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With USDA Support, Clemson University Research Revolutionizes Environmental Monitoring

Relay stations send water quality data via satellite to Clemson University's high-performance computing center. Data is collected by sensors in a patent-pending buoy in the river. The buoy also holds the patent-pending MoteStack, a battery-powered computer smaller than a Rubik's Cube that stores and transmits data to the relay station.  (Photo courtesy Clemson University.)

Relay stations send water quality data via satellite to Clemson University's high-performance computing center. Data is collected by sensors in a patent-pending buoy in the river. The buoy also holds the patent-pending MoteStack, a battery-powered computer smaller than a Rubik's Cube that stores and transmits data to the relay station. (Photo courtesy Clemson University.)

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

When we talk about population growth, often the first question that comes to mind is, “How are we going to feed everyone?”  While an important question that needs to be addressed, rising populations also put increasing and competing demands on our natural resources. And these demands are putting local and state economies at risk. Within the next decade, solutions will be necessary to optimize water use while preserving rivers and streams. Read more »

New USDA Funded Arizona Fire Station Lowers Response Time and Improves Public Safety

Rain poured through the roof of the old Black Canyon, Arizona, fire station, making the floor slippery and rusting the tin that covered the roof. Nonetheless, the one ambulance and fire truck that would fit into the aging metal shed still faired better than the other five vehicles parked outside. Those vehicles were not only pelted by rain and hail, but Arizona’s scorching sun baked them during much of the year—rotting the tires, fading the paint, and drying out the parts and equipment. Parking the vehicles outside also meant that the theft risk was greater, which increased insurance rates. Read more »

USDA and SBA Officials Discuss Job Creation and Business Investment Opportunities

Recently USDA Rural Development Administrator for Business and Cooperative Programs Judith Canales joined Small Business Administration (SBA) officials in Syracuse, New York, to discuss opportunities to promote rural small business investment and job creation.  The rural investment roundtable event was held at Dairylea Cooperative, Inc.

As part of the Startup America Initiative, SBA recently announced the creation of a $1 billion Impact Investment Fund through its Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program.  The Impact Fund will invest in distressed areas as well as in emerging sectors such as clean energy. SBA provides up to a 2 to1 match to private capital raised by this fund, partnering with private investors to target “impact” investments. Read more »

Orphaned Bear Cubs Return Home to the Sierra National Forest

One of the Fresno brothers. (Photo credit U.S. Forest Service.)

One of the Fresno brothers. (Photo credit U.S. Forest Service.)

In late August, a black bear was brutally shot and killed on the Sierra National Forest in northern California, leaving behind two orphaned bear cubs. Read more »

Gooding Community Garden Produces Food, Knowledge, Service and Fun

Gooding Community Garden sign.

Gooding Community Garden sign.

Eric Moore had a vision to grow a garden outside his office window. Moore, an employee of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Idaho, works at the USDA Service Center in Gooding. Read more »

Forest Service Chief Tidwell tours the District of Columbia’s urban forest

District of Columbia State Forester Monica Lear recently hosted U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell and Forest Service staff in a tour of the District for the National Association of State Foresters (NASF).  The tour highlighted diverse urban and community forestry projects and partnerships in the city.

At the 2011 NASF Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Chief Tidwell spoke of the significance of the nation’s 100 million acres of urban forests where 80 percent of Americans live, work and play under their canopy. Urban trees make up an important part of the framework of green canopy in metropolitan areas connected with national, public and private lands and they are important to the health of the environment we share. Read more »