News Release:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA Region 7)


Communities Information Digest

April 23, 2012 

For questions or to subscribe contact Tegan Vaughn @ 913-551-7326,

Note: New items are in *asterisks.*


*Farmers Market Promotion Program Grants Available*
 Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan recently announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking grant applicants for the 2012 Farmers Market Promotion Program. Approximately $10 million is available for marketing operations such as farmers markets, community supported agriculture and road-side stands. The grants, which are administered by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), are available through a competitive application process on The grants aim to increase the availability of local agricultural products in communities throughout the county. They will also help strengthen farmer-to-consumer marketing efforts.
"These grants will put resources into rural and urban economies, and help strengthen efforts to provide access to nutritious and affordable foods," said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. "This program not only supports the health and well-being of local communities but also the economic health of their farms and businesses."
Projects that expand healthy food choices in food deserts or low-income areas (where the percentage of the population living in poverty is 20 percent or above) will receive additional consideration. USDA, in coordination with the Departments of the Treasury and Health and Human Services, seeks to increase access to fresh, healthy and affordable food choices for all Americans, while expanding market opportunities for farmers and ranchers. Applications will only be accepted via and must be received by May 21, 2012. Applications that are incomplete, hand-delivered, or sent via U.S. mail will not be considered. Applicants should start the registration process as soon as possible to meet the deadline. Contact Carmen Humphrey, Program Manager, by phone: (202) 720-8317, or e-mail: for more information. For more information, please visit:
*Toyota’s Environmental Activities Grant Program*
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) began accepting applications today for this year's1 Toyota Environmental Activities Grant Program, which is designed to support environmental revitalization and conservation activities aimed at sustainable development.Similar to previous years, the eligible themes for this grant remain: 'Biodiversity Conservation' and 'Global Warming Countermeasures'. Grants will be provided to NPOs and other private, non-profit groups (excluding schools) that are promoting practical projects. As before, the program will bestow both overseas and domestic project grants.
The Toyota Environmental Activities Grant Program was established in commemoration of TMC's receipt of the Global 500 Award2 in 1999 from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and has been carried out every year since 2000 as part of TMC's environmental social contribution activities, with this year marking the program's 13th year.
Inquiries regarding application procedures and further details about the program should be addressed to:
Toyota Environmental Activities Grant Program Secretariat:
Phone: +81-3-3817-9238 (Mon.-Fri.: 10:00-17:00, Japan Standard Time)
For further details and 2011 Grant Recipients, please visit:

Upcoming Funding Opportunities


*May 15: USDA Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program ($1.35 M)*
*May 31: Roadmaps to Health Prize ($25,000)*
*June 4: Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program Request for proposals (~$20)*

Meeting Table

Upcoming Meetings, Conferences & Events


April 26: Designing Homes and Neighborhoods for an Aging Population-Washington, DC -
*May 1: Smart Growth: Intelligent Cities*Washington, DC -

May 1-3: Growing Sustainable Communities Conference— Sonoma County, California
May 4: Sustainability by Design: Retrofitting our Cities, Communities and Neighborhoods— Portland, Oregon -
May 10-11: 2012 Good Jobs, Green Jobs North Regional Conference– Detroit, Michigan
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 -
June 20-22: Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference New Orleans, Louisiana –
*September 7-9: National-International Urban & Small Farm Conference*—
September 10-12: Missouri Recycling Association (MORA) Annual Conference— St. Louis, Missouri -


Upcoming Webinars & Conference Calls


*Integrated Pest Management in Child Care Webinar, April 24, 1:00-2:30 p.m. (EDT)*
Please join us at 1:00 – 2:30 EDT on April 24 for a webinar on Integrated Pest Management in Child Care Settings. This webinar will provide information on how to reduce exposures to pests and pesticides by addressing underlying conditions that can lead to infestations rather than relying on pesticides for control of pests such as cockroaches, rodents, ants and flying insects. To reserve your seat, go to:

*EPA Webinar on Ozone Advance, a New Voluntary Air Quality Program, April 24, 2:00-3:00 p.m. (EDT)* 
On Tuesday, April 24, 2012, from 2:00-3:00pm EDT, EPA will host a webinar on Ozone Advance, anew voluntary program that encourages ozone attainment areas nationwide to take near-term, proactive steps to improve air quality and ensure continued health protection over the long term. Actions undertaken as part of the program could result in air quality improvements that provide a buffer against future violations of the ozone standard. Ozone Advance will encourage the use of local strategies to reduce ground-level ozone and will emphasize coordination with stakeholders. Recommended for state and local air regulators and regional planning organizations. More information about the program is available at the Ozone Advance website. Laura Bunte from EPA’s Office of Program Planning and Standards will provide an overview of the final Ozone Advance program guidance. The presentation will include a discussion of changes EPA made to the draft program based on stakeholder input, along with a question and answer session.
To register, please visit the

*EPA Clean Diesel Projects Community Conference Call, April 24, 1:00-2:00 p.m. (ET)*
 Intended Audience: Environmental Justice and Tribal Communities or Organizations. Conference Line: 1-866-299-3188; code: 919-541-5624#
Purpose: To provide more information on upcoming activities in EPA's Air Programs and foster a dialog with communities on their air quality issues. This call will provide an:Overview of funding availability for Clean Diesel Projects. Connie Ruth of EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality will discuss the current funding opportunities for reducing diesel emissions. EPA anticipates releasing a Request for Proposals very soon. nformation about the RFP will be posted at: to the work of the Small Community Advisory Subcommittee which was established in 1996 by EPA to advise the Administrator on environmental issues of concern to the residents of smaller communitiesOverview of the May 2012 National Asthma Awareness Month community tools and indoor air resourcesUpdate on EPA's Air Programs and regulations. For more information about the conference call, contact Lena Epps-Price ( at (919) 541-5573.
Solar Electric Power Association Webinar on Clean Energy Opportunities: Learn How CLEAN Programs Can Help You Reach Renewable Energy Goals, April 26, 2 :00-3:00 p.m. (EDT)
Join the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) on Thursday, April 26, 2012, for a webinar on CLEAN Programs: Helping Utilities Meet Renewable Energy Goals. Clean Local Energy Accessible Now ("CLEAN") programs, also known as feed-in tariffs, are proven, easy-to-implement policies that help utilities meet renewable energy goals and help communities capture clean energy jobs and investment opportunities, all while minimizing administrative burdens on utility staff. This webinar will explain how to evaluate, design and implement a cost-effective CLEAN program. Speakers from the Clean Coalition and from City of Palo Alto will provide an overview of CLEAN programs and a case study of the City of Palo Alto's recently implemented program, Palo Alto CLEAN. Webinar Details: Thursday, April 26, 2012 from 2:00-3:00 pm EDT (11 am–12 noon PDT). This webinar is free to SEPA members and media (subject to verification); $125 non-members. Non-members can participate for free by entering the following discount code: April12-CleanCoalition. To register, please visit SEPA’s webinars page:
Introduction to Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles (GARVEEs) Webinar, May 3, 1:30-3:30 p.m. (EDT)
The provision of Section 122 of Title 23, U.S.C., GARVEEs permit States to pay debt service and other bond-related expenses with future Federal-aid highway apportionments. GARVEEs provide the opportunity to leverage Federal-aid highway funds to accommodate major projects that might preempt a State’s capital program or to advance phases of various statewide projects by composite issuance. As of September 30, 2011, 25 States and 2 territories had issued $15 billion in GARVEEs since enactment of the National Highway System Act in 1995. This Webinar will help FHWA staff understand GARVEEs—the fundamentals, advantages, and disadvantages of this debt-financing tool—and will enable staff to provide better guidance to State and local partners. To register, please visit:
Experimental Programs (TE-045, SEP-14, SEP-15) Process, Successes, Lessons Learned Webinar, April 12 and May 10, 1:30-3:30 p.m. (ET)
The Federal government has authorized several experimental programs that provide for innovative finance techniques, deviation from competitive bidding provisions, and private participation in transportation project delivery. These programs are intended to accelerate project delivery, increase flexibility, and reduce life-cycle cost while maintaining quality. This Webinar describes the outcomes and lessons learned from several FHWA experimental programs, including TE-045, SEP-14, and SEP-15. To register, please visit: Register Now For May 10 Webinar! or
*Webinar: In-street Bicycle Parking—What, When, Where and How Much? May 16, 3:00-4:00 p.m. (ET)*
Communities face the dilemma of bicycles and pedestrians competing for scarce sidewalk space. As pedestrian activity increases, wider sidewalks are needed, while as cycling increases more bicycle parking—traditionally placed on sidewalks—is also needed. Learn how to scale up bicycle parking to meet growing demand while avoiding negative impacts to the pedestrian environment. For more information, please visit:
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:
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


*OEJ Launches New EJ Blog*                                                                                                                                                      

EPA's Office of Environmental Justice is officially launching its new Environmental Justice in Action Blog. The blog will feature stories on advances in environmental justice across the country. It is a great resource for environmental justice advocates and organizations. You can visit the blog at Posts will be added every Thursday at 10 a.m. Eastern Time starting tomorrow, April 19th. Make sure to add your name to the RSS feed on the right side of the blog to receive our future posts directly to your email.

*Plan EJ 2014: Advancing EJ through Title VI of Civil Rights Draft Supplement Released - Comments Requested*                                                                            
Administrator Jackson has made improving EPA's civil rights program a priority. Complying with EPA's statutory civil rights obligations is a critical part of the Agency's efforts to advance environmental justice. As part of this effort, EPA is pursuing long overdue, vigorous, robust, and effective implementation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other nondiscrimination statutes. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR), in consultation with the Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) and the Office of General Counsel (OGC), have developed a draft implementation plan, "Advancing Environmental Justice through Title VI". The draft focuses on Title VI and its integration with Plan EJ 2014. The EPA is asking the public to comment on the draft supplement to Plan EJ 2014. To view and provide comments on the draft supplemental, visit today. Comments are due no later than 11:59 p.m. Monday, June 19, 2012.

*HUD Sustainable Communities Challenge Grantee, Memphis*
HUD’s Sustainable Communities Challenge Grantee, in Memphis recently held a vibrant forum last week to re-energize its regional economic and redevelopment strategy, which promises to generate over 1,500 new jobs with over $500 million worth of investment. Sixty public, private and nonprofit groups are working together to bolster the regional job market, rehabilitate vacant and blighted housing, and improve transportation opportunities.  See here for information about Aerotropolis; here for Secretary’s remarks; and here for information on the Senator’s speech. Click here for Secretary Donovan’s remarks in Shelby County, TN, where he helped to kick off another HUD Grantee’s Mid-South Regional Greenprint and Sustainability Initiative.
*National-International Urban & Small Farm Conference (www.growingpowerfarmconference)
September 7-9, 2012 - Request For Workshop Proposals - Deadline: April 30th, 2012                                                                                                                                                  
 Growing Power is announcing its request for proposals for workshop presentations. They are seeking innovative multi-disciplinary workshop proposals focusing on the 2012 conference theme, Growing the Good Food Revolution, from folks who are actively operating urban and small farms and those who are working in areas that support this emerging area of agriculture and local economic development. Conference workshops are intended to enhance the skills and broaden the perspective of the participants. The Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative (GFJI) will also be holding its Fifth Annual Gathering, Winds of Change: The Power of Unity and Action!, concurrently with the conference and leading the GFJI Track and Cultural Activities throughout the conference.
Download the GFJI RFP ( and submit to Selections will be made by May 31, 2012
*More Americans Biking to Work*
The most recent U.S. Census Bureau estimates show that about 730,000 Americans bike to work as their primary means of transportation, a 50 percent increase since 2000. This shift is most prevalent in large metro areas, with Denver, Portland, and Washington, DC among cities reporting the largest gains in bicyclists. Bicycle commuting is more common in densely populated areas. College towns, in particular, report high numbers of cyclists. For more information, please visit:
*Americans Choosing More Urban, Fewer Suburban Housing Options*
A recent article in USA Today examines how the economic downturn, rising gas prices and high unemployment rates have affected how Americans consider where they live. Cities and older suburbs come out ahead. "This could be the end of the exurb as a place where people aspire to go when they're starting their families," said William Frey, demographer at The Brookings Institution. For more information, please visit:
*USDA Seeking Grant Applicants*
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking grant applicants for the 2012 Farmers Market Promotion Program. Approximately $10 million is available for marketing operations such as farmers markets, community supported agriculture and road-side stands. For more information, please visit:
*Sprawl and Smart Growth Ideas in Detroit: A video history lesson*
Below is a link to a short video animation that provides an easy to understand history lesson of how Detroit shrank and the infrastructure and public service challenges that the city now faces as a result.  This is a good example of how to articulate such complex issues and explain the measures that are taken to address environmental concerns in your community.
*Oregon Greenhouse Gas Reduction Toolkit*
This new online resource helps local jurisdictions determine what types of actions and programs they can implement to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation activities. Developed by the Oregon Department of Transportation, the toolkit provides information on transportation programs, modeling and analysis tools, case studies, and communications strategies. For more information, please visit:

*A National Conversation on the Future of Our Communities: Seeking New Ideas in Community Planning, Design, and Development*

What's your vision for the future of your community? Join the Smart Growth Network (SGN) in the first national conversation about how neighborhoods and regions could be planned, designed, and developed to meet the needs of current and future generations. This national conversation will occur over the next 12 to 18 months in a range of media, including a compendium of emerging issues, webinars, blogs, videos, and more. The first step in starting the conversation is to build a compendium of new and innovative ideas. SGN is seeking short papers that discuss a particular issue that communities will be facing in the next 15 years.
-How will neighborhoods and regions be planned, designed, and developed to meet the needs of current and future generations? 
-How can practitioners and organizations best position themselves to navigate emerging trends?
-What issues do local governments, community leaders, and advocates need to be prepared to address to ensure strong, healthy, sustainable, and livable communities?
-How can governments, developers, investors, and others capitalize on increasing demand for communities that offer their residents choices in how they live, work, play, and travel?
Papers are due on June 30, 2012. A multidisciplinary review team will select between 20 and 40 papers to publish in a compendium before the 2013 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference. Selected papers will be considered for inclusion in the open and/or closing plenaries. After the conference, authors might be asked to participate in a webinar hosted by the Smart Growth Network. Additional information on the national conversation can be found at: about EPA's Brownfields Program can be found at:

New Webpage for Community Grant Resources
EPA is making it easier for communities to access our community-based grant resources. The Agency now presents a calendar of upcoming 2012 grant opportunities to help communities address environmental challenges. This page will be updated periodically to reflect upcoming EPA grant programs. In addition, EPA is offering a Grants 101 Tutorial to assist communities in understanding the grants process. Your comments are welcome about how the EPA can make this resource more helpful to you. You can contact the EPA at: To view the calendar, visit: For a Grants 101 Tutorial, please visit:
Notification of Indigenous Stakeholder Outreach on developing EPA's Tribal and Indigenous Peoples Environmental Justice Guiding Principles and/or Policy
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is conducting outreach to Native Hawaiians, state-recognized tribes, indigenous community-based grassroots organizations, tribal colleges, tribal members and other interested indigenous stakeholders to obtain input on the development of EPA’s tribal and indigenous peoples environmental justice guiding principles and/or policy. EPA invites you and your associates to participate in this public comment period, which extends to April 30, 2012. The notification letter and the background information on the purpose and objective of this Agency's planned guiding principles and/or policy are attached, and can be found at: Agency is also initiating, through a separate process, tribal consultation with federally-recognized tribes in accordance with its Policy on Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribes.
Reconnecting America's Federal Funding Matrix Lists Sustainable Communities Grant Opportunities
Reconnecting America has compiled a Federal Funding Matrix, which provides a listing of possible funding sources for creating sustainable communities. The Funding Matrix displays funding opportunities for states, cities, local governments and organizations, among others, for planning, implementation, site acquisition, business development, development financing, and other eligible uses. In working with partners around the country, Reconnecting America noticed a lack of a comprehensive list of funding opportunities centered on sustainable communities. They compiled a matrix that would give organizations an easily accessible, extensive, and descriptive tool to find funding opportunities to suit their communities. The matrix provides funding opportunities both inside and outside of the Sustainable Communities Inter-Agency Partnership of HUD, EPA, and DOT, and lists opportunities from agencies such as the USDA, US Small Business Administration, and the Treasury Department. This matrix shows that funding opportunities for sustainable communities are not limited to only a few agencies, but that funding stretches beyond traditional sources. Ultimately, Reconnecting America sought to categorize existing federal funding opportunities for communities to continue efforts to create complete and equitable communities. The funding matrix is meant to be a working document and will be updated as information becomes available. To view the matrix, please visit:
Nominations Now Being Accepted for  2012 Outstanding Achievement Awards
Each year the Missouri Waste Control Coalition presents its Outstanding Achievement Awards during its annual conference.  This year the conference will be held June 17-19, 2012 at the Lodge of Four Seasons, Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.  The award presentations will take place on Monday, June 18 during lunch. Eligibility: is open to any business both for profit and non-profit, industry, government entity or individual, citizens group and solid waste operation located within the State of Missouri. Application:  Describe in 500 words or fewer on the form below how the nominated project meets the criteria established in its category.  Please provide a photo of the project and/or the project team to
Click here for the Form. The Categories for Outstanding Achievement: Environmental Innovation, Environmental Stewardship, Environmental Leadership, and Lifetime Achievement Award. The deadline is May 1, 2012.
The US EPA FY12 Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grant RFP Guidelines have been issued.  
This notice announces the availability of funds and solicits proposals from eligible entities, including non-profit organizations, to deliver environmental workforce development and job training programs that recruit, train, and place local, unemployed and under-employed residents with the skills needed to secure full-time employment in the environmental field, with a focus on solid and hazardous waste remediation, environmental health and safety, and wastewater-related training. Proposals are due April 12, 2012.  For more information, go to:
HUD Funds Grassroots Plans for Community Revitalization
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has allocated $5 million in Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants to help communities begin the comprehensive neighborhood planning process to transform, rehabilitate and preserve public housing and privately-owned HUD-assisted housing. The Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants will enable communities to create a comprehensive transformation plan to transform distressed public and/or assisted housing. The funding is intended to help communities transform distressed public and assisted housing into sustainable, mixed-income housing that connects to key services, such as education and transportation, and supports positive outcomes for the neighborhood’s families. Eligible applicants are public housing authorities, local governments, tribal entities, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit developers that apply jointly with a public entity. Applicants must demonstrate their plan to revitalize the neighborhood through public-private partnerships that seek to develop high-quality public schools and early learning programs, improve public transportation, and improve access to jobs and well-functioning services. Applicants have until May 1, 2012 to apply for the FY2012 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants. HUD anticipates awarding approximately 17-20 grants with a maximum award of $300,000 each. For more information, please visit:
2012 Summit on Health Disparities: Call for Abstracts Forthcoming
The 2012 Summit on the Science of Eliminating Health Disparities will soon release a call for conference presentation abstracts. Proposals should reflect the broad summit theme of integrating science, policy, and practice to build a healthier society.
Abstracts will be accepted under three categories: i) integrated panel presentations, ii) oral presentations, and iii) poster presentations.
Abstracts for oral and poster presentations will be limited to 300 words and 500 words for integrated panel proposals.  Each presentation should fall under one of three tracks: Translational and Transdisciplinary Research; Capacity-Building and Infrastructure; or Outreach Partnerships, Collaborations, and Opportunities. Additional details, including submission guidelines, themes and topics will be forthcoming in the official call for abstracts. For any specific inquiries, send an e-mail to:
Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) Evaluation Metrics Manual
The Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) Evaluation Metrics Manual has been updated by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). The Manual provides a valuable collection of ideas and real world examples to measure and document achievement in conducting environmental public health programs. While it was designed with PEPH grantees in mind, community groups, advocates, and others seeking to measure successes in public health outreach programs may also find it useful. NIEHS intends for the Manual to be a living document, and that will be updated periodically. Future versions might include additional evaluation approaches, such as cost-benefit analyses and econometric evaluations; new programmatic approaches, such as social media; and new examples of metrics drawn from the ever expanding network of PEPH grantees. The Manual is available at
Report Shows How Sustainability in Buildings Advances Resiliency
 The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning have released a report that describes how green buildings advance resiliency in disasters. The report was released during the National Leadership Speaker Series on Resiliency and National Security in the 21st Century, hosted by USGBC and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA. The report, titled Green Building and Climate Resilience: Understanding Impacts and Preparing for Changing Conditions, describes potential adaptive strategies available to green building practitioners. These strategies add a new dimension to green building's focus on reducing greenhouse gases through energy efficiency and renewable and low-carbon energy supplies. "Every building is designed for a specific range of conditions, such as peak temperature, storm surge and average precipitation," said Dr. Chris Pyke, vice president of research at USBGC. "Climate change has the potential to undermine some of these assumptions and potentially increase risks to people and property. Fortunately, there are practical steps we can take to understand and prepare for the consequences of changing environmental conditions and reduce potential impacts. This can help green buildings meet and exceed expectations for comfort and performance long into the future." For more information, please visit:
Pushing Americans to Get Smarter About How and Where They Build
A recent article written by Greg Hanscom reports on efforts by FEMA and the Green Building Council to incorporate "climate resiliency" into green building certification criteria in recognition of the increasing effects of climate change. With the impacts of increasingly frequent severe storms already being felt across the country, and in the growing emergency response costs to government at all levels, FEMA recently joined the U.S. Green Building Council and researchers from the University of Michigan to roll out a new report [PDF] called Green Building and Climate Resilience. For more information, please visit: .
How Green Building Is Transforming Real Estate
 In a recent article, William Pentland notes a crescendo in the clamor for green buildings in the upscale, commercial market.As the fascination with green design gains momentum; environmentally minded practices become the standard. Nowhere is that more apparent than in commercial real estate, where in recent years, the market for sustainable products has skyrocketed – driven more by demand than government regulation. For more information, please visit:
Transportation Experts See Bright Future for Rail
In a recent article, Jeff McMahon explores the potential of passenger rail in coming years as automobiles and airplanes "become a little more obsolete." Transportation officials from three major cities – Chicago, Denver, and Washington, D.C. – came together last week to discuss how to spruce up U.S. transit centers. At the center of that discussion was a consensus that Americans will soon look to the train station first when traveling from one city to another – or, as McMahon puts it, "that U.S. transit centers are about to become much more crowded." For more information, please visit: .
Simple Steps to Climate Resilience
In a recent article, Kaid Benfield highlights nine low-tech steps that he recommends can help communities prepare for the coming changes in global climate. With average global temperature climbing at record rates and scientists speculating that average US temperatures could be 3 to 9 degrees higher by the end of the century, climate resilience has become a concern for researchers, planners, academics, and authorities. Although large-scale coordinated efforts to diminish the warming trajectory will take time, investment, and leadership, there are several low-tech initiatives that individuals and groups can implement in their own communities to prepare for rising temperatures, notes Benfield. For more information, please visit:
Know Your Food, Know Your Farmer Compass
 Launched in 2009, the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative has been working with the USDA’s 17 agencies to coordinate USDA’s work and investments in local and regional food system. The Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass now allows you to easily navigate the stories of USDA’s work in local and regional food systems, and will spur ideas for how to build stronger local and regional food opportunities in your community. For more information, please visit:
Fracking Ruling May Result in More Local Bans
In what may turn out to be a landmark ruling, the right of Dryden, a New York township adjacent to Cornell University to use its zoning code to ban the controversial drilling technique known fracking was upheld by the N.Y. State Supreme Court. Pro Publica asserts that the Feb. 21 "decision could set a national precedent for how local governments can regulate gas drilling". Fracking is not the only issue here - of equal concern is the relationship between local zoning laws and state laws governing mining. For more information, please visit:
Public Transportation Use Up Across the Nation in 2011
Fueled partly by rising gas prices, public transportation ridership across the USA increased by 2.31% in 2011 over the previous year, the American Public Transportation Association reports. Americans last year took 235 million more trips on buses, trains and subways than in 2010. That's the most ridership since 2008, when gas prices soared to a national average of $4.11 a gallon in July. Also driving ridership: an improving economy. Greater use came despite more than eight out of 10 transit systems either cutting service, increasing fares or both in recent years, says Michael Melaniphy, the association's president and CEO. For more information, please visit:
How Does Urban Farming Fit into the Big Picture?
In a recent article, Irmak Turan discusses agriculture's place in the city, as seen by a handful of Brooklyn activists. From storm water absorption to community ties, these farms provide more than just fresh food for earthy hipsters. Advocates of urban farming gathered in Williamsburg late last month to explore the roles that agriculture can play in a concrete jungle. Moderated by Nicola Tilley of Edible Geography, the panel featured leaders of projects and organizations related to urban farms, with focuses as varied as infrastructure and documentary art. For more information, please visit: .
Safe Routes to School Guide: Engineering
The engineering chapter in the 2012 National Safe Routes to School Guide offers solutions for providing safe routes for children as they walk and bicycle to school. The engineering chapter is a toolbox of techniques that work to create safe routes by improving paths, creating safer crossings and slowing down traffic. It addresses conditions both around the school itself and along the school route. The entire chapter is online as a PDF file:
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 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. To view the guide, please visit:
Great Lakes Turbines Get Second Wind
Just months after a proposal to build the first wind farm to be located offshore on any of the Great Lakes was shelved, five neighboring states have struck a deal with the Obama administration to develop offshore wind farms more quickly. Tom Precious reports on the deal, reached last week between New York, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and the Obama Administration to streamline the approval process for developers looking to build wind turbine projects on the waters of the Great Lakes. For more information, please visit:
Fireclay Village: A Model for Sustainable Growth
Utah’s Wasatch Front — a long and narrow region that houses 80 percent of the state’s population — faces significant geographical challenges to accommodate future growth. To the east of the valley, developable land is confined by the steep topography of the Wasatch Mountain Range. To the west, the valley’s boundary is defined by Utah Lake. Because of the narrow north-south orientation of the 80-mile long valley, transportation choices and the orientation of future development are at the forefront of regional plans. For more information, please visit:

Making Sustainable Food More Accessible to Less Fortunate Americans
As government funding for programs that make fresh fruits and vegetables available to low-income women and young children get cut, Sarah Parsons asks how to make the sustainable food movement less elitist. Parsons bemoans the reductions in government funding for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Farmers Market Nutrition Program, but sees a larger problem in the fundamental causes that make sustainable food inaccessible to many, of which "price tags are just a small piece of the very complex puzzle." For more information, please visit: .

New resource: Oregon toolkit on reducing GHG emissions from transportation
A toolkit to help local jurisdictions determine what types of actions and programs they can implement to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation has been launched by the Oregon Department of Transportation. The Oregon Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reduction Toolkit, which provides comprehensive information on programs, modeling and analysis tools, case studies, and communications. Specifically, it provides:
-a searchable database of actions and programs with research-backed estimates of carbon dioxide emissions reduction potential and cost effectiveness estimates;
-a Modeling and Analysis Tools Report, which summarizes the technical tools available to evaluate packages of programs and actions intended to reduce GHG emissions;
-case studies, which demonstrate the implementation of some of the actions and programs included in the database; and
- A communications guide which provides advice on best practices for talking about climate change.
The toolkit can help officials address issues such as how parking permit programs affect emissions or what kinds of investments in bike or pedestrian infrastructure can help achieve local goals, the agency said in a program summary on the toolkit website. To view the toolkit, please visit:
New Partners for Smart Growth Conference Proceedings now Online
PDF files of nearly all of the PowerPoint presentations given at the 11th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in San Diego in February 2012 are now available for free online at:
Dubuque, Iowa Developing Sustainability Performance Indicators
The city of Dubuque has asked the University of Iowa to prepare a set of performance indicators for the town's 11 sustainability principles. The performance indicators will be developed over the 2011-2012 academic year. A recent interim report includes an updated project statement, a review on the methodology process, and identifies and justifies all of the new sustainability indicators. For more information, please visit: