Day: September 12, 2012

Hypoxia Task Force Launches New Monitoring Efforts to Track Water Quality Improvements

The Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient (Hypoxia) Task Force announced today that it is launching two new efforts to monitor reductions in nutrients – nitrogen and phosphorus – throughout the watershed. The joint federal, state and tribal task force, chaired by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of Iowa, has established the Mississippi River Monitoring Collaborative to evaluate progress toward reducing the amount of nutrients entering local waterways and ultimately to the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). a member of the Task Force is also preparing to update its technical standard for water quality monitoring to better measure the amount of nutrients coming from farm fields.

Nutrient runoff from agricultural, urban and industrial sources has polluted waterways for decades and contributed to the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico – an area of low oxygen that is largely uninhabitable by fish and other marine life. Federal, state and local agencies, together with private landowners and water users, have been working to reduce the amount of nutrients that reaches the Gulf.

“Farmers, ranchers and other land managers, with help from federal, state and local funding sources and technical assistance, are investing in conservation projects on their lands in the Mississippi River Basin,” said Nancy Stoner, acting Assistant Administrator for Water at EPA and co-chair of the Task Force. ”Working together to expand monitoring will give us critical insight into the progress of conservation projects and help us improve activities on the ground and in the water.”

The new Mississippi River Monitoring Collaborative, made up of federal and state agencies, is identifying streams with long-term nutrient monitoring and streamflow records. So far, the team has collected more than 670,000 nutrient data records from 12 states in the Mississippi River Basin, which it will use to evaluate where conservation practices and policies are working, and where new or enhanced nutrient reduction strategies need to be developed.

“It is important we continue to have strong cooperation as we work together to monitor the progress cities, industries and farmers are making as they work to make changes and address water quality concerns,” said Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and co-chair of the Task Force.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), with assistance from EPA, the U.S. Geological Survey and many state partners, are working to improve monitoring through pilot programs of the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI). One of the primary goals of the MRBI is to improve water quality in small priority watersheds of the Mississippi River Basin. NRCS and its partners have sought to capture the benefits of MRBI by measuring water quality at the edge-of-field, in stream and at the outlet of a watershed. This year NRCS reviewed progress in 15 small watersheds with MRBI projects in order to update its technical standard for water quality monitoring.

The Task Force consists of five federal agencies, 12 states and the tribes within the Mississippi/ Atchafalaya River Basin (MARB). The Task Force was established in 1997 to reduce and control hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. For more, visit

DOE Announces Upcoming Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Webinars on Energy Storage Technology for Vehicles, Urban Wind Projects, and More

EERE offers webinars to the public on subjects ranging from how to adopt the latest energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies to training for the clean energy workforce. Webinars are free; however, advanced registration is typically required. You can also watch archived webinars and browse previously aired videos, slides, and transcripts.

Upcoming Webinars

September 18: Live Webcast on Accelerating Innovation: Energy Storage

The Energy Department, in partnership with the Battelle Commercialization Council of Labs, will present a live webcast titled Accelerating Innovation: Energy Storage on Tuesday, September 18, 2012, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. This webcast will highlight several National Laboratory technologies, all of which are energy-focused and can be found on EERE’s Energy Innovation Portal. During this webcast, attendees will hear from J. Raymond Smith about using cryotanks to store hydrogen when used as a vehicle fuel. In addition, Zhuangchun Wu and Chunmei Ban—two researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory—will present their research in technologies including: lithium ion batteries, electrochromic windows, the fabrication of nano-architecture electrodes for electrochemical systems, and surface atomic modification of electrode materials to improve performance. Following the presentations, attendees will be able to participate in a live question-and-answer session with the researchers.

Register here to attend webinar.

September 18: Community Renewable Energy Success Stories: Tapping into Wind in Urban Environments

The Energy Department will present a live webinar titled Community Renewable Energy Success Stories: Tapping into Wind in Urban Environments on Tuesday, September 18, 2012, from 3:00 to 4:15 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The webinar will provide information and lessons learned on urban wind turbine projects in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Hull, Massachusetts.

Register to attend the webinar.

September 27: Live Webcast on the Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking (LEEP) Campaign

The Energy Department, in partnership with BOMA International, the Green Parking Council, and IFMA, will present a live webcast titled Overview of the Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking (LEEP) Campaign on Thursday, September 27, 2012, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. This webinar will provide an overview of the LEEP Campaign and it will highlight two case study examples of businesses that have implemented high efficiency lighting projects in parking facilities. Webinar attendees will learn about the benefits of high efficiency lighting technologies in parking applications and strategies to overcoming barriers to implementation of these projects.

Register to attend the webinar.

Past Webinars:

September 4: 2011-2012 Hydrogen Student Design Contest Winners: On-campus Trigeneration Fuel Cell Systems

The Energy Department presented a live webinar titled 2011-2012 Hydrogen Student Design Contest Winners: On-Campus Tri-Generation Fuel Cell Systems on September 4. This webinar focuses on the winning entries from the University of Maryland, Washington State University, and University of California, Davis. This year, teams created design concepts for a tri-generation system that produces electricity, heat, and hydrogen for their university campus. The first place winner, the University of Maryland’s design, utilizes organic and municipal solid waste via gasification and anaerobic digestion technology. Washington State University placed second and proposed a pyrolysis reactor for straw waste from agriculture in their community. The University of California, Davis won third place for a design that included a hydrogen power and heating system for a residential building complex next to their new solar village. During the webinar, the theme for the 2013 contest was discussed as well.

View the recorded webinar here.

EPA Partnering with State Capitals on Green Design

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that the capital cities of Kentucky, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and Indiana will be awarded design assistance from EPA to create healthy, prosperous communities through green development. EPA’s Greening America’s Capitals (GAC) program will help these capital cities stimulate economic development, provide more housing and transportation choices, and reduce infrastructure and energy costs. Through this project, EPA will provide design assistance from private-sector experts to help these capital cities demonstrate sustainable designs that create vibrant neighborhoods while strengthening the local economies and protecting people’s health.

The following five cities were selected through a national competition for assistance.

Frankfort, Ky. will receive assistance to enhance walkability and add bike lanes between the historic downtown and the State Capitol. The project will also connect the downtown with the proposed Kentucky River trail.

Des Moines, Iowa will receive assistance to incorporate green infrastructure elements into a proposed streetscape plan for a one-mile segment of 6th Avenue. The project will revitalize the commercial street that serves as the northern gateway to the city’s downtown.

Baton Rouge, La. will receive assistance to incorporate green infrastructure elements into a proposed walking and biking trail that connects Louisiana State University with the city’s downtown.

Helena, Mont. will receive assistance to improve the walkability and add bike lanes along Last Chance Gulch, a street that connects the northern part of the Helena business district with the historic downtown. The project will also explore design alternatives for a five-way intersection to enhance walkability.

Indianapolis, Ind. will receive assistance to make streets more pedestrian-friendly and revitalize public plazas within and adjacent to the Market Square redevelopment area. The project will tie in with the city’s larger plan to develop businesses in a new green cultural district.

GAC is a project of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities among EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The partnership is helping communities across the country create more housing and transportation choices, reinforce existing investments, and support vibrant and healthy neighborhoods that attract businesses. This is the third year of the Greening America’s Capitals program. Capital cities selected in the first two years included Boston, Mass.; Charleston, W.Va.; Hartford, Conn.; Jackson, Miss.; Jefferson City, Mo.; Lincoln, Neb.; Little Rock, Ark.; Montgomery, Ala.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Washington, D.C.


How Transit-Oriented Development Can Help Get America to Work

Download the document.

This paper sets out the importance of investing in economic development strategies that focus from the earliest planning stages on equity and opportunity for low-income workers. We will outline some of the conditions that enable communities and investors to design thriving societies and help break down traditional silos of community development. Finally, we will discuss why integrating transit and community development is not just good social policy but also smart investing.

Bespoke Devices: London Workshops Demystify The Guts of Personal Technology

Read the full post at GOOD.

Everyone dreads the moment when their tablet, laptop, or iPhone turns from helpful friend to ardent foe, leaving the owner clueless and looking to the manufacturer for help or for a new device altogether.

Creative husband and wife team Daniel Hirschmann and Bethany Koby want you to know what to do when your gadget quits. They believe that technology is most beneficial to our lives when we understand how it works and can tailor it to our individual needs.

The duo calls their London-based startup—Technology Will Save Us—a “haberdashery for technology.” Their workshops and kits demystify things like micro-controllers and circuit boards and reignite the joy that comes from making something, whether it’s foldable speakers or a thirsty plant detector.

%d bloggers like this: