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December 11, 2015
Food and Habitat for Monarch Butterflies

USDA announced a conservation effort to help agricultural producers provide food and habitat for monarch butterflies in the Midwest and southern Great Plains. Monarch populations have decreased significantly over the past two decades, in part because of the decrease in native plants like milkweed – the sole source of food for monarch caterpillars. Assistance is available to producers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin. Producers interested in participating should contact their local USDA service center to learn more.

 
Natural Infrastructure Reduces Costs
By 2030, the world is projected to spend an estimated $10 trillion on repairing and expanding water infrastructure. Dams and treatment plants are aging, water demand is surging, and more frequent extreme weather events threaten our water security—each driving up water management costs. Some urban areas are benefitting from natural infrastructure or “green” infrastructure, a strategically planned and managed system of natural lands, working landscapes and other natural soil and vegetation systems across a watershed or within a city, that perform many of same functions as built or “gray” infrastructure. These essential functions, often carried out by the deep roots and multi-layered tree canopies of healthy forests, include purifying water, minimizing sedimentation, regulating flow and stormwater runoff, and reducing the impact of floods and droughts.

 
New Sources of Clean Power
 
In the Welsh city of Swansea, a massive, man-made lagoon is expected to generate electricity for more than 150,000 neighboring homes for the next century,  by harnessing the ebb and flow of the coastal city’s ocean tide. This landmark water power system will not only create clean energy—expected to be entirely carbon neutral within four years of service— but will serve as a stunning monument to forward-looking architectural design that keeps people in mind, even while serving a decidedly industrial purpose. 
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