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AMES, Iowa -- Summaries of the results from six recent projects are now available on the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture website, representing all four research initiatives: Ecology, Marketing and Food Systems, Policy and Cross-Cutting.
Replacing an aging residential hotel near downtown San Jose, Casa Feliz Studios was developed in 2009 with 60 new apartments by First Community Housing (FCH). The energy-efficient apartments serve extremely low-income residents — 35 percent with developmental disabilities — and are located in a run-down neighborhood of Victorian houses interspersed with deteriorating 1960’s apartment buildings. At less than half an acre, the tight infill site required a creative and efficient design.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federally subsidized crop insurance is now the most expensive program supporting farm income, so it’s no surprise that it will be at the center of the Senate Agriculture Committee’s deliberations on the 2013 farm bill, starting later this month. And as it happens, last year’s epic drought, which decimated crops across a wide swath of America, afforded a unique opportunity to assess the effectiveness of a program whose costs have ballooned to $9 billion a year, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
AMES, Iowa -- Analysts are expecting a record number of acres will be planted to corn this year. But with increasing costs and pressure to convert as much land as possible to crops, farmers are cautioned to check before tilling small patches of prairie or grassland for the first time.
AMES, Iowa -- The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture has awarded grants for 15 innovative research and demonstration projects that will begin work in 2013.
AMES, Iowa -- Farmers are encouraged to check out a new online tool that will help them select the right cover crop for their operations.
IOWA COUNTY, Iowa -- New research that models how carbon moves through Midwestern landscapes will help farmers manage their land for healthy soil, clean water, and carbon sequestration.
Most people in the United States live in its cities, suburbs or small towns. These people interact with their environment in ways that are sometimes sustainable, sometimes not, but their impacts are measurable and knowable. However, another 2 million individuals call a prison, jail, or detention center home, at any given time. Just like people on the outside, they consume food, use water, and require a living environment that is dry, clean, and safe.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A new study shows that conservation practices have made great strides in reducing pollutant losses from cultivated cropland in the Missouri River Basin. The study, called the Assessment of the Effects of Conservation Practices on Cultivated Cropland in the Missouri River Basin, showed that conservation practices, such as building terraces and reducing tillage, reduce the runoff of sediment by 76 percent, nitrogen by 54 percent and phosphorus by 60 percent.
On an afternoon in May, a group tours a Wisconsin farm, learning about producing biofuel from soybeans, canola and sorghum. At a pasture walk near Giard, Iowa, individuals learn about rotational grazing, pasture improvements, subdivisions, and watering systems over rough and rolling terrain. In Dubuque, Iowa, the Four-State Dairy Nutrition and Management conference covers adjusting ration starch concentration, corn snaplage and shredlage, pricing homegrown and purchased forages, recycled manure solids for bedding, economics of robotic milking and evaluating farm feeding programs.
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The aquifers underlying Cedar Falls, Iowa have long been an excellent source of drinking water, both in quality and quantity, for the northeast Iowa community. Yet, the terrain that creates these aquifers can also pose threats to their waters, allowing water and the contamination it picks up from above ground to seep in. New technologies are helping Cedar Falls and other communities protect these valuable resources.
BOONE COUNTY, Iowa -- Farmers have just begun planting corn and soybean in Iowa’s bare fields, but on experimental plots in Boone County, a lush green crop already covers the ground.
SEATTLE, Wash. -- In the last two years, Seattle Public Utilities and Cedar Grove have given away 30,000 bags of free compost. They are prepared to give away even more at a fun celebration called the “Big Dig” happening at Seattle Tilth’s Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Parkville, Mo., residents and city officials, along with local Girl Scouts and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 staff, will participate in a tree planting project at the city’s English Landing Park, which lost approximately 100 trees during last year’s flooding along the Missouri River.
When a hard rain falls, water splashes through the leaves of towering trees, drips among the limbs, and slowly seeps into the ground, regenerating plant life, renewing habitat, and recharging the aquifer below. Unless of course that forest has been replaced by an urban landscape complete with asphalt roofs and impermeable pavement. In that case, the water rushes along, picking up sediment and junk until, shimmering with petroleum goop, it rips apart the banks of shallow local streams.
PRAIRIE CITY, IOWA - With small strips of native prairies, farmers can provide vital habitat for grassland birds that have diminished in numbers across the United States, according to research funded by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the EPA and USDA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the state of Minnesota to develop a new state program for farmers designed to increase the voluntary adoption of conservation practices that protect local rivers, streams and other waters by reducing fertilizer run-off and soil erosion. Through this partnership, producers who undertake a substantial level of conservation activities to reduce nutrient run-off and erosion will receive assurance from the state that their farms will meet Minnesota's water quality standards and goals during the life of the agreement.
How many cars can you park on a stormwater detention pond? Well, quite a few if you vacuum it twice a year.
NEWARK, Del. -- The New Castle Conservation District has begun accepting applications for cost-sharing assistance on cover crops. Applications are accepted on a first-come first-served basis until all funds are obligated.
BOSTON -- The Patrick-Murray Administration awarded more than $200,000 in grants to four projects across the Commonwealth to conduct watershed non-point source pollution assessment and planning work to address water quality impairments.
With a proposed investment of $800 million in green stormwater infrastructure, the city of Philadelphia Water Department says it plans to become America's model for urban water utilities in the 21st century. The bold new Green City, Clean Waters plan calls for the city to spend 66 percent of a $1.2 billion capital improvement budget on green systems that capture rainwater where it falls rather than piping it into costly detention systems beneath the city.
The key to developing stormwater pollution control policies that are enforceable at the local level while complying with federal standards is for local officials and state environmental agencies to build strong working relationships, according to a stormwater authority in Maine.
BOSTON, Mass. -- The Boston Parks and Recreation Department released its Sustainable Design Guidelines. As part of the Parks Department's mission to foster and serve the community, a comprehensive review of existing design standards, design details, specifications, and operation and maintenance practices throughout Boston's park system was undertaken with the goal to improve the overall sustainability of its Parks and Open Spaces.
Andrew Reese sees stormwater management going "back to the future" faster than a 1982 DeLorean with a "flux capacitor." Even if you don't get his clever reference to the Steven Spielberg movie, it suffices to say: Big changes are coming out of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency when it comes to regulating pollutants in stormwater.
And, it turns out, mimicking nature with green infrastructure - not unlike the ditches and swales of the past - can not only provide a reliable means of meeting these new standards, but the return on investment could make even Hollywood blush.
Over the past decade, permeable pavement has emerged as an effective and affordable means of managing stormwater runoff and demonstrating sustainable practices within the community. By capturing runoff and allowing it to seep into the ground, permeable pavement helps a municipal organization lower wastewater management costs, reduce the rate and volume of runoff and recharge groundwater - all while meeting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stormwater regulations.