Posts Tagged ‘Environment’

WaterSMART: Water & Energy Efficiency Grants

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Apply for a $1,000,000 grant, open until January 23, 2015

“The Nation faces an increasing set of water resource challenges. Aging infrastructure, rapid population growth, depletion of groundwater resources, impaired water quality associated with particular land uses and land covers, water needed for human and environmental uses, and climate variability and change all play a role in determining the amount of fresh water available at any given place and time. Water shortages and water-use conflicts have become more commonplace in many areas of the United States, even in normal water years. As competition for water resources grows-for crop irrigation, growing cities and communities, energy production, and the environment-the need for information and tools to aid water resource managers also grows. Water issues and challenges are increasing across the Nation, but particularly in the West, due to prolonged drought.These water issues are exacerbating the challenges facing traditional water management approaches which by themselves no longer meet today’s needs. The U.S. Department of the Interior’s (Department) WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow) Program establishes a framework to provide Federal leadership and assistance on the efficient use of water, integrating water and energy policies to support the sustainable use of all natural resources, and coordinating the water conservation activities of various Department bureaus and offices. Through the WaterSMART Program, the Department is working to achieve a sustainable water management strategy to meet the Nation’s water needs.” (Information provided by from the Bureau of Reclamation)  

Watershed maps to be thankful for this year

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Thanksgiving is almost upon us, so I thought I’d share some of the recent exciting mapping projects I am thankful to be a part of!

Last week, I visited Cordova, Alaska to work with Native Village of Eyak (NVE).  I have been working on a project of identifying the change of Glacier Terminus of Sheridan Glacier  (   We are expanding these efforts to 3 additional glaciers.  The Village is also creating an interactive mapping site to map marine debris near Prince William Sound area  (, where volunteers or field crews can find marine debris and map using smartphones.


Also guess whom I met?  I met Kate Morse, a program director of Copper River Watershed Project.  They are launching a project called “Salmon Blitz” that engages citizen scientists in documenting salmon habitat in the Copper River watershed. (  Here’s what Katie had to say about our collaboration.

“Wansoo helped us to create a web-based platform for our Salmon Blitz citizen scientists to enter their data collected during fish surveys throughout the Copper River watershed.  Through this easy to use and manage website, participants will be able to share photos and data about the fish they have caught and the streams they explored as well as see data and photos collected by other citizen scientists from other parts of the watershed. This tool is going to help connect people across a vast and wild landscape and show how their data is contributing to a larger habitat assessment effort.”


You can also get detail information about the project from following link.  (

Next week, our new pollution monitoring application for Galveston Bay Foundation will launch! I’ll tell you about it when we come back from the holiday.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

Check Out Cahaba River Society’s “The Cahaba Blue Trail” map!

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IMRivers has been involved with many different projects over the years, but have you checked out Cahaba River Society’s “The Cahaba Blue Trail” map? This interactive map was created in 2007 and can not only help users plan out exciting outings in the area, but it can also help track sites of water pollution and send collected data to interested agencies. The site is still up and running so you can check out all of these great features at or!   cahaba Do you need an online map to show your own river trail or other trails? Talk to us to incorporate web/mobile-based interactive maps for your next project! All information can be updated by you and volunteers, and for further convenience, the same data can be accessed via both web and mobile phones with GPS functions. With Summer coming to an end, enjoy the rest of your days before the cold weather sets in and don’t forget to follow IMRivers on its great projects and initiatives!

Join River Network’s Mission!

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Are you among the lucky ones who recently got a Rain Barrel Registry postcard from the River Network?  The wonderful message prints, “Join the effort to create a worldwide inventory of rain barrels,” because the River Network eagerly invites you to help harvest your storm water! imrivers IMRivers would love your participation to help the River Network achieve its mission.  You can easily help by visiting  and registering any Rain Barrel locations you may find. You can also send us any data you may have collected regarding Rain Barrels, and we can add and update the information for you onto the Rain Barrel Registry. Once you visit the Rain Barrel Registry, you will find some great new features that highlight the data. You can click the “Layers” button on the interactive map and view interesting map layers that reveal information about impervious surfaces, land use and land cover, weather radar, and wind conditions. After adding the location of your Rain Barrel, you can see how the conditions shown by the layers might affect your area or you can use that information to even see when you may have rain!

BioBlitz Going International!

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I can’t believe it’s been a month since 2014 River Rally! IMRivers has been a proud sponsor over the years, and I didn’t want to miss it for the world. So I cut my trip to S. Korea short and flew nearly 24 hours from Seoul to Narita to Newark and finally to Pittsburgh. It was quite a journey, but I was extremely happy to catch up with my riverkeeper friends and meet amazing new people.

We at IMRivers are committed to providing GIS services and interactive mapping solutions to our partners. The platform we’ve developed over the years is being used for a variety of fields in different countries. Right now, it is being used for a project called BioBlitz in Seoul Forest! (

BioBlitz — Learning about Biodiversity through Mapping

BioBlitz is a special event where participants go out and survey surrounding living organisms within an incredibly focused period of time to create a biodiversity inventory of an area. For this global initiative, IMRivers has created an interactive mobile application to uniquely allow participants to easily create a visual map of the local species that they have found, along with photos and other multimedia. Take a look at the map :


Maryland’s Anne Arundel County has already taken advantage of the BioBlitz application’s unique benefits by incorporating the technology into the current biodiversity educational curriculum.

Using interactive mapping is a great way to make environmental education experiences more meaningful and engaging. Talk to us today and let’s explore new possibilities through mapping. E-mail us or visit our redesigned website,

Interactive Environmental Health Mapping Using Online Mapping Tools

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Online mapping is an extremely useful tool for conveying geographic information. It’s capability to be largely public and community based is largely what makes it so powerful. Organizations can create beautiful and informative maps with existing data as a way of conveying a message to a community. Online mapping can also be much more broad, showing national or worldwide trends in data. A brilliant example of an online community-based mapping website is Mappler. This site gives the user the ability to either add GPS point data at their location with attribute data of the individual’s location, through the mobile app MapplerK, or previously acquired data in the form of points, lines, polygons and raster data sets. Sites like this are very versatile and can be applied to any field from ecology, to the environment, to health care, to planning and asset inventory. Mapping is in the hands of the user(s). envhealth The screenshot above is an example of what online mapping sites can do. This site is one created using Mappler, and shows the correlation between environmental and human health. The map can be viewed at   For more information on the Mappler site, visit the hompage at Colin Munro, Intern

Growing Food Demand Strains Energy, Water Supplies

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Groundwater tables have fallen precipitously, 600 feet below the ground in some places, requiring even more powerful pumps to bring water to the surface. Over-consumption has taxed the power grid, constraining the electricity available for others. Many countries that rely on farming are unstable because because of the relationship between energy and groundwater. A man irrigates his field with an electric water pump east of Gauhati, in northern India. Excessive water pumping has strained both water and energy supplies in India, China and other hot spots around the world. Read the full article here Source: The National Geographic Rituparna Ganguly, Research Assistant at VERTICES,

The Future of America’s Drinking Water: Uncertain

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IMAGE from the NY TIMES: C.M. Glover for The New York Times, Repairing a Water Main Break in Norwich, Conn.

Click Here for the NY Times article The American Society of Civil Engineers has recently reported on the condition of the United States’ community-based-drinking-water systems and public wastewater treatment facilities. Unless the systems are improved and modernized serious problems could arise in future years. The drinking-water systems are aging and rusting while the wastewater treatment facilities fail so often that 900 billion gallons of untreated sewage are discharged each year. It is estimated by the EPA that to modernize the county’s water systems would cost $91 billion, but only $35 million is available. Not only does this pose a public health and environmental concern but also an economic problem. Thousands of jobs are directly related to the availability and quality of water such as wineries and chemical plants. Because water service infrastructure is located below ground it is easy to not notice the deterioration. But when the systems break it also causes huge damage to roadways and other public infrastructure. A possible solution? Put public municipal infrastructure in the hands of private companies who often can borrow money for repairs at more favorable interest rates than local or state governments. Barringer, Felicity. “Oh Danny Boy, the Pipes, the Pipes Are Failing”. The New York Times. 20 December, 2011. Meghan Karlik Project Manager IMRivers

“Cleaner” Energy at the Expense of Water Quality?

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Hydraulic rock fracturing has gained much popularity with natural gas drilling companies over the past decade or so, because it can increase production of wells.  Natural gas is abundantly found in Marcellus Shale which reaches from Virginia to mid New York state.  In an effort to extract as much gas as possible, drilling companies are fracturing the shale with a large amount of water and a mixture of chemicals which they pump into the earth, a process called hydrofracking.  The problem with this method, which is well documented by the EPA, is that many of the chemicals used are toxic to humans and the environment.  Drilling requires upwards of 12,000 gallons of chemicals mixed with over a million gallons of water to be pumped into the ground, much of which will stay there and possibly seep into the ground water supply.  Some of used chemical mixture is re-collected and sent to treatment plants, but it is documented that some of the plants are not capable of removing toxins before discharging the water into a river.  This is becoming a big problem in areas such as Pennsylvania, where the number of wells has just about doubled since 2000, from 36,000 to 71,000.  The New York Times produced an informative interactive map of water contamination in Pennsylvania due to hydrofracking.  Many of the chemicals used in this process have significant health effects upon people who come in contact with them, which should be a big concern because of many wells (at least 116) have produced waste water containing levels of radioactive material over a hundred times the levels set by federal drinking-water standards. Sources: New York Times, River Network Scott Jablonski, VERTICES Intern