Environment & Weather
XSTREAM CLEANUP VOLUNTEERS CLEAN UP 33,209 POUNDS OF MATERIAL PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Brandy Walvaert   
Tuesday, 12 August 2014 11:32

QUAD-CITIES—Volunteers for the 11th annual Xstream Cleanup on Saturday, August 9 removed 33,209 pounds of debris from area waterways and illegal dump sites. Cleanups were held at 40 locations in Bettendorf, Buffalo, Davenport, LeClaire, McCausland and Lost Grove Lake, Iowa; and in Milan, Moline, Rock Island and Silvis, Illinois.

A total of 1,060 volunteers worked 2,895 hours and collectively gathered 937 bags of trash, 237 tires, 14 appliances, 2 bicycles, 13 pieces of furniture, 29 televisions and 10 mattresses. This was the equivalent of 25,740 pounds of trash, 5,688 pounds of tires, 1,050 pounds of appliances, 46 pounds of bicycles, 435 pounds of televisions and 250 pounds of mattresses, for the grand total of 33,209 pounds.

Additional items collected included wire fencing, coolers, boat seats, a shopping cart, Jeep seats, bricks, a bowling ball, and a garage door.

In addition, volunteers at several sites worked to clear invasive species from natural areas. Volunteers cleared a total of about five acres of invasive species in three hours.

For event photos, find Xstream Cleanup on Facebook or click through from www.xstreamcleanup.org.

Xstream Cleanup 2014 was sponsored by the following. Presenting Sponsors: Group O and Riverboat Development Authority. Platinum Sponsors: Alcoa, Triumph Community Bank, Living Lands & Waters™ and Waste Commission of Scott County. Gold Sponsors: Iowa American Water, Eastern Iowa Grain Inspection, Rock Island County Waste Management Agency and Community Foundation of the Great River Bend. Silver Sponsors: Alter Metal Recycling, DHL Global Forwarding, McCarthy-Bush Corporation, MidAmerican Energy, Radish magazine, Quad City Conservation Alliance, Sears Seating and Wallace’s Garden Center. Bronze Sponsors: Downtown Davenport Partnership, Eagle View Group-Sierra Club, Lowe’s, Mel Foster Co., Midas Auto System Experts, Inc., Pepsico, and Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities. Logistics Sponsors: Cities of Bettendorf, Buffalo, Davenport, LeClaire, McCausland, Milan, Moline, Rock Island and Silvis; Bi-State Regional Commission, Keep Moline Beautiful, Keep Rock Island Beautiful, iLivehere, Partners of Scott County Watersheds, Republic Services and River Roots Live.

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President Obama approves request for a Presidential Disaster Declarations PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Wednesday, 06 August 2014 14:12

22 Iowa counties receive Presidential designation 

(DES MOINES) – Governor Terry E. Branstad received word today that President Obama approved his request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration for 22 counties impacted by severe weather in June and July.

The counties included in the declaration are: Audubon, Black Hawk, Butler, Cedar, Des Moines, Grundy, Hamilton, Hardin, Ida, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Lee, Linn, Mahaska, Muscatine, Poweshiek, Tama, and Washington.

The governor sent the request for a declaration on July 29, 2014, in response to significant damage that was caused by severe weather that produced damaging winds, tornadoes, heavy rains, hail, and thunderstorms beginning June 26 through July 7. This is Iowa’s third Presidential Disaster Declaration in 2014.

The declaration by the President will provide federal funding to the declared counties under the Public Assistance Program. A Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance puts into motion long-term federal recovery programs, some of which are matched by state programs, and designed to help public entities and select non-profits. Public Assistance funds may be used for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities and may include debris removal, emergency protective measures, repair of damaged public property, loans needed by communities for essential government functions and grants for public schools.

The Governor also received notification that the Presidential Disaster Declaration includes funding to conduct hazard mitigation activities for the entire state. With this funding, Iowa will be able to minimize the impact of future disasters by taking steps now to strengthen existing infrastructure.

This Presidential Disaster Declaration is the 21st Major Presidential Disaster Declaration Iowa has received since March 2007.

 

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Greenhouse Gas Report to Assist Producers Facing Climate Challenges PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Thursday, 31 July 2014 12:41
For the First Time, USDA Climate Hubs Get New Tools to Gauge Progress in Building Drought-Resistant Healthy Soil

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today released a report that, for the first time, provides uniform scientific methods for quantifying the changes in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and carbon storage from various land management and conservation activities. The report, titled Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Fluxes in Agriculture and Forestry: Methods for Entity-Scale Inventory, will help USDA evaluate current and future greenhouse gas conservation programs, as well as develop new tools and update existing ones to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners participate in emerging carbon markets.

"America's farm, ranch and forest managers are stewards of the land, and have long recognized the significance of managing soil health, plant productivity and animal nutrition. Conservation practices and other management changes can reduce GHG emissions and increase carbon storage while improving soil health, productivity, and resilience to drought and other extreme weather," said Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie. "In partnership with USDA and the Obama Administration, State and regional GHG offset programs and voluntary GHG markets can help make these practices less costly to implement and increase the producer's bottom line."

Today's report outlines science-based methods for quantifying changes in GHG emissions and carbon storage at the local farm, ranch or forest operation. Reducing GHG emissions and increasing carbon storage builds healthy, carbon-rich soils and more resilient production of food, fiber and fuel. USDA recently established Regional Climate Change Hubs to assist landowners with management challenges that arise from weather variability and climate change. The methods report and the tools provided in it will aid the Hubs in giving landowners information on management options to improve agriculture production, soil health, and resource conservation.

The report is the work of 38 experts in GHG estimation in the cropland, grazing land, livestock and forest management sectors across academia, USDA and the federal government. The report was reviewed by an additional 29 scientists, other Federal experts, and the public. While developing the report, reviewers considered scientific rigor, transparency, completeness, accuracy, and cost effectiveness, as well as consistency and comparability with other Federal GHG inventory efforts. The report can be downloaded at www.usda.gov/oce/climate_change/estimation.htm.

Current USDA carbon tools, such as USDA's COMET-Farm, are being updated to incorporate the new methods. Using COMET-Farm, a land manager who is considering a shift to no-till production system, for example, can evaluate the soil carbon benefits of that system and consider revenue opportunities provided by entering into a voluntary agreement with a carbon market. The methods in the report are comprehensive, addressing a wide variety of cropland, grazing land, livestock and forest management practices.

For more information on USDA's Climate Change activities, please visit www.usda.gov and click on "Climate Solutions."

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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 Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).


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Governor Branstad requests Presidential Disaster Declaration from President Obama PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Tuesday, 29 July 2014 14:38

(DES MOINES) – Governor Terry E. Branstad today signed a letter to be delivered to President Obama requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration for 22 Iowa counties where significant damage was sustained from severe weather that produced damaging winds, tornadoes, heavy rains, hail, and thunderstorms beginning June 26 through July 7, 2014.

The counties included in the request are: Audubon, Black Hawk, Butler, Cedar, Des Moines, Grundy, Hamilton, Hardin, Ida, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Lee, Linn, Mahaska, Muscatine, Poweshiek, Tama and Washington.

The Governor requested funding under the Public Assistance Program, which is used to rebuild damaged infrastructure that may include roads, bridges, culverts and other public facilities, or to cover costs of emergency work during, and debris removal after, the storms. A joint federal, state and local preliminary damage assessment of the 22 counties found the severe weather caused an estimated $13 million worth of damage that could be eligible under the Public Assistance Program.

The Governor also requested funding to conduct hazard mitigation activities for the entire state.

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New Study Confirms Water Vapor as Global Warming Amplifier PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Diana Udel   
Tuesday, 29 July 2014 08:44

Scientists suggest that water vapor will intensify future climate change projections

MIAMI – A new study from scientists at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and colleagues confirms rising levels of water vapor in the upper troposphere – a key amplifier of global warming – will intensify climate change impacts over the next decades. The new study is the first to show that increased water vapor concentrations in the atmosphere are a direct result of human activities.

“The study is the first to confirm that human activities have increased water vapor in the upper troposphere,” said Brian Soden, professor of atmospheric sciences at the UM Rosenstiel School and co-author of the study.

To investigate the potential causes of a 30-year moistening trend in the upper troposphere, a region 3-7 miles above Earth’s surface, Soden, UM Rosenstiel School researcher Eui-Seok Chung and colleagues measured water vapor in the upper troposphere collected by NOAA satellites and compared them to climate model predictions of water circulation between the ocean and atmosphere to determine whether observed changes in atmospheric water vapor could be explained by natural or man-made causes. Using the set of climate model experiments, the researchers showed that rising water vapor in the upper troposphere cannot be explained by natural forces, such as volcanoes and changes in solar activity, but can be explained by increased greenhouse gases, such as CO2.

Greenhouse gases raise temperatures by trapping the Earth’s radiant heat inside the atmosphere. This warming also increases the accumulation of atmospheric water vapor, the most abundant greenhouse gas. The atmospheric moistening traps additional radiant heat and further increases temperatures.

Climate models predict that as the climate warms from the burning of fossil fuels, the concentrations of water vapor will also increase in response to that warming. This moistening of the atmosphere, in turn, absorbs more heat and further raises the Earth's temperature.

The paper, titled “Upper Tropospheric Moistening in response to Anthropogenic Warming,” was published in the July 28th, 2014 Early Addition on-line of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The paper’s authors include Chung, Soden, B.J. Sohn of Seoul National University, and Lei Shi of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Ashville, North Carolina.

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About the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School

The University of Miami is one of the largest private research institutions in the southeastern United States. The University’s mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives. Founded in the 1940’s, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world’s premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, visit: www.rsmas.miami.edu.

 
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