7/29/11

In the news: Chicago flooding Q&A: Freak storm, aging sewers and Chicago's topography lead to flooding woes

From the Chicago Tribune:
Chicago's Deep Tunnel was billed as an engineering marvel that would "bottle rainstorms," but one of the nation's most expensive public works projects was no match for the biggest rainstorm in the city's recorded history.

Last weekend's deluge quickly saturated aging sewers in the city and suburbs and soon overwhelmed the Deep Tunnel, a cavernous $3 billion backup system built to prevent flooding and protect Lake Michigan, the Chicago River and suburban waterways from water pollution. Read more.

7/28/11

Upcoming training sessions can add value to aquaculture production

Consumer demand is growing for domestic, locally produced aquaculture products. To meet this growing need, Purdue Extension and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) are hosting the Purdue Aquaculture and Sustainable Seafood (PASS) webinar series and workshop from August through September.

“The programs we have coming up are really looking to add value and enhance the existing aquaculture production that is going on here in the Midwest,” said Purdue University associate professor and food processing engineer Kevin Keener, who will be a webinar presenter. “It’s getting to the point where we have a lot of new ventures in aquaculture.”

“Aquaculture Food Safety” will be held on Aug. 17, “Waste Utilization” will be held on Aug. 24, and “Aquaculture Production” will be held on Aug. 31. Each session is from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The registration fee is $50 per live webinar session, or $100 to participate in all three sessions.

A PASS aquaculture workshop will be held Sept. 29-30 in Anderson, Ind. It will expand on the webinar topics, but also include a tour of Bell Aquaculture, which is the nation’s largest yellow perch farm and is a world leader in sustainable aquaculture. The workshop will also feature a chef who will discuss fish products that restaurant professions are looking for and the types of recipes that they prepare.

A workshop discount will be available for those who participated in all three webinars. Register at www.conf.purdue.edu/PASS. For more information about the webinars and workshop, contact Kwamena Quagrainie, IISG aquaculture specialist.

7/27/11

IISG reaches vetmed audience about unused medicine disposal

What do ibuprofen, acetaminophen, antidepressants, methylphenidate (used to treat ADHD), anti-diabetic drugs, and vitamin D derivatives all have in common?
They are all on the top 10 list of human medications that poison pets according to the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center.

“It is extremely important that people properly store and dispose of their medications”, said Laura Kammin, IISG pollution prevention specialist, “it doesn’t matter whether the medicine is intended for people or pets.”

For several years now, IISG has been providing people with science-based information on how to properly store and dispose of their unused medications, including pet medications. “We are always looking for new partners to help us educate people on this issue,” said Kammin. And partnering with vets is exactly what IISG is beginning to do, starting with an exhibitor’s booth at the American Veterinary Medical Association Convention that took place in St. Louis, MO on July 16–18.

Over 8,500 veterinarians, veterinary technicians, veterinary students, and some families attended the convention, many of whom walked the exhibitor’s hall and saw the IISG display. Kammin, along with IISG staff members Robin Goettel, and Terri Hallesy, spoke with 168 attendees from 31 states, Canada, Egypt, and Brazil about how they can start incorporating the message of proper storage and disposal into information they provide their clients.

Many of the people were aware of the issue, and were excited to see materials that could help them educate their clients. Karen Liljebjelke, DVM, commented, “In the three vet med courses I teach at the University of Calgary, I not only share information about the proper use of pet medicine, but also make sure to discuss proper disposal techniques.” She added that IISG fact sheets and service-learning curriculum will be useful to her students.

As a result of Sea Grant’s participation in the meeting, C. Trenton Boyd, a veterinary medical librarian, will help distribute information on this topic by sharing posts through the International Veterinary Librarians Discussion Group, a forum reaching hundreds of professionals in university veterinary schools.

You too can do your part. Following a few simple steps can help prevent negative environmental impacts, accidental poisoning of people and pets, and diversion and abuse. Simply take back unused medications (for people or pets) to a local collection program. If a collection program is not available in your area, take the medication out of the original container, mix the medicine with used coffee grounds or cat litter in a sealable plastic bag, and place the bag in a sealed container such as a coffee can or margarine tub. In the case of prescription medication, be sure to mark out any personal information on the pill bottle before depositing it in the trash.

To find a collection program near you try these links: Illinois, Indiana or nationwide.

7/21/11

Fun, games, learning, and medicine collection take place at Wabash River Festival

A festival might seem like an unlikely place to find a medicine collection event. But on July 9th, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and the West Lafayette Police Department hosted a medicine collection event at Wabash Riverfest in Tapawingo Park, West Lafayette, Indiana.
“An event like Riverfest is a fun way to educate people about steps they can take to improve water quality in their community,” said Laura Kammin, IISG pollution prevention program specialist. “Many people know not to flush their unused medicines, but they don’t necessarily know the options for disposal in their area. These events really help get the word out,” she said. Volunteers collected 30 pounds of medicine brought in by festival participants.

Hundreds of families enjoyed the festivities including canoe races, food and music, and educational booths and games. Nearly 200 people engaged in the IISG display and game, Get Rid of Stuff Sensibly, which provides information about what to do with unwanted medicine, electronics, aquarium fish and more. More than 150 kids played the program’s Stop, Droplet and Roll in Pollution game, which educates kids and their parents about the effects pollutants can have on our waterways.
“One of the event organizers came up to us at the end of the day to see what everyone was ‘oohing and aahing’ about, and people seemed to really enjoy the game”, said Carolyn Foley, IISG assistant research coordinator at Purdue University. “I also heard many parents say, ‘I’d never thought about the medicines…’, so I’m hopeful that we did have an impact.”

In the news: More evidence of Asian carp found above electric fish barrier

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Even as the federal government insists its electric fish barrier is working just fine, evidence of Asian carp above that barrier continues to roll in.

With no fanfare, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers posted on its website this week news that nine water samples taken above the barrier in recent weeks have tested positive for the giant, jumping fish. The federal government is spending tens of millions of dollars to keep them out of the Great Lakes.

Seven of those positive "environmental" DNA tests - taken between May 10 and June 27 - came from Lake Calumet south of downtown Chicago, a body of water that has a direct connection to Lake Michigan. Read more.

7/20/11

New specialist bring climate expertise to IISG

Molly Woloszyn is Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant’s new extension climatologist. She has a joint position with the Illinois State Water Survey and IISG, which offers the opportunity to pair Sea Grant extension expertise with the survey’s climate science. Molly is located at the Midwest Regional Climate Center in Champaign, Illinois.

Molly received a B.S. from Northern Illinois University meteorology program. While she was a student, she participated in an internship with the water survey during which she essentially served as a service climatologist for a summer. She went on to earn a Master’s degree at Colorado State University and has been teaching at community colleges for the last few years.

7/15/11

Fresh and Salt curriculum is inspiring teachers

At the recent National Marine Educators Meeting in Boston, Lisa Chizek, a 5th and 6th grade teacher from Iowa joined other teachers to learn about the new curriculum, Fresh and Salt, which connects Great Lakes and ocean sciences. IISG’s Terri Hallesy, education specialist, led this session. Here are some comments from Lisa:

“I am so excited to have these wonderful and effective resources to help connect my students with the Great Lakes and Ocean Literacy Principles. I believe we are so interconnected with the Great Lakes and the ocean that it is very necessary for everyone to become literate about how these wonderful bodies of water affect our planet in so many ways and how we affect them. It is very important to me, as a person who wants my students to be able to understand and think critically about our world, to help my students become literate with these principles.

“Learning about our planet's great bodies of water is a responsibility of every member of society. Living in land-locked Iowa does not diminish this responsibility or make it irrelevant. We are all interconnected with these bodies of water. I plan to incorporate these wonderful lessons in both my 5th and 6th grade classes.”

7/14/11

IISG welcomes new natural resource planning specialist

Deanna Glosser is IISG’s new natural resource planning specialist. In this position, she will coordinate, develop and deliver planning programs to community planning officials. Through the Planning with POWER and Partnering for Land Use Sustainability projects, she will serve as a link between communities and scientists conducting research on natural resource sustainability. Deanna is replacing Bob McCormick, who retired early this year.

For the past eight years, Deanna has been the president and CEO of Environmental Planning Solutions, Inc., located in Riverton, Illinois. She focused on work related to natural resources and provided technical assistance to local governments on sustainable development practices. She recently wrote the Illinois Sustainable Natural Areas Plan and served as the planning and communications coordinator for the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory Update. She is also the director of Chicago Wilderness’ Sustainable Watershed Action Team, which works with local governments on a wide range of issues, now focusing on green infrastructure.

Prior to having her own consulting business, Deanna worked for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for 13 years. Deanna has an undergraduate degree in anthropology from Illinois State University and a PhD in urban and regional planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In the News: Answer for Invasive Species: Put It on a Plate and Eat It

From the New York Times:
With its dark red and black stripes, spotted fins and long venomous black spikes, the lionfish seems better suited for horror films than consumption. But lionfish fritters and filets may be on American tables soon.
An invasive species, the lionfish is devastating reef fish populations along the Florida coast and into the Caribbean. Now, an increasing number of environmentalists, consumer groups and scientists are seriously testing a novel solution to control it and other aquatic invasive species — one that would also takes pressure off depleted ocean fish stocks: they want Americans to step up to their plates and start eating invasive critters in large numbers. Read more.

7/12/11

Invasive species info coming to a marina near you

URBANA - In the fight for holding the line on aquatic invasive species, it is crucial to make sure people are not accidentally transporting these organisms by not removing them from their boats. Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) and the Northeast Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership (NIIPP) have officially launched their “Clean Boats, Clean Waters” program, which aims to inform boaters of preventative measures.

“To quote Benjamin Franklin, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’” said Cathy McGlynn, the NIIPP coordinator. “And that definitely is the case with invasive species.”
Clean Boats, Clean Waters representatives will be at Hammond Marina on July 16-17, the East Chicago Marina on July 23-24, and the Illiana Yacht Club/Wolf Lake on July 30-31. During these times, McGlynn said they will quickly talk with boaters about the program, as well as give them a brochure and sticker that give tips on keeping boats and equipment clean. She added that the first outreach trip was done on July 2-3 at North Point Marina in Winthrop Harbor.

“The majority of the boaters were responsive, and a good number of them already take precautions, which is great,” McGlynn said, adding that they talked to more than 100 people each day.

Since this is the program’s pilot year in both Illinois and Indiana, it will only be in one county in each state for the first two years. However, NIIPP and IISG are hoping to partner with more organizations to make the program self-sustaining, as well as extend the program across more counties in the two states. This effort has been already implemented in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

To volunteer or for more information, e-mail McGlynn at cathy.mcglynn@niipp.net.

7/11/11

In the news: Report: Chicago’s Lake Michigan beaches have poor water quality

From the Chicago Sun-Times Southtown Star:
Illinois beaches along Lake Michigan have the sixth-worst water quality in the country, according to a study released Wednesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Testing the Waters 2011” ranked the quality of Illinois’ beach water 26th out of 31 states sampled for quality along the Great Lakes and East and West coasts.

“The news is not good,” said Karen Hobbs, the group’s senior policy analyst and a former deputy director with Chicago’s environment department.

Of a reported 61 coastal beaches and beach segments in Illinois, Cook County’s Winnetka Elder Park Beach and Winnetka Centennial Dog Beach were the most often contaminated in 2010, the report found. The worst city beaches include South Shore, Rainbow, Jackson Park (also known as 63rd Street Beach), Montrose and 31st Street. Read more.

7/8/11

In the news: Dead Fish Wash Up On Lake Michigan

From ABC News:
Thousands of dead fish are washing up on the shores of Lake Michigan.
"It brings back the horror stories we used to have in Milwaukee with the enormous populations of alewives would wash up and destroy our beaches," said Dan Steininger, of Milwaukee.
Experts said small, shiny fishes, called alewives, have been dying off and showing up on beaches around Lake Michigan in recent weeks. Read more

7/5/11

Purdue and IISG to host PASS webinar and workshop series

Consumer demand is growing for domestic, locally produced aquaculture products. To meet this growing need, Purdue Extension and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) are hosting the Purdue Aquaculture and Sustainable Seafood (PASS) webinar series and workshop from August through September.

“The programs we have coming up are really looking to add value and enhance the existing aquaculture production that is going on here in the Midwest,” said Purdue University associate professor and food processing engineer Kevin Keener, who will be a webinar presenter. “It’s getting to the point where we have a lot of new ventures in aquaculture.”

Three webinars will take place in August. “Aquaculture Food Safety” will be held on Aug. 17, “Waste Utilization” will be held on Aug. 24, and “Aquaculture Production” will be held on Aug. 31. Each session is from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The registration fee is $50 per live webinar session, or $100 to participate in all three sessions.

Each session is a 90-minute presentation, with 30 minutes allotted for a question-and-answer period. Questions can be submitted via text or by microphone. All webinars will be recorded and available for purchase for those unable to participate in the live presentation.

And for those who enjoy the webinars, a PASS aquaculture workshop will be held Sept. 29-30 in Anderson, Ind. The workshop will expand on the same issues as the webinars, but it also includes a tour of Bell Aquaculture, which is the nation’s largest yellow perch farm and is a world leader in sustainable aquaculture. A workshop discount will be available for those who participated in all three webinars.  
Kwamena Quagrainie, an aquaculture economics and marketing specialist with Purdue Extension and IISG, said the workshop will also feature a chef as a guest speaker.

“The chef will talk about what other products people in his profession are looking for and what types of recipes that they prepare,” he said, adding that he also believes the workshop will be a good place for fish producers and processors to meet and network.

Registration can be done at www.conf.purdue.edu/PASS. For more information, contact conference coordinator Kim Stockment at 765-494-7225 or kstockme@purdue.edu. 

7/1/11

Bring unused medicine to this year’s Riverfest

At Riverfest at Tapawingo Park in West Lafayette, Indiana, you can drop off unused or expired medicine, doing your part to keep pharmaceuticals off the streets and out of the waters. This year’s Riverfest takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 9.

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) and the West Lafayette DARE are sponsoring this medicine drop-off opportunity. “Pharmaceuticals that are flushed can impact wildlife in local waterways or can end up in drinking water,” said Laura Kammin, IISG pollution prevention specialist. “These medicines can also contribute to a growing problem of drug abuse by teenagers. Bringing them to collection events like this one is an easy way to protect people and the environment.”

Riverfest, which has taken place for the past 10 years, is unique among area summer festivals because it builds on the theme of conservation and appreciation of the Wabash River. Festival activities include live music, numerous educational opportunities, rides, games, an opening parade for children, a 5K run/walk, and the spectacle of 14 teams of paddlers battling it out in historic canoes.

Riverfest is a free, family-friendly event that brings people to the shores of the Wabash to enjoy one of the area’s greatest natural resources. A full race schedule, kids’ parade details, and 5K registration information can be found at www.wabashriverfest.com.

For more information about the issue of unused medicine and collection events, visit www.unwantedmeds.org.

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