EPA Announces Request for Proposals for Healthy Watershed Consortium Grant

EPA is soliciting proposals for the management of the Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant. The purpose of the grant is to accelerate and expand the strategic protection of healthy freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds across the country. EPA expects to issue a cooperative agreement to fund a single grantee to manage the Healthy Watersheds Consortium grant program and issue sub-awards on a competitive basis.

Eligible applicants for this Request for Proposals are non-profit organizations, non-governmental organizations, interstate agencies, and inter-tribal consortia which are capable of undertaking activities that advance healthy watershed programs on a national basis. Eligible entities for the sub-awards include public and private nonprofit institutions/organizations, federally recognized Indian tribal governments, states, local governments, U.S. territories or possessions, and interstate agencies. Anticipated federal funding under the competition is approximately $3.75 million over six years.

Proposals are due January 5, 2015.

EPA will host a national Information Session regarding the funding opportunity “Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant” on Thursday, November 13th at 2pm Eastern. Register for the information session at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4218108496644088065. Questions and answers from this Information Session will be posted at http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/watershed/consortiumgrant.cfm.

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NTIS Expands Free Access to Federal Technical Reports

The National Technical Reports Library (NTRL) is now offering the American public free public access to a searchable online database of approximately three million federal science and technology reports. The library is a service of the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Technical Information Service.

NTIS, a federal agency that does not receive appropriations from Congress, previously charged a fee to provide full-text electronic copies of federal documents in its collection.

The full text for 800,000 of these documents can be downloaded immediately in electronic PDF format without charge. The remaining NTRL reports, most published before 1995, must be scanned from microfiche archival files before being provided either as electronic PDF’s  or in print for a fee. However, each time a microfiche document is scanned to fulfill such a request, the agency will add the electronic full-text PDF to its online database for subsequent free public download.

“Our mission is to collect and broadly disseminate federal science and technology information using a self-supporting business model,” said NTIS Director Bruce Borzino. “However, we also recognize that a number of the documents previously offered for a fee through our website were available for free from other sources. The public should not be treated differently depending on which website they visit to download a federal document.”

The agency will also continue to offer a range of premium subscription-based services to individuals, universities, corporations, and other institutions for varying levels of access to all documents in its collection. Access outside the U.S. is available via individual and institutional subscriptions.

“We have continually updated our pricing and business models in response to changing times and we’ll continue to do so,” said Borzino.  “We are excited about the new Public Access NTRL and hope to see a substantial increase in the use of federally funded research in all formats as a direct result.”

To learn more about NTIS, visit www.ntis.gov.

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Literature Searches Benefit from Location Tagging

Via the ARS News Service.

By Rosalie Marion Bliss
October 29, 2014

Conducting literature searches for scientific papers just got more comprehensive, thanks to innovations by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) ecologist Jason Karl and his collaborators have developed a search engine called “JournalMap,” which identifies scientific papers of interest by research locations and physical site variables. ARS is USDA’s chief intramural scientific research agency.

Articles in the JournalMap citation index are “geotagged” based on locations reported in the study and then plotted on a world map. This means that scientists can use JournalMap to search for environmental literature thematically and geographically by selecting a location on a map.

This new approach to combing through scientific literature can help researchers adapt published research and data for investigations in similar ecosystems where formal studies of environmental parameters are relatively sparse. The environmental factors tagged in JournalMap include a range of weather-related data, landform characteristics, soil characteristics and types of land cover.

Karl and his collaborators are also working with Taylor & Francis, a publisher of over 1,600 journals, to build literature geotagging into the publication process and to enable geographic literature searching across entire journal archives. Initially, this effort focused on geotagging the archives of three journals, including the Journal of Natural History, which has been published since 1838. The partnership now includes geotagging articles automatically when they are submitted for publication and standardizing how locations are reported.

The JournalMap citation index currently contains over 12,000 published papers from around 300 journals with more articles being added on a regular basis. Karl and his collaborators are continuing to refine JournalMap by expanding the content of available journals and papers. Authors and researchers are also able to upload their own geotagged articles to the JournalMap citation index and create their own georeferenced article collections at www.journalmap.org.

Karl works at the ARS Range Management Research Unit in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The researchers published a report on the development of the citation database in BioScience in 2013.

Read more about this work in the October 2014 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

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Just Released: The Butterflies of Illinois A Field Guide

INHS-man14.pngThe Illinois Natural History Survey’s Manual 14, Butterflies of Illinois: a Field Guide  has just been released.  The guide contains descriptions, field photos and life-size specimen photos of all Illinois’ butterfly species.   For more information about this Manual or to order click here.

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University of California Press Announces Plans to Roll Out Two Open Access Products

Read the full story from the University of California Press.

University of California Press is entering into the Open Access space with the launch of two new products: a mega journal focused on three core disciplines (life and biomedical sciences, ecology and environmental science, and social and behavioral sciences) and a monograph program designed to take advantage of rich, digital formats.

This move is part of University of California Press’s mission to bring progressive scholarship forward in ways that continue to meet the academic community’s needs for greater discoverability, accessibility, and audience reach. Rollout for both products is planned for 2015.

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Webinar: New Tools for Advancing our Understanding of Marine Mammal Behavioral Ecology

Thursday, November 6, 2014, 11:00 AM CT
Register at http://www.serdp-estcp.org/Tools-and-Training/Webinar-Series/11-06-2014

For other webinars in the series, visit http://www.serdp-estcp.org/Tools-and-Training/Webinar-Series. The topics are fairly wide-ranging.

Webinar Topics

The Relationship of Body Condition of Whales with Behavior and Reproductive Status by Dr. Patrick Miller

The risk of harm to cetaceans from underwater noise is an important environmental and regulatory issue faced by the Department of Defense, in particular the Navy. Noise may reduce foraging rates and thereby body condition, which is a good predictor of offspring survival and reproductive success. Current methods for estimating body condition in cetaceans, however, are descriptive or do not measure full-body fat (lipid) stores. This project is validating and using a novel, non-invasive method to measure total body lipid-stores of free-ranging cetaceans. The cornerstone of the approach is to measure body density of tagged animals, which corresponds to lipid content (fat stores) in mammals because lipids are less dense than other compartments (e.g., bone, skin). The two target species, Northern bottlenose and humpback whales, are being studied in established field sites in the North Atlantic Ocean. Results are validating an innovative technique to measure body condition in cetaceans and enable examining the interplay of body condition with foraging and anti-predator behaviors and the reproductive status of females.

Deep Mapping Squid-Feeding Whales and Their Prey Fields by Dr. Kelly Benoit-Bird

Deep-diving teuthivorous (squid-feeding) whales that have posed concerns related to sound exposure from Navy sonars. In the last decade great progress has been made in understanding the behavior and biology of whales such as sperm and beaked whales that feed primarily on squid. Studying their prey, however, has presented difficulties because of the squids’ rapid speed, relatively large size, and foraging depth. This project is developing an effective, easily deployed, adaptable remote sensing tool for measuring both the prey field and occupancy patterns of sperm and beaked whales to depths of at least 1200 m and utilizing this tool to understand how prey affects the behavior of deep-diving whales and how this behavior may affect sound exposure risk. The tool was developed by integrating an echosounder into an existing REMUS 600 UUV and developing onboard acoustical data processing capabilities within the integrated echosounder module. Results from a field expedition in and around the Navy’s Southern California Offshore Range (SCORE) are providing insights into how beaked whales use their habitat and into the prey that is critical for their survival.

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Journal of Industrial Ecology publishes special issue on Industrial Ecology as a Source of Competitive Advantage

Read the full post from the Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Industrial ecology, a rapidly growing field focused on sustainable production and consumption, has contributed numerous important tools to modern environmental management — life cycle assessment; “industrial symbiosis,” or the by-product exchange between neighboring facilities; “design for environment”; and the use of material flow analysis to track resource use in supply chains, companies, and economies.

A new special feature of Yale’s Journal of Industrial Ecology, titled “Industrial Ecology as a Source of Competitive Advantage,” presents new research on how, when, and why the use of industrial ecology by business can lead to cost savings, higher profits, and other, more intangible, business benefits…

Some highlights from the issue include:

  • An examination of how the Dow Chemical Company uses replacement cost methodology and life cycle assessment (LCA) to systematically demonstrate the financial and environmental benefits of a constructed wetland at a plant in Texas.
  • An article about a tool that uses data mining and machine learning to rapidly generate product carbon footprints (PCFs) for PepsiCo and combine them with business key performance indicators for strategy and business planning.
  • A study of the relationship between industrial ecology and business model innovation at British Sugar, the UK’s largest sugar producer.
  • A description of the 20-year evolution of Interface’s use of LCA as a tool guiding the company toward more-sustainable practices in carpet manufacturing.
  • A profile of AU Optronics Corp., a global leader in thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal displays, that has differentiated itself from its peers and competitors by implementing carbon footprint management and dematerialization.
  • A case study showing economic and environmental benefits of an industrial symbiosis involving a municipal waste-to-energy incinerator and the Hyosung chemical company in South Korea.
  • An analysis of green consumers’ mind-set toward green product design and the environmental impacts of products throughout the entire life cycle.

Articles in the special feature will be freely available online for a limited time.

The Journal of Industrial Ecology is a bimonthly peer-reviewed scientific journal, owned by Yale University, published by Wiley-Blackwell and headquartered at the Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

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Environmental Solutions for Communities Grant Program

The 2015 call for proposals is out for the Environmental Solutions for Communities Grant Program.

“Wells Fargo and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) seek to promote sustainable communities through Environmental Solutions for Communities by supporting highly-visible projects that link economic development and community well-being to the stewardship and health of the environment. Approximately $2,500,000 is available nationwide for 2015 projects.”

Individual awards range from $25,000 to $100,000, and will go to “eligible entities working to help communities create a more sustainable future through responsible environmental stewardship”.  Eligible organizations are non-profit 501(c) organizations, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes, educational institutions.  U.S. Federal government agencies, businesses, unincorporated individuals and international organizations are ineligible.  Full proposals are due December 10, 2014.

The 2015 RFP gives preference to specific geographic areas. Illinois is unfortunately not on the list, but some neighboring states/communities are, including St. Louis, MO.

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Wilkin to speak on the future of the Illinois Library

If you are interested in the future of libraries in general and the future of the University Library in particular, you can hear the thoughts of the Dean of the University Library on the topic this Wednesday:

John WilkinJohn Wilkin, Dean of the University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The Future of the Illinois Library, a Conversation
Wednesday, October 16, 2014, 4:30pm
Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum (600 S. Gregory St, Urbana)
Co-sponsored by the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities and the Spurlock Museum.

The event is open to the public, and there will be a reception following the lecture.
For further info see the announcement on the IPRH website.

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Future of Big Rivers Colloquium Series

The Future of Big Rivers: Form, Flux, Ecology and Management” is a colloquium series organized by Faculty Fellow Jim Best of the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC).  Five presentations are scheduled over the coming months, and the first takes place this week on the University of Illinois campus:

Professor Phil Ashworth
University of Brighton, United Kingdom,
“Why are the World’s Big Rivers so Different?”
Wednesday, October 8, 5pm
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign,
Digital Computer Lab
(DCL), 1304 West Springfield Avenue
ROOM 1320

NGRREC is a partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Illinois Natural History Survey and Lewis and Clark Community College, and is
“dedicated to the study of great river systems and the communities that use them.”

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