Environment & Weather
Living Lands & Waters Event Rescheduled PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Natalie Linville-Mass   
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 09:04

Due to weather conditions, Living Lands & Waters has officially rescheduled their upcoming acorn planting event to Wednesday May 7th from 9:00am – 12:00pm.

Parking is available at the Davenport Library; 6000 Eastern Avenue, Davenport IA.  Please contact us with any questions.

Thank You, Natalie Linville-Mass,309-948-1436

 
Convoy of Hope Responds to Tornadoes in Midwest PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Molly Erickson   
Tuesday, 29 April 2014 12:43

Assessment Teams Headed to Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – April 28, 2014 - International humanitarian relief organization, Convoy of Hope, has assessment teams en route to affected areas throughout the Midwest where tornadoes ravaged communities yesterday.

“Our prayers are with the families whose lives have been impacted by these storms,” says Hal Donaldson, president and co-founder of Convoy of Hope. “Our teams will provide crucial information that will help us as we make plans in the coming days and monitor additional severe weather forecasted in these areas throughout the week.”

Online donation:

Those wishing to make a contribution to Convoy of Hope can make a secure online contribution by visiting: www.convoyofhope.org.

Text to Give donation:

To place a $10 donation on your cellular bill, text the word CONVOY to 50555. Standard text and data rates apply.

About Convoy of Hope

Convoy of Hope, a faith ­based organization founded in 1994, has a driving passion to feed the world. With a long history as an early responder in times of natural disasters, Convoy of Hope has been a Four Star Charity as recognized by Charity Navigator for 11 consecutive years. In the last 20 years, Convoy of Hope has served more than 65 million people. For more information please visit http://www.convoyofhope.org.

 
USDA Awards Research Grants to Address the Impact of Climate Change on U.S. Agriculture Production PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Tuesday, 22 April 2014 13:52

Des Moines, Iowa, April 22, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded $6 million to 10 universities to study the effects of climate on agriculture production and develop strategies to provide farmers and ranchers with the solutions they need to supply the nation with quality food. Vilsack made the announcement during remarks at "The Frontier of Climate Change: State and Local Action in the Heartland" conference held at Drake University.

"With longer growing seasons and an increased number of extreme weather events, climate-related changes are increasingly posing new challenges and risks for America's producers," said Vilsack. "Every day, farmers and ranchers see the impact that changes in climate patterns have on their operations, and they are contending with drought, floods or extreme temperatures. The discoveries these grants will lead to will be invaluable for American farmers whose livelihoods directly depend on the nation's land and water resources."

NIFA made the awards through its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) funding opportunity in the Climate Variability and Change challenge area. NIFA's climate work is focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing carbon sequestration in agricultural and forest production systems and preparing the nation's agriculture and forests to adapt to changing climates.

The fiscal year 2013 awards announced today include:

  • University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo., $900,000 - This study will provide an integrated social and biophysical assessment of vulnerability and adaptation to climate change and variability in the Blue Mountains ecoregion of Oregon.
  • Florida International University, Miami, Fla., $250,000 – This project will study the mechanism of Ochratoxin-A toxicity in wine-musts (freshly pressed grape juice for wine making) which is predicted to intensify in winemaking regions because of the increased prevalence of the toxin producing fungi in warmer climates, and create an inexpensive and simple method of detoxification.
  • Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, $550,000 - The goal of this research is to examine factors that either facilitate or hinder climate adaptation, while assessing the role of human-made infrastructure and policies that protect natural resources, grassland and wetlands. .
  • Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $975,000 – This project will seek to define the effects of hot and cold temperatures on turkey growth and development and develop management practices to mitigate these effects.
  • University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minn., $25,000 – This is a conference grant to support the National Extension Climate Science Initiative Conference, which will empower Extension professionals and collaborators with the latest in climate science research and delivery methods.
  • Montana State University, Bozeman, Mont., $800,000 – This project will determine what effects a climate-induced rise in water temperature will have on rainbow trout gut microbial communities and fish metabolism.
  • Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., $600,000 – This project will evaluate the resiliency of rice production with increasing climate uncertainty by developing models integrating historical rice yield data at the county and farm level, weather variables, and genotypic parameters.
  • Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Okla., $1,000,000 - The project will provide some of the first climate adaptation tools for beef production systems in the form of water management resources and lead to the development of beef cattle that are adaptable to climate change induced drought.
  • Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa., $750,000 – This project aims to strengthen farm operators' capacity to manage cropping system's adaptation to climate change by providing real time online decision making tools.
  • West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.V., $150,000 – This project will study the effect of climate change on interactions among solitary pollinator bees, bee parasites and crops.

AFRI is NIFA's flagship competitive grant program established under the 2008 Farm Bill and supports work in six priority areas: 1) plant health and production and plant products; 2) animal health and production and animal products; 3) food safety, nutrition and health; 4) renewable energy, natural resources and environment; 5) agriculture systems and technology; and 6) agriculture economics and rural communities.

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. More information is available at: www.nifa.usda.gov.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).


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USDA Rural Development Celebrates Earth Day by Supporting Water Quality Projects in 40 States and Puerto Rico PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Tuesday, 22 April 2014 12:01
2014 Farm Bill Enables Record USDA Investments in Rural Water Systems

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today celebrated Earth Day by announcing record support for 116 projects that will improve water and wastewater services for rural Americans and benefit the environment.

"Having reliable, clean and safe water is essential for any community to thrive and grow," Vilsack said. "I am proud that USDA helps build rural communities from the ground up by supporting water infrastructure projects like these. I am especially proud that we can help communities that are struggling economically and those that have urgent health and safety concerns due to their failing water systems."

Today's announcement is USDA's largest Earth Day investment in rural water and wastewater systems. Nearly $387 million is being awarded to 116 recipients in 40 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The Department is providing $150 million in grants through the 2014 Farm Bill plus $237 million in loans and grants from USDA's Water and Environmental Program.

Also noteworthy this year are USDA's accomplishments to help communities with the greatest needs. Sixteen of the Earth Day projects are in areas of persistent poverty. Twenty-nine are in communities served by USDA's "StrikeForce Initiative for Rural Growth and Opportunity." StrikeForce is a USDA initiative to reduce poverty by increasing investments in rural communities through intensive outreach and stronger partnerships with community leaders, businesses, foundations and other groups that are working to combat poverty.

Climate change in particular is putting more stress on municipal water systems. Many areas around the country have seen changes in rainfall, resulting in more floods, droughts, declines in snowpack, intense rain, as well as more frequent and severe heat waves. All of these are placing fiscal strains on communities – causing them to make more frequent (and often more expensive) repairs and upgrades.

Among projects funded this year, the city of McCrory, Ark., is receiving $2.1 million to build a water treatment facility and two water supply wells, and refurbish its two water storage tanks. The improvements will reduce high manganese and iron levels in the water supply to provide safe drinking water to McCrory's nearly 800 residents. McCrory is in Woodruff County, a persistent poverty area that is part of USDA's "StrikeForce initiative for Rural Growth and Opportunity."

Paintsville, Ky., is receiving a $4.9 million loan and $2.1 million grant to rehabilitate its sanitary and stormwater sewer systems. This is one of 10 projects funded by USDA that will improve water infrastructure in rural areas of Kentucky. The Paintsville project will serve nearly 2,300 residents and businesses and protect the ecosystems of Paint Creek and nearby lakes.

The city of San Joaquin, Calif., is receiving a $1 million loan/grant combination to replace a contaminated well. The city had to shut down one of its three wells due to high levels of bacteria. Once completed, this project will ensure San Joaquin residents have safe, clean drinking water.

In Ohio, the Erie County Commissioners will use $3 million in loans and nearly $3 million in grants to replace individual on-site waste treatment systems that discharge into and pollute the Sandusky Bay and surrounding areas. The commissioners also will build a wastewater collection system for the Village of Bay View and the neighboring Bay Bridge area. The Bay View peninsula is a vital ecological and economic area in the Western Basin of Lake Erie.

Earth Day is observed annually on April 22 to raise awareness about the role each person can play to protect vital natural resources and safeguard the environment. Since the first Earth Day celebration in 1970, the event has expanded to include citizens and governments in more than 195 countries.

President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).


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Governor Quinn Proclaims Tuesday, April 22, Earth Day in Illinois PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Katie Hickey   
Monday, 21 April 2014 15:03

Urges People Across the State to Go Green and Continue Environmental Consciousness

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn proclaimed Tuesday, April 22 as “Earth Day” in Illinois and urged residents to get outdoors and involved in keeping Illinois at the forefront of conservation and sustainability. The Governor also discussed the work the state is doing to improve sustainability and protect our environment. Today’s proclamation is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to protect our natural resources and ensure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.

“We want every day to be Earth Day in Illinois and everyone should do their part to help preserve, sustain and beautify our state,” Governor Quinn said. “Study after study is finding that Illinois is leading the way in sustainability – from the most communities using renewable energy to being number one in the nation for sustainable buildings. By working together we can keep the progress going and make Illinois the greenest state in the nation.”

Later this week, Governor Quinn will host The Council of Great Lakes Governors’ (CGLG) 2014 Governors’ and Premiers’ Meeting. The meeting will bring a number of U.S. Governors and Canadian Premiers to Illinois to discuss ways to ensure that the entire Great Lakes region is economically sound and environmentally conscious in addressing today's problems and tomorrow's challenges. Governor Quinn is the Co-Chair of the non-partisan partnership of the Governors of the eight U.S. states that border the Great Lakes, with Canadian provinces of Ontario and Québec.

Since taking office, Governor Quinn has led Illinois on a path to sustainability. Earlier this month, the Governor announced $16.5 million in investments for 46 local park projects across Illinois. Last weekend the Governor announced a $1.6 million investment in environmental and education projects along the Lake Michigan shoreline and in the Millennium Reserve-Calumet region. The projects are funded through the Illinois Coastal Management Program, which was formed in 2012 by Governor Quinn to protect Illinois’ 63-mile Lake Michigan shoreline.

Last month, a new report found that Illinois leads the nation in the number of communities using renewable electricity. The 91 communities that have transitioned to 100 percent renewable electricity represent more than 1.7 million individuals. According to the report, demand for renewable energy from the state is more than six terawatt hours, a reduction in greenhouse gas comparable to taking more than one million cars off the road. The report was released by the Environmental Law & Policy Center, Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, LEAN Energy US, the Illinois Solar Energy Association and George Washington University Solar Institute.

In February, the U.S. Green Building Council ranked Illinois number one among all 50 states in the sustainable building design movement. Illinois has more than 29 million square feet of certified green buildings, or 2.29 square feet for every resident. Utilizing less energy and water, LEED-certified spaces save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce carbon emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

In his State of the State address on Jan. 29, 2014, Governor Quinn announced that the available funding from the Illinois Clean Water Initiative (ICWI) will be doubled to $2 billion and stormwater management infrastructure projects will also be eligible for low-interest loans as well as drinking water and wastewater treatment plants and distribution and collection systems. First announced in Governor Quinn's 2012 State of the State address, ICWI was launched in the fall of 2012 and has created several thousand jobs in communities across Illinois. To learn more visit CleanWater.Illinois.gov.

Illinois is a leader in solar energy. In 2013, Governor Quinn, along with Shedd leadership and Illinois sustainability champions, unveiled a 265-kilowatt project that is the biggest solar panel installation in any cultural institution in the state. The energy-efficient panels are part of Shedd’s Master Energy Roadmap – an ambitious energy initiative aiming to cut energy consumption in half by 2020, transforming the aquarium into the nation’s first clean energy-powered cultural institution.

The Governor set a green example for all Illinois residents by transforming the 159-year old Illinois Executive Mansion, visited by Abraham Lincoln and six other of our nation’s Presidents, into a model of sustainable living. In 2010, Governor Quinn planted his own vegetable garden inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama to help offer a healthy menu for Executive Mansion guests; installed rain barrels to divert rainwater out of the municipal sewer system and into the Mansion’s vegetable garden; created a compost pile to transform food scraps and landscaping debris into rich nutrients which are spread over the Mansion’s vegetable garden, shrubs and trees; and solar panels, donated by three Illinois firms, were installed to make Illinois the second Governor’s Mansion in the U.S. to go solar.

In 2011, the Illinois Executive Mansion became the first in the nation to install a charging station for electric vehicles. In 2012, LED lighting was installed throughout the Executive Mansion. The new system consumes 90 percent less energy, lasts for 10 years and poses less of a threat to historic artifacts. Additionally, digital water meters are installed to better monitor usage; aging air conditioners were replaced with an energy efficient system.

The Governor today also encouraged all state employees to participate in “No Print Week,” a program from April 21-25, to help increase awareness about paper usage and reduce unnecessary paper consumption.  “No Print Week” comes after the success of 2013’s “No Print Day.” In fiscal year 2013, Illinois recycled 5,521,906 pounds of paper, 830,714 pounds of OCC (card board), 2,486 pounds of plastic, 4,114 pounds of aluminum, 103,449 pounds of scrap metal from empty food cans and 48,179 pounds of assorted comingled items.

For more information on Earth Month and the Governor’s initiatives for protecting and preserving Illinois’ future visit: illinois.gov/EarthMonth. For more information on volunteer opportunities visit: www.Serve.Illinois.gov and www.dnr.illinois.gov/outreach/volunteeropportunities.

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