Un-conference: Public Lab’s Annual Barnraising

In the spirit of bringing a community together to collectively raise a structure such as a barn, Barnraising participants come together to test environmental monitoring tools in the field, brainstorm new research projects, share about environmental concerns, and develop strategies to address them. The event is hosted in an “unconference style.” This means that people collectively set the agenda, and join to participate and collaborate rather than just present, talk, and listen…

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Grants and Funding: NSF Environmental Sustainability Program

The goal of the Environmental Sustainability program is to promote sustainable engineered systems that support human well-being and that are also compatible with sustaining natural (environmental) systems. These systems provide ecological services vital for human survival. Research efforts supported by the program typically consider long time horizons and may incorporate contributions from the social sciences and ethics. The program supports engineering research that seeks to balance society’s need to provide ecological protection and maintain stable economic conditions. 

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Research: USGS Seeking Green Infrastructure Monitoring Sites

The USGS is looking for additional locations to monitor the volume reduction of storm water due to the installation of “green” infrastructure (rain gardens, permeable pavers, swales, downspout disconnects, etc). They are especially interested in sites with tree plantings designed to capture and divert storm water from sewers.

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Broken Pipes, Pumps, and Practices: America’s Big Water Infrastructure Crisis

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It’s no secret that infrastructure—including electric grids, fossil fuel pipelines, public transportation lines, bridges, railways, and roads—are in a rapid state of decline in the U.S., and that there is not nearly enough money allocated to their repair and maintenance. Central to that problem and probably the most alarming aspect of it is the fact that water infrastructure systems—the pipes that bring us treated water and the sewer lines that take waste water away—are in various states of disrepair all around the country.

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Rain Barrels: DIY Green Infrastructure for Your Home or Business

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You may have heard the terms point and nonpoint source pollution. To demystify these terms a bit, a point source is a known source of pollutants, such as a factory or a sewer treatment plant. Nonpoint sources are everything else: lawns, roofs, construction sites, driveways, and roads. Pollution from these sources can take a variety of forms, including mud, bacteria, fertilizers, and toxic waste like oil and paint. Stormwater collects these pollutants from multiple sources, then introduces them directly into our streams, rivers, and lakes.

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Reduce, Re-use, Recycle… and Innovate

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The average American produces a little over four pounds of trash each day. Even though many of us recycle, the amount of waste we produce is still higher than it was in the sixties. Together, Americans produce 220 million tons of waste annually, 55% of which end up in landfills (unless you live in San Francisco, which has managed to divert 80% of its collective trash to recycling and composting programs, and is well on its way toward the end goal of producing “zero waste” as a city). And while businesses, schools, and hospitals produce a lot of trash as well, 65% of the trash found in today’s landfills is produced by individual households.

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Cincinnati’s Unique Approach to Addressing Sewage Pollution

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At scales ranging from the neighborhood and city to the watershed and basin, communities around the country are finding ways to break down silos in water management to become more sustainable and to more equitably maximize benefits across their community and watershed. River Network is hosting a series of webinars with support from the Urban Waters Learning Network and the Pisces Foundation on Integrated Water Management, which cover multiple examples of how these approaches are taking root across the country.

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