Water Scholars Website Launched

unnamedThe Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) has announced a new website to coalesce the dozens of water scholars on the University of Illinois’ Urbana-Champaign campus.

The website showcases Illinois research, education, and engagement programs integrated across four main categories of water-related “needs”:

  1. Adaptation to a changing climate and extreme weather events;
  2. Sustainable water, food, and energy resources;
  3. Safe drinking water and public health; and
  4. Resilient watersheds and ecosystems.

In addition, Water at Illinois has individual pages for scholars, plus a page describing who the scholars are and the Water Council that steers them. It is a “front porch” to various water centers at Illinois — including the state surveys, academic units, and grant-based centers — as well as to laboratories, facilities and field stations that specialize in water research.

For more information, please visit water.illinois.edu.

Teachers teaching teachers about the Great Lakes

Read the full post at Lakeside Views.

IISG Environmental Educator Kirsten Hope Walker didn’t take it easy on  the teachers in the audience at the 3rd Annual Beginning Teacher STEM Conference this morning at the I Hotel in Champaign, Ill. The conference is focused on helping new teachers prepare students to compete in science, technology, engineering, math, and even the art fields in the global economy.

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative 2015 Request for Applications

EPA is soliciting applications for grants and/or cooperative agreements to be awarded as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

EPA will award approximately $13.9 million under a Request for Applications for up to about 40 projects, contingent upon funding availability, the quality of applications received and other applicable considerations.

This RFA is EPA’s major competitive grant funding opportunity under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for fiscal year 2015. It is one of several funding opportunities available through federal agencies under the GLRI.

Categories (Funding Opportunity Number)

  1. Invasive Species Prevention (EPA-R5-GL2015-ISP)
  2. Invasive Species Control (EPA-R5-GL2015-ISC)
  3. Urban Watershed Management Implementation (EPA-R5-GL2015-UWM)
  4. Agricultural Watershed Management Implementation (EPA-R5-GL2015-AWM)
  5. Maumee River Watershed Nutrient Prevention Pilot Project (EPA-R5-GL2015-MNP)

Important Dates

  • Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time/ 11:00 a.m., Eastern Daylight Time – Webinar to discuss the RFA. Further information about the webinar will be announced at http://www2.epa.gov/great-lakes-funding/great-lakes-restoration-initiative-2015-request-applications.
  • Monday, Sept. 28, 2015 – Applications must be submitted to EPA through grants.gov by 10:59 p.m. Central Daylight Time / 11:59 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time. See Section IV of the RFA for further information.
  • October 2015 (tentative) – EPA begins notifying finalists.
  • December 2015 (tentative) – EPA begins making official awards.

Minnesota rain gardens go big to fight pollution, reuse water

Read the full story from Minnesota Public Radio.

Many Minnesota cities use rain gardens and other “green infrastructure” now to keep stormwater from polluting nearby lakes and rivers. But they’re often small, neighborhood efforts. Inver Grove Heights, however, is putting that stormwater science to use on a massive scale at Argenta Hills, and it’s attracting national attention.

New research connects air pollution and health problems

Life and breath: How air pollution affects public health in the Twin Cities is a report that analyzed air quality data from the MPCA and health data from the MDH to estimate the effects of air pollution on health outcomes for people in the seven-county metro area in each zip code. The report used data from 2008 because that was the most recent data available that allowed for linking air pollution and health outcomes. The study found that in 2008:

  • About 6-13% of all metro residents who died, and about 2-5% of all metro residents who visited the hospital or emergency room for heart and lung problems, did so partly because of exposure to fine particles in the air or ground-level ozone.
  • Groups most affected by air pollution were populations with higher rates of heart and lung disease, including people of color, the elderly, children with uncontrolled asthma, and people in poverty.

Hot on the trail: Chicago to expand Northwest Side cycling, walking path on river

Read the full story in RedEye Chicago.

A month after The 606 elevated rails-to-trails project opened, plans are moving forward on another trail project on the Northwest Side.

Plans call for a bridge crossing over the North Branch of the Chicago River and a multiuse trail on the east bank of the river underneath Addison Street, near California Avenue, to connect existing trails for cyclists, runners and pedestrians between two parks.

Chicago makes bike sharing service more affordable for low-income city residents

Chicago has launched the Divvy for Everyone (D4E) program to address financial barriers and increase access to their bike sharing service. While the price of an annual membership breaks down to only twenty cents a day, some Chicagoans cannot use Divvy because they do not have credit or debit cards or are on a fixed income.

The new program features a $5 annual membership and doesn’t require a credit card, although you need to register in person at one of the LISC Financial Opportunity Centers listed on the web site.

A family of four with a household income of less than $72,750 per year qualifies for one-time $5 membership. The program is only open to Chicago residents.

For more information, visit https://www.divvybikes.com/d4e.