Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators, 2006 Edition

Thanks to Docuticker for the pointer.

Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators describes patterns and trends in land, water, biological resources, management skills and commercial input use; reports on the condition of natural and other resources used in the agricultural sector; and describes public policies and programs as well as economic factors that affect resource use, conservation and environmental quality in agriculture. Each chapter synthesizes, updates, and provides links to more detailed information available in ERS reports, data products and briefing rooms on the ERS website. Three previous editions of AREI (1994, 1997 and 2003) are also available on the ERS website.

Our Changing Climate — Assessing the Risks to California: A Summary Report from the California Climate Change Center

Via Docuticker.

Our Changing Climate — Assessing the Risks to California: A Summary Report from the California Climate Change Center
Source: California Energy Commission, Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program (California Climate Change Center)

“Executive Order #S-3-05, signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on June 1, 2005, called for the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) to prepare biennial science reports on the potential impact of continued global warming on certain sectors of the California economy. CalEPA entrusted PIER and its California Climate Change Center to lead this effort. The “Climate Scenarios” analysis summarized here is the first of these biennial science reports, and is the product of a multi-institution col- laboration among the California Air Resources Board, California Department of Water Resources, California Energy Commission, CalEPA, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.”

Full report (PDF; 1.9 MB) and supplementary materials (PDFs) available for download.

Illinois Program Awards Grants for E-Scrap

Read the full article in Recycling Today.

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has awarded more than $550,000 in Opportunity Returns grants to help boost recycling goals in the Chicago area. The grants are administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and come as a part of Opportunity Returns, a regional economic development strategy designed to create more jobs and spur growth in the state.

OPEC president discusses ethanol, biofuels

Read the full post at Biopact.

Earlier we were shocked to learn that an OPEC researcher went so far as to ‘fear’ for the organisation’s long- term future now that biofuels are being taken seriously. And today, believe it or not, OPEC’s very own president discussed Brazil’s booming ethanol industry with the chief executive of Brazil’s state-owned petroleum company. He will visit Brazilian factories that turn sugar cane into the fuel.

Fuel facilities get $25 mil. from state

Read the full story in the Chicago Sun-Times.

The State of Illinois released more than $25 million in new Opportunity Returns grants and additional support to help build five new ethanol and biodiesel production facilities across Illinois.

Winds of change blow from Chicago

Interesting article in the August 12 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle about how the city is using Chicago as it’s model for becoming greener.

New Trend Isn't a Fad But a Sea Change for Business

Going above and beyond environmental regulatory requirements may not seem like a cost-saving measure, but 48 facilities in fact have seen real benefits in their bottom line. These organizations are continuing to go the extra mile by renewing their membership commitments through the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Performance Track program.

“From Wall Street to Main Street, President Bush and EPA are changing the way individuals and organizations think about their role in protecting our shared environment,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “By committing to conservation, America’s leading companies are proving that doing what’s good for the environment is also good for business.”

The renewing Performance Track facilities must continue to meet all environmental regulatory requirements even while committing to additional ones. The companies have pledged a wide range of environmental improvements. For example, 38 renewing members have committed to reduce their waste generation over the next three years; 30 facilities plan to reduce energy use; 30 facilities pledge to reduce their water use; and 19 facilities have committed to reduce their air emissions. Additionally, 19 of 48 renewing members chose to implement EPA-defined regional and national environmental priorities (15 selected water use, three selected priority chemicals, and one chose to address greenhouse gases).

The Performance Track participants come from such diverse industries as manufacturers of paper, personal care products, and pharmaceuticals; healthcare organizations; resorts; and government agencies, among others.

The National Environmental Performance Track program recognizes facilities that work with their communities, set three-year goals for continuous improvements in environmental performance beyond regulatory compliance, and have internal systems in place to manage their environmental impacts. Since the program’s inception in 2000, Performance Track membership has grown to 400 members in 46 states and Puerto Rico, and those members have made 1,500 commitments to the environment. To date, Performance Track members have collectively reduced their water use by 1.9 billion gallons, conserved nearly 9,000 acres of land and increased their use of recycled materials by nearly 120,000 tons all while saving money and helping to protect the environment.

Information on the National Environmental Performance Track program:

Information on renewing Performance Track members:

Applicants Sought for $19 million in Watershed Grants

EPA plans to award up to $19 million in grants to help clean up and restore the nation’s waterways. Proposals must reach EPA by October 16, 2006 for capacity-building grants and November 15, 2006 for project-implementation grants. Capacity-building grants provide for education and training, whereas implementation grants involve actions such as protection and preservation.

“President Bush understands that citizen-centered programs foster innovation while accelerating restoration of watersheds through cooperative conservation and grass-roots partnerships,” said Assistant Administrator for Water Benjamin H. Grumbles.

State governors and tribal leaders nominate potential recipients for implementation grants. EPA will evaluate and rank submissions based on criteria outlined in each notice. Watershed organizations receive the awards based on how likely they are to achieve environmental results in a relatively short time. Selection of the grantees will be announced in the fall.

Under the Targeted Watersheds Grant Program, EPA has awarded nearly $40 million to 46 watershed organizations since 2003. In excess of $2 million has gone to five watershed capacity-building organizations to further the activities of more than 3,000 local watershed groups. For this grant cycle, the focus will be on supporting community-based approaches and strengthening local capacity to protect and clean up water resources.

Watersheds currently in the program cover more than 142,000 square miles of the nation’s landscape draining into lakes, rivers, and streams.

Yesterday, EPA released its 2005 Targeted Watersheds Grant Annual Report. It provides examples of how grant funding helps watershed partnerships advance the goals of the Clean Water Act through sound watershed plans. Comprised of informative fact sheets and colorful maps, the report highlights 34 community efforts to reach measurable clean-water goals. The report also includes summaries of grantees focused on capacity-building efforts.

More information:
Targeted Watershed Grants:
Grant process:
2005 Annual Report:

Street Smarts

Read the full Grist Magazine article at

An interview with Anthony Flint on smart growth and the need to provide families with good choices.

Sandia and Monsanto to Research Bioenergy

Read the full story at

Sandia National Laboratories and Monsanto Company announced a three-year research collaboration that is expected to play a role in both organizations’ interests in biology and bioenergy. The arrangement is aimed at aligning Sandia’s capabilities in bioanalytical imaging and analysis with Monsanto’s research in developing new seed-based products for farmers, including corn products that may be able to produce more ethanol per bushel.