EPA Research in October: Water quality data in Baltimore, environmental justice, DIY air monitors, and more…

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October 2016
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Recently in EPA Research
Photo of trash wheel in Baltimore Harbor at Village Green project

EPA’s First Village Blue Project

Like many other urban communities located on a waterfront, Baltimore, Maryland has its share of water quality and management challenges. EPA is working with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) on the Village Blue Project, which will collect water quality data to help support the existing federal, state, and local efforts to restore the environment and protect public health. Learn more about the project in the blog Baltimore: EPA’s first Village Blue Project.

EJ 2020 Report Cover

Science and Environmental Justice

This month, EPA released the EJ 2020 Action Agenda, outlining our strategic plan to advance environmental justice for the next five years and set a course for greatly reducing or eliminating environmental health disparities for generations for come. Learn how EPA researchers are supporting the agenda in the blog EPA Science: Providing the Foundation for Environmental Justice.

air monitor

DIY Air Monitoring

EPA’s online Air Sensor Toolbox puts air measurement capabilities into the hands of citizen scientists. We recently updated the Toolbox with additional information and a new look for even easier navigation. Learn more about the update in the blog DIY Air Monitoring: Check out the Online Air Sensor Toolbox.

Photo of green infrastructure tools

The Tools in Our Green Infrastructure Toolkit

Stormwater runoff is a major source of water pollution for cities. The use of green infrastructure (e.g. green roofs, permeable parking lots, rain gardens) can reduce the amount of stormwater contaminating our water sources. EPA researchers have developed different green infrastructure models and tools to help communities with stormwater management. Learn more about each tool in the blog The Tools in Our Green Infrastructure Toolkit.

Photo of village green project bench

Creating New Pathways to Air and Water Monitoring and Chemical Testing

From special sensors that monitor wildfires to innovative tools for detecting pollutants, EPA uses the best advances in technology and data analysis to help us protect human health and the environment. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy recently wrote about our new approaches to chemical testing and air and water quality monitoring in the story Creating New Pathways to Air and Water Monitoring and Chemical Testing.

crabs in red basket

Crabbing for Jimmies in the South River: What’s It Worth?

Crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay is a favorite pastime of EPA’s Dr. Wayne Cascio. But what does that have to do with science at EPA? The bounty of blue crabs is a prime example of an “ecosystem service” the Bay provides to people and the many other forms of life that depend on the well-being of the blue crab population. Learn more about this connection in the blog Crabbing for Jimmies in the South River: What’s It Worth?

San Diego State University geography students presented their proposed designs for the Ejido Matamoros park in Tijuana to community members

Universities Lend a Hand with Sustainability

Through EPA’s Net Zero Initiative, EPA is supporting campus-community partnerships. These partnerships help cities and communities leverage the skills and expertise of local universities to improve sustainability, the health of community members, and the environment. Read more about the project in the Science Matters article Universities Lend a Hand with Sustainability.

City landscape with greenery

Pathways to Urban Sustainability

A new National Academy of Sciences Report, sponsored in part by EPA, offers a road map and recommendations to help U.S. cities work toward a more sustainable future. Learn about some of these recommendations in the blog Key Recommendations of National Academy of Sciences Report: Pathways to Urban Sustainability.

decontamination researchers The Cleanup Job

EPA helps communities prepare and recover from all sorts of disasters, including terrorism. Part of that recovery process involves making contaminated facilities, such as houses and public buildings, safe to use again. In a recently published study, EPA researchers evaluated the best methods for cleaning up blister agents, which are chemical compounds that can cause severe irritation and pain in eyes and on skin. Read more about the research in the blog The Cleanup Job.

lake and forest

Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Reservoir Water Surfaces (external link)

EPA researcher Jake Beaulieu recently coauthored a paper looking at greenhouse gas emissions from reservoir water surfaces. The paper was published in BioScience and featured in several outlets including Science Magazine and the Washington Post.

Group photo of EPA staff and BOSC members at a social sciences workshop

Bringing Insights from Social Science to Environmental Science and Policy

Robert B. Richardson and Courtney Flint, members of EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors, recently delivered a workshop on the integration of behavioral and social sciences in environmental policy and management at EPA. Learn more about the workshop in the blog Bringing Insights from Social Science to Environmental Science and Policy.

Graphic of globe

Filling the Gaps in Environmental Science with Big Data

At EPA, we have a large computational science effort that focuses on predicting exposures and toxicity for the thousands of chemicals present in the environment. EPA has joined the National Consortium for Data Science. The consortium is a collaboration of leaders in various fields that work together to encourage data science research and to identify data science challenges. Learn more about this new partnership in the blog Filling the Gaps in Environmental Science with Big Data.

tree in lightbulb

Transforming Science and Technology with Pathfinder Innovation Projects

In 2011, EPA launched Pathfinder Innovation Projects—an internal competition that challenges EPA scientists to answer the question, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could…?” Over the last five years, we have supported 55 of these amazing projects. Learn more about the competition in the blog Transforming Science and Technology with Pathfinder Innovation Projects.

Meet the Researcher!

Learn more about what it’s like to be a scientist at EPA in our Researchers at Work profiles.

Photo of Marilyn TenBrink

Researcher Marilyn TenBrink, Ph.D.

Marilyn TenBrink is both scientist and poet. As a transdisciplinary scientist, she studies the behavior of integrated systems and scientific fields. She also helped develop GIWiz, an interactive web application that connects communities to EPA’s green infrastructure tools and resources. Read more.

Photo of Jason Berner

Researcher Jason Berner

Jason Berner likes that his science makes a difference on a local level by helping communities use green infrastructure to reduce stormwater runoff. Read more about Jason’s work.

naomi detenbeck

Researcher Naomi Detenbeck

Dr. Naomi Detenbeck is a problem solver – and that comes across in the work she does. She works on decision-support tools, like the Watershed Management Optimization Support Tool, to find solutions to water management issues. Read more!

Photo of Dr. Bob McKane

Researcher Bob McKane, Ph.D.

Dr. Bob McKane is an ecologist and a team player—he likes working on interdisciplinary teams to develop well-rounded tools that help communities address environmental and public health issues. Read more.

Upcoming Events: Get Involved and Learn More!

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

Check out our Events page for even more!


Black Carbon Webinar Series

Monday, November 7 and Monday, November 21

Black carbon is the sooty material emitted from combustion processes, and it can affect human health and the climate. In 2010, EPA awarded ten grants to universities and organizations to address black carbon’s role in global to local scale climate and air quality. In this webinar series, researchers from the grantee organizations will discuss the findings of their research projects. Learn more and register.

Photo of a finger touching a computer chip

EPA Tools and Resources Webinar Series

Wednesday, November 16, 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: Capacity Development and Asset Management

Tuesday, November 29, 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 waste water professionals, which allows EPA to provide training and foster collaboration and dissemination of information. November’s webinar is on Capacity Development and Asset Management.

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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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