video from Luther College that highlights how Decorah, Iowa is benefiting from the projects undertaken by the college to reduce their energy consumption and deploy clean, renewable energy projects campus-wide.

“’Clean Energy in Our Community’ will highlight small communities around the country working to promote clean renewable energy initiatives and how our colleges and universities in particular play a critical role in shaping our communities and driving America’s clean energy economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.  “Luther College and Decorah, Iowa, are great examples of how our local communities can help lead the way in making sure that America wins the global clean energy race.”

Many community partnerships are emerging due to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. This commitment requires signatory colleges and universities to make sustainability a part of every student’s learning experience and to achieve carbon neutrality at some point in the future.  The program has had broad impacts not only on the college and university campuses involved, but also in the communities as a whole.

For example, the Luther College Board of Regents recently committed the school to cutting its carbon footprint in half by 2015 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.  Luther has already reduced its carbon footprint 22% through various energy efficiency initiatives. Now it is investing in clean renewable energy.  Last fall, Luther installed a 1.6 megawatt wind turbine.  This summer Luther established the largest zero-emission facility in Iowa by using a 280 KW solar field to power a 100 plus student residential housing complex that uses geothermal energy to heat and cool the facility. Luther has also created an Office of Sustainability that helps the college prioritize projects to meet its goals.

"To work toward carbon neutrality, the college will evaluate additional major initiatives, including investments in LED lighting technology, centralized or decentralized cogeneration of electricity and heat, as well as more use of solar thermal and solar electric technologies," President Richard Torgerson, Luther College said. "Advances in new technologies, coupled with conservation initiatives, will play a major role in achieving these ambitious goals."

The wider community has embraced Luther’s investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy.  The City of Decorah only has a population of 8,000 people but many residents, businesses, and non-profit institutions have been taking steps to make the community more sustainable.  The city has three Energy Star Certified Buildings and several others may soon become certified.  In addition, the recently created Winneshiek Energy District has helped area residents invest more than $1 million dollars in energy efficiency programs over the past two years.

The Energy Department is committed to supporting communities like Decorah as they invest in clean renewable energy that reduces carbon pollution, creates local jobs and helps to drive local economies.  This series will help connect and feature our small communities nationwide that are investing in clean energy and playing a role in making sure the United States leads the world in the global race for the green jobs of the future.


Braley to Discuss Iowa Drought on Weekly Press Conference Call PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 08:39

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) will hold his weekly press conference call with Iowa reporters this morning at 10:30am CDT.

Braley will discuss the drought Iowa farmers are facing this summer and its impact on Iowa’s agriculture economy, and take questions.

WHAT: Bruce Braley’s weekly press call with Iowa reporters

WHEN:                 TODAY, Wednesday July 18th, 2012

11:30am EDT // 10:30am CDT


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Braley Will Host Emergency Telephone Town Hall on Drought Situation in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Amanda Bowman   
Tuesday, 17 July 2012 15:49

Braley will talk with farmers about the drought’s effect on agriculture in eastern Iowa 

Washington, DC – On Thursday, July 19, 2012, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) will host an emergency telephone town hall with Iowa farmers to discuss the Iowa drought, its impact on Iowa agriculture, disaster relief, and this year’s Farm Bill. Braley will be joined by Juan Garcia, Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.

Braley has hosted 12 listening sessions on the Food, Farm and Job Bill across eastern Iowa this summer. The listening sessions have taken Braley to Grinnell, Independence, Manchester, Marengo, Marshalltown, Peosta, St. Ansgar, Strawberry Point, Toledo, and Vinton.  Also, Braley joined USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack at listening session events in Maquoketa and Cedar Rapids last month.

Braley and Garcia will be available to answer Iowans’ questions and comments live over the phone. The event is open to the public. Iowans interested in participating should use the following instructions.

Call-In Information: 

When: Thursday, July 19, 2012

Time: 7:00 PM Central Time

Phone Number: 877-229-8493, Code: 110428#

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Loebsack Welcomes USDA Disaster Designation for Southern Iowa Counties PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 17 July 2012 12:43

Washington, D.C. – July 17, 2012 - Congressman Dave Loebsack today applauded the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for issuing an agriculture disaster designation for the entire state of Missouri.  The designation also includes 10 Iowa counties along the border.

“Iowans who have lost livestock, have seen the quality of their crop decline, and are seeing grazing land dry up are in need of this assistance.  I applaud the USDA for their decision and stand ready to assist the farmers and rural areas who have been greatly impacted by the recent heat wave and lack of rain.  As Iowans continue to struggle to recover, our rural areas and farmers need this assistance to help assure they are well-positioned to contribute to our economic recovery.”

The 10 contiguous counties in Southern Iowa where benefits are also available include Appanoose, Davis, Decatur, Fremont, Lee, Page, Ringgold, Taylor, Van Buren and Wayne.


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