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New Study on Green Infrastructure to Assess Stormwater Management
Green roof tops are sprouting up around Chicago. But what is the most useful way to incorporate green infrastructure into urban settings? Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) Environmental Planning Specialist Martin Jaffe recently received a $300,000 grant from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to assess the use of green infrastructure for urban stormwater management in Illinois.

For full story, see: Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Press Release


Funds Available to Farmers for Sustainable Agriculture Projects
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) encourages Hoosier farmers or groups of farmers interested in sustainable agriculture research, demonstration and education projects to apply for the 2009 Farmers Rancher Grant (FRG) sponsored by the North Central Region (NCR) Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program through funds from the US Department of Agriculture.

This competitive grants program is exclusively for farmers and ranchers to carry out sustainable agriculture on their farms. The proposals' deadline is 4:30pm CDT Thursday, December 3, 2009. A total of approximately $400,000 is available for this program. Grant recipients have 24 months to complete their projects.

For full information, see full story; or visit the ISDA Web site and search under ISDA Grants.


Report on St. Clair River Erosion Delayed
A team studying upper Great Lakes levels has postponed a report on whether they have lost excessive amounts of water through an enlarged river channel so the group can have more time for research, officials said.

The International Upper Great Lakes Study said the document would be released Dec. 1, instead of Oct. 1 as previously scheduled. The delay will give the group more time to evaluate its research and await peer reviews of a preliminary report issued in May, spokesman John Nevin said.

For full article, see:

University of Michigan Research Team Begins First Mapping To Forecast Future Of Great Lakes
A University of Michigan-led research team is creating a comprehensive analysis and mapping of threats to the Great Lakes that will guide decision-making in the United States and Canada for years to come.

The mapping and analysis project will produce the first regional synthesis of human impacts on the Great Lakes, thereby helping regional planners and conservation groups to prioritize their activities. The Erb Family Foundation is funding the $500,000, two-year project.

Full story available online at: University of Michigan News Service


Growing Biofuel Crops Sustainably In the Midwestern United States

gasification photo
At the University of Minnesota-Morris Biomass Gasification Facility, gasification researcher Jim Barbour and ARS soil scientist Jane Johnson evaluate potential biomass feedstocks.

As crop residues are being used to produce ethanol and other biofuels, a delicate balance has to be struck between how much is removed for energy and how much is left on the ground to protect soil from erosion, maintain soil organisms, and store carbon in the soil. The Agricultural Research Service has scientists in 18 states who are searching for that balance as a main goal of the Renewable Energy Assessment Project (REAP).

See full story here.


Ohio's Top Conservation Farmers Honored
Ohio's top conservation farm families for 2009 were honored for their long-standing dedication to natural resource conservation on the land they farm during ceremonies at the Farm Science Review near London on September 24. The annual award is sponsored by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Soil and Water Resources, Ohio Farmer magazine and Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.

For more information, see: Ohio DNR website

Urban Soil Initiative Starts in Ohio
This spring, soil scientists from Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana met to discuss updating the urban soil areas of the Cincinnati Metropolitan area. As tools and processes are developed in the Cincinnati area, they will be available for soil survey modernization across the state.

For more information, see full story at: Ohio DNR website

Federal Funding Available for Land Preservation Projects in the Lake Erie Watershed

East Sandusky Bay photo
East Sandusky Bay

Communities within Ohio's Lake Erie Watershed seeking to acquire land for preservation and recreation can apply for up to $3 million per project in federal grants through the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP). The program is administered in the state through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Office of Coastal Management.

Municipalities, park districts and other public entities can submit applications until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, February 17. Sites of high-quality ecological, conservation, recreational, historical or aesthetic value will be top contenders for funding. Sites within Ohio's designated Coastal Management Area will be given highest priority, followed by sites in coastal counties and then other sites in the Lake Erie watershed. Applicants must provide at least 50%t of the total project cost as match.

Source: The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program website


Wisconsin Farmer Attitudes Regarding Native Grass Use in Grazing Systems
Research by J.E. Doll and R.D. Jackson

More tallgrass prairie has been lost than any other ecosystem in North America, and relict tallgrass prairie remains a threatened plant community. There are potential environmental and agronomic benefits to the reintroduction of native prairie warm-season grass species into grazing systems, but these benefits can only be realized if farmers are willing to use native grasses. Because of the important relationship between farmer attitudes and conservation behaviors, Wisconsin farmer attitudes were assessed concerning perceptions of native grasses.

For more information, see: full study


Secretary Vilsack Visits Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio on 2009 Rural Tour

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
As part of the administrationís Rural Tour, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Charlotte, Michigan for a bi-partisan Town Hall Meeting on July 13; Zanesville, Ohio on September 1; and at a community forum at a county fair outside LaCrosse, Wisconsin on July 16, 2009.

Some of the questions asked of Secretary Vilsack included concerns about food safety legislation and the effects of regulation on small producers. Secretary Vilsack told the audience that the USDA is developing policies to promote local agriculture and local food systems.

For a full blog of Rural Tour visits, tweets and more, visit the Rural Tour website.

Nearshore Areas of the Great Lakes
Environment Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently released the Nearshore Areas of the Great Lakes 2009 report, describing the current state of nearshore areas and changes since 1996.

For more information, see:

Great Lakes Commission des Grands Lacs.  2805 S. Industrial Highway, Suite 100.  Ann Arbor, MI  48104-6791.  phone: 734/971.9135.  fax: 734/971-9150. GLIN Partner