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April 2016
EPA’s Science Matters newsletter delivers the latest from EPA’s Office of Research and Development straight to your inbox. Keep scrolling to read recent news and upcoming events.
Recently in EPA Science
Icon for the Visualize Your Water Challenge

Visualize Your Water Challenge Winners Announced

In January 2016, EPA, in collaboration with U.S. Geological Survey and several regional partners, launched Visualize Your Water. This effort challenged high school students in the Great Lakes Basin and Chesapeake Bay Watershed states to create innovative visualizations of nutrient data using open government data sources.

On April 21, 2016 the winners of this competition were announced at an event at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Va. Read more about it in a blog by Ryan Miller, a teacher at Washington-Lee High School.

Family on a beach

National Coastal Condition Assessment

In January, EPA’s Office of Water released the National Coastal Condition Assessment, which is a statistical survey of the condition of our Nation’s marine and Great Lakes coasts. This month, EPA Science Matters featured an article that discussed the rigorous science and extensive sampling that went into the assessment. Read the article.

bag of produce

Earth Day: Food Recovery

April 22 was Earth Day, and EPA’s theme was Food Recovery. EPA is involved in numerous efforts to reduce food waste, and one of these efforts is taking place in Columbia, South Carolina, through EPA’s Net Zero Initiative. Learn more about it in Science Matters.

net zero icon

Net Zero: Leading the Conversation on Sustainability

What if you could leave behind zero waste, produce as much energy as you use, and conserve water? Under the Net Zero Initiative, EPA is pursuing these goals to help local communities become more sustainable. Over on Science Matters, we’ve started a series about Net Zero. Read the first article for an overview of Net Zero, and check back for future stories!

clouds above a forest

Protecting Air Quality in a Changing Climate

Research has shown that climate change can affect air quality and impact public health. On April 6, EPA announced $8.5 million in research funding to 12 universities to protect air quality from the current and future challenges associated with the impacts of climate change. Read more about the funding in the press release.

Photo of a small segment of the test bed's pipes

Water Security Test Bed

EPA built the Water Security Test Bed—a full-sized replica of a drinking water distribution system—to conduct real-world experiments regarding water security. Over the next few years, EPA and collaborators plan to run various experiments to ensure that if disaster strikes, we have the data and tools to protect our water infrastructure and public health. Read more about it and watch the video in the blog Water Security Test Bed: Real-World Testing of Real-World Systems Issues.

wind turbines against the sky

Reducing Risk by Acting on Climate

Dr. Tom Burke, the Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development as well as the Agency’s Science Advisor, and Janet McCabe, the Acting Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, co-authored a commentary in a special edition of the journal Health Security. Read their commentary (external link).

EPA Deputy Administrator Stan Meiburg at P3

National Sustainable Design Expo

On April 16 and 17, EPA sponsored the 12th Annual National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington, DC. The expo featured over 35 university and college teams from across the country participating in EPA’s People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) student-design competition. If you missed it, you can check out photos from the event over on the EPA Research Facebook page.

Photo of Tom Burke

Public Health and Environmental Protection

The week of April 11 was Public Health Week. From ongoing efforts to address climate change to the emerging concerns of the potential spread of the Zika virus, EPA scientists and engineers are working tirelessly to protect public health. Tom Burke, the Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development as well as Agency’s Science Advisor, wrote a blog about the role of EPA science in public health. Head over to the blog to read his message.

EPA cleaning up after an oil spill

Building Disaster Resilient Communities

Disasters can strike at any time, at any place, and can have devastating consequences for human health and the environment. While not all disasters can be prevented, the potential harms and risks they pose can be mitigated with the right tools and actions. Read about some of the tools that scientists at EPA are working on in the blog Tools for Building Disaster Resilient Communities.

Next Month at EPA

Interested in getting involved or learning more? Try to catch one of the following webinars or events going on in May.

Check out our Events page for even more!

Photo from last year's Intel ISEF

Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF)

Friday, May 8 – Wednesday, May 13

Intel ISEF is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. Since 2009, EPA has exhibited and shared information about environmental protection with the ISEF participants and visitors. EPA encourages the young innovators to apply science to environmental challenges and recognizes one student with the EPA Patrick H. Hurd Sustainability Award. If you’re at Intel ISEF, make sure to stop by our booth! Learn more about this event or learn more about last year’s Patrick H. Hurd Sustainability Award.

Three kids running

NIEHS/EPA Children’s Centers Webinar Series: Exposome

Wednesday, May 11, 1:00-2:30PM ET

The NIEHS/EPA Children’s Centers Webinar Series feature presentations and interactive discussions about recent findings and new developments in children’s environmental health. On May 11, speakers from University of Washington, University of California-Berkeley, and University of California-San Francisco will discuss the exposome. Learn more about the webinar.

Photo of a finger touching a computer chip

EPA Tools and Resources Webinar Series

Wednesday, May 18, 3:00-4:00PM ET

EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) hosts a Tools and Resources webinar the third Wednesday of each month to share our research, demonstrate tools, and seek input from our partners. These webinars are geared for representatives of state environment and health agencies, tribes, local governments, communities, and others interested in learning about EPA tools and resources available to help inform decision-making. Learn more.

Water tower

Small Drinking Water Systems Webinar Series: Harmful Algal Blooms

Tuesday, May 31, 2:00-3:00PM ET

This monthly webinar series provides a forum for EPA to communicate directly with state personnel and other drinking water and wastewater small systems professionals. Through this series, EPA provides training, fosters collaboration, and helps the community share information. May’s webinar is about responding to harmful algal blooms.

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Science Matters is produced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development. All content is copyright free and can be reprinted without permission.

Comments, feedback, and suggestions for future Science Matters articles are welcome. Please contact Samantha Linkins (linkins.samantha).

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