U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces $235 Million Available for Innovative New Conservation Partnerships

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced an investment of up to $235 million to improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability. The funding is being made available through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). This will be the second round of projects funded through RCPP. Pre-proposals are due July 8, 2015.

How to fight climate change: Invest in inner cities

Read the full story at Mother Nature Network.

BlocPower aims to be an online investing platform where individuals can earn a good return while financing energy-efficiency retrofits and solar power projects in distressed, inner city neighborhoods.

EPA announces availability of $1 million for tribes to upgrade diesel engines

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is announcing the availability of $1 million in grant funding for tribal applicants to establish clean diesel projects aimed at reducing air pollutants from diesel exhaust such as nitrogen oxides (NOX) and particulate matter (PM), which are linked to respiratory problems. Under this grant competition, EPA anticipates awarding approximately up to five tribal assistance agreements between $30,000 and $800,000 each. Projects may include school buses, transit buses, heavy-duty diesel trucks, marine engines, locomotives, energy production generators and other diesel engines. Proposals from tribal applicants must be received by July 15, 2015. To submit a grant proposal, visit: http://epa.gov/cleandiesel/prgtribal.htm

Last year, EPA offered the first tribes-only competition for clean diesel funding and awarded more than $925,000 to three tribes in Washington State to help replace older marine engines with newer, cleaner and more efficient ones. This competition is part of the Diesel Emission Reduction (DERA) Program, which funds projects to retrofit or replace older diesel engines. Diesel engines are extremely efficient but emit air pollutants that are linked to a range of serious health problems including asthma and other respiratory ailments, lung and heart disease, and even premature death. The DERA program aims to achieve significant reductions in tons of diesel emissions produced and to reduce diesel emissions exposure, particularly for those living and working in areas disproportionately affected by poor air quality. For more on the National Clean Diesel campaign, visit www.epa.gov/cleandiesel.

Funding Opp: National Priorities: Life Cycle Costs of Water Infrastructure Alternatives

Proposals due July 2, 2015, 11:59:59 pm Eastern Time.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is seeking applications that propose research focused on developing tools and models that compare the life-cycle costs of green, grey, and hybrid forms of water infrastructure. One of the high-priority research areas identified by the EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) is developing tools to protect the quantity and quality of water.  Under the 1987 amendments to the Clean Water Act (CWA), the EPA established a program to address storm water discharges including the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program which regulates point sources such as pipes and sewers that discharge directly into surface waters. Under the CWA, communities need to address stormwater management requirements as they consider their aging water infrastructure systems, rate payer expectations, and other considerations important to the community. Green infrastructure is an emerging technology with much potential to help many communities.

Research is needed to assist communities throughout the United States in evaluating investments in green infrastructure that can improve stormwater management in multiple ways, including reducing the volume of stormwater entering the sewer system to decrease the costs of grey infrastructure updates, and by managing stormwater runoff as a resource, not a waste, to enhance scarce water supplies. The EPA currently supports a number of research grants from previous solicitations on performance and effectiveness of green infrastructure. Information regarding current and prior research can be found on ORD’s National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) web site.

This solicitation provides the opportunity for the submission of applications for projects that may involve human subjects research.  Human subjects research supported by the EPA is governed by EPA Regulation 40 CFR Part 26 (Protection of Human Subjects).  This includes the Common Rule at subpart A and prohibitions and additional protections for pregnant women and fetuses, nursing women, and children at subparts B, C, and D.  Research meeting the regulatory definition of intentional exposure research found in subpart B is prohibited by that subpart in pregnant women, nursing women, and children.  Research meeting the regulatory definition of observational research found in subparts C and D is subject to the additional protections found in those subparts for pregnant women and fetuses (subpart C) and children (subpart D).  All applications must include a Human Subjects Research Statement (HSRS, as described in Section IV.C.5.c of this solicitation), and if the project involves human subjects research, it will be subject to an additional level of review prior to funding decisions being made as described in Sections V.C and V.D of this solicitation. Additional information can be found in Section I.A of the full announcement.

2015 EPA Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowships for Undergraduate Environmental Study

The U.S. EPA, as part of its GRO Fellowships program, is offering undergraduate fellowships for bachelor level students in environmental fields of study. Subject to availability of funding and other applicable considerations, the Agency plans to award approximately 34 new fellowships. Eligible students will receive support for their junior and senior years of undergraduate study and for an internship at an EPA facility during the summer of their junior year. The fellowship provides up to $20,700 per academic year of support and $8,600 of support for a three-month summer internship. The deadline for receipt of applications is May 19, 2015. For more information, see http://epa.gov/ncer/rfa/2015/2015_gro_undergrad.html

This zoo is crowdfunding tech that turns animal poop into energy

Read the full story at VentureBeat.

The Detroit Zoo is launching a crowdfunding campaign today to “harness the power of poo,” as its promo video says.

The goal is to build a biodigester that will take the more than 400 tons of manure produced at the Detroit facility annually and turn it into methane gas to power an 18,000-square-foot veterinary hospital on premises. The process is known as anaerobic digestion technology.

The zoo hopes to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity and natural gas and become entirely waste-neutral by 2020.

Captain Planet Foundation Offers Grants for Hands-On Environmental Education Activities

The mission of the Captain Planet Foundation is to promote and support high-quality educational programs that help children and youth understand and appreciate our world through hands-on learning experiences aimed at improving the environment in their schools and communities.

Grants are intended to serve as a means of bringing environment-based education to schools and inspiring youth and communities to participate in community service through environmental stewardship activities. The foundation will fund unique and innovative projects that do not precisely match the grant guidelines but otherwise promote the foundation’s mission to advance hands-on environmental activities.

The foundation makes grants to schools and nonprofit environmental and educational organizations in the United States with annual operating budgets of less than $3 million.

Preferential consideration is given to requests seeking seed funding of $500 or less and to applicants who have secured at least 50 percent matching or in-kind funding for their projects. (Projects with matching funds or in-kind support are given priority because external funding is a good indicator of the potential for long-term sustainability of the activities.) The foundation will on occasion consider grants of up to $2,500.

Apply here.