A Policy Research Center (PRC) is defined to have the analytical capacity to either perform policy analysis across multiple sets of public policy issues or have a specialized capacity in a single policy area. A center may reside in a single institution or be a collaborative effort across multiple institutions. These centers will conduct research and education programs that are objective, operationally independent, and external to the Federal Government and that concern the effect of public policies and trade agreements on the following areas: (1) The farm and agricultural sectors (including commodities, livestock, dairy, and specialty crops); (2) the environment; (3) rural families, households, and economies; and (4) consumers, food, and nutrition. Deadline 13 Feb. Read full announcement here
NOAA seeks to openly compete funding available for habitat restoration in U.S. Great Lakes Areas of Concern (http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/aoc/) under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative as anticipated in the President's FY2012 Budget. Applications should be submitted for any project that is to be considered for this funding, even for those projects already submitted as applications to other NOAA competitions. Competition will ensure that the most beneficial restoration projects are selected to realize significant ecological gains and ensure that projects are "shovel-ready." Deadline 16 Feb. Read full announcement here
The U.S. Standard Grants Program is a competitive, matching grants program that supports public-private partnerships carrying out projects in the United States that further the goals of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. These projects must involve long-term protection, restoration, enhancement and/or establishment of wetlands and associated uplands habitats for the benefit of all wetlands-associated migratory birds. A 1:1 match is required. Research funding is ineligible. Deadline 2 Mar. Read full announcement here
The purpose of CIG is to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies, while leveraging the Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection in conjunction with agricultural production. CIG projects are expected to lead to the transfer of conservation technologies, management systems, and innovative approaches (such as market-based systems) into NRCS policy, technical manuals, guides, and references or to the private sector. Deadline 2 Mar. Read full announcement here
Undergraduate Research Fellowships Announcement National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site Undergraduates-Interdisciplinary Water Sciences and Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg. Applications are invited from qualified and motivated undergraduate students (rising sophomores, juniors and seniors) from all U.S. colleges/universities to participate in a 10-week (June 03-August 10, 2012) summer research in interdisciplinary water sciences and engineering at Virginia Tech. Contact Dr. Vinod K Lohani, (540) 231-9545; firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline 24 Feb. Read full announcement here
Congress returns to Washington, and the partisanship is predicted to worsen in 2012. The GOP still runs the House while Democrats continue to maintain a slim majority in the Senate. President Obama, meanwhile, appears determined to maintain his distance from both chambers. Add an election year to the mix and one can imagine that the odds are not good that anything getting done this year. Energy and environmental issues do, however, have a chance of being addressed in this election year. In two weeks, President Obama releases his proposed fiscal 2013 budget. Congress will then have six months to fight about it, or ignore it, and chances are that when the new fiscal year begins, a series of stopgap measures will be necessary to keep the government running.
-House Energy and Commerce
The House Energy and Commerce Committee will continue its assault on the Obama administration, casting EPA regulations as job killers. Specifically, the panel will continue to pressure the Obama administration to sign off on the Keystone XL pipeline, monitor discord at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and examine the commission's handling of the potential waste site at Yucca Mountain, Nev. And as gas prices rise, the panel will delve into alternative fuel sources.
-House Natural Resources
Energy development on the nation's lands and waters will continue to set the agenda for the Natural Resources Committee in 2012. Expect to see plenty of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and his agency heads on the witness stand as the committee continues its assault on the Obama administration's policies. The committee will push for House passage of four bills his panel reported last July that would shorten National Environmental Policy Act reviews for low-impact renewable energy projects
-Senate Energy and Natural Resources
Despite an impressive track record at clearing energy and public lands measures, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee didn't see a single measure debated on the Senate floor in 2011. Retiring committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) is likely to keep the pressure on Senate leaders to take those measures up in the full chamber as his time in the Senate comes to a close at the end of this year. And he'll also likely encourage discussions of his upcoming clean energy standard legislation.
-Senate Environment and Public Works
Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla.), polar opposites, agree on one thing: the need for more spending on transportation and water infrastructure. Both see it as a way to create jobs and keep the U.S. economy healthy. The Committee will push a slimmed-down transportation bill and Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) through Congress this coming year.
-House Science, Space and Technology
House Science Chairman Ralph Hall (R-Texas) and Rep. Andy Harris, the Maryland Republican who chairs the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, have announced plans to make a strong stand and scrutinize EPA on everything from new air pollution standards to chemical risk assessments. Specific areas of concern to the GOP include EPA proposals for new rules for refineries, greenhouse gases from power plants and the hydraulic fracturing techniques used in oil and gas production.
-House and Senate Agriculture Committees
After spending 2011 holding field hearings and getting new committee members up to speed, the House and Senate committees will use a good deal of the year to moving the 2012 reauthorization of the nation's agriculture policy. Leaders of the ag committees hope to complete a sweeping five-year farm bill on the House and Senate floors by May based on a proposal they wrote in November.
The recent announcement by the White House regarding its plan to transfer the agency in charge of weather forecasts, fisheries and atmospheric science into the Interior Department has environmentalists and at least one Democratic lawmaker protesting; they fear the enlarged agency could collapse under its own weight. But some supporters argue the plan to move the entire National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration from the Commerce Department to Interior could better align the agencies' shared roles of species protection, scientific research and ocean energy development, among other responsibilities.
Stressing budgetary constraints, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack recently announced that USDA plans to close 259 of its U.S. offices as a budget necessity; This approach should draw less opposition from farm-state lawmakers who blocked a predecessor’s proposals to consolidate operations. “I think there is clearly a difference between this and prior efforts,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. “In this particular situation, I think everybody in America knows that we need to get our fiscal house in order and that is going to require tough choices and tough calls.” Vilsack added that he plans to close the offices and reduce the agency’s workforce through employee buyouts to absorb $3 billion in congressional cuts to discretionary funding since fiscal 2010.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) must be built to meet the evolving needs of a 21st century agricultural economy, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said last week in presenting USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service, a plan that helps producers continue to drive America's economy by streamlining operations and cutting costs. The Blueprint for Stronger Service is based on a department-wide review of operations conducted as part of the Administration's Campaign to Cut Waste, launched by President Obama and Vice President Biden to make government work better and more efficiently for the American people. The agency took a hard look at all USDA operations, from headquarters to field offices. The end result is a plan that will create optimal use of USDA's employees, better results for USDA customers and greater efficiencies for American taxpayers. Detailed fact sheets on the Blueprint for Stronger Service can be found here, by USDA Mission Area: Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (FFAS); Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services (FNCS); Food Safety; Marketing and Regulatory Programs (MRP); Natural Resources and the Environment (NRE); Research, Education and Economics (REE); and Rural Development. For more, please visit www.usda.gov/strongerservice
The Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Africa Program, in collaboration with USAID/FEWS NET, present: Is A Food Crisis Brewing in the Sahel? January 25, 2012, 9:00am-12:30pm, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars 6th Floor Flom Auditorium, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC. While African nations and the donor community struggle to mitigate famine in the Horn of Africa, fears are growing that drought in the Sahel will trigger a similar food crisis in West Africa by the spring of 2012. However, experts have cautioned against misdiagnosing the food situation in the Sahel, for fear that excessive band-aid treatments of emergency food assistance will squander energy and scarce resources that would be better utilized in treating pockets of severe food insecurity and building resiliency in the region. With input from US and African experts on the Sahel, this event will explore the true nature of the emerging crisis in the Sahel and seek to identify effective responses, including regional trade and resilience-building through agricultural development. RSVP: email@example.com
On 17 Jan, USAID Director Rajiv Shah congratulated Ambassador Ertharin Cousin on her appointment to serve as the next Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Program, the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Throughout her career, Ambassador Cousin has demonstrated a deep commitment to alleviating global hunger. As the U.S. Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome, she has worked closely with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Program, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and other critical organizations. Her efforts have given vital support to some of the world's poorest people, who face severe hunger and undernutrition. USAID is leading implementation of Feed the Future, the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative. For more information about USAID's programs, please visit: www.usaid.gov. For more information about Feed the Future, please see www.feedthefuture.gov
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is requesting comment on a draft Request for Applications (RFA) to build new opportunities through partnerships with universities and colleges. Throughout the Agency's history, USAID has partnered with institutions around the world to tackle health, environmental, agricultural, and governance challenges. However, approaches to development now include the private sector, foundations, the military, and academia. In this regard, USAID may expand engagement with the academic community focused on solving development challenges. The draft Request for Applications (RFA) issued is focused on building strategic partnerships to explore new multidisciplinary approaches to development. These partnerships might focus on solutions analysis based in science and technology, testing new models and technologies for development, and exploring new approaches to development. Comments and questions based on the draft (RFA) are being accepted through January 31st, 2012. National awards would be multi-year individual or consortium cooperative partnerships, each of which would be part of a broader network. A pre-solicitation workshop/webinar will be held on Tuesday January 24th, 2012 from 1-3pm EST. Register: click here. The draft RFA can be found here and on grants.gov. Questions and comments should be directed to UERFA@usaid.gov
The Gates Foundation’s Agricultural Development initiative works to provide poor farming families in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia with opportunities to overcome hunger and poverty. As part of their effort to find new ways to share progress, setbacks, and lessons with the public, in 2008 they started tracking the yearly progress of six grants that represent work across the initiative. Find out what they’re learning in the 2010 progress reports
See where hunger and malnutrition are hitting hardest at the UN World Food Programme Hunger Map
The United States remains the global leader in supporting science and technology (S&T) research and development, but only by a slim margin that could soon be overtaken by rapidly increasing Asian investments in knowledge-intensive economies. So suggest trends released in a new report by the National Science Board (NSB), the policymaking body for the National Science Foundation (NSF), on the overall status of the science, engineering and technology workforce, education efforts. View complete report
The Interagency National Ocean Council is seeking public comments on a draft National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan which describes more than 50 actions the Federal Government will take to improve the health of the ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes. For each action, the Plan outlines key milestones, identifies responsible agencies, and indicates the expected timeframe for completion of Implementation Plan actions including: Streamlining ocean and coastal permitting processes, beginning with aquaculture; Improving water quality; Providing climate-change forecasts and vulnerability assessments for coastal communities; Improving environmental response management in the Arctic. The plan also makes it a priority to: Provide scientific information to support emerging sustainable uses of resources including fisheries, renewable energy, aquaculture, and biotechnology; Provide open access to data and information across the Federal Government for state and local decision-makers, ocean users, stakeholders, and the public; Identify and make available grant and partnership opportunities to support regional priorities; Develop methods and standards for assessing the resilience of natural resources, cultural resources, coastal communities, and infrastructure in a changing climate; and Identify and conserve habitat for priority fish species. View National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan here
The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has released its report which found that U.S. farmers produced a smaller crop than the previous year due to everything from drought and above normal temperatures to heavy rains and lowland flooding which led to decreased production of corn, soybeans, cotton and wheat – the first time such a year-to-year decrease has occurred in all four commodities since the 2002 crop year. Sorghum grain production in 2011 is estimated at 214 million bushels, 38 percent down from 2010. The report contains year-end acreage, yield and production estimates for grains and hay; oilseeds; cotton, tobacco and sugar; dry beans, peas and lentils; and potatoes and miscellaneous crops. Read the January 2012 USDA NASS "Crop Production 2011 Summary"
The National Research Council of the National Academies has released a report which finds that the draft 10-year strategic plan for the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), which shapes and coordinates climate and related global environmental change research efforts of numerous agencies and departments across the federal government, does not always acknowledge significant challenges, such as increasingly constrained budget resources, involved in meeting its goals, nor does it offer clear strategies for how such challenges could be addressed. The report suggests that the USGCRP plan could be strengthened by offering a more coherent summary of past important accomplishments, including an assessment of successes that were possible only because of USGCRP actions; establishing clear processes for setting priorities and phasing in and out elements of the program; employing iterative processes for periodically evaluating and updating the program and its priorities; and more carefully defining the education, communication, and work-force development efforts that belong within the program and which efforts would be best organized by entities outside the program. View A Review of the U.S. Global Change Research Program's Strategic Plan here
Publication year: 2012
Source: Quaternary Research, Available online 17 January 2012
Nan Jia, Yuhong Wang, Liguang Sun
Large desiccation cracks were discovered in the intertidal zone of Zhoushan archipelago, East China Sea. Radiocarbon dating showed that desiccation cracks were formed around 31.2–30.4 cal ka BP. Palynological, mineralogical, and elemental geochemical analyses indicated that the cracks were formed as the result of an abrupt climate shift event. The climate changed from warm and humid, to cold and arid, and back to warm and humid again. This climate event is quite likely linked to Heinrich event 3 via the East Asian Monsoon. Desiccation cracks may provide a new proxy material for studying paleoclimate and paleoenvironment in the Quaternary.
Categories: Scientific Journals