A Regional Water Supply Framework for Champaign County and East Central Illinois

This report is the result of a multi-jurisdictional effort to recommend informed action in the spheres of research, public policy, and outreach. The report includes 35 strategies, all with the goal of protecting water quality and quantity in East-Central Illinois now and in the future.


Study: Carbon-Hungry Plants Impede Growth Rate of Atmospheric CO2

Read the full story from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

New findings suggest the rate at which CO2 is accumulating in the atmosphere has plateaued in recent years because Earth’s vegetation is grabbing more carbon from the air than in previous decades.

That’s the conclusion of a multi-institutional study led by a scientist from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). It’s based on extensive ground and atmospheric observations of CO2, satellite measurements of vegetation, and computer modeling. The research is published online Nov. 8 in the journal Nature Communications.

New law recognizes meadows, streams as green infrastructure

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

The U.S. state of California has spent the better part of the last hundred years cobbling together a massive network of pipes, pumps and aqueducts that today suck water from remote rivers in angry parts of distant states up over high mountains down through dry valleys and into the Southern part of the state.

It’s a technological and engineering wonder — one the Romans would envy — but it’s only as good as the forests and catchments that mop up that water and filter it for human consumption, and those ecosystems increasingly are under pressure.

So, with the state entering its sixth year of drought, Gov. Jerry Brown last month signed a landmark law, Assembly Bill 2480, declaring that “source watersheds are recognized and defined as integral components of California’s water infrastructure.”

In so doing, he made it possible to funnel billions of dollars in infrastructure finance towards the restoration of forests and the maintenance of meadows, streams and rivers — echoing a similar move by Peru last year and accelerating a decades-old trend towards the use of “natural infrastructure” to manage water supplies.

Indeed, preliminary findings from Ecosystem Marketplace’s State of Watershed Investments 2016 report, slated for release in early 2017, identify at least 95 initiatives in the United States funneling at least $3.8 billion into watershed conservation, and the global figures are multiples of that. Meanwhile, a recent mapping initiative launched this month shows dramatic increases in all payments for ecosystem services.

Improving building efficiency: A tale of 4 cities

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

One-third of the world’s energy-related emissions come from buildings. So perhaps it’s no surprise that more than 80 national climate plans submitted ahead of COP21 in Paris included commitments to improve building efficiency.

A year later, the discussion continues with Human Settlements Day today at COP22 in Marrakech. The Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (Global ABC) released a report (PDF) taking stock of the opportunity to reduce emissions from buildings, and laid out a roadmap for national governments attending the climate talks.

One of the key recommendations is to support building efficiency action by cities. WRI leads the Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA), a public-private collaboration of 30 organizations working with 23 cities to help them advance building efficiency. In doing so, they also reduce pollution, boost resiliency to heat waves and other climate events, improve infrastructure and more. Here’s a look at four cities where BEA partners are working.

Dirty Danube: looming pollution threats to the world’s most international river

Read the full story in The Guardian.

After barely surviving decades of pollution during the communist era, the Danube is facing new threats from microplastics, pesticides and pharma waste.

When a City Stops Arguing About Climate Change and Starts Planning

Read the case study at Next Step.

Charleston, South Carolina, is adapting to a hotter, wetter and riskier future.

Chicago entices cyclists with plan for floating, solar-powered bike path

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Spearheaded by design firm Second Shore, the aim is to protect cyclists from cars and better connect the city.

There Is A Major Climate Issue Hiding In Your Closet: Fast Fashion

Read the full story from Fast Company.

Disposable clothes, often made from oil, in factories powered by coal, and shipped around the world, mean that the apparel industry contributes 10% of global emissions.

2017 Conservation Innovation Grants

Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) are competitive grants that stimulate the development and adoption of innovative approaches and technologies for conservation on agricultural lands. CIG uses Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds to award competitive grants to non-Federal governmental or nongovernmental organizations, American Indian Tribes, or individuals. Producers involved in CIG funded projects must be EQIP eligible.

Through CIG, NRCS partners with public and private entities to accelerate technology transfer and adopt promising technologies. These new technologies and approaches address some of the Nation’s most pressing natural resources concerns. CIG benefits agricultural producers by providing more options for environmental enhancement and compliance with Federal, State, and local regulations.

NRCS will invest $25 million for new national CIG projects in fiscal year 2017. The focus areas this year are conservation finance; data analytics for natural resources; pay-for-success models to stimulate conservation adoption; precision conservation; water management technologies and approaches; and benefitting historically underserved farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners.

Up to $2 million of this year’s CIG funding has been set aside for projects that benefit historically underserved and military veteran farmers and ranchers, beginning farmers and ranchers and those with limited resources and organizations that include or support them.

The application period will close on January 9, 2017.  American Indian tribes, state and local units of government, non-governmental organizations and individuals are eligible to submit applications. Project proposals must be submitted electronically through www.grants.gov offsite link image     and a pdf copy must be e-mailed to nrcscig@wdc.usda.gov.

2017 Announcement for Program Funding       (DOCX version)
Applicant Q&A Webinar – November 21, 2016 (PDF, 35 KB)

Judge Orders Bottled Water Delivery To Flint Residents Amid Lead Crisis

Read the full story from NPR.

A federal judge has ordered state and local governments to provide home delivery of bottled water to the residents of Flint, Mich., as they continue to navigate a years-long crisis over lead-laced water.

U.S. District Judge David Lawson said in his order that the city and state must provide at least four cases of water per resident every week, unless the officials verify the household has a water filter installed that is properly maintained or the residents opt out.