Environment & Weather
Ill Wind Blows for America’s Eagles PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Robert Johns   
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 13:42

On June 20, we celebrate American Eagle Day, officially designated by Congress to recognize the cultural, historical, and ecological significance of our proud national symbol, and to raise awareness of the threats it faces. Ironically, Eagle Day comes just five days after Global Wind Day, a worldwide event “for discovering wind, its power, and the possibilities it holds for our world” (as described on the globalwindday.org website). The proximity of these events to each other is notable because, although it has the potential to be a green source of energy, wind power as it is currently being developed kills hundreds of thousands birds each year, including Bald and Golden Eagles.

Decades of conservation efforts to recover our eagles from past threats such as overhunting and poisoning by DDT are now being countered at the behest of the wind power industry, which has pressured the government to weaken eagle protections.

In 2009, so as to protect wind companies that would otherwise be in violation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA—the landmark law protecting these majestic birds), the government introduced a special five-year permit scheme that allows the wind power industry and others to kill eagles during the normal course of their business. Rather than being grateful for a means to operate within the law, wind companies have continuously flouted BGEPA and lobbied for a longer permit duration. Incredibly, the Fish and Wildlife Service is now poised to grant that request with proposals to extend the “take permit” length from five to 30 years, and to weaken the standards required to obtain a permit.

Allowing energy corporations to sidestep BGEPA flies in the face of sound science and common sense, disregards the high esteem that most Americans hold for these spectacular birds, and puts thousands of eagles in danger.

Wind power is a black box with regard to eagle and other bird deaths. Companies are not required to report the birds they kill, and many simply fail to make an adequate monitoring effort. Independent scientists are routinely refused access to wind power facilities, and data given to the government are often kept from the public. Some companies even falsely claim that this information is proprietary, as if they owned the public’s wildlife. The birds that are publicly acknowledged as being killed therefore represent just a fraction of the true toll.

Wind power can be a valuable tool in the battle against global warming, but without transparency and accountability, and with thirty-year take permits handed out to an industry failing on both those counts, we will only see more wind development in inappropriate places and more dead eagles.

American Eagle Day serves as a reminder of how close we came to losing our nation’s symbol, and should give us pause to consider how we treat it today. The federal government needs to keep our eagles flying strong by abandoning its proposal.

 

Dr. George Fenwick, 540-253-5789

President, American Bird Conservancy

4249 Loudon Avenue

The Plains, Virginia 20198

 
Conservation act designates $1.2 million under Small Grants Program to bird habitat conservation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Ashley Spratt   
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 07:42

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced more than $1.2 million in federal grants to help protect, restore and enhance wetlands and associated habitats across the Midwest Region under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) Small Grants Program. The federal grants are matched by more than $3.6 million in partner funds.

“The NAWCA Small Grants Program facilitates public-private partnerships that benefit wetlands and other vital habitats, which contribute to our water quality and overall ecological health,” said Service Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius. “The continuation of this funding source provides outdoor recreation opportunities while educating the public on the importance of wetlands and wetland-dependent species to our environment and our economy.”

NAWCA Small Grants Program approved projects in 2012 —

Iowa
Buffalo Creek Wildlife Management Area, Mangold Addition
Grantee: Pheasants Forever
NAWCA funds awarded/match: $75,000/$125,000
This project will protect 40 acres adjacent to Buffalo Creek Wildlife Management Area in Delaware County, Iowa. The property will be converted from row-crop agriculture to native prairie and wetlands will be restored.

Iowa Prairie Pothole Upland Habitat Enhancement II
Grantee: Pheasants Forever
NAWCA funds awarded/match: $75,000/$75,000
This project will restore or enhance over 1,440 acres of wetland-associated grasslands throughout the Prairie Pothole region of Iowa. Project activities will include a combination of tree removal and seeding of native grasses and other prairie plants.

Minnesota
Minnesota Lake Waterfowl Complex Addition
Grantee: Pheasants Forever
NAWCA funds awarded/match: $75,000/$225,000
This project will protect 78 acres of wetland and associated upland habitat adjacent to Minnesota Lake and 1,323 acres of existing habitat complex in Faribault County, Minn. The area hosts a large colony of American White Pelicans and is part of a regionally significant migratory bird stopover site.

Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge Wetland Restorations
Grantee: Rydell/Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuges
NAWCA funds awarded/match: $75,000/$249,499
This project will restore or enhance 245 acres of wetland and associated upland habitat on two recently acquired tracts of refuge land. Project activities will include ditch plugging and berm construction, tree and invasive species removal, and seeding using native plants.

Fergus Falls Wetland and Grassland Restoration
Grantee: Fergus Falls Wetland Management District
NAWCA funds awarded/match: $50,000/$170,000
This project will restore or enhance 381 acres of wetland and associated upland habitat on Waterfowl Production Areas in the Fergus Falls Wetland Management District. Multiple small wetland basins will be restored throughout the area, and larger existing basins will be enhanced with the replacement or installation of water control structures. Grasslands will be restored and enhanced through tree removal, herbicide and seeding.

West Central Minnesota Grasslands II
Grantee: Pheasants Forever
NAWCA funds awarded/match: $75,000/$120,000
This project will restore 250 acres of wetland-associated grasslands on 18 Waterfowl Production Areas and protect more than 74 acres of predominantly wetland habitat via fee-title acquisition.

Windom Area Wetlands
Grantee: Ducks Unlimited
NAWCA funds awarded/match: $75,000/$359,973
This project will enhance water quality at three large, shallow wetland basins totaling 358 acres. These basins have been degraded due to invasive species. Installation of water-control structures will provide managers with the capability to conduct periodic drawdowns, which will help rejuvenate water clarity and allow for emergent vegetation to re-establish.

Detroit Lakes Private Lands Wetland Restorations
Grantee: Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District
NAWCA funds awarded/match: $55,000/$175,000
This project will restore or enhance 122 acres of wetland and grassland habitat on several tracts of land that are adjacent to publicly-managed areas in northwestern Minnesota. Project activities will involve a combination of ditch plugging, sediment removal, seeding and tree removal.

Wisconsin
Marquart Addition to the Hallie Marsh Wildlife Area
Grantee: Pheasants Forever
NAWCA funds awarded/match: $75,000/$120,000
This project will protect approximately 106 acres of habitat including a wetland basin surrounded by row-crop agriculture. This parcel is located directly adjacent to Hallie Marsh Wildlife Area. Agricultural land will subsequently be restored to grassland after acquisition, which will contribute to a larger intact habitat complex.

Meadow Valley Flowage Wetland Enhancement Project- Phase III
Grantee: Ducks Unlimited
NAWCA funds awarded/match: $75,000/$75,000
This project will enhance 350 acres of wetland habitat and improve water-level management capacity at the Meadow Valley Wildlife Area, a key wetland complex in central Wisconsin. This project will build upon the previous two phases of this initiative to better manage a 3,000 acre wetland complex on this area.

Glacial Habitat Restoration Area Wetland Restoration Project
Grantee: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
NAWCA funds awarded/match: $75,000/$81,856
This project will restore approximately 74 acres of row-crop agricultural land to wetland habitat and protect 140 acres of habitat.

Green Bay West Shore Preserve Acquisition
Grantee: Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust
NAWCA funds awarded/match: $48,960/79,040
This project will protect 34 acres of predominantly wetland habitat along the west shore of Green Bay, Wis. This parcel contains high-quality wetlands and is in close proximity to other conservation-managed areas including the 570-acre Sensiba Wildlife Area.

Northern Empire Prairie Wetlands Initiative
Grantee: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
NAWCA funds awarded/match: $75,000/$81,856
This project will protect and enhance 757 acres of wetland and associated upland habitat. Wetlands will be restored via a combination of installation of water control structures, dike renovation, chemical treatment, tree removal and seeding.

Indiana
Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge Wetlands Conservation
Grantee: Ducks Unlimited
NAWCA funds awarded/match: $42,416/$42,416
This project will protect 155 acres of wetland and associated upland habitat and restore approximately 63 acres of predominantly forested wetlands on four separate tracts of the Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge in southern Indiana. These areas were recently acquired by the refuge and were until recently in row-crop agriculture.

Illinois
Black Crown Marsh Restoration and Protection Project
Grantee: Ducks Unlimited
NAWCA funds awarded/match: $75,000/$116,673
This project will protect 36 acres of wetland and associated upland habitat, and will restore 75 acres of former wetland habitat via a combination of earthwork, tree and invasive plant removal, and seeding. This project is part of a larger initiative to restore the 375 acre Black Crown Marsh complex.

Habitat Restoration at Hadley Valley Preserve
Grantee: Forest Preserve District of Will County
NAWCA funds awarded/match: $75,000/$104,000
This project will restore or enhance 96 acres of former wetland and grassland habitat in Will County, Ill. Project activities will include locating and disabling drain tiles, tributary stabilization, and re-establishing native prairie and wetland plants on the area via seeding and invasive plant control/removal.

Ohio

Medina Marsh Protection Project
Grantee: Medina County Park District
NAWCA funds awarded/match: $75,000/$1,189,000
This project will protect 91 acres of wetland and associated upland habitat in Medina County, Ohio. This area will connect two adjacent conservation-managed areas along the West Branch of the Rocky River, which drains into nearby Lake Erie.

Franklin Bog Protection Project
Grantee: Portage Park District
NAWCA funds awarded/match: $75,000/$262,760
This project will protect 56 acres of wetland and associated upland habitat in Portage County, Ohio. The property includes more than 17 acres of rare wetland and supports populations of several rare plant and animal species.

For additional information on the NAWCA Small Grant Program, visit http://www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/Grants/NAWCA/Small/2012.shtm

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

Connect with our Facebook page at facebook.com/usfwsmidwest, follow our tweets at twitter.com/usfwsmidwest, watch our YouTube Channel at youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at flickr.com/photos/usfwsmidwest.

-FWS-

 
University of Iowa Receives EPA Green Power Partnership Award PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Chelsey Derks   
Friday, 08 June 2012 12:31

(Kansas City, Kan., June 6, 2012) – EPA has presented the University of Iowa, at Iowa City, Iowa, with a Green Power Partnership Top 20 Award for its on-site generation of green power.

EPA’s Green Power Partnership works with a variety of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, agencies at all levels of government, and a growing number of colleges, universities, and schools, to promote green power concepts. EPA defines green power as electricity produced from solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, biomass, and low-impact small hydroelectric sources.

Annually, the Green Power Partnership Awards highlight organizations’ use of green power across various industry sectors. The University of Iowa was cited for using biomass (oat hulls) to displace coal in one of its two solid fuel boilers, which significantly reduces its emissions. The university's Main Power Plant cogenerated, per hour, nearly nine million kilowatts of electricity from biomass-produced steam, which represented more than three percent of the electric power consumption on campus in 2010.

Using green power helps reduce the environmental impacts of electricity use and supports the development of new renewable generation capacity nationwide.

EPA co-sponsors the Green Power Leadership Awards in conjunction with the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS). The awards serve to recognize the leading actions of organizations, programs, and individuals that significantly advance the development of green power sources. Nominations are typically collected in late spring for that year’s award event, which is usually held the following fall in conjunction with the Renewable Energy Markets Conference.

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For more on EPA Green Power Partners, visit: http://www.epa.gov/greenpower.htm

Connect with EPA Region 7 on Facebook: www.facebook.com/eparegion7

 
WASTE COMMISSION ENCOURAGES RESIDENTS TO PROPERLY DISPOSE OF HAZARDOUS MATERIAL IN JUNE PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Erin Vorac   
Friday, 08 June 2012 11:20

DAVENPORT, IA—Waste Commission of Scott County (Commission) is encouraging area residents to clear their garages, homes and workshops of household hazardous materials (HHM) during the month of June. HHM are items such as paints, pesticides, cleaners and other toxins that are no longer in use. This reduces the risk of accidental poisoning and fires and ensures environmentally sound disposal of these materials through the Commission’s HHM program. The service is free to residents in Scott County, Iowa and Rock Island County, Illinois.

 

The Commission accepts these items by appointment on Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays at its facilities in Davenport and Buffalo. Appointments are required to ensure adequate staffing to handle the hazardous materials, which leads to shorter wait times for the customer.

 

To make an appointment, residents should first take a rough inventory of their materials and then visit www.wastecom.com or call (563) 381-1300 to choose the facility, date and time that is most convenient. Residents who make an appointment by June 30 are entered in a drawing to win one of thirteen $25 gift cards from K&K Hardware in Bettendorf.

 

If residents do not have material to dispose of at this time, there is still al chance to win! The Commission is gathering data on opinions and awareness related to local hazardous waste disposal options. Everyone who takes the survey automatically receives a coupon for $5 off a $25 purchase at K&K Hardware and is entered to win a $250 gift card to K&K Hardware. Visit www.wastecomgiveaway.com by June 10 to be entered to win.

 

The Commission is an inter-governmental agency that operates the Scott Area Landfill, Scott Area Recycling Center, Scott Area Household Hazardous Material Facilities and the Electronic Demanufacturing Facility. In addition, it provides public education and outreach through the iLivehere: myhome ourcommunity® program. For more information about the Commission visit www.wastecom.com.

 

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Tree Identification Booklet from the Arbor Day Foundation Makes It Easier to Recognize Tree Species in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Arbor Day Foundation   
Monday, 04 June 2012 15:28

The Arbor Day Foundation has a booklet that helps people identify trees in a simple, step-by-step process. The booklet, What Tree is That?, is available for a $5 donation to the nonprofit tree-planting organization.

What Tree Is That? is a fun, easy-to-use tree identification guide that features hand-drawn botanical illustrations highlighting the distinct characteristics of many tree species.

Nature lovers and professional arborists alike have called this pocket field guide one of the most user-friendly resources to have. Its beautiful, full-color illustrations are in precise detail to depict natural colors, shapes and textures, so users can make a positive species identification in just a few easy steps.

The Arbor Day Foundation offers this booklet to help people identify trees in Iowa and throughout the Eastern and Central regions of the United States. What Tree Is That? uses a unique step-by-step approach to identify the species of each tree. The booklet explains what to look for in the shape of the leaves and differences in the leaf stems and twig structures, specifics on the fruits and flowers and the details of buds and bark.

“Our What Tree Is That? pocket brochure is an ideal resource to help people develop a greater appreciation for trees,” said John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “The Arbor Day Foundation strives to help people enjoy and appreciate trees, and we feel our pocket field guide will do just that.”

What Tree is That? is also available as an online interactive version at arborday.org. The Arbor Day Foundation offers this unique, one-of-a-kind online tool so people can identify trees using the internet.

To obtain a tree identification guide in full color, send your name and address and $5 for each guide to What Tree Is That?, Arbor Day Foundation, Nebraska City, NE 68410. You can also order the book online at arborday.org.

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