Environmental

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  1. Bitter Reaction as Trump Bails on Climate Accord

    The sustainability community erupted with nearly universal dismay, outrage and resolve in the face of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement late last week. But few were really surprised.After all, Trump was merely making good on another campaign promise, pitting his administration against the 71 percent of U.S. citizens who believe climate change is a clear and present danger, and joining only the countries of Syria and Nicaragua in defiance of the accord, which was signed by nearly 200 nations.
  2. Iowa Legislature Defunds Sustainable Agriculture Research

    A bill passed by the Iowa Legislature to defund the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture now waits on the desk of Republican Gov. Terry Branstad.Supporters of the 30-year-old research center at Iowa State University in Ames are hoping one of Bradstad's final acts as governor will be to veto the closure. After all, it was Bradstad himself who signed the 1987 Iowa Groundwater Protection Act into law, providing funds to establish and maintain the Leopold Center.
  3. Sustainable Design, Amenities Enhance Creek Restoration

    In the heart of Dubuque, Iowa, the Bee Branch Creek runs along residential neighborhoods at the city’s north end, through the Highway 151 commercial district, and to the 16th Street Detention Basin before reaching its ultimate destination: the Mississippi River.The Lower Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project, completed in 2011, and the Upper Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project, currently under construction, are part of a multi-faceted approach to addressing the severe and frequent flash flooding experienced in Dubuque’s Bee Branch Watershed.
  4. North America's Freshwater Lakes Getting Saltier

    MILLBROOK, N.Y. - North America's freshwater lakes are getting saltier due to development and exposure to road salt.A study of 371 lakes published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that many Midwestern and Northeastern lakes are experiencing increasing chloride trends, with some 44 percent of lakes sampled in these regions undergoing long-term salinization.
  5. Trump Order Rescinds Obama Climate Initiatives

    In a sweeping executive order, U.S. President Donald Trump has reversed course on the federal government's response to climate change, rescinding numerous environmental protections implemented by the Obama administration.Trump, who has famously described scientific evidence of climate change as a hoax perpetrated by China, framed the March 28 order as actions intended to promote U.S. energy independence and economic growth.
  6. Palo Alto Embraces Its Family Tree

    If ever there was a tree that served as a metaphor for a city – consider El Palo Alto. The tree, whose name means “the tall stick” in Spanish, is a 110-foot-tall California redwood that stands on the bank of a creek near the southwest tip of San Francisco Bay, where it has stood for more than 1,000 years.While human activity in the first half of the 20th century nearly killed it, people began rallying to care for its health in the 1950s and it has since rebounded – albeit about 50 feet shorter than it once was.
  7. U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Down 11.6% Since 2007

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a draft report this week that indicates the nation's greenhouse gas emissions declined 2.2 percent in 2015, continuing a generally downward trend since U.S. emissions peaked in 2007.Overall, net emissions in 2015 were 11.6 percent below 2007 levels, according to the report. Except for 2012, when emissions were slightly lower, they have not been this low since 1993.
  8. Synthetics: Ignored Agents of Global Change

    MILLBROOK, New York -- Despite a steady rise in the manufacture and release of synthetic chemicals, research on the ecological effects of pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and industrial chemicals is severely lacking.This blind spot undermines efforts to address global change and achieve sustainability goals. So reports a new study in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, a publication of the Ecological Society of America.
  9. Gamifying Disaster Preparedness

    The trouble with disaster response is that decisions have to be made at the wrong time — because all times are the wrong time.Either civic leaders must act in the midst of an emergency, when damage is mounting and emotions run high, or they must make choices when there is no emergency and everything seems fine. Harvey Hill and Jason Smith, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Institute for Water Resources, describe this as “cycles of complacency and panic.”
  10. Soil Erosion is Everyone's Problem

    Losing ground is never a good situation.Soil erosion had been declining since the late 1970s, but latest statistics show “we’re headed back up,” said Rick Cruse, professor of agronomy at Iowa State University in Ames.
  11. Wetland Restoration Promises Benefits

    CHAPEL HILL, Tenn. -- A 65-acre agricultural field has been restored to its original wetland state in the rolling hills of Middle Tennessee, producing ecological, human, and economic benefits for the local community.The restoration project was completed at Henry Horton State Park in Chapel Hill through a partnership between park staff, the town of Chapel Hill, the Tennessee Environmental Council, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and local volunteers.
  12. Finding New Life for Superfund Sites

    The term “Superfund site” likely conjures images of a dead, gray landscape and dry, cracked earth, bisected by a creek bed oozing a mysterious slime.But, while it’s true that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund program identifies some of the nation's most contaminated sites, it’s not necessarily the case that the sites languish unattended into perpetuity. In fact, once a site is actually declared a Superfund site, it becomes eligible for a variety of federally-funded clean-up efforts.
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