TipSheet is a weekly source for story ideas, background, interview leads and reporting tools for journalists who cover news of the environment.For questions and comments, or to suggest future TipSheets, email the SEJournal TipSheet editor Joseph A. Davis at

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Also see searchable archives of SEJ's WatchDog TipSheet, featuring story ideas, articles, updates, events and other information with a focus on freedom-of-information issues of concern to environmental journalists in both the United States and Canada.

Latest TipSheet Items

June 8, 2011

  • Each decade, NOAA's National Climatic Data Center updates its data for 30-year averages for a range of climate indicators. The most widely used "normals" for the period 1981-2010 (including temperature, precipitation, snowfall, snow depth, and heating and cooling degree days) are scheduled to be released at the end of June 2011, with the rest by year end.

  • EPA has updated its Enforcement and Compliance History Online database so that  federal standards violations through 2009 can be quickly identified. For example, pick a county and quickly get a customized listing of systems that fall into categories such as serial violators, or occasional violators of things such as health-based standards or monitoring requirements.

  • Just in time for summer, 41 new segments of the US National Recreation Trails system in AL, AR, CT, FL, IL, IN, KS, MA, MD, MI, MN, NJ, NM, OK, PA, TN, and WV, covering about 650 land and water miles in 17 states, are open for business. These are part of a much larger system of about 1,100 trails spanning 13,000 miles.

  • On June 6, EPA announced a new round of grants going to nearly 200 communities in some 40 states and 3 tribal areas. Most of them go to poor and minority areas with high unemployment rates.

May 25, 2011

  • USDA evaluated numerous factors for 65,000 census tracts (clickable on the mapping tool), and found that about 10% of them, home to about 13.5 million people, are food deserts where many residents have no access to a large grocery store, due to distance, lack of a vehicle, and/or low income.

  • While it's not a done deal, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and WildEarth Guardians have agreed on a list of 251 species that warrant the most immediate attention. Not all environmental groups support the choices, though.

  • Information sessions and webinars on possible health and environmental effects of aerial-applied chemicals used to fight wildfires will be held in various locations around the country during the 45-day public comment period that ends June 27, 2011.

  • Prepared by a large coalition of government agencies and NGOs, the report generally focuses on the condition of bird species in each of the broad habitat types, as well as the roles of various federal and state agencies and the relationships of species survival on public vs. private lands.

  • "Nonpoint" sources of water pollution worry officials. When rain falls or snow melts, the runoff can pick up fertilizers and pesticides from agricultural fields, sediments from construction sites, engine oil from city parking lots, germ-laden dog poop from curbside, etc.

May 11, 2011