Environment & Weather
US Forest Service celebrates 75 years of national grasslands PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by L. F. Chambers   
Monday, 18 June 2012 14:02

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2012 -- The U.S. Forest Service will celebrate National Grasslands Week from June 17-23, showcasing the beauty, history and economic value of these national treasures on the 75th anniversary of the legislation that established them.

America’s 20 national grasslands, spanning 12 states and 4 million acres, were created through the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act of 1937, authorizing the federal government to acquire damaged lands for rehabilitation. Thirteen of these national grasslands reside in the Great Plains, where the ravages of the Dust Bowl left the soil bare of vegetation for years. Today, the benefits grasslands provide are valued in the billions of dollars.

“Our national grasslands remain beautiful examples of successful restoration programs,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “These lands are once again rich habitats brimming with native wildlife, grasses and wildflowers. They are also economic engines, generating jobs and bolstering rural American communities.”

The national grasslands offer a wealth of recreation and education opportunities for more than 1 million annual visitors. The grasslands feature some of the world’s best bird-watching experiences as well as camping, hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, target shooting, off-highway vehicle riding, picnicking and learning activities. Scenic drives offer unique geological features, wildlife and stellar locations for stargazing.

History buffs can visit old cemeteries and homesteads and take guided tours of  Native American petroglyphs. They can also share in the experience of early settlers and their trek on the Santa Fe Trail.

“It took decades to restore the national grasslands from the barren landscapes of the Dust Bowl, to the rich prairie habitats we see today,” said Tidwell. “Every American should experience these unique grasslands that are so much a part of our rich natural heritage.”

The national grasslands provide tremendous benefits including pollination of native and agricultural plants estimated at $6 billion annually. Livestock grazing and energy ventures including oil, gas, coal and wind also contribute to the economic benefits provided by these lands. They help prevent drought and floods, maintain biodiversity, generate and preserve soils, contribute to climate stability and protect watersheds, streams and river channels.

These lands were managed by the USDA’s Soil and Conservation Service, now the Natural Resources Conservation Service, until 1960 when they were transferred to the U.S. Forest Service and designated as national grasslands.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. Recreational activities on our lands contribute $14.5 billion annually to the U.S. economy. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

 
Filtering Water Before It Heads Downstream PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by USDA Communications   
Friday, 15 June 2012 13:55

A new TV feature is available on the USDA FTP site. The new TV feature can also be seen on USDA's YouTube channel and seen and downloaded as a video podcast.

FTP Download instructions:

The host: ftp://ocbmtcmedia.download.akamai.com

User name: usdanews

Password:  Newscontent1

Filename for TV Feature: Water Quality

The new file is in QuickTime Movie (H.264 ), MPEG 4, MPEG2 and HDV.

YouTube: water quality

video podcast: water quality video podcast

RSS Page: water quality rss

 
National Weather Service Quad Cities PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Sandra Stevens   
Friday, 15 June 2012 12:25
The National Weather Service office in the Quad Cities publishes the Weather Home Companion, a semiannual newsletter.  Our Spring/Summer 2012 issue is now available on our website at http://www.crh.noaa.gov/dvn/?n=additional-links#newsletter.
This link also contains all past issues of our newsletter.  There is also a temporary link under the Top News of the Day section on our main webpage.

In the past, you may have received a copy of our newsletter in the mail.  We have now switched to electronic distribution. If you do not wish to receive notification when a new issue is posted, then please send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to be removed from our email distribution list.

 
Staying safe in the heat- We have an APP for that- workers can monitor heat index PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Rhonda Burke   
Friday, 15 June 2012 09:57

The Midwest forecast for the first week of summer is hot, hot, hot. Weather affects all of us, but workers who job is to be outdoors such as construction workers, first responders, maintenance and festival workers are particularly at risk when the heat index soars. Every year, thousands of workers across the country suffer from serious heat-related illnesses. If not quickly addressed, heat exhaustion can become heat stroke, which has killed on average ‒ more than 30 workers annually since 2003.

OSHA will launch its Summer Safety Campaign for workers- “Water. Rest. Shade,” on the first day of summer, June 20.
  • OSHA has released a free application for mobile devices that enables workers and supervisors to monitor the heat index at their work sites. The app displays a risk level for workers based on the heat index, as well as reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level. Available for Android-based platforms and the iPhone, the app can be downloaded in both English and Spanish by visiting http://s.dol.gov/RI.
  • In preparation for the summer season, OSHA has developed heat illness educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum to be used for workplace training.  

  • Additionally, a Web page provides information and resources on heat illness including how to prevent it and what to do in case of an emergency for workers and employers. The page is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html. This page includes artwork, videos and other resource material such as PSAs.

 

We hope you will keep this message at the forefront of you summer heat coverage throughout the season.

Additionally, The Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and National Weather Service Acting Deputy Director Steven Cooper will host the teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 20, exclusively for television and radio meteorologists and weather reporters to provide helpful information to outdoor workers when temperatures soar to summer’s dangerous levels. Please consider having your meteorologist or weather reporters participate in this informational event or to use the material above to develop stories on summer safety for workers.

 

 

We hope you will keep this message at the forefront of you summer heat coverage throughout the season to help protect the health and lives of workers.


 
NAWCA Grants to Help Pheasants Forever Conserve Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin Habitat PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Pheasants Forever Press   
Friday, 15 June 2012 08:12

PF utilizes NAWCA funding to create wildlife habitat, public hunting opportunities

Washington, D.C. – June 14, 2012 – Pheasants Forever has been awarded five North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants to conserve wetlands and associated grasslands in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Pheasants Forever will utilize NAWCA funding to permanently protect and conserve habitat on more than 2,100 acres that are vital to waterfowl and upland birds and also open to public hunting.

Pheasants Forever projects funded with NAWCA Small Grants in the Midwest for 2012 include:

Iowa
Project: Buffalo Creek Wildlife Management Area, Mangold Addition, Delaware County. The purpose of this 40-acre project is to restore and protect grassland and riparian wetland habitats in the Wapsipinicon River watershed. This effort will protect a prairie stream by acquiring additional riparian habitat and creating an additional wetland within the corridor. Waterfowl, grassland nesting birds and many species that use riparian habitat will benefit from this project. Another objective is to create a large wildlife habitat complex for the benefit of wildlife and for public access to these natural resources. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is a partner on this project.

Project: Iowa Prairie Pothole Upland Habitat Enhancement II. The purpose of this grant project is to fund critical enhancement of native, local tallgrass prairie on state wildlife management areas within the 35-county Prairie Pothole Joint Venture Region in Iowa.  The goal is to assist in the enhancement of 1,440 acres of tallgrass prairie and create 290 new acres of tallgrass prairie associated with restored wetlands on areas designated for wildlife management. The objective is to enhance tallgrass prairie blocks large enough to achieve ecological function and to benefit all grassland bird species that breed in the Iowa portion of the Prairie Pothole Region. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is a partner on this project.

Minnesota
Project: Minnesota Lake Waterfowl Complex Addition, Faribault County. This project will build upon existing conservation work being completed by federal, state and private organizations. The Minnesota Lake Waterfowl Production Area acquisition will permanently protect 78 acres within an area that has over 1,323 acres of permanently protected habitat. This complex is adjacent to Minnesota Lake, a regionally significant 1,900-acre lake vital to migratory waterfowl within the area. The area has been designated by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as a migratory waterfowl feeding and resting area.

Project: West Central MN Grasslands II, Big Stone, Pope, Traverse and Stevens Counties. West-central Minnesota provides important migration and breeding waterfowl habitats.  This area also provides critical staging and migratory habitats for lesser scaup, canvasbacks, ring-necked ducks and other migratory waterfowl. The purpose of this project is to restore and protect grassland and wetland habitats to assist land managers in increasing and accelerating grassland management for the benefit of waterfowl and grassland nesting birds within the project area. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is a partner on this project.

Wisconsin
Project: Marquardt Addition to the Hallie Marsh Wildlife Area, Chippewa County. The Marquardt Acquisition will protect a palustrine emergent wetland and allow for the conversion of row cropping to significant upland nesting cover/habitat for waterfowl and grassland birds. This will decrease habitat fragmentation while also serving as a buffer from area urbanization and development. Pheasants Forever will acquire and eventually restore the 105-acre Marquardt property, and then donate the land to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

About NAWCA
The North American Wetlands Conservation Act was established in 1989 to provide matching grants for organizations and individuals who have developed partnerships to carry out wetlands conservation projects in the United States. As part of the Act, both the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission and Northern American Wetlands Conservation Council were formed to recommend and approve worthy conservation projects. From September 1990 through March 2011, some 4,500 partners in 2,067 projects have received more than $1.1 billion in grants. They have contributed another $2.32 billion in matching funds to affect 26.5 million acres of habitat and $1.21 billion in nonmatching funds to affect 234,820 acres of habitat. NAWCA funding is awarded through a Standard and a Small Grants Program.

About Pheasants Forever
Pheasants Forever and its quail division, Quail Forever, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Combined, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 135,000 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.

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