San Francisco’s Race to Zero Waste Has One Last Major Hurdle

Read the full story at Medium.

We often hear about San Francisco’s success in waste management and recycling: how the city is a leader in this field, diverting 80% of its waste through reusing, recycling, and composting. This diversion rate is impressive and superior to that of every other major city, which raises the question: How is San Francisco diverting 80% of its waste?

UF researcher: Online tool helps make neighborhoods more bird-friendly

Read the full story from the University of Florida.

When it comes to urban planning, sometimes a bird in hand is not worth two in the bush. Researchers with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have created an online tool to help planners strategically conserve forest fragments and tree canopy that will attract more birds and enhance future biodiversity.

The Building for Birds web tool predicts how the distribution of trees and tree patches in a new development will impact resident and migrating bird habitat. Users can test different arrangements to see how they can optimize habitat for different development scenarios.

Can Extra Taxes on Vacant Land Cure City Blight?

Read the full story from Stateline.

Downtown Hartford, Connecticut, has some lovely green space, Bushnell Park, at its center. But within a block or two are more than a dozen undeveloped lots, some of which are used for parking, while others sit empty. The City Council would like to levy higher property taxes on the lots as a way to encourage development.

It passed a resolution calling for a “land value tax” late last year. But Democratic Mayor Luke Bronin is still weighing whether to sign off on the tax, which is aimed at sprucing up Hartford’s city center and making it more inviting to visitors, businesses and shoppers.

The question in his mind is whether the tax would work as advertised in every instance. “In some cases you might spur development by making it [the land] more costly,” Bronin said. But in others, making improvements may not be cost-effective for landowners.

Webinar: EPA STAR Grants: Moving Green Infrastructure Forward

Tue, Mar 14, 2017 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM CDT
Register at

EPA’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grant program funds research grants in numerous environmental programs, including stormwater management. This webcast will feature the work of two STAR grantees who are working to achieve new insights and promote continued green infrastructure implementation and innovation in communities across the country. Don Katnik and Amanda Shearin with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will illustrate how urban planners can use geospatial information systems (GIS) to map regional development for the purpose of preserving and enhancing green infrastructure. Robert Traver with Villanova University will focus on the performance monitoring of urban green infrastructure practices in Philadelphia.

Webinar: Model My Watershed: A Tool for Water Resource Management

Thu, Mar 9, 2017 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM CST
Register at

Join us for a Webcast on a new web-based tool called Model My Watershed. This tool is part of a larger web application called WikiWatershed that is being developed by the Stroud Water Research Center (see Model My Watershed is a user friendly, online watershed modeling Web application intended for use by citizens, conservation practitioners, municipal decision-makers, educators, students, and others. This tool enables users to:

  • Analyze nationally-available landscape, climate and other datasets in their neighborhoods and watersheds;
  • Model stormwater runoff and water quality impacts using professional-grade models; and
  • Compare how different conservation or development scenarios could modify runoff and water quality.

Model My Watershed allows users to learn how land use and soil together determine whether rainfall infiltrates into the soil, runs off into streams, or is evaporated and transpired by plants. This Internet tool is intended to provide an easy-to-use professional-grade modeling package to inform land use decisions, support conservation practices, and enhance watershed education.

The Webcast will provide background on the tool, will demonstrate the tool, and will highlight how this tool is being used by several states and others for their total maximum daily load, nonpoint source, and municipal stormwater programs.

Webcast participants are eligible to receive a certificate for their attendance. The Webcast presentations are posted in advance at and participants are encouraged to download them prior to the Webcast.
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The Southeast Has an Energy Problem, and Minorities Are Hit the Hardest

Read the full story in Pacific Standard.

Energy poverty has become so severe in the Southeast that many households pay 600 percent more of their annual income on energy than the national average. In Memphis, the community is banding together to fight back.