The Prairie Research Institute Library will be closing in December

The Prairie Research Institute is proceeding with plans to close the Prairie Research Institute Library service point, effective December 18, 2015. Information regarding the Institute’s decision and details of the closure can be found at the following links:

The collections are being moved to other University Library units, and will continue to be available via the University Library catalog.  Library research assistance will continue to be available via email at, via the University Library’s Ask A Librarian service, or in person at the Funk/ACES library as well as other University Library units.  Comprehensive library services and access to the collections of the University Library will continue to be available to you, and we can help you identify the most convenient options to meet your library needs.

We  are sorry to be closing our doors, but we hope that this decision and consolidation of our collections and services with the University Library will serve the overall best interests of the Prairie Research Institute and the University of Illinois.  Thank you for being part of our library.

Posted in INHS, ISAS, ISGS, ISTC, ISWS, Prairie Research Institute, The Library | Leave a comment

Water Planet, Water Crises? iSEE Congress 2015

From iSEE:

The Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) will present its second annual international conference to address a most basic human need: clean, fresh water. The 2015 iSEE Congress, “Water Planet, Water Crises? Meeting the World’s Water-Food-Energy Needs Sustainably,” is set for Sept. 14-16, 2015, in the Alice Campbell Alumni Center on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus.

Congress sessions will address

  • Vulnerability of Water Resources to Climate Change
  • The Nexus Between Water, Food, and Energy
  • Coupled Natural and Human Systems for Sustainable Food, Water, and Energy
  • Water, Human Health, and Ecosystem Services
  • Water Crisis or Governance Crisis?
  • Water Conservation, Safety and Supply: Innovative Solutions

Registration is free, but will close September 4.   See the iSEE website for more information.


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DOE funding for innovative atmospheric measurement technology

The Department of Energy‘s Office of Biological and Environmental Research is soliciting  proposals through the Small Business Innovation Research program for innovative atmospheric measurement technology.  The goal is development of new technology to provide measurements of aerosol and cloud particles under a range of atmospheric conditions in support of future climate projections.  Maximum awards for Phase I are $225,000.  Letters of intent are due September 8, final proposals are due October 19.

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Illinois State Water Survey at the 1914 State Fair


The 2015 Illinois State Fair opens today in Springfield.  To celebrate the Fair and “throwback Thursday,” we are highlighting an exhibit displayed by Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) at the Illinois State Fair held September 18-26, 1914, nearly 101 years ago.

The exhibit was in the Exposition Building, next to the booths of the State Board of Health.  It featured a map of the water supplies surveyed by ISWS with color coded flags.  Black flags with skulls and crossbones indicated unsafe supplies.  The display aimed to educate the public about the connection between proper sanitation and safe drinking water.  A model showed the flow of water “to the well from the privy” and suggested, “perhaps that ‘fine mineral flavor’ you notice in well water comes from the barnyard.”  Model sanitary privies were also displayed.  A full description of the exhibit can be found in ISWS Bulletin 12 (pp. 237-241).

The ISWS was founded in 1895 within the University of EdwardVirginiaBartowIllinois Department of Chemistry, “for carrying on a systematic survey of the waters of the state.” Early work focused on the safety of Illinois water supplies, particularly sanitation and waterborne diseases such as typhoid and diphtheria.   Under the direction of its third chief, Edward Bartow, ISWS staff had made on-site visits to more than 250 communities by the end of 1914, where they assessed conditions and consulted with local engineers to help improve the safety of public water supplies (ISWS Bulletin 12, pp. 23-25).

A less obvious contribution to the Illinois State Fair by the Illinois State Water Survey was the inspection of fairground wells on August 20-21, 1914 reported in ISWS Bulletin 12 (pp. 132-133).    “The analyses show that not one of the wells was entirely free from the influence of contamination and that some of them were dangerously polluted.”  Sewer lines were found to have “open joints” providing “abundant opportunity for leakage.”  The ISWS recommended closure and filling of all wells, and a transition to using the Springfield public water supply on the Illinois State Fairgrounds.   1912StateFairISWSExhibitAlso see:

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New funding opportunity from NOAA

noaalogoThe Collaborative Science, Technology, and Applied Research (CSTAR) Program solicits proposals from institutions of higher education to “engage researchers and students in applied research of interest to the operational meteorological community and will improve the accuracy of forecasts and warnings of environmental hazards.”  A total of $700,000 is available for the first round of funding, with maximum awards of $150,000.  Proposals are due October 30, 2015.



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University of Illinois launches water scholars web site

unnamedThe Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) has announced a new website to coalesce the dozens of water scholars on the University of Illinois’ Urbana-Champaign campus.

The website showcases Illinois research, education, and engagement programs integrated across four main categories of water-related “needs”:

  1. Adaptation to a changing climate and extreme weather events;
  2. Sustainable water, food, and energy resources;
  3. Safe drinking water and public health; and
  4. Resilient watersheds and ecosystems.

In addition, Water at Illinois has individual pages for scholars, plus a page describing who the scholars are and the Water Council that steers them. It is a “front porch” to various water centers at Illinois — including the state surveys, academic units, and grant-based centers — as well as to laboratories, facilities and field stations that specialize in water research.

For more information, please visit

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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.

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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