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IN THE NEWS

Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

03/07/2012 -

Sarah W. Cooksey, administrator of DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Programs, has been named to the National Academy of Sciences’ Division of Earth & Life Studies’ Ocean Studies Board.

Ms. Cooksey joins a board that is actively engaged in many ocean science issues such as a review of the scientific ocean drilling program, ocean acidification, and assessing the requirements for ocean monitoring and observations. Cooksey’s role on the board will guide research to pressing ocean and coastal management needs.

“Sarah is widely recognized as a national leader in marine science and ocean policy. She will be the perfect ambassador for Delaware and all of the coastal states that she represents on the Ocean Studies Board,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara.

Beauty and horror:  Environmental author Terry Tempest Williams finds beauty in the midst of devastation
03/07/2012 -

From the devastation of disasters such as last year’s Japanese earthquake and tsunami or accidents such as the Gulf oil spill or human brutality such as the Rwandan genocide, beauty can emerge, environmental author and activist Terry Tempest Williams told an audience of about 250 at Mitchell Hall last week.

Williams spoke on campus as part of the DENIN Dialogue Lecture Series, hosted by the Delaware Environmental Institute. She was interviewed on stage by McKay Jenkins, Cornelius Tilghman Professor of English and co-director of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Environmental Humanities Initiative.

Williams is the author of the environmental classic Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place and a dozen other books that touch on themes of environmental destruction and preservation and the power of community and storytelling to overcome the barriers to constructive dialogue about environmental issues.

Seeds of progress:  Delaware EPSCoR announces 2012 seed grant recipients
03/07/2012 -

The Delaware EPSCoR program has awarded seven seed grants to University of Delaware faculty whose projects address current environmental issues within the state.

EPSCoR, the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, is a federal grant program of the National Science Foundation (NSF) that helps states develop their research capabilities so that they may compete for further federal funding.

Seed grants are typically in the $50,000 range and help researchers set the stage for applications to larger federal funding programs. Seed grant proposals are solicited annually during the fall semester. The selections were made by a committee of five senior faculty affiliated with the Delaware EPSCoR program and two external reviewers representing the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).

03/05/2012 -

Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time, the first full-length documentary film to explore the life of legendary conservationist Aldo Leopold, will be presented at 6 p.m., Wednesday, March 14, in 006 Kirkbride Hall on the University of Delaware’s Newark campus. The screening is free and open to the public.

The film follows Leopold’s life in the early part of the 20th century and the many ways his ideas shaped the conservation movement and continues to be applied all over the world today.

NSF Highlight: Oceans acidifying faster today than in past 300 million years
03/01/2012 -

The oceans may be acidifying faster today than they did in the last 300 million years, according to scientists publishing a paper this week in the journal Science.

"What we're doing today really stands out in the geologic record," says lead author Bärbel Hönisch, a paleoceanographer at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. "We know that life during past ocean acidification events was not wiped out--new species evolved to replace those that died off. But if industrial carbon emissions continue at the current pace, we may lose organisms we care about--coral reefs, oysters, salmon."

Darrin Pochan named fellow of the American Physical Society
03/01/2012 -

DENIN affiliate Darrin Pochan, professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Delaware, has been named a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS). The fellowship recognizes individuals who help advance physics through original and independent research. Membership as an APS Fellow distinguishes Pochan among the top one-half percent of all APS members.

03/01/2012 -

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) will hold a public information forum on the state’s Draft Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed on Wednesday, March 7 from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at the Farmington Volunteer Fire Co. at 20920 S. DuPont Highway (U.S. Rt. 13) in Farmington, DE. The final WIP will serve as Delaware’s long-range plan for using the most cost-effective means of reducing pollutants that enter instate streams and rivers that drain to the Chesapeake Bay.

Delaware has spent more than a year seeking public comments and input to help develop Delaware’s Phase II WIP, including hosting multiple public forums, conducting extensive outreach to industry and local government, establishing numerous stakeholder groups, and providing frequent email updates for interested groups and individuals. Following the initial rounds of public outreach, the state published its Draft Phase II plan on December 15, 2011, and will continue to accept comments on the draft plan through March 21.

NSF Career Award:  UD hydrogeologist Holly Michael receives prestigious grant for young faculty
02/28/2012 -

The most widespread contaminant of groundwater is not a microbe, industrial chemical or harmful element such as arsenic, according to University of Delaware geologist Holly Michael. It’s seawater.

“Salt is everywhere along the coast,” Michael said. “With sea-level rise, groundwater salinization could become more of an issue.”

The assistant professor of geological sciences in UD's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE) is studying how seawater along the coast mixes with freshwater that flows underground, and she recently received a highly competitive Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to further her work.

02/27/2012 -

Report demonstrates importance of wetlands in cleaning water, reducing flooding, protecting the coast and providing habitat

 
DOVER (Feb. 27, 2012) – A new report released this week prior to the biennial Delaware Wetlands Conference concludes that despite heightened public awareness of the importance of wetlands and stronger conservation efforts throughout the state to combat their loss, Delaware continues to surrender critical wetlands at an alarming rate. “Delaware Wetlands: Status and Changes” documents that the loss of quality wetlands in the state far outpaces the acres of wetlands that have been created and restored. The report describes the valuable functions of Delaware’s wetlands, including helping to purify the state’s waters, reducing flooding by capturing and holding water, contributing to groundwater supplies, protecting the coast from storms, and providing critical habitat for fish and wildlife species.  The report also references recommendations made in an earlier report by national wetlands experts on best practices adopted in other states which could prove effective at reversing the trend of significant losses in Delaware.

March 5: Science Cafe returns:  Science Cafe to feature talk on toxic chemicals, politics and environmental ethics
02/25/2012 -

The Center for Science, Ethics, and Public Policy (SEPP) at the University of Delaware will bring its Science Café program back to downtown Newark this spring for more informal discussions among academic scholars and community members.  The events will be held at the Deer Park Tavern, 108 W. Main Street, from 5:30-7 p.m.

On Monday, March 5, McKay Jenkins, Cornelius Tilghman Professor of English, will speak about “What’s Gotten Into Us: Toxic Chemicals, Politics and Environmental Ethics.” Jenkins’ most recent book, inspired by a personal health crisis, is titled What’s Gotten Into Us: Staying Healthy in a Toxic World.