Organizations in IL, NY, and TX received substantial funding from the US Forest Service so they can work on projects related to urban forests. The products and efforts are available for use by others around the country, making them of interest to any journalist covering urban environmental or health issues.
The US Dept. of Agriculture will award more than 900 grants worth a total of about $11.6 million to individuals and companies around the country for projects such as installing photovoltaic solar panels for a barn, improving energy efficiency of greenhouses, and installing a geothermal system for an agricultural building.
USDA spokeswoman Isabel Benemelis declined to release the names or locations of the landowners who are likely to be participating in two new SAFE (State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement) efforts, saying journalists have to make such requests via FOIA.
When covering each type of natural disaster, you'll need to dig into a wide range of human, weather/climate, and geography issues to describe accurately to your audience what the trends are, how prevention and emergency responses might be improved, etc. Here are resources for hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, heat waves, drought, blizzards, and more.
Greater sage-grouse are at just 3% of their historical numbers, and warrant protection, according to the Bureau of Land Management. But since other species are in even more dire straits, the birds haven't been declared a threatened or endangered species. The US Dept. of Agriculture money is a work-around aimed at saving the birds and their habitat.
USDA continues to expand its Biomass Crop Assistance Program that provides financial incentives for producers of various biomass products with the latest selected project areas for growing camelina in CA, OR, WA, and MT, poplar trees in OR, and switchgrass in KS and OK.
Bayer CropScience has agreed to pay up to $750 million to about 11,000 farmers to compensate for contaminating two varieties of long-grain rice. The settlement requires participation of farmers who planted at least 85% of the average 2.2 million acres of long-grain rice grown each year from 2006 to 2009.
The states, territories, and Washington, DC, will share $37.4 million doled out through the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. The grants, administered by the National Park Service, match funding provided by states and local entities, and are supposed to be used for local parks, recreation, and conservation projects.
Hunting, under certain conditions, is already allowed at more than 300 of the 553 sites in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Contact local environmental, animal rights, and hunting groups for opinions for or against these proposals that would allow additional species to be killed at 10 refuges in 8 states.
Nearly 500 combined-plastic products tested induced estrogenic activity. Other plastic products did not, and would cost about the same to use in lieu of the EA-inducing products. But, there are other modes of toxicity besides EA, so product testing should include carcinogenicity, immune disruption, neurological damage, etc.