7/28/09

IISG Wins Water Resource Education and Public Service Award

IISG was presented with a 2009 Education and Public Service Award from the Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR) at the organization’s annual meeting in Chicago in July. This award is given by UCOWR in recognition of individuals, groups or agencies that have made significant contributions to increased public awareness of water resources development, use or management.

IISG was recognized for the program’s efforts regarding natural resource issues facing the greater Chicago metropolitan region, including water supply. Despite the fact that Chicago sits on the plentiful resource of Lake Michigan, the region is facing a growing population and a water supply that is limited, both legally and practically.

Throughout the decade, IISG has supported and informed efforts to develop regional plans regarding water supply and other natural resource issues facing the region. For example, in 2001 IISG helped the Tri-State Wingspread Accord get off the ground. The accord brought together planning agencies from Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin to address issues on a larger scale. Through this agreement, water supply planning can take place on a watershed or aquifer basis, which often extends beyond state lines. Since then, Michigan has joined the accord, and the group continues to make historic efforts to address future coastal resource needs.

Last year, in partnership with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and the University of Illinois Extension, IISG hired a water resource economist to oversee the economic analysis to support the development and implementation of a sustainable water use and supply plan for the Chicago region. Margaret Schneemann is examining the costs and benefits of the water supply planning process, including conservation options, and is developing an optimal water pricing schedule for the region.

“We are very proud that our contributions to water resource education have been recognized by UCOWR,” said Brian Miller, IISG director. “Addressing water quantity and quality issues in the region requires a team effort that includes partnerships with agencies and organizations. Over the years, we’ve had the privilege of working with great partners.”

UCOWR consists of over 90 member universities and organizations throughout the world. UCOWR's goals include: facilitating water-related education at all levels; promoting meaningful research and technology transfer on contemporary and emerging water resources issues; compiling and disseminating information on water problems and solutions; and informing the public about water issues with the objective of promoting informed decisions at all levels of society. Member institutions engage in education, research, public service, international activities, and information support for policy development related to water resources.

7/24/09

Play Nab the Aquatic Invader! in Humboldt Park

IISG is in Humboldt Park today as part of a Science Chicago Labfest. Visitors to the park can play "Nab the Aquatic Invader!" and learn about Great Lakes invasive species.

Science Chicago is a year-long celebration organized by the Museum of Science and Industry. Here's how the website describes Labfests:
LabFests! will take place in local parks, neighborhood libraries and fab locations all across the region all summer long. Get your "wow" on and get into it with hands-on science fun featuring interactive demonstrations, crafts projects, science and environmental activities with some of the region's most popular museums, institutions and after school science organizations.

Today's event in Humboldt Park runs from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For more information, including a map, click here.

7/20/09

In the News: Great Lakes water levels rebound after long slump

From the Associated Press:
Great Lakes water levels are rebounding after a decade-long slump that hammered the maritime industry and even fed conspiracy theories about plots to drain the inland seas that make up nearly one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water.

The three biggest lakes — Superior, Huron and Michigan — have risen steadily since fall 2007, when for a couple of months Superior's levels were the lowest on record and the others nearly so. Erie, shallowest of the lakes, actually exceeded its long-term average in June. So did Lake Ontario, although its level is determined more by artificial structures than nature. Read more.


JULY 2009 – PRE-PROPOSAL REQUEST FOR GRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCH SUPPORT

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program Graduate Research & Outreach
Support Pre-Proposals


Program Description: The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program (IISG) has limited discretionary funds to support ongoing Graduate Student research in promising areas of research and outreach projects. For 2009, the IISG is especially interested in investing in graduate student research programs that would improve thesis or dissertation projects. Those projects that have a focus in one of our nine topic areas identified in our strategic plan are especially encouraged (please visit our Topics page for more information on our topic areas). The topics include:

• Aquaculture
• Aquatic Invasive Species
• Coastal Restoration
• Fish Consumption
• Great Lakes Health (especially Lake Michigan)
• Land Use Planning
• Pharmaceutical Disposal
• Water Quality
• Water Supply


We anticipate awarding Graduate Student support to 2-4 projects at $6,000 depending on how well projects align with our objectives, project need and rigor, the potential for project impact, and the degree to which the funds will improve the student’s research. Selected pre-proposals meeting award criteria will be invited to submit full documentation through appropriate institutional mechanisms (i.e., appropriate institutional grants and contract office). Funding is intended for improvement of the project and will be provided for one year from date of award and must be completed by September, 30 2010.

Eligibility: Graduate students enrolled in an educational or research institution of higher learning within Illinois or Indiana is eligible. Funds are not to be used to cover stipend, tuition, or fees.

Pre-proposal Submission: For full consideration, pre-proposals should be submitted by COB, August 7, 2009 to iisg@illinois.edu. Please indicate “2009 Graduate Student Research Support” on the subject line. Required forms are available on request or by visiting here. Attach only required documents for program pre-proposal consideration including:

1) 90-2 Project Summary Form - This form will serve as the project preproposal. A description of the Form 90-2 is available: Guidelines for 90-2. The student’s pre-proposal should outline a) description of the problem addressed by his/her research project - preferably tied to a specific IISG Strategic Objective; b) a description of the impact of the problem; c) a non-technical description of the methods to address the problem; d) expected results and project area impacts; and anticipated date of graduation.. Not all fields requested at the top of the Program Summary form are applicable to program development funding, therefore, only fill out the items for which are appropriate. For questions, contact, John Epifanio, IISG research coordinator at epifanio@illinois.edu or call 217-244-6916. The Project Summary Form should not exceed 4 pages in length. Please email all forms or documents in PDF File format.

2) 90-4 Budget Form (Required format). A description of the Form 90-4 and an Excel format budget worksheet are available here. Note that for Graduate Student Research Support, there is no matching requirement; however, the budget should include negotiated federal indirect cost rates.

3) Graduate student bio-sketch – Include a maximum 2-page bio-sketch or CV for the student highlighting applicable experiences and demonstrating excellence.

4) Graduate program transcripts – an unofficial copy is acceptable pending selection.

5) Letter of support – Include a letter of support from the student’s major advisor or Department chair/head certifying the student is in good standing, his/her status (i.e., date of thesis or dissertation proposal accepted or anticipated), and other sources of project support.

Final Reporting Requirements (Deliverables):
Upon completion of the funding, the student in cooperation with his/her advisor is required to submit a Final Project Report within 30 days of the award’s conclusion or by October 30, 2010.

Final reports should include the following information:
• Description of the research project’s accomplishments including: significant research findings; publications, presentations at conferences, and workshops; general impacts of the research; and,
• Description of how the funds improved the dissertation or thesis project. Questions regarding eligibility or pre-proposal requirements may be directed to the IISG research coordinator at epifanio@illinois.edu or by phone at 217-244-6916.

7/13/09

JULY 2009 – REQUEST FOR PRE-PROPOSALS

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program Research & Outreach
Development and Capacity Building Pre-Proposals


Program Description: The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program (IISG) has limited discretionary funds for the initial development of promising areas of research and outreach projects. For 2009, IISG is especially interested in investing in research programs that would benefit from “seed” funds for preliminary data collection that will be used to submit expanded proposals to other funding sources. Those projects that have a focus in one of our nine core topic areas (visit the IISG Topics page for more information on these core topic areas). The topics include:

• Aquaculture
• Aquatic Invasive Species
• Coastal Restoration
• Fish Consumption
• Great Lakes Health (especially Lake Michigan)
• Land Use Planning
• Pharmaceutical Disposal
• Water Quality
• Water Supply

We anticipate awarding funding to 3-6 projects at < $10,000 depending on how well projects meet our objectives, potential for growth, project need and rigor, and level of funding requested. Selected pre-proposals meeting award criteria will be invited to submit full documentation through appropriate institutional mechanisms (i.e., appropriate institutional grants and contract office). Funding will be provided for one year from date of award and must be completed by September 30, 2010.

Eligibility: Project Investigators from educational or research institutions in Illinois or Indiana are eligible.

Pre-proposal Submission: For full consideration, pre-proposals should be submitted by COB August 5, 2009 to iisg@illinois.edu. Please indicate “2009 Development Pre-Proposal” on the subject line. Required forms are available on request or by visiting here. Attach only required documents for pre-proposal consideration including:

1) 90-2 Project Summary Form (your completed 90-2 will serve as your project pre-proposal). A description and copy of the Form 90-2 are available here.
The completed project summary form should detail a) the problem (or critical informational uncertainty) to be addressed by the project tied to a specific IISG Strategic Objective; b) impact of the problem; c) methods to address the problem; and, d) expected results and project area impacts. Not all fields requested at the top of the Program Summary form are applicable to program development funding, therefore, only fill out the items which are appropriate. For questions, contact John Epifanio, IISG research coordinator, at epifanio@illinois.edu or call 217-244-6916. The Project Summary Form should not exceed 4 pages in length. Please email all forms and documents in PDF file format.

2) 90-4 Budget Form - 90-4.doc (Required format).
A description of the Form 90-4 and an Excel format budget worksheet are available here. Note: for program development proposals, there are no matching requirements; however, investigators should budget for the negotiated federal indirect cost rates for their home institutions.

3) Investigator bio-sketch – Include a maximum 2-page bio-sketch or CV for each investigator demonstrating sufficient expertise and a history of sponsored-project completion, including publication.

Key Project Deliverables – all development projects should:
1) Result in an expanded proposal submitted to a funding agency & based on data/information generated from the project award. Development funds can be used to collect pilot data, assemble a research team, support writing and proposal development efforts; or,
2) Complete a final needed step to bring former research to publication, completion, or to realize impact and/or implementation of past research.

Final Reporting Requirements – All project investigators are required to submit a Final Project Report within 30 days of the project’s conclusion or by October 31, 2010.

Final Project Reports should include the following information:
• Program accomplishments including significant research findings; accomplishments such as proposals submitted, students supported, publications, presentations at conferences, workshops, and collaborations formed; and, impacts resulting from the project.
• Future/planned activities that will result from this development project including research, publications, workshops, dollars leveraged, and students to be supported.
• Development projects resulting in the submission of an expanded proposal to appropriate funding source(s) should describe information or data generated by the IISG
Development award and describe the proposal submitted including the source and the level of funding requested.
• Additional reporting information is available here.

Questions regarding eligibility or pre-proposal requirements may be directed to the IISG research coordinator at epifanio@illinois.edu or by phone at 217-244-6916.

7/10/09

In the News: PCBs, dioxins make Great Lakes fish a risk to eat, conservation group says

From the Globe and Mail:
Anglers may be getting more than a trophy fish when they land a big one from the Great Lakes.

They could be catching fish that are so loaded with mercury, PCBs and dioxins that they aren't safe to eat or should be consumed only in moderation, according to a new study being released today by Environmental Defence, a conservation group.

The study reviewed the trend in consumption advisories, or recommendations on whether it is safe to eat various species of fish - issued by Ontario's Ministry of Environment and covering 13 different regions of the Great Lakes since 2005.

"The results are discouraging. While there have been some modest improvements in the last two years, a fifth of the 2009 advisories examined in this report were for zero consumption levels, meaning it is not safe to eat such fish at all. This is unacceptable, from recreational, economic, and human health perspectives," the study said. Read more.


7/8/09

New AIS Playing Cards Wins Apex Award


IISG’s Nab the Aquatic Invader Playing Cards has won a 2009 APEX Award for Publication Excellence in One–of-a-kind Environmental Publications. The award goes to Robin Goettel, Terri Hallesy and Susan White of IISG, along with Dave Brenner of the University of Michigan.

The playing cards are based on invasive aquatic species characters developed for the Nab the Aquatic Invader website. The cards are designed to introduce 4-10th grade students to AIS in a fun way, with games such as “Invader Hide and Seek,” “Exotic Species Recall” and “The Lonely Police Chief.”

If you would like to learn more about the playing cards, visit the IISG website here.

7/7/09

In the News: 700,000 tons of waste waits for landfill

From the Post-Tribune:
For years, ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor has been stockpiling a massive 700,000 tons of dark gray, acidic, steel-making waste directly on the soil on the company's property -- less than 500 feet from Lake Michigan.

The waste pile is 500 feet long. Its height dwarfs even large semi trucks driving by. Such waste typically contains heavy metals such as lead, zinc, cadmium and arsenic. Read more.


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