$5M USDA grant funds Illinois-led innovative cover cropping project

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced that it is funding a new project led by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign that will address major obstacles to adoption of cover crops in the United States.

Titled “iCOVER: Innovated Cover-crop Opportunity, Verification, and Economy stimulating technology for underserved farmers using Robotics,” this $4,999,999, four-year project is funded through the USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program and was facilitated through the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) at Illinois. The project will scale up robotic cover crop planting and verification of soil carbon through innovative radiological robotic sensing technologies, creating markets for climate-smart products for minority underserved farmers growing specialty crops and animal products.

Planning for dry times: The West considers more reservoirs and aquifers

Read the full story at Stateline.

As parched California receives much needed rain and snow this winter, some local water officials are calling on state leaders to invest in new infrastructure projects that will store freshwater for inevitable dry times to come.

The worst megadrought in 1,200 years is devastating the water supply in the Western United States. It’s drying up the Colorado River basin, a major North American river system, while also depleting reservoirs and underground aquifers and forcing communities to make drastic cuts to their freshwater use.

Western states can no longer rely on snowmelt and rain to supply their communities in a drier, more arid landscape caused by climate change, say water experts.

Environmental groups have called for increased conservation efforts, such as pushing people to limit watering of ornamental lawns and upgrade to more efficient appliances. And they want officials to invest more in wastewater recycling or desalination projects. But some local water officials in California and across the West see a massive opportunity in storing rainwater in new or expanded reservoirs and groundwater aquifers.

Your merchandise was made in a sweatshop. Now what?

Read the full story at Supply Chain Dive.

When it comes to supply chain ethics, retailers may no longer be able to cede responsibility to the brands they sell.

Whales could be a valuable carbon sink, say scientists

Read the full story at Cell Press.

Nature-based solutions to fight climate change take a holistic approach that promotes biodiversity and ecosystem preservation. While many efforts have focused on planting trees or restoring wetlands, researchers now also advocate for the importance of understanding the carbon sequestration potential of the planet’s largest animals — whales. Researchers explore how these marine giants can influence the amount of carbon in our air and waters and potentially contribute to the overall reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

NASA satellite used to monitor methane from landfill sites

Read the full story at E&T.

Observations from a NASA satellite will be used by nonprofit group Carbon Mapper to discover the landfill sites responsible for emitting the most methane.

The Black carp now established in parts of the Mississippi River basin

Read the full story from Northern Public Radio.

The Black carp, one of four invasive species of carp in North America, has made it into the Mississippi River basin.

A new multi-year report from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) found the range of Black carp in the Mississippi River basin now includes the entirety of the Mississippi River between New Orleans and the southeastern edge of Iowa, near Keokuk.

The Black carp is a large species of fish endemic to parts of east Asia, typically growing over three feet long and weighing over 100 pounds. The fish was deliberately brought to the states during the 1970s as a means of pest control for aquatic snails in fish ponds. The population quickly grew out of control.

How universities deal with crocodiles or coyotes on campus

Read the full story in Discover.

College campuses can be wild places. But occasionally, the term can be applied pretty literally at institutions of higher learning — like when it refers to animals that find themselves in people-trafficked places. 

Whether it’s a wandering moose or roving packs of wild boar, some universities in the U.S. must work to ensure that humans are aware and respectful of wild animals. That way, they can hopefully avoid incidents where coeds and critters collide.  

Technology helps companies evaluate, optimize CCU possibilities

Read the full story at Environment + Energy Leader.

A software platform that will help companies efficiently implement carbon capture and utilization processes is part of a partnership between Aspen Technology and Aramco.

The modeling and optimization platform will help industries find practical and economical results for carbon capture and utilization (CCU), according to the partnership. It will help companies find a balance between emissions reductions and business operations and evaluate the risks of sustainability initiatives.

Despite a changing climate, Americans are ‘flocking to fire’

Read the full story at Inside Climate News.

Over the past decade, Americans have migrated to areas of the country with high wildfire risk, indicating that climate disasters are not yet prioritized in moving decisions.

Fish kills may result from low water in backwaters of the Mississippi

Read the full story from WVIK.

Low water levels on the Upper Mississippi River in the Quad Cities area may affect fish this winter and next year.