Environment & Weather
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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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

 
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