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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, September 7, 2017
Unprecedented levels of nitrogen could pose risks to Earth's environment
Human production of fixed nitrogen, used mostly to fertilize crops, now accounts for about half of the total fixed nitrogen added to the Earth both on land and in the oceans, according to a new study by researchers at North Carolina State University and Duke University. Source:, 9/6/17

Drainage technology, cover crops help to curb nutrient loss
Farmers have a lot of questions about water quality. Researchers at Southern Illinois University are hoping to provide some answers. Source: Illinois Farmer Today, 8/19/17

Antidepressants found in fish brains in Great Lakes region
Human antidepressants are building up in the brains of bass, walleye and several other fish common to the Great Lakes region, scientists say. Source:, 8/31/17

Green your tailgating, no matter your school's colors
Make your next tailgate more environmentally friendly with these tips. Source: Earth911, 9/7/17

IDNR issues first fracking permit in Illinois
In a historic move, regulators from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Department of Oil and Gas Resource Management on Thursday approved the state's first fracking permit. Source: The Southern Illinoisan, 9/3/17

Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Natural drainage: More bioswales coming to Waukegan lakefront
Waukegan's Sustainable Shoreline Plan received a $375,000 boost from a federal grant that will be used to construct bioswales -- drainage systems aimed at using nature as a natural filter for rainwater runoff -- along the Waukegan Municipal Beach parking lot and Sea Horse Drive. Source: Lake County News-Sun, 9/3/17

Potentially safer alternatives to BPA identified
NIEHS-funded researchers and colleagues have identified a group of potential substitutes for bisphenol A (BPA). These compounds demonstrate low potential for affecting estrogenic or androgenic endocrine activity, which means they are less likely to disrupt hormones produced by the body. Source: Environmental Factor, September 2017

Friday, September 1, 2017
Midwest researchers aim to make home energy management systems even smarter
In times of limited power availability, even today's smartest appliances may not be clever enough. However, a team of Midwestern researchers is hoping to devise a way to better align automated home energy management systems with what their users really want. Source: Midwest Energy News, 8/23/17

Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Energy Efficiency Soars At Chemical Sites
The drive by some chemical companies to improve energy efficiency extends well beyond their production processes. For instance, Eastman Chemicals, BASF, AkzoNobel and Dow are working hard to find energy savings in all aspects of corporate life. Source: Chemical Processing, 8/28/17

Welcome to the future, where your phone can fix its own smashed screen
From self-healing phone screens to concrete that repairs itself, businesses are investing in futuristic materials. But can it curb our throwaway habits? Source: The Guardian, 8/30/17

Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Tattooed avocados and shampoo bars: the businesses curbing plastics waste
Excess or unnecessary packaging is being shunned by forward-thinking firms. Here are some examples of progress. Source: The Guardian, 8/29/17

Illinois biennial report recognizes positive, voluntary steps to reduce nutrient loss
As part of the state's on-going commitment to reduce nutrient losses, the directors of the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today the release of the state's Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Biennial Report. This document, unveiled at the 2017 Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois, describes actions taken in the state during the last two years to reduce nutrient losses and influence positive changes in nutrient loads over time. Source: Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Program, 8/28/17

Hennepin County continues its Zero Waste Challenge to reduce household trash
Last year, 35 select households decreased the amount of waste they produced by 20 percent. They were selected from over 200 applicants for the program. The commitment included attending several workshops and weighing their waste every week. A county staffer frequently met with the households, assessing waste patterns to develop a reduction plan. Even with relatively few households in the program, its results were significant. Participants cut the amount of waste they produced by 20 percent. On average, they recycled or composted 62 percent more of their waste stream, which is nearly 20 percent higher than the countywide diversion rate. Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, 8/26/17

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