The federal action plan that guides Great Lakes restoration activities is being updated, and the U.S. EPA is requesting public input. Listen to the meetings — and comment if you like — May 21 through June 5 in Chicago, Buffalo, Milwaukee, Cleveland or via webinar. Representatives from the Alliance will attend all six meetings. Learn more at http://www.glri.us/public.html
Category Archives: Great Lakes
A recent post in the Marine Debris Blog examines the debris issue in the Great Lakes.
This story at Great Lakes Echo offers specific tips for consumers who are concerned about endocrine disrupting chemicals.
The federal agencies and departments of the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force today announced opportunities for the public to provide input to a planned update of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan.
The updated Action Plan would direct Great Lakes restoration for fiscal years 2015-2019. The public may comment directly to the federal agencies and to the Great Lakes Advisory Board (GLAB), a panel of experts established to provide recommendations to the federal agencies.
“If you love the Great Lakes, these forums are a chance for you to help steer how we invest in their health,” said Cameron Davis, senior advisor to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, who chairs the Task Force. Davis will facilitate all forums.
Comments may be given at any of the following scheduled meetings:
- Tuesday & Wednesday, May 21-22 – Great Lakes Advisory Board Inaugural Meeting & Public Comment to GLAB: http://go.usa.gov/TGJz.
- Thursday, May 23, 2-4 pm Central – Webinar / Registration Web Link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/439355408.
- Tuesday, May 28, 6-8 pm Eastern – First Ward Community Center, 62 Republic Street, Buffalo, New York.
- Thursday, May 30, 6-8 pm Central – Urban Ecology Center in Riverside Park, 1500 East Park Place, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
- Monday, June 3, 5-7 pm Central – Webinar / Registration Web Link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/911554472.
- Wednesday, June 5, 6-8 pm Eastern – Cleveland Public Library, Louis Stokes Annex, 325 Superior Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio.
In February 2010, the Task Force released the GLRI Action Plan for FY2010-2014. The Action Plan identified goals, objectives, measurable ecological targets, and specific actions to help rehabilitate the Great Lakes.
The Action Plan targets investments to reduce toxic contamination, rehabilitate fish and wildlife habitat, improve nearshore health, reduce nutrients and other land-based pollution, prevent invasive species, and promote accountability, education, and collaboration.
More public comment opportunities may be announced.
Please visit www.glri.us for updates or for more information on the GLRI.
Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.
Five years ago, Illinois passed legislation requiring electric suppliers to buy more renewable energy such as wind and solar power and then pass those costs on to customers.
The intent of the mandate was to have so-called green electricity accounting for a quarter of the power flowing into residences and businesses by 2025 while fostering homegrown jobs and cleaner air.
But that was before customers of the state’s two major electric utilities defected en masse to other suppliers that purchase power on the open market. With that move, the state is falling short of its green mandate, because money being collected from customers by these other energy suppliers isn’t being used for green energy purchases.
Instead, the money is going into a fund that’s sitting untapped because of obscure language in state law.
In a related story, the Tribune reports that, although Illinois law requires that renewable energy should come from Illinois or surrounding states, the power it receives is probably from outside Illinois, unless a municipality or business explicitly has stated it wants local renewable power.
Read the full story in Governing.
The world needs water, and Milwaukee has it. More specifically, Milwaukee has water innovation. So the city is transforming itself from an old industrial center into a center for water research and technology.
Hundreds of three-speed bikes painted “Chicago blue” will hit the streets in June when the city debuts a bicycle-sharing rental program that originally was set to launch last summer, officials are expected to announce Thursday.
Operating under the name Divvy, which is intended to convey the idea of sharing bikes, the system will start out with about 75 solar-powered docking stations in the downtown and River North areas and expand within a year to 400 stations and about 4,000 bicycles covering much of the city, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.
Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.
Wisconsin has not systematically looked for endocrine disruptors statewide. Research and regulation of them is poorly funded and loosely coordinated, according to a Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism review of records and interviews with government officials and environmental experts.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, won first prize among small institutions in the Agency’s first Campus RainWorks Challenge. EPA created the challenge to inspire the next generation of landscape architects, planners and engineers to develop innovative green infrastructure. The student team will receive a $2,500 cash award and IIT will receive $11,000 for faculty research on green infrastructure.
“EPA’s Campus RainWorks Challenge encourages the use of green infrastructure to manage stormwater — to improve water quality and to prevent the type of flooding caused by the heavy rains that hit Illinois last week,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman, who presented the award today at an Earth Day ceremony at IIT. “The concept and technical quality of the IIT team’s design is truly impressive.”
The IIT team designed a plan to redevelop a 1,200-foot section of Dearborn Street on the IIT campus. The plan incorporates green infrastructure design elements, including rain gardens that double as outdoor seating areas and permeable walkways. Once implemented, the project will reduce stormwater runoff by more than 70 percent and reduce water used for campus landscaping by 3 million gallons annually.
The project will serve as an ongoing stormwater management design and research site for IIT’s campus and the city at large. IIT’s team was composed of a faculty advisor and 14 graduate and undergraduate students from various disciplines including landscape architecture, business and engineering.
“This is a really great moment for the IIT Master of Landscape Architecture program, for the College of Architecture and for the University, because it brings focus and attention to an increasingly vital urban landscape infrastructure issue: a great design problem for design education,” said Mary Pat Mattson, Studio Assistant Professor, Illinois Institute of Technology. “The award gives us an opportunity to build on our ideas through further research and coursework. And we look forward to seeing how this impacts the campus landscape in very real ways.”
More than 30 expert judges from EPA, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Water Environment Federation and the American Society of Civil Engineers reviewed submissions from 218 teams. The winners were selected based on six criteria: analysis and planning, preservation or restoration of natural features, integrated water management, soil and vegetation management, value to campus, and likelihood of implementation.
Stormwater is one of the most widespread challenges to water quality in the nation. Large volumes of polluted stormwater degrade our nation’s rivers, lakes and aquatic habitats and contribute to downstream flooding.
The Campus RainWorks Challenge engages students and faculty at colleges and universities to apply green infrastructure principles and design, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and increase the use of green infrastructure on campuses across the nation. Green infrastructure filters and captures pollutants by passing stormwater through soils and retaining it on site. Green roofs, permeable surfaces and rain gardens are some of the most common types of green infrastructure.
Just a reminder that the deadline for applying for the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award is getting closer. Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on May 31, 2013.
Details and application information can be found on the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center website at http://www.istc.illinois.edu/info/govs_awards.cfm or contact Deb Jacobson at 630-472-5019, firstname.lastname@example.org.