Day: June 25, 2020

Engineering, procurement and construction agreements for utility-scale battery projects

Read the full story in PV Magazine.

In the second installment of our series addressing best practices, challenges and opportunities in utility-scale battery energy storage systems deployment, we examine engineering, procurement and construction agreements for battery projects.

Declaration for resilience urges ‘new normal’ for Canadian cities

Read the full story at The Energy Mix.

Canada’s urban planning experts, along with leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, have signed on to the 2020 Declaration for Resilience in Canadian Cities, urging policy-makers at all levels to create a “new normal” that makes affordability, sustainability, climate-friendliness, and equity the four cornerstones of any pandemic recovery plans.

How Global Regulators Are Selling Out the World’s Largest Tuna

Read the full story at e360.

The international commission responsible for managing Atlantic bluefin — prized for high-quality sushi — is failing to protect this magnificent fish. The regulators’ focus on fishing industry profits points up the need to change the way we view, and value, the lives of wild creatures.


I-TICK (Illinois Tick Inventory Collaboration networK) is a surveillance program to gather information about ticks of public health concern in Illinois. The purpose is to develop a network of volunteers to collect data to help our lab determine the risk of tick-borne disease based on where and when ticks occur.

There are two ways to take part in I-TICK: freezing a tick in alcohol, recording location and date, and eventually mailing us the data when our campus opens, or collect and submit all data using a smart phone or web app. Participants are free to choose one (or both) methods.

  1.  To use the Tick App
    • Download the free Tick App in Google Play or App Store, more info at
    • Read the consent form, create an account and complete the enrollment survey.
    • Complete a daily log of outdoor activities, tick protection methods used and tick encounters.
    • Found a tick? Take a picture, and submit it in a daily log or tick report. Entomologists will identify the tick (if at all possible) and return that information to you
  2.  Collect a tick and store in your freezer until we are able to accept ticks through the mail
    • Place tick on a paper towel wet, but not ‘dripping’, with rubbing alcohol into a ziploc plastic bag.
    • On a piece of paper, record the date you found the tick, the location (at least the county) where you believe the tick came from, and if you traveled outside your county within the last 10 days
    • Please consider including your name and email on the paper. Your information is completely protected – we will only email you if we have a question.
    • Place the bag with the tick and the paper with data you recorded into a second ziploc and place in the freezer. Alcohol and freezing will kill the tick and the alcohol will eventually evaporate.
    • Be sure both ziploc bags are completely sealed.
    • As soon as we are able we will contact you with instructions on sending us those ticks.
    • Please note: This method does NOT provide tick species identification (the Tick App does)

How’s My Waterway?

How’s My Waterway provides the general public with information about the condition of their local waters based on data that states, federal, tribal, local agencies and others have provided to EPA. Water quality information is displayed on 3 scales: community, state and national.

Science thinks it’s unbiased. Queer scientists know that’s not true

Read the full story at Massive Science.

I know firsthand the gulf between science’s supposed open-mindedness towards new ideas and its attitude towards identities. Science and academia try to give an impression of sociopolitical neutrality and acceptance of queer* identities (*this broadly includes everyone in the LGBTQ+ community). As a queer scientist, I know it isn’t true. 

More automation means more reusable packaging: survey

Read the full story at Supply Chain Dive.

Eighty-one percent of supply chain professionals expect automation to increase demand for reusable transportation packaging, according to a survey from the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) of 194 manufacturers and poolers of reusable transport packaging products, primary users of the products, and service providers in the industry.

Automated environments will rely on standardized containers and pallets, a requirement that can be met with reusable packaging, according to RPA’s state of the industry report.

RPA CEO Tim Debus described a “symbiotic relationship” between automation advancements in materials handling and reusable packaging. “I don’t think you’re going to find in many cases that you’re going to have this really high-performing, very automated environment in which you can have single-use packaging products,” Debus told Supply Chain Dive in an interview.

Cabernet With a Side of Carbon

Read the full story at Slate.

Napa’s wineries are embracing carbon farming—is it greenwash or a climate solution?

How investing in green infrastructure can jump-start the post-coronavirus economy

Read the full story at The Conversation.

COVID-19 has turned the world on its head. Many socio-economic benefits Canadians took for granted are now under threat, and the economicinfrastructure and environmental problems that we were once content to ignore are now glaringly obvious.

A recent United Nations report shows that most of Earth’s ecosystems are in serious decline, and this is also true for Canada. In addition, our infrastructure is failing: most of the country’s roads, bridges, stormwater and sewer systems were built just after the Second World War, and up to 40 per cent are close to their expiration dates.

But repairing infrastructure is expensive. Cities own two-thirds of it but receive only eight per cent of all tax dollars and, historically, they have set aside very little money for infrastructure operations, maintenance and rewnewal.

As attentions begin to shift towards economic recovery, some communities are beginning to incorporate natural assets such as lakes, forests or streams into their infrastructure planning while maintaining and improving municipal services such as drinking water supplies, flood protection and stormwater management. Doing so can save municipalities billions of dollars on investments such as water treatment plants.

Case study on flooding highlights usefulness of topographical tool

This story originally appeared on the Prairie Research Institute blog and is used with permission.

By Lisa Sheppard

Google Earth image of the shooting range showing the actual flood extent.

After a downpour in early June, Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) hydrographer Ryan Meekma compared images from the Topographic Wetness Index (TWI), which outlines low-lying areas in Illinois that could flood, with actual flooding at a gun range in Champaign, Illinois, to study the tool’s effectiveness.

On June 3, a storm dropped 2.9 inches of rain in three hours, flooding areas indoors and out at the Police Training Institute Tactical Training Center. Observations showed that as much as 5 inches of rain fell in some locations. The water reached 22.5 inches in one spot, with nearly 12 inches of water inside one of the buildings. Rainwater fell with such force and moved so quickly that it moved tons of gravel and two 150-pound railroad ties.

Heavy rain pooled in low areas of the shooting range.

The TWI map and the on-the-ground flooding were similar in extent, demonstrating that the TWI can be used to show property owners where flooding is likely after a storm. This information is especially important for areas that are outside of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s mapped floodplain areas, according to Kingsley Allan of the ISWS.

The Institute property is not mapped despite its proximity to a nearby stream. It’s likely that some of the river tributaries have larger drainage areas than expected, with possible flooding in areas that are not shown on floodplain maps, Allan said.

Aerial view of shooting range showing Total Wetness Index GIS layer as transparent red, and shaded elevation highlighting berms as red/orange/yellow areas.

Although the TWI does not account for various storm durations and intensities, the index is useful to indicate locations that might flood after a storm. The user-friendly, interactive map enables anyone to look up an address and zoom in to locate relatively low areas on their property or in their community.


Media contact: Kingsley Allan, 217-333-0545,

%d bloggers like this: