EPA Region 7 Communities Information Digest

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)


Communities Information Digest

March 27, 2012  |  Contact Tegan Vaughn @ 913-551-7326, vaughn.tegan@epa.gov

Note: new items are in *asterisks*
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*The Federal Funding Opportunity for the Rural Jobs Accelerator Innovation Challenge Announced*
The Obama Administration recently announced a $15 million multi-agency Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator challenge to spur job creation and economic growth in distressed rural communities. This competition, which is being funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), was designed by the Taskforce for the Advancement of Regional Innovation Clusters and the White House Rural Council.
 The Rural Jobs Accelerator Challenge is expected to give out approximately 20 awards, depending on the number of eligible applications. To be eligible for an award, projects must benefit rural communities, but the applicant is not required to be located in a rural area. Nonprofits, higher education institutions, tribes and state and local governments can collaborate to apply for funding. Although businesses are not eligible to apply directly, applicants can also partner with the private sector on implementation. The website link below contains full information about this funding opportunity, information and tools for prospective applicants. 

*New guide for local leaders helps overcome barriers to address nation’s blighted properties*

A new guide for town, city and county leaders outlines how to build the financial and political support needed to reclaim and redevelop the thousands of abandoned gas stations, auto body shops, and industrial facilities nationwide. From Vacancy to Vibrancy (http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/from-vacancy-to-vibrancy) focuses on underground storage tank (UST) sites - properties with buried or partially buried tanks that have been used to store petroleum or other hazardous substances. When gas stations, auto body shops, industrial facilities or other types of development close down, these tanks are often left behind. As they age, the tanks are prone to leakage and can contaminate both soil and groundwater, posing a serious environmental threat. The new guide takes aim at one of the primary reasons these types of properties remain vacant for so long: many officials just don't know what to do with them.The new resource provides an overview of the tools and strategies available to leaders who want to transform UST sites into economic and community assets. The guide also includes information about state and federal brownfield program requirements, brownfield redevelopment financing strategies, and multi-site planning techniques. An annotated list of resources is included at the end for further exploration. More information about EPA's Brownfields Program can be found at http://www.epa.gov/brownfields.
*World Health Day 2012: April 7 – Focus on Aging and Health*
World Health Day is April 7, 2012.  “Aging and Health” - to which each and every one of us can relate - is the theme of this year's World Health Day. Using the slogan "Good health adds life to years," campaign activities and materials will focus on how good health throughout life can help older men and women lead full and productive lives and be a resource for their families and communities. Over the past century life expectancy has increased dramatically and the world will soon have more older people than children. Populations are ageing everywhere, but less-developed countries are witnessing the fastest change. This social transformation represents both challenges and opportunities. In particular, countries may only have a single generation to prepare their health and social systems for an ageing world. http://www.who.int/world-health-day/2012/en/index.html.

Upcoming Funding Deadlines

*April 12: EPA Regional Indoor Environments: Reducing Exposure to Indoor Pollutants* http://www.epa.gov/air/grants_funding.html
Meeting Table

Upcoming Meetings, Conferences & Events

April 1-4: 2012 National Main Streets Conference— Baltimore, Maryland -http://www.preservationnation.org/main-street/training/conference/2012baltimore/

April 3-4: 2012 Good Jobs, Green Jobs East Regional Conference— Philadelphia, Pennsylvania http://www.greenjobsconference.org/philadelphia
April 3-4: Inaugural National Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Meeting— Washington, DC http://www.cvent.com/events/inaugural-national-health-impact-assessment-meeting/event-summary-0636364fcc2b4736b8426eeb85c9da4a.aspx
April 10-11: National Training Conference on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and Environmental Conditions in Communities— Washington, D.C. – http://www.chemicalright2know.com/events/past
*April 11-12: World Health Day 2012: Population Aging and Urbanization Free Conference* Boston - http://whd.hnrc.tufts.edu/
May 1-3: Growing Sustainable Communities Conference— Sonoma County, California http://www.gscwest.com

May 4: Sustainability by Design: Retrofitting our Cities, Communities and Neighborhoods— Portland, Oregon - http://sustain.uoregon.edu/workshops/course_desc.php?CourseKey=633659

May 10-11: 2012 Good Jobs, Green Jobs North Regional Conference– Detroit, Michigan http://www.greenjobsconference.org/detroit
May 15-17: 15th National Brownfields Conference— Atlanta, Georgia –
June 7-8: Promoting Intergenerational and Environmental Health Across the Lifespan New York City, New York - http://www.healthandenvironment.org/news/conference/intergen2012
June 20-22: Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference New Orleans, Louisiana –
September 10-12: Missouri Recycling Association (MORA) Annual Conference— St. Louis, Missouri - http://mora.org/

Upcoming Webinars & Conference Calls

April 10, 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. (ET) Community Grants call for propopsals conference call
The 2012 Roadmaps to Health Community Grants call for proposals is now available.The grants, which will support two-year state and local efforts among policymakers, business, education, health care, public health and community organizations, will be managed by Community Catalyst and are part of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI). Up to 20 coalitions will be awarded grants to create policy or system change to address the social and economic factors that impact the health of people in their community. For more information, please visit: http://www.rwjf.org/applications/solicited/cfp.jsp?ID=21390&utm_source=February+27%2C+2012+County+Health+Rankings+%26amp%3B+Roadmaps+E-News&utm_campaign=February+28+Newsletter&utm_medium=email.
Webinar Series: Improving Children’s Health through Federal Collaboration, Second Thursday of every month from 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. (MST)
The Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8, and the Health Resources and Services Administration, Region VIII, have organized, in collaboration with other Federal partners, a one-year-long webinar series titled Improving Children’s Health through Federal Collaboration. Protecting the health of children where they live, learn and play is fundamental to making the world a better place for future generations. The purpose of this webinar series is to encourage coordination, collaboration and information sharing across government agencies and organizations, health care providers, educators, and the general public in addressing children health issues. Please save these dates for the following FREE webinars. For additional information about each of the webinars, including registration information, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region8/humanhealth/children/webinars.html.
April 12, 2012 - Communities Working Together for Better Health
May 10, 2012 - Successful Asthma Management
June 14, 2012 - Healthy Homes
August 9, 2012 – Children’s Environmental Health Research
September 13, 2012 - National Children Study

Other Community Related Information and Events

 *New Creating Sustainable Places Website Launched*
Creating Sustainable Places, which is part of Kansas City, MO’s Mid America Regional Council, recently launched a new website that makes it easier to follow the initiative and locate information. Key information available on the site includes the CSP guiding principles, a list of partners, the Regional Plan for Sustainable Development, details about the six corridors, the Implementation Guidebook, and background on the CSP grant.  As the CSP corridor, tool and indicator work progresses, this site will be a repository of information to track what we are doing and how to get involved. For more information, please visit: http://www.marc.org/sustainableplaces/.

*Lessons Learned from the Partnership for Sustainable Communities  Brownfields Pilots*
In February 2010, the Partnership selected five brownfields pilots http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/partnership.htm in Boston, Massachusetts; Denver, Colorado; Indianapolis, Indiana; Iowa City, Iowa; and National City, California, to receive direct technical assistance. EPA has created a fact sheet that describes some overarching principles that could be helpful in developing successful Partnership projects. It also presents "lessons learned" to help foster meaningful participation, build partnerships, scope and plan projects, and implement revitalization plans. The lessons were identified by stakeholders in the pilot communities representing local, state, regional, and federal agencies; community-based organizations, nonprofits, and private-sector entities. For more information, please visit:

*American Heart Association Fact Sheet on Air Pollution and Heart Disease*
The American Heart Association has developed a new fact sheet on air pollution and heart disease. To view the American Heart Association’s public resource, please visit: http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@adv/documents/downloadable/ucm_437394.pdf.
*Save the Date: National Prescription Drug Take Back Day: April 28, 2012*
The Drug Enforcement Administration has scheduled another National Prescription Drug Take Back Day which will take place on Saturday, April 28, 2012, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This is a great opportunity for those who missed the previous events, or who have subsequently accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs, to safely dispose of those medications. Americans that participated in the DEA’s third National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on October 29, 2011, turned in more than 377,086 pounds (188.5 tons) of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at the 5,327 take-back sites that were available in all 50 states and U.S. territories. When the results of the three prior Take-Back Days are combined, the DEA, and its state, local, and tribal law-enforcement and community partners have removed 995,185 pounds (498.5 tons) of medication from circulation in the past 13 months. Please check the website to locate collection sites near you. http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html
*Sense of Water Intergenerational Contest – Deadline is June 1st*
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency invites the public to submit creative projects to the 6th annual Rachel Carson intergenerational “Sense of Wonder” contest. There are four categories: photography, essay, poetry and dance. This year, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the contest will focus on a “Sense of Water.” Contest submissions are encouraged to focus on the various properties of water – how it tastes, what it sounds like, how it feels – and what water means to the entrants.
"Water means different things to different people, and this contest is a great opportunity for people of all ages to creatively express how water touches their life," said Nancy Stoner, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Water. The deadline for entries is June 1, 2012, and winners will be announced in September 2012. A panel of judges will select finalists in each category, and the winners will be determined by a public online vote that will begin in August 2012.Carson is considered to be the founder of the contemporary environmental movement through her landmark book, “Silent Spring.” The contest seeks to spur and instill the same sense of wonder Carson had among all generations. The contest is sponsored by EPA, the Dance Exchange, the Rachel Carson Council, Inc., and Generations United.For more information about the contest and to see the works of previous winners, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/aging/resources/thesenseofwonder/index.htm

About 83 percent of St. Louis neighborhoods with light rail access gained population between 2000 and 2010, even as the city as a whole lost residents. Eighty-seven percent of the population gains were in neighborhoods categorized as "very walkable," according to WalkScore.com. Downtown St. Louis, with the highest walk score in the city (92), has gained nearly 3,000 new residents since 2000.For more information, please visit: http://nextstl.com/transportation/mobility-population-change-in-st-louis-neighborhoods

Seven acres at the edge of a Seattle park are slated to be turned into the nation's largest public "food forest." Beacon Food Forest is designed on permaculture principles, combining the concepts of urban farms, orchards, and natural forest to produce food from trees, shrubs and perennial plants. Food forests have been called the next evolution in urban farming, with Beacon Food Forest notable for its aim to create an edible landscape on public land through community effort. For more information, please visit: http://grist.org/urban-agriculture/into-the-woods-seattle-plants-a-public-food-forest/.
This grant initiative helps cities and towns in the Chesapeake Bay watershed accelerate greening efforts that improve watershed protection, community livability, and economic vitality. The grant program covers the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland, D.C., Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Focus areas include green streets, green infrastructure, and green jobs as part of community or watershed planning. Grant assistance up to $35,000 is available for infrastructure project planning and design, and up to $100,000 for implementation and construction. For more information, please visit: http://www.sustainablecitynetwork.com/topic_channels/water/article_ace44c82-55f8-11e1-a05f-001a4bcf6878.html?utm_source=SCN+InBox+e-Newsletter&utm_campaign=f50e6f2368-Newsletter_2-8-2012_Vendors&utm_medium=email.
*New White Paper Details Innovative Local Delivery of Energy Efficiency*
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released a white paper entitled The Role of Local Governments and Community Organizations as Energy Efficiency Implementation Partners: Case Studies and a Review of Trends.  Local governments and community organizations across the country are adopting policies, strategies, and partnerships that promote energy efficiency, save money, and reduce pollution. The white paper, developed by ACEEE and the MIT Energy Efficiency Strategy Project, focuses on the roles of local governments, community organizations, and utilities in developing and delivering energy efficiency programs. The paper presents eight case studies from communities across the country and showcases how local governments and civil society can support energy efficiency efforts through enabling policies and program partnerships.To read the white paper, please visit: http://aceee.org/white-paper/the-role-of-local-actors/

*Register your Earth Day Events*
 The Earth Day Network invites communities to register their events to help advertise Earth Day festivals across the country. To find out more please go to the Earth Day 2012 site: http://act.earthday.org/.

Active Design Guidelines provides architects and urban designers with a manual of strategies for creating healthier buildings, streets, and urban spaces, based on the latest academic research and best practices in the field. The Guidelines includes urban design strategies, building design strategies, and discussion of synergies between active design and sustainable design. For more information, please visit: http://www.nyc.gov/html/ddc/html/design/active_design.shtml

In Designing Healthy Communities, a 4-hour series available on DVD, host Dr. Richard Jackson looks at the impact our built environment has on key public health indices - obesity, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, cancer and depression. Dr. Jackson connects bad community design with burgeoning health costs, then analyzes and illustrates what citizens are doing about this urgent crisis by looking upstream for innovative solutions. For more information, please visit: http://designinghealthycommunities.org/

With Prospering in Place, the Center for Neighborhood Technology presents a new vision for building economic prosperity in the Chicago region with an analysis that identifies place-based transportation and community development investments that would reinvigorate economic growth. The report documents how past development patterns have harmed the regional economy, and shows how to turn that situation around by exploiting the region's unique assets and advantages. For more information, please visit: http://www.cnt.org/news/2012/02/16/cnt-unveils-place-based-vision-for-economic-prosperity/

 *Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I Program Solicitation*
URL: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/2013/2013_sbir_phase1.html
Open Date: 03/15/2013  -  Close Date: 05/03/2012
Summary:  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites small business firms to
submit research proposals under this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Solicitation.  The objective of this solicitation is to increase the incentive and opportunity for small businesses to undertake cutting edge, high-risk, or long-term research that has a high potential payoff if the research is successful.  Federal support of the front-end research on new ideas, often the highest risk part of the innovation process, may provide small businesses sufficient incentive to pursue such research.
EPA is interested in advanced technologies that address priority environmental issues.  This year's solicitation has seven topics grouped into five general areas:  Safe and Sustainable Water Resources (topic includes A. Water), Chemical Safety for Sustainability (topic is B. Innovation in Manufacturing), Sustainable and Healthy Communities (topics include C. Green Building and D. Waste Monitoring and Management), Air/Climate/Energy (topics include E. Air Quality and F. Sustainable Utilization of Biomass), and G. Homeland Security. The proposed research must directly pertain to EPA's environmental mission and must be responsive to EPA program interests included in the topic descriptions in this solicitation.
*Centers for Material Life Cycle Safety*
EPA, as part of its Science to Achieve Results program, is seeking applications for an interdisciplinary center focused on the application of a life cycle perspective towards the development of materials. The aim of the center will be to develop methodologies and practices for materials design which applies a holistic perspective. This holistic approach to design, which considers all the stages of a material’s life cycle, provides an opportunity to produce materials which minimize, and preferably eliminate, any associated potential environmental and human health impacts that may occur during the life cycle. The deadline is April 25, 2012. For more information, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/2012/2012_star_lifecycle.html.
*Centers for Sustainable Molecular Design*
EPA, as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, seeks applications for an interdisciplinary center focusing on the sustainable molecular design of chemicals.  The aim of the center will be to develop a set of parameters and strategies that will establish design criteria regarding the properties of chemicals that will lead to the development of intrinsically less hazardous substances when compared to those currently used in society.  These newly acquired criteria and design principles will direct researchers towards the generation of novel chemicals that will minimize, and preferably eliminate, associated potential environmental and human health impacts that may occur during the life cycle of that chemical. The advent of these novel chemicals and their respective discovery of correlations between a chemical’s inherent properties and their adverse impacts require the development of improved methods for the design of next generation chemicals. The deadline is April 25, 2012. For more information, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/2012/2012_star_molecular_design.html

EPA's Green Infrastructure Program Unveils New Website & is Available for Assistance
Building on our 2011 Strategic Agenda, EPA's Green Infrastructure Program is pleased to unveil their new website and to announce the availability of technical assistance to 10-20 partner communities. The new website repackages and expands upon our previous website to showcase EPA's research on green infrastructure and to serve as a gateway to the wealth of resources developed by governmental agencies, academia, non-profits, and the private sector.  Stakeholders will be able to consult the website for up-to-date information on green infrastructure publications, tools, and opportunities. The first opportunity EPA is announcing through the website is the availability of direct assistance from EPA to facilitate the use of green infrastructure to protect water quality.  Technical assistance will be provided through EPA contract support, and will be directed to watersheds/sewersheds with significant water quality degradation associated with urban stormwater.  The total EPA assistance available is approximately $950,000, and will be distributed among 10-20 projects.  The value of the assistance available to each project will be approximately $50,000 - $100,000. Letters of interest must be received by April 6, 2012.  For more information, please visit: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/index.cfm#tabs-1.
EPA Releases Guide on Landfill Gas Energy for Local Governments
EPA’s State and Local Climate and Energy Program and Landfill Methane Outreach Program has released a final version of Landfill Gas Energy:  A Guide to Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs(PDF, 547 K). Learn how communities can achieve energy, environmental, health, and economic benefits by using landfill gas (LFG) recovered from municipal solid waste landfills as a source of renewable energy. It is designed to be used by local governments, regulatory and planning agencies, developers, contractors, project partners, energy service companies, and end users, including business and industrial customers who work with project owners. Readers of the guide will learn about options to recover and use LFG from landfills, and get a clear idea of the steps and considerations involved in developing and implementing LFG projects as well as the expected costs and financing opportunities. This guide is part of the Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series, which is designed to help policy makers and program staff plan, implement, and evaluate cost-effective climate and energy projects that generate economic, environmental, social, and human health benefits. To access other documents in this series, please visit the Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series page on EPA’s State and Local Climate and Energy Program website. To learn more about communities already investing in LFG projects, visit two of EPA’s Climate Showcase Communities: Keene, New Hampshire and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Promoting Environmental Justice Through Urban Green Space Access
A new article by Ms. Viniece Jennings, a doctoral candidate in the School of Environment at Florida A&M University; Dr. Johnson Gaither, a research social scientist with the USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station Work Unit, in Athens, GA; and Dr. Schulterbrandt Gragg, an associate professor in environmental science and policy in the School of Environment at Florida A&M University, has been published. The article reviews literature on the connection between urban green space access and environmental justice. It discusses the dynamics of the relationship as it relates to factors such as environmental quality, land use, and environmental health disparities. To read the entire article, please visit: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/env.2011.0007
Chesterfield, Missouri Citizens Committee for the Environment
The Citizens Committee for the Environment (CCE) is actively participating in City and regional events to promote resource conservation and environmental awareness in Chesterfield, Missouri. They develop and disseminate educational materials on topics such as recycling, composting and proper disposal of household hazardous waste. The Committee hosts an Earth Day celebration - this year on April 21st, community recycle drives, and other fun environmental education events to engage residents. The CCE also works with TREEED Partners (Team for Regional Excellence in Energy and Environmental Design) to achieve greater contributions to sustainability locally and regionally. Click here for a current list of TREEED Partners. The Committee also worked to get Chesterfield named as a Certified Wildlife Habitat Community by the National Wildlife Federation in 2005, just the 9th in the nation. This designation goes to communities that provides habitat for wildlife throughout the community - in individual backyards, on school grounds and in public areas such as parks, community gardens, places of worship and businesses. If you want to learn more and get involved, contact the CCE at (636) 537-4000.  You can also view the CCE Brochure here and the city's CCE webpage here, http://www.chesterfield.mo.us/citizens-committee-for-the-environment.html
Creve Coeur, Missouri Launches Green Power Community Challenge
The Creve Coeur City Council voted to further the City's leading Climate Action effort by initiating an EPA Green Power Community (GPC) Challenge.  With the goal of achieving the prestigious GPC designation by Earth Day 2013, a Challenge Team has been formed that includes representatives from the City, the Climate Action Task Force, 3Degrees, Ameren Missouri and Microgrid Energy. The GPC team will launch a citywide challenge encouraging private consumption of green power through the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) or installation of onsite renewable energy, such as solar or geothermal, by local businesses, residents and nonprofit organizations. The EPA GPC recognizes cities committed to reducing their carbon footprint while protecting the environment. This commitment also helps to increase community pride and engagement in conservation efforts. Under the program, Creve Coeur's Challenge goal is to make green power 3% of the city's energy consumption.  For more on Creve Coeur's GPC efforts, click here.  You can also monitor the status of the city's efforts at this website.  There will be a kick-off event on the morning of April 12th - check back soon on the Creve Coeur websitefor details at http://www.mogpc.com/creve-coeur/.
New Matrix for Federal Funding Programs related to Sustainability
Reconnecting America recently put together a matrix of federal funding programs related to sustainability.  The list includes programs administered by agencies beyond HUD, DOT and EPA, including USDA, HHS and the IRS. To view the matrix, visit: http://www.reconnectingamerica.org/resource-center/federal-grant-opportunities/.
Rural HUD Sustainable Communities Grantees Make Videos about their Planning
Three rural HUD Sustainable Communities grantees, the Gulf Regional Planning Commission in Mississippi, the State of Colorado and Thunder Valley, South Dakota, describe in short video clips the innovative planning work their communities are undertaking. To view videos, see www.hud.gov/sustainability.