On The Radio – New Cedar Rapids sustainability coordinator provides multifaceted momentum


eric
Eric Holthaus (second from right) leading a waste audit with students in 2013 at the University of Iowa, where he served as Recycling Coordinator from 2012 to 2015. (Lev Cantoral/University of Iowa)
Jenna Ladd | August 8, 2016

This week’s On The Radio segment takes a closer look at Cedar Rapid’s first-ever sustainability coordinator and University of Iowa graduate, Eric Holthaus. 

Transcript: New Cedar Rapids sustainability coordinator provides multifaceted momentum

Cedar Rapids has hired its first-ever sustainability coordinator.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Eric Holthaus, a University of Iowa graduate, was hired on to provide focus and strategy to existing city-wide sustainability initiatives and to spearhead new efforts. Since beginning his work with the city in November, he helped implement a 90 kilowatt solar panel array on the roof of the Northwest Cedar Rapids Transit Garage and establish a policy that prohibits city vehicles from idling for longer than one minute.

Upon his hire, Holthaus created a 21-point sustainability assessment of the city. In addition to other findings, he notes that Cedar Rapids has clean drinking water, but difficulty with “food deserts,” or areas of town where populations have restricted access to food.

At the end of June, Holthaus and his team released a document titled, “State of Affairs: Cedar Rapids’ Pursuit of Sustainability.” The document lays a foundational definition for sustainability and why it matters to people in Cedar Rapids.

To Holthaus, sustainability reaches beyond environmental issues,

HOLTHAUS: “And so sustainability to me is be able to have a high quality of life, and it also means to me to connect the social and economic aspects. A lot of people don’t meet their daily needs, you know, if there’s an opportunity for us to eat better, to have cleaner water, to have more access to those resources, how can prioritize people that have the least and build stronger communities when we do that intentionally?”

Cedar Rapids is only the third city in the Hawkeye state to create a sustainability coordinator position, following Iowa City and Dubuque.

To learn more about Eric’s position, or to read more about Cedar Rapids’ sustainability goals, visit Iowa-Environmental-Focus dot org.

For the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Betsy Stone.

 

 

Central College becomes fourth Iowa school to join Alliance for Resilient Campuses


Nick Fetty | July 10, 2014
Central College Pond on the Central College campus in Pella, Iowa. Photo by Central College Alumni; Flickr
Central College Pond on the Central College campus in Pella, Iowa.
Photo by Central College Alumni; Flickr

Central College has become the most recent higher education institute in Iowa to join the Alliance for Resilient Campuses.

Central – a liberal arts college with 1,486 undergrads located in Pella, Iowa – is among 35 other colleges and universities across the nation that aim to “respond to the challenges of climate change and work to ensure greater community resilience.”

In 2003, the Vermeer Science Center at Central College became the first building on an Iowa campus to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

The Alliance for Resilient Campuses is an initiative by Second Nature, a nonprofit Boston-based organization that aims “to create a sustainable society by transforming higher education.” The group was founded in 1993 and the Alliance for Resilient Campuses was started in May of this year.

Three other Iowa institutes are members of the Alliance for Resilient Campuses: Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Drake University in Des Moines, and Iowa Lakes Community College with campuses in Algona, Emmetsburg, Estherville, Spencer and Spirit Lake.

Severe weather and heavy rains pound eastern Iowa, rest of state


Nick Fetty | July 1, 2014
A wall cloud near Missouri Valley in western Iowa on June 29. Photo by Rich Carstensen; Flickr
A wall cloud near Missouri Valley in western Iowa on June 29.
Photo by Rich Carstensen; Flickr

Heavy precipitation and severe storms have caused flash floods, power outages, and other issues as approximately 2.5 inches of rain fell in Iowa City Monday afternoon.

The series of storms – known as a “derecho” – also produced gusts as high as 64 miles per hour which contributed to power loss for thousands in the Iowa City-Coralville area. As of 9 a.m. Tuesday, the Iowa River in Iowa City stood at 22.39 feet. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Monday that it would increase the Coralville Reservoir’s outflow from 7,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 10,000 cfs beginning Tuesday. Efforts have been made to protect various University of Iowa buildings, including the flood-prone Mayflower Residence Hall on North Dubuque Street.

The severe weather has also impacted other parts of the state such as near Fairfax, where a building collapse has caused one death. Search efforts are currently underway for a Cedar Rapids teenager who is missing after being swept into a storm sewer while several were injured during a Cedar Rapids Kernels game last night. Hail ravaged western parts of the state while heavy winds and possible tornadoes hit central Iowa.

Governor Branstad has issued a disaster proclamation for several central and eastern Iowa counties including Adair, Cedar, Guthrie, Jones, and Linn.

For more information about flooding across the state, check out the Iowa Flood Information System.

Extreme Weather Hurting Water Lines


Photo courtesy of Justin Wan, The Gazette-KCRG TV9.
Photo courtesy of Justin Wan, The Gazette-KCRG TV9.

Both Iowa City and Cedar Rapids have seen a historic number of water mains break this January, officials say.

Ed Moreno, the Iowa City water division superintendent, said the problems are most often occurring with cast iron pipes laid from World War II until the 1970s. Cast iron is less flexible than the newer pipes made out of ductile iron or PVC.

Iowa City has had 26 water main breaks since January 1, while Cedar Rapids has seen 40.

So far, the breaks have cost $35,000, but the total will increase when jobs are completed in the spring.

To read the full story at The Gazette, click here.

On the Radio: Ecovative Coming to Cedar Rapids


Photo by mycobond; Flickr

This week’s On the Radio segment covers the arrival of Ecovative to Iowa. Listen to the audio below, on continue reading for the transcript.

Continue reading

CR water treatment facility announces new flood protection system


The Cedar River during the flood of 2008. Photo by gmzflickr; Flickr
The Cedar River during the flood of 2008. Photo by gmzflickr; Flickr

The Water Pollution Control Facility of Cedar Rapids announced plans to build a $21 million flood protection system including berms, a flood wall, and a pump station. Continue reading

“Living With Floods” Upcoming Events


Flooding
Photo by Marion Patterson; Flickr

The Living With Floods project is a statewide organization that commemorates, celebrates, and raises awareness about the flooding in Iowa and the recovery progress that has been made.

With the fifth-year anniversary of the 2008 floods coming up, these events will be taking place:

Thursday, May 30, 7pm: “Five Years Out: ‘Trouble the Water’” Curator Talk and Reception
Legion Arts at CSPS Hall, 1103 Third Street SE, Cedar Rapids
For more information, visit: http://ppc.uiowa.edu/forkenbrock/five-years-out-trouble-water
Friday, May 31, 8:30am: “Five Years Out: Ongoing Impacts and Challenges of the 2008 Floods” Symposium
National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, 1400 Inspiration Place SW, Cedar Rapids
For more information and to register, visit: http://ppc.uiowa.edu/forkenbrock/five-years-out