We all can do our part for the planet

Building Communities: Brass City Harvest

UConn Extension empowers communities by building a network of awareness and knowledge. One example of this is Brass City Harvest, Inc. in Waterbury. Extension educators in our greenhouse and Master Gardener programs worked with Susan Pronovost to build the capacity of 501(c)3 organization. Susan shared her organization’s work with us

Brass City Harvest, Inc. is also supported by the City of Waterbury, the Waterbury Development Corporation, Waterbury Health Department, and various foundations and cultural groups. For more information visit: https://www.brasscityharvestwtby.org and http://extension.uconn.edu.

Issue:

Brass City Greenhouse

Brass City Greenhouse. Photo: Leslie Alexander

Brass City Harvest in Waterbury develops a local and regional food system that increases access to fresh food, creates urban farmland, speaks to the nutritional and dietary needs of the community, and provides new sales channels for farmers to sell their products.

Chronic disease and obesity rates continue to spiral upwards in Waterbury because there are so many food desert neighborhoods. Waterbury also has a very substantial amount of brownfield or at least lightly contaminated land that stand as testament to our once-proud industrial past. Repurposing this land for agricultural use is critical for public health, fresh food access, and to promoting green space in urban neighborhoods that lack it.

Connecticut’s farmers face many economic challenges; increasing sales channels through robust farmers’ market networks, wholesale opportunities, and other economic development projects that utilize agriculture as an industry and a career path are key components to addressing long term sustainability issues in the farming community and inner city communities such as Waterbury.

What has been done:

The UConn Extension Master Gardener Program gave me the skills to conduct efficient and reliable urban farming in a manner that brings great impact to the community and is reasonable in terms of business model implications. In addition to various urban agriculture programs, this organization regularly conducts trainings (seed starting and container gardening). Brass City Harvest provides consultation for new gardeners, has conducted workshops on greening the municipality and addressing food security, and regularly speaks to leadership groups from various foundations and civic organizations.

Outcomes:

The greatest outcome for Brass City Harvest and the City of Waterbury is that prior to our existence, there was never talk about green space, urban farmland, or sustainable means to address food security. In less than ten years we have developed core programs to address food security by growing and harvesting more than 12,000 lbs. of fresh food, hydroponic crops, and fresh fish that is entirely donated to emergency food providers and senior centers in Waterbury. We have engaged more than 500 individuals and households in our healthy cooking and nutrition classes. We have increased sales of fresh farm food through the utilization of public entitlements by 500%.

Impacts:

The broader social, economic civic and environmental benefits of our program to the community speak to addressing food and environmental justice issues. Much of our population lacks the economic mobility to either become more self-reliant or to leave their current housing – which is often cheaper in poorer neighborhoods – for better living conditions in more middle class neighborhoods that typically provide more services such as access to supermarkets, and also have fewer environmental issues.

As an example, one of our programs teaches emancipated minors in the school system who are either pregnant or who already have children, how to recognize and cook fresh food. Inner city youth who are on their own have no role models. There is no one to teach them the difference between an apple and a beet – they both look red. Brass City Harvest does what it can to assist young parents in making wiser nutritional decisions for themselves and their children and we show them how easy it is to have a small kitchen garden by a window or on a small patio. Understanding the audience is critical to such basic, grassroots outreach.

Intermediate and long term effects will largely be dependent upon the continued expansion of Brass City Harvest’s infrastructure and role within the community that will address some of the needs of the state’s farmers, provide fresh food in some strategic corner stores, expand urban farmland to reclaim and repurpose even more contaminated and blighted land, and establish a true food and nutrition center that combines the concepts of farm-to-table into one package that can be tailored to each specific audience.

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The Need For Better Wastewater Technologies in Rural America

SalinasLettuce1000.jpg

We often hear about urbanization globally. More and more people are moving to the city. At the same time there are many people moving out of the city looking for a quieter and slower pace of life.  People looking for quiet green countryside, friendly neighborhoods, and pristine lakes, streams, and rivers. While these words conjure images of a Norman Rockwell existence the reality is that a number of households in many small and rural communities in the U.S. lack adequate facilities for the proper collection, treatment, and disposal of wastewater not only protecting their quality of life but their health as well.

The average home in the US uses 75 to 100 gallons of water per person per day. When people “use” water it doesn’t go away; it becomes dirty and is wastewater or sewage. We typically don’t even think about where our wastewater might go once it’s gone. Out of sight out of mind, Right? The reality is that that waste often wreaks havoc on our greater ecosystem if not disposed of properly. Wastewater contains pathogens (disease organisms), nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, etc.), solids (organic, inorganic), chemicals (from cleaners, disinfectants, medications) and water. Our poor environment can be decimated by all that we put into it. As individuals and members of a larger community, everyone must take responsibility for wastewater generated in their community. We need to start looking a new and improved ways of taking care of this unglamorous but highly important aspect of daily life.

To ensure ideal and most appropriate technology for the community, leadership must have clear goals and specific criteria during the decision process.  The wastewater treatment solution that is chosen must provide the community with effective and manageable wastewater treatment at a reasonable and viable cost.

It’s important to remember that no two communities will have the same criteria, location or soil conditions, so looking at packaged systems can be the most beneficial and easiest option. Packaged plants like the scalable and customizable packaged treatment plants manufactured by Active Water Solutions can be very effective in alleviating the treatment challenges rural communities face. The AWS packaged treatment plants can be an easier more plug and play option for those looking to keep costs at a minimum and avoiding major infrastructure debt. The AWS systems can serve communities of 100 residents to 1,500 residents with minimal service and operations cost over the lifetime of the product.

Engaging all of the members of the community early in the decision-making process leads to the best solutions and encourages responsibility. Finding appropriate technological solutions to a community’s wastewater problems is the easy part because of technologies like the AWS packaged wastewater treatment solutions. Working together as a community can ultimately be the biggest challenge to overcome.

Interested in learning more about AWS wastewater treatment solutions? Contact Us Today. 

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Industrial Water Reuse On The Rise

coal-fired-power-plant.jpg

This is the time of year when we all begin reflecting upon the past year and deciding what direction we want our companies to take next year.  Black and Veatch recently put out a comprehensive report entitled; 2016 Strategic Directions: Water Industry Report. The 2016 report is a quantitative analysis, conducted over the past year that identifies current trends and the continuous challenges faced by the water industry. They found that the top concern was the increased demand and raising cost to maintain and preserve the integrity of infrastructure systems due to population growth. The report finds the water industry rising to meet some the grandest challenges yet. Managing infrastructure maintenance cost, navigating capital investment with limited resources and engaging customers who may be questioning the cost or the safety of their supply are all top of mind for many of the experts that were surveyed. Fortunately, there are bright spots of innovation and new approaches in cities that are learning to do more with less. Many are exploring alternative water supply strategies and energy efficiency while others are testing advanced purification technologies. In addition, they found that the application of advanced data analytics insights offers opportunities to future-proof their systems.

According to the report, the importance and interest in alternative water supplies, such as water reuse, brackish groundwater, and desalination, continues to grow throughout U.S as organizations look to build diversified, resilient water supplies.

It can be seen from the survey results that non-potable reuse is finding its way as a good “middle ground” for utilities and the public to consider. The report also states that non-potable reuse for landscaping or industrial use enjoys solid public support, and respondents to the survey indicated a strong outlook for this type of program. They suggest that the Water Reuse industry is expected to grow significantly due to the due to the following factors:

  • Interest in industrial reuse

  • Capacity for growth

  • Utilities are increasingly willing to take on new areas that they’ve not delved into in the past.

According to the survey, nearly 25% of water utilities that serve power plants are implementing non-potable water reuse, a figure expected to rise another 10% over the next three years. Use of recycled water in cooling towers is also expected to nearly double in the next three years, from 16% to 30%, and data center reuse will fully double in usage. In fact, master planning for water reuse is another way to look at the broader acceptance of alternative water supplies. Nearly 50% of respondents say they either have or plan to develop a master plan for water reuse, which shows a broad consideration across the country. Given that these results are based on responses from the entire country and not just regional responses from arid states, they highlight the bright prospect of water reuse in the future.

However, despite all of the innovations and acceptance of industrial water reuse, the scale and nature of the challenges in the water industry – from climate change to legacies of underinvestment – call for alignment, leadership, shared responsibilities and collaboration go beyond business-as-usual. Water leaders from around the world will have to address the current water situation in collaborative ways to overcome water challenges faced by cities throughout the world.

As technology improves, the best industrial water treatment methods are going to shift the paradigm from treat to discharge to treat to reuse. This is the mantra that is being recited more frequently, in the US and the rest of the world. In developing countries, high water use companies are looking for ways to reduce and reverse the consumption of potable water, putting more clean water back into the system than they take out. For instance, bottling companies are being called on to not only reuse their process water but clean enough water to be able to help the local municipalities increase clean water output to relieve the strain that they impose on the treatment system. Treatment systems that can amplify processing by reuse and even initial processing of water sources at the least cost are in high demand. The Active Water Solutions (AWS) system has proven to be capable of such processing. Using proven biological methods which have low energy requirements as well as low initial and life time costs, the AWS system approach is well suited for a wide variety of both treat to discharge as well as treat to reuse applications.

If you are actively looking for wastewater treatment technology that has industrial reuse capabilities, contact us today to learn more about our advanced treatment technologies.

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Israel: How meeting water challenges spurred a dynamic export industry

The Sorek Desalination Plant is the world’s
biggest seawater desalination plant.

We’re used to talking about how the falure to invest in water management can impede economic growth.  But the positive case for water management invstments can be as compelling. With support from the Israeli government, my colleagues and I recently took a study tour to Israel and what we saw on the ground shows that combining policy and technology can lead not only to better local water management, but also result in a multi-billion dollar, export-driven industry. 

 

Like many countries in the Middle East & North Africa region, Israel faces a variety of water-related challenges including growing demand, urbanization, and climate change.  Faced with these challenges, Israel made long-term investments in technology that have paid off in the form of a dynamic, export-oriented water sector.  Water has become a US$2 billion industry for Israel, consisting of at least 300 companies and over 100 startups.  Growth has been rapid: the sector has seen an increase in exports of almost 200% in just three years.[1]  The Israeli government now sees water technology and related services as one of the most promising opportunities for export-oriented growth, underscoring how Israel has managed to turn water scarcity from a brake on development into an engine for it.

Israel’s strategy has been long in the making, and relies on a complex framework of public finance, technology, policies, and institutions.  Beginning in the 1960s, the Israeli government invested in state-owned enterprises focused on reducing irrigation water use, the single biggest consumer of water.  One of these firms, Netafim, was a pioneer in drip irrigation, which improves the efficiency of irrigation to 95%, as compared to 50% using traditional flood irrigation.  State investment, including long-term financing arrangements produced by the Ministry of Finance, has also been critical to the expansion of desalination, which now provides some 80% of Israel’s domestic and municipal water.  Using advanced remote osmosis technologies and improved process engineering, Israel’s desalination plants are some of the most efficient in the world, delivering water at a price of US$0.68 per cubic meter, well below the global average of approximately US$0.81.[2]       

But Israel’s water technology sector isn’t solely the product of state-led investment.  It’s also sustained by the country’s progressive approach to water pricing, which aims to promote water conservation while also ensuring that investments in water supply and delivery are sustainable, with operation and maintenance expenses financed by tariffs paid by water users.  This tariff, currently set at US$2.55 per cubic meter for most water users, includes only a 4.5% subsidy[3]  This relatively high water tariff creates a dependable revenue for Israel’s utilities, and a strong profit motive for companies whose technology and processes can further reduce water use. 

Perhaps even more important than these favorable economics, however, is the institutional support that the Israeli government provides for entrepreneurs and researchers in the water sector.  Israel’s government-funded Innovation Authority and Export Institute have both identified water as a strategic growth opportunity, and provide water technology companies with startup financing, export assurances, and assistance in promoting products abroad.  A sectoral growth strategy produced by Deloitte on behalf of the Manufacturers Association of Israel has been embraced by the government, including holding a major industry conference – WATEC– every two years.

The Israeli example shows that it’s possible to turn severe water scarcity into an economic opportunity with the right investments in technology, financing, policy, and institutions.  For World Bank client countries that are severely affected by water scarcity, the case of Israel suggests that investing in a combination of sound policy incentives and technology can create substantial rewards, not only in the water sector, but more broadly for innovation-led economic growth as well. 
 

 

[1] Ramzi Gabad, Chairman, Israeli Export Institute.  Presentation at WATEC 2017, September 12, 2017, Tel Aviv. 
[2] Data from IDE Corporation. 
[3] Data from Israel Water Authority. 

 

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November Lifelong Learning Classes

CLIR group

CLIR, a lifelong learning program offered in collaboration with UConn Extension, will hold the following classes in November, all in Vernon Cottage on UConn’s Depot Campus, from 1:15 to 2:45 unless otherwise noted.

Memoir Club                                                  Thursdays     10:15 – 11:45

Wed  Nov 1  The Origins of Christian Fundamentalism

Tues Nov 7  Programming Love

Wed  Nov 8 Music of the Early Baroque

Tues  Nov 14  Who Is the Buddha?  What Did He Teach?

Wed Nov 15  What Happened to Utopian Literature?

Tues  Nov 16  Statelessness and Contemporary Enslavement

Tues Nov 28  Can Voting Ever Be Fair in a Democracy?

For more information visit http://clir.uconn.edu.

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Extension Educator Chet Arnold Honored

Washington, DC — Cooperative Extension (Extension), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today announced winners of their 2017 Excellence in Extension and National Excellence in Diversity Awards. NIFA and Extension have sponsored the Excellence in Extension and National Diversity awards since 1991, which will be presented at the APLU Annual meeting in Washington, D.C. on November 12, 2017.

“NIFA is proud to support the national network of Extension experts and educators through our land-grant institution partnership, said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “This collaboration brings science-based knowledge to farmers, ranchers, and community members to help them grow their businesses, raise healthy families, and support their communities.”

“Citizens in the counties, parishes, boroughs, and municipalities served by Cooperative Extension professionals in every state, in the five U.S. territories, and in the District of Columbia can be proud, as I am, of those receiving these awards. These awards represent the finest examples of the many positive impacts of Cooperative Extension work in the United States,” said Fred Schlutt, Vice Provost, Extension & Outreach and Director Cooperative Extension Service, University of Alaska and Chair, Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP). ECOP is the representative leadership and governing body of Extension nationwide.

Kentucky State University’s Louie Rivers, Jr. will receive the 2017 Excellence in Extension Award – a prestigious national recognition for visionary leadership, excellence in programming, and positive impact on their community. Rivers has helped secure and manage more than $12 million in extramural funding to enhance Kentucky State University’s work with the small, limited-resource, minority, veteran and women farmers in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. On average, participants of the Small Farmers Program have shown an annual increase of $5,000 in income from their farms. His leadership has impacted more than 20,000 individuals at Kentucky State University’s monthly workshop for small farmers and those new to farming.

The National Extension Diversity Award – an esteemed recognition of an Extension program or an educator for achieving and sustaining diversity and pluralism – will go to the 4-H Youth Development Educators at Oregon State University Extension Service for its “Attitudes for Success Youth Leadership Program.” Since inception in 1989, more than 9,000 Hispanic and Native American youth have participated in the “Attitudes for Success” program. Over 950 students have served as youth council officers and 270 professionals, including university and college representatives from institutions located in the northwest, have volunteered as presenters, many for multiple years. Local mentors assist the youth in leadership engagement such as running for student body officer positions or planning community events. As a result of the impact, longevity, and the availability of curriculum and evaluation tools, the program is being replicated to other states. Patricia Dawson, 4-H Youth Development Professor, will accept the award in Washington.

In addition to the national recognition, one educator from each of the five Extension regions (northeast, north central, south, west, and 1890 universities), will be recognized for excellence at the APLU Annual Meeting.

The 2017 regional Excellence in Extension awardees are:

  • 1890s Region: Misty Blue-Terry, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
  • North Central Region: Kevin Erb, Director, University of Wisconsin-Extension
  • Northeast Region: Chet Arnold, University of Connecticut

    Chet Arnold

    Photo: Hartford Courant

  • Southern Region: Damona Doye, Oklahoma State University
  • Western Region: Marsha A. Goetting, Montana State University

About Cooperative Extension

Cooperative Extension (Extension) translates science for practical applications; engages with the public by providing reliable information leading to positive action; and transforms individuals, families, communities and businesses in rural and urban areas. Extension operates through the nationwide land-grant university system and is a partnership among the federal government (through USDA-NIFA) and state and local governments. At the national level, Extension is coordinated by the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP), which is the representative leadership and governing body of Extension nationwide and works in partnership with the APLU Commission on Food, Environment and Natural Resources. See www.landgrantimpacts.org/extension and www.extension.org/ecop for more information or follow us on Twitter @Ext100Years.

About the National Institute of Food and Agriculture

NIFA’s mission is to invest in and advance agricultural research, education, and extension to solve societal challenges. NIFA’s investments in transformative science directly support the long-term prosperity and global preeminence of U.S. agriculture. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural sciences, visit www.nifa.usda.gov/Impacts, sign up for email updates, or follow us on Twitter @USDA_NIFA, #NIFAImpacts.

USDA is an equal opportunity lender, provider, and employer

About the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. With a membership of 237 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations, APLU’s agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research, and expanding engagement. Annually, member campuses enroll 4.9 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.2 million degrees, employ 1.2 million faculty and staff, and conduct $43.9 billion in university-based research.

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Extension Educator Chet Arnold Honored

Washington, DC — Cooperative Extension (Extension), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today announced winners of their 2017 Excellence in Extension and National Excellence in Diversity Awards. NIFA and Extension have sponsored the Excellence in Extension and National Diversity awards since 1991, which will be presented at the APLU Annual meeting in Washington, D.C. on November 12, 2017.

“NIFA is proud to support the national network of Extension experts and educators through our land-grant institution partnership, said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “This collaboration brings science-based knowledge to farmers, ranchers, and community members to help them grow their businesses, raise healthy families, and support their communities.”

“Citizens in the counties, parishes, boroughs, and municipalities served by Cooperative Extension professionals in every state, in the five U.S. territories, and in the District of Columbia can be proud, as I am, of those receiving these awards. These awards represent the finest examples of the many positive impacts of Cooperative Extension work in the United States,” said Fred Schlutt, Vice Provost, Extension & Outreach and Director Cooperative Extension Service, University of Alaska and Chair, Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP). ECOP is the representative leadership and governing body of Extension nationwide.

Kentucky State University’s Louie Rivers, Jr. will receive the 2017 Excellence in Extension Award – a prestigious national recognition for visionary leadership, excellence in programming, and positive impact on their community. Rivers has helped secure and manage more than $12 million in extramural funding to enhance Kentucky State University’s work with the small, limited-resource, minority, veteran and women farmers in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. On average, participants of the Small Farmers Program have shown an annual increase of $5,000 in income from their farms. His leadership has impacted more than 20,000 individuals at Kentucky State University’s monthly workshop for small farmers and those new to farming.

The National Extension Diversity Award – an esteemed recognition of an Extension program or an educator for achieving and sustaining diversity and pluralism – will go to the 4-H Youth Development Educators at Oregon State University Extension Service for its “Attitudes for Success Youth Leadership Program.” Since inception in 1989, more than 9,000 Hispanic and Native American youth have participated in the “Attitudes for Success” program. Over 950 students have served as youth council officers and 270 professionals, including university and college representatives from institutions located in the northwest, have volunteered as presenters, many for multiple years. Local mentors assist the youth in leadership engagement such as running for student body officer positions or planning community events. As a result of the impact, longevity, and the availability of curriculum and evaluation tools, the program is being replicated to other states. Patricia Dawson, 4-H Youth Development Professor, will accept the award in Washington.

In addition to the national recognition, one educator from each of the five Extension regions (northeast, north central, south, west, and 1890 universities), will be recognized for excellence at the APLU Annual Meeting.

The 2017 regional Excellence in Extension awardees are:

  • 1890s Region: Misty Blue-Terry, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
  • North Central Region: Kevin Erb, Director, University of Wisconsin-Extension
  • Northeast Region: Chet Arnold, University of Connecticut

    Chet Arnold

    Photo: Hartford Courant

  • Southern Region: Damona Doye, Oklahoma State University
  • Western Region: Marsha A. Goetting, Montana State University

About Cooperative Extension

Cooperative Extension (Extension) translates science for practical applications; engages with the public by providing reliable information leading to positive action; and transforms individuals, families, communities and businesses in rural and urban areas. Extension operates through the nationwide land-grant university system and is a partnership among the federal government (through USDA-NIFA) and state and local governments. At the national level, Extension is coordinated by the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP), which is the representative leadership and governing body of Extension nationwide and works in partnership with the APLU Commission on Food, Environment and Natural Resources. See www.landgrantimpacts.org/extension and www.extension.org/ecop for more information or follow us on Twitter @Ext100Years.

About the National Institute of Food and Agriculture

NIFA’s mission is to invest in and advance agricultural research, education, and extension to solve societal challenges. NIFA’s investments in transformative science directly support the long-term prosperity and global preeminence of U.S. agriculture. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural sciences, visit www.nifa.usda.gov/Impacts, sign up for email updates, or follow us on Twitter @USDA_NIFA, #NIFAImpacts.

USDA is an equal opportunity lender, provider, and employer

About the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. With a membership of 237 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations, APLU’s agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research, and expanding engagement. Annually, member campuses enroll 4.9 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.2 million degrees, employ 1.2 million faculty and staff, and conduct $43.9 billion in university-based research.

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Partners in Progress

by Tom Damm

In a room inside Talen Energy Stadium normally reserved for Philadelphia Union soccer player interviews, EPA and a group of partners had a game-changing announcement to make earlier this year.

It had nothing to do with soccer but a lot to do with goals – goals for the City of Chester, Pennsylvania to prevent flooding in its neighborhoods, revive its economy, and reduce stormwater pollution impacting its local creeks and the Delaware River.

EPA was joined by Chester, state, and private sector officials to announce a Community-Based Public-Private Partnership, or CBP3, to plan, finance, build and maintain up to $50 million in green stormwater infrastructure in Chester.

The Chester Stormwater Authority and its private partner, Corvias, have plans to transform the face of the city, turning hundreds of acres of hard surfaces into absorbent green spaces and working with small, minority-owned businesses to generate hundreds of local jobs in the process.

Green Infrastructure not only helps prevent stormwater runoff and localized flooding, it creates safe walkable communities that enhance the quality of life for the people who live there. The green features will mimic nature and allow stormwater to soak in rather than rush into streets and nearby waters carrying trash, bacteria, heavy metals and other pollutants.

As the speakers took turns at the podium, the launch of the partnership was met with great joy, appreciation and more than a few Amens from Chester residents.

Chester officials called it an opportunity to “turn the page” in their distressed city.  Corvias praised the city’s “courage” to try a new approach.  And the state infrastructure finance agency, PENNVEST, confirmed a $1 million grant to kick-start the effort.

EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region provided technical and planning assistance to help design and develop the partnership, led by our Water Protection Division Deputy Director Dominique Lueckenhoff.   She was instrumental in developing the prototype for the concept – the successful CBP3 in Prince George’s County, Maryland – and has written a playbook for other local governments to follow.

Since the launch event, the Chester Stormwater Authority Partnership has developed a Long-Term Implementation Plan and conducted six community meetings to roll out the plan, with significant local attendance and input.  Five more meetings are scheduled in the coming months.  Feedback from the meetings is being used to determine the priority order of projects.

 

About the Author: Tom Damm has been with EPA since 2002 and now serves as communications coordinator for the region’s Water Protection Division.

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CT Trail Census Update

By Kristina Kelly, Connecticut Trail Census Statewide Coordinator

Naugatuck Greenway

Naugatuck Greenway

Fall is a busy time for the Connecticut Trail Census team as we are nearing the end of our pilot year. We are so excited to have this important data finalized and ready for release in January 2018 so that our local communities can begin to put the data to use improving their local trail systems.

In September, volunteers and trail enthusiasts performed Intercept Surveys at our 15 participating trail sites. These surveys feature multiple choice and open-ended questions such as the user’s age range, motivation for using the trail, frequency of trail use, and whether they planned on spending money on that trip to the trail (such as stopping at a coffee shop in a community along the way). These questions are intended to collect valuable qualitative data that the Infrared (IR) Counters cannot. So far, we have received over 400 surveys from this fall session and the data is currently being compiled into a database for organization and presentation.

In other news, we are looking forward to presenting at the 2nd Annual CT Trails Symposium on October 19th. In addition to speaking about the current progress and planning for the future of the program, we will be unveiling a preview of how and where the survey data will be available to the public in January. Click here for more information on the Symposium and register to join us!

In the public outreach department, we have released a CT Trail Census Facebook page where we post program updates, connections with statewide trail groups, and useful articles regarding trail use! Check us out on Facebook and be sure to click “like” so our posts show up in your newsfeed.

Finally, at the end of this month, we will be collecting another round of quantitative data from the IR counters that are counting trail uses 24/7 on our trail sites! We will then perform preliminary analysis and continue working on calibrating and correcting this data for our final report release in January.

Stay tuned for more updates and feel free to reach out to me or visit our website if you would like more information or to get involved!

[Read More …]

CT Trail Census Update

By Kristina Kelly, Connecticut Trail Census Statewide Coordinator

Naugatuck Greenway

Naugatuck Greenway

Fall is a busy time for the Connecticut Trail Census team as we are nearing the end of our pilot year. We are so excited to have this important data finalized and ready for release in January 2018 so that our local communities can begin to put the data to use improving their local trail systems.

In September, volunteers and trail enthusiasts performed Intercept Surveys at our 15 participating trail sites. These surveys feature multiple choice and open-ended questions such as the user’s age range, motivation for using the trail, frequency of trail use, and whether they planned on spending money on that trip to the trail (such as stopping at a coffee shop in a community along the way). These questions are intended to collect valuable qualitative data that the Infrared (IR) Counters cannot. So far, we have received over 400 surveys from this fall session and the data is currently being compiled into a database for organization and presentation.

In other news, we are looking forward to presenting at the 2nd Annual CT Trails Symposium on October 19th. In addition to speaking about the current progress and planning for the future of the program, we will be unveiling a preview of how and where the survey data will be available to the public in January. Click here for more information on the Symposium and register to join us!

In the public outreach department, we have released a CT Trail Census Facebook page where we post program updates, connections with statewide trail groups, and useful articles regarding trail use! Check us out on Facebook and be sure to click “like” so our posts show up in your newsfeed.

Finally, at the end of this month, we will be collecting another round of quantitative data from the IR counters that are counting trail uses 24/7 on our trail sites! We will then perform preliminary analysis and continue working on calibrating and correcting this data for our final report release in January.

Stay tuned for more updates and feel free to reach out to me or visit our website if you would like more information or to get involved!

[Read More …]