Great Lakes Restoration Initiative 2015 Request for Applications now available

EPA is soliciting applications for grants and/or cooperative agreements to be awarded as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

EPA will award approximately $13.9 million under a Request for Applications for up to about 40 projects, contingent upon funding availability, the quality of applications received and other applicable considerations.

This RFA is EPA’s major competitive grant funding opportunity under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for fiscal year 2015. It is one of several funding opportunities available through federal agencies under the GLRI.

Categories (Funding Opportunity Number)

  1. Invasive Species Prevention (EPA-R5-GL2015-ISP)
  2. Invasive Species Control (EPA-R5-GL2015-ISC)
  3. Urban Watershed Management Implementation (EPA-R5-GL2015-UWM)
  4. Agricultural Watershed Management Implementation (EPA-R5-GL2015-AWM)
  5. Maumee River Watershed Nutrient Prevention Pilot Project (EPA-R5-GL2015-MNP)

Important Dates

  • Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time/ 11:00 a.m., Eastern Daylight Time – Webinar to discuss the RFA. Further information about the webinar will be announced at
  • Monday, Sept. 28, 2015 – Applications must be submitted to EPA through by 10:59 p.m. Central Daylight Time / 11:59 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time. See Section IV of the RFA for further information.
  • October 2015 (tentative) – EPA begins notifying finalists.
  • December 2015 (tentative) – EPA begins making official awards.
Posted in Funding opportunities, Great Lakes region, INHS, Invasive species, ISAS, ISGS, ISTC, ISWS, Prairie Research Institute, Water | Leave a comment

Action Poll on Tools for Working with Research Data

rdaAnnouncement from the Research Data Alliance:

This short, anonymous poll targeted at researchers aims to characterize the range of research data management tools that are used across domains and regions.  It is being conducted by Research Data Alliance (RDA) Long Tail of Research Data Interest Group.

The results will be reported at the next RDA meeting in Paris in September 2015 and also made available through the Long Tail Interest Group webpage.

The poll is open through July 31, 2015, is only one-page long, and will take less that 5 minutes to complete.

Posted in Data Management, INHS, ISAS, ISGS, ISTC, ISWS, Prairie Research Institute, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ancient bobcat burial revealed

mcjafig6A team of archaeologists, including Ken Farnsworth of the Illinois State Archaeological Survey, has identified a Hopewellian burial specimen from Illinois as a juvenile bobcat wearing a collar.  They reported the human-like burial of the bobcat in the Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology as the only known decorated wild cat burial in the archaeological record.

Posted in Archaeology, Institute Highlights, ISAS, Prairie Research Institute, Publications, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Report for the Urban Flooding Awareness Act

UFAAIn August 2014 the Illinois General Assembly passed the Urban Flooding Awareness Act, which charged the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, in concert with other state agencies, with compiling a comprehensive report on urban flooding.

The final report was completed in June and includes recommendations for future stormwater management such as: expanded precipitation and stream flow monitoring, an update of the rainfall frequency distribution information by the Illinois State Water Survey, improving predictive climate information for the state, development of tools such as the topographic wetness index, use of green infrastructure, and the development of a model local ordinance.  Eight of the 11 report co-authors are Illinois State Water Survey scientists.


Posted in Climate change, ISWS, Prairie Research Institute, Publications, Uncategorized, Water, Weather and Climate | Leave a comment

Plants can alter West Nile virus risk

from left: Juma Muturi, Director of Medical Entomology, Illinois Natural History Survey; Allie Gardner, phd graduate student; and Brian Allan, professor of entomology

from left: Juma Muturi, Director of Medical Entomology, Illinois Natural History Survey; Allie Gardner, phd graduate student; and Brian Allan, professor of entomology

University of Illinois Researchers, including Ephantus Muturi from the Illinois Natural History Survey, have just published a paper showing how leaf litter from landscape plants affects populations of mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus.   They report that certain nonnative plants, including honeysuckle, appear to favor survival of the vector mosquito larvae.


Posted in INHS, Institute Highlights, Invasive species, Prairie Research Institute, Publications | Leave a comment

Emerging fungal disease of snakes

gr_miller_andy150515_aScientists at the University of Illinois, including Illinois Natural History Survey mycologist Andrew Miller have published a detailed account of an emerging fungal disease of snakes which is a threat to both wild and captive snakes.

Posted in INHS, Institute Highlights, Prairie Research Institute, Publications | Leave a comment

Using News Reports to Track Wildlife Black Markets

Read the full story in Wired.

The international black market in wildlife—alive or dead—is notoriously difficult to track. Hunters and smugglers don’t report their take for the same reasons that drug dealers don’t report profits to the IRS. But if you could actually track those networks, maybe you could do something about them. That’s what sent Nikkita Patel, a veterinary epidemiologist at the University of Pennsylvania, to an unusual source of data on the illegal wildlife trade: the news.

The news reports are typically gruesome: a frozen tiger carcass found in a truck in Vietnam, or a dead rhino lying in a wildlife sanctuary with its horn hacked off. But the overall news is even worse…

But without knowing exactly what’s going on, wildlife agencies and researchers can’t stop these killings. So Patel turned to HealthMap, a tool the Boston Children’s Hospital created 10 years ago. The tool searches multilingual news aggregators and forums for media reports, parsing them for relevant keywords. It was already tuned to the wildlife trade, in part because animals can be vectors for disease spread. HealthMap records the key information in each article, such as the location of the reported illegal transaction, and keeps a tally of the number of individuals from each species traded.

Patel’s research, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, relies more on that data than previous illegal wildlife trade work. “It’s looking at who the key players are,” Patel says, “and how to best break down trade networks.”

Posted in Biodiversity, INHS, Publications | Leave a comment

Natural and Cultural Resources Master Plan for the Forest Preserves of Cook County

NCRMP-thumbThe Natural and Cultural Resources Master Plan for the Forest Preserves of Cook County, produced by the Prairie Research Institute, provides data-driven guidance to the Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPCC)–which celebrated their 100th anniversary in February–for managing preserves in the coming century.  The FPCC manages >69,000 acres preserving diverse ecosystems and archaeological sites enjoyed by millions every year.

Posted in INHS, Institute Highlights, ISAS, ISGS, ISTC, ISWS, Prairie Research Institute, Publications, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

An Updated Look at PCBs in Illinois Published by Prairie Research Institute

The Prairie Research Institute has published An Updated Look at PCBs, a report stemming from the Sept. 17 scientific workshop on “PCBs and Their Impact in Illinois”.  The one-day workshop on the University of Illinois Chicago campus gathered leading authorities on the history and science about the persistent pollutant.

PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) are a class of synthetic chemicals widely used in industry as a coolant and electrical insulator. The report, videos of panel presentations, and other useful information are available for viewing on the PCB workshop website.

Posted in Prairie Research Institute, Publications | Leave a comment

Field Museum Online Field Guides

The Field Museum of Natural History has developed a comprehensive collection of field guides to species from over 30 countries. Visitors can browse the guides by geographical regions and subject (plants, animals, fungi and lichens, and algae), as well as alphabetically by title.

They also include a step-by-step guide to creating your own field guide and uploading it to their collection, a form for requesting that they make a specific guide for you, and links to other identification tools.

Posted in Environmental education, INHS, Publications | Leave a comment