Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Posts tagged: Environment

USDA Marks Earth Day by Announcing Water Quality Improvement Projects Across America

Engineer checking a flowmeterand V-notch weir on a dairy farm in California.

Engineer checking a flowmeterand V-notch weir on a dairy farm in California.

Earth Day is one of our favorite days at USDA Rural Development because we get to showcase the important work that we do to improve water quality for millions of rural Americans. As a part of our Earth Day Celebration this year, USDA Rural Development is announcing 43 projects that will bring new and improved water and waste disposal service to rural communities in 32 states.

For example, one of the projects we’re announcing is in Texas. Buffalo Gap, a rural community outside of Abilene will construct a first-ever wastewater collection system.  The community currently is all-septic.  The funds will allow construction of sewer lines, manholes, lift station and cleanouts.  The system will collect sewage and pump it to Abilene’s wastewater treatment plant.  This is just one example of a small community doing big things to help its residents this Earth Day. Read more »

NRCS Recovery Act Project Helps Provide New Starts for Residents

For more than 45 years, people who lived in West Virginia’s Dunloup Creek Watershed have dealt with floods. That’s because there’s a scarcity of flat land in the area and residents have had to settle mostly along the creek—the very area that floods during storms.

Two major floods in 2001 and 2004 devastated five low-income communities spread out across two counties in the watershed. The floods destroyed houses, ate away at the stream bank, polluted drinking water and washed away utilities. Damages totaled millions of dollars.

Because of the mountainous terrain and far-flung population, traditional flood control measures like dams, channels, floodwalls, dredging and flood proofing were not feasible. Yet many residents were trapped into living in their damaged homes, unable to move out because of perilous financial circumstances. Read more »

NRCS Program Prevents Fuel Spill Disaster in Alaska

The relocated tank farm on a higher and drier site, away from the river’s edge. Photo courtesy Crowley Petroleum Distribution.

The relocated tank farm on a higher and drier site, away from the river’s edge. Photo courtesy Crowley Petroleum Distribution.

When a flood damaged the banks of the Yukon River in Fort Yukon, Alaska, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service stepped in to help prevent a major environmental catastrophe.

The citizens of Fort Yukon are predominantly Alaskan Natives who live a subsistence lifestyle, relying on fish from the Yukon River as one of their main food sources. The community is not accessible by road and all supplies are either barged in during the short summer or flown in at extreme expense. An entire year’s fuel supply for the village’s vehicles, heating and power is held in a 750,000 gallon tank farm. Read more »

USDA and National Weather Service Team Up to Provide 2013 Weather Outlook

USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum featured a weather outlook for 2013 during the final session of the two-day event in Arlington, Virginia.  Prior to the 2013 outlook—which was presented by National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Anthony Artusa—USDA meteorologists Brad Rippey and Eric Luebehusen recapped some of the key U.S. and Northern Hemisphere agricultural drought highlights, respectively, from the summer of 2012.  In particular, the U.S. heartland suffered through its worst agricultural drought in a generation, with effects similar to those observed in 1988.  Grain corn was the hardest-hit U.S. row crop, while the livestock sector was severely affected by a lack of feed due to drought-ravaged rangeland and pastures.  Meanwhile, a hotter-, drier‐than‐normal summer impacted crops from southern Europe into central and eastern Russia.  Hardest-hit crops included corn in Italy, Romania, and Bulgaria, as well as spring wheat in Russia’s Siberia District. Read more »

Skip Hyberg Honored With Economist of the Year Award

He is a quantitative and scientific force behind the nation’s largest conservation program.

Armed with two doctoral degrees, Skip Hyberg is an economist and a scientist who has linked both of those worlds together to more efficiently target the Farm Service Agency’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

For nearly a decade’s worth of work invested into the monitoring, assessment and evaluation of the CRP program, Hyberg was awarded the 2013 USDA Economist of the Year Award by the USDA Economists Group. Read more »

Regreening Baltimore

Baltimore’s Oliver Neighborhood is a mix of occupied and abandoned rowhouses. The U.S. Forest Service is working with partners to host the Carbon Challenge green building design contest, promoting sustainable and livable neighborhoods in Baltimore and Providence, R.I. (L.F. Chambers, U.S. Forest Service photo)

Baltimore’s Oliver Neighborhood is a mix of occupied and abandoned rowhouses. The U.S. Forest Service is working with partners to host the Carbon Challenge green building design contest, promoting sustainable and livable neighborhoods in Baltimore and Providence, R.I. (L.F. Chambers, U.S. Forest Service photo)

Depending on who you talk to, there are between 16,000 and 20,000 vacant homes in Baltimore. Once a mid-20th century boomtown where residents built the liberty ships and liberator bombers that helped win World War II, the middle-class dreams of this city have been in a decades-long decline. Entire blocks stand empty, lifeless veneers of boarded windows and burnt-out roofs.

But the U.S. Forest Service is working to help change that, promoting livable and workable buildings for 21st-Century occupants, while retaining the vibrant culture and community that once characterized these streets. Read more »