Category Archives: Land Use

Items related to agriculture, preservation, development, forestry, and other land-based activities that affect water resources.

State of the Birds 2014 in the United States Report Released 9/9/14 by U.S. Committee of the North American Bird Conservation Initiativ

On September 9, 2014, the U.S. Committee of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative released The State of the Birds 2014—United States of America.  The Committee (Web site: http://www.nabci-us.org/main2.html) comprises 23 government agencies and organizations.  According to the Committee’s September 9 news release, the report is “the most comprehensive review of long-term trend data for U.S. birds ever conducted.”  The report found that bird populations are declining in some key habitats but recovering “in areas where a strong conservation investment has been made,” according to the news release.  Habitats addressed in the report include aridlands, eastern forests, western forests, grasslands, coasts, and wetlands.  The report has 233 species on its “watch-list of birds “that are presently endangered or at risk of becoming endangered without significant conservation action.”

The report and news release are available online at http://www.stateofthebirds.org/. The Watch List is available (as PDF) at http://www.stateofthebirds.org/extinctions/watchlist.pdf. [posted 9/23/14]

state of birds

Cover of The State of the Birds 2014—United States of America, accessed at the report’s Web site, http://www.stateofthebirds.org/, 9/23/14.

Two Cellulosic Ethanol Plants at Commercial Scale Opened in Iowa in September 2014

In early September 2014, the United States’ first two commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plants opened in Iowa.  Cellulosic ethanol is produced from cellulose in plant residues—such as corn stalks, leaves, and cobs—rather than from grain (the corn kernel), which is the source for the corn-based ethanol that for many years has been commercially produced and blended with gasoline.  The two plants, both in northwestern Iowa, are the Project Liberty plant near the town of Emmetsburg, operated by the DSM and Poet companies; and the Quad County Corn Processors plant near the town of Galva.

Sources:
2nd Iowa plant makes cellulosic ethanol reality, Des Moines Register, 9/9/14;
Long-Awaited Cellulosic Ethanol Plant Opens In Iowa, Chemical Engineering News, 9/8/14.

Pesticide Levels in Rivers and Streams Nationwide between 1992 and 2011 Assessed in USGS Study Released in September 2014

On September 11, 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced results of a 20-year study of pesticide occurrence in rivers and streams in the United States.  For two periods—1992 to 2001 and 2002 to 2011—the study compared the percentage of stream and rivers being monitored nationwide that contained pesticides at levels above those considered unhealthy for aquatic life.  The study looked at streams in agricultural areas, urban areas, and areas with a mix of those land uses.

According to the study’s synopsis, “the proportions of assessed streams with one or more pesticides that exceeded an aquatic-life benchmark were very similar between the two decades for agricultural (69% during 1992−2001 compared to 61% during 2002−2011) and mixed-land-use streams (45% compared to 46%). [The proportion of] urban streams, in contrast, increased from 53% during 1992−2011 to 90% during 2002−2011….”  Pesticide levels “seldom exceeded human-health benchmarks,” according to the USGS news release on the study.

The study is “Pesticides in U.S. Streams and Rivers:  Occurrence and trends during 1992-2011,” published 9/11/14 online in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.  A link to the study and additional information–including data, other reports, and maps–are available online at http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/pnsp/pubs/pest-streams/.

Source: 20-Year Study Shows Levels of Pesticides Still a Concern for Aquatic Life in U.S. Rivers and Streams, U.S. Geological Survey News Release, 9/11/14.

Herpetological Society Annual Meeting, Native Plant Meadow, Acorn Collecting, and More Available in September 10, 2014, Outdoor Report from Va. Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries

The September 10, 2014, “Outdoor Report” from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) in now available at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/outdoor-report/2014/09/10/.

Each edition of the Outdoor Report is full of information on fishing, hunting, wildlife watching, boating, and other outdoor activities.  The sections of the 9/10/14 report are listed below, with hyperlinks to go to the individual items.

Wildlife on Roadways Research, River Recreation Workshop Sept. 17-18, Bobwhite Quail Recovery Update, and More Available in August 27, 2014, Outdoor Report from Va. Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries

The August 27, 2014, “Outdoor Report” from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) in now available at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/outdoor-report/2014/08/27/.

Each edition of the Outdoor Report is full of information on fishing, hunting, wildlife watching, boating, and other outdoor activities.  The sections of the 8/27/14 report are listed below, with hyperlinks to go to the individual items.

Heroes on the Water, Race 4 Birds, Peregrine Falcon Restoration in Shenandoah National Park, and More Available in August 13, 2014, Outdoor Report from Va. Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries

The August 13, 2014, “Outdoor Report” from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) in now available at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/outdoor-report/2014/08/13/.

Each edition of the Outdoor Report is full of information on fishing, hunting, wildlife watching, boating, and other outdoor activities.  The sections of the 8/13/14 report are listed below, with hyperlinks to go to the individual items.

Geographic Information Systems’ Value to Virginia Localities Described in July 28, 2014, Richmond Times-Dispatch Article; Plus “Geography on the Web” from Va. Tech Department of Geography

GIS a crucial tool for localities,” published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on July 28, 2014, describes various uses by Virginia’s local governments of computerized mapping and geographic data management technology, known as geographic information systems or GIS.  The article is available online at this link: http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/local/henrico/gis-a-crucial-tool-for-localities/article_35a68546-8d45-5ffd-babc-4cc643bd1dcf.html; or contact the newspaper at 300 East Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23219; phone (804) 649-6000; e-mail: content@timesdispatch.com.

For a list of many sources of information about geography and GIS, see “Geography on the Web,” Virginia Tech Geography Department, online at http://geography.vt.edu/geog_on_web/geogonweb.htm.