|Customize your own free slideshow|
Monday, November 15, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Never mind that the Calumet Land Use Plan, a momentous undertaking of the Department of Planning and Development partnered with the Department of the Environment, had recommended that the property be reclaimed as open space, or that the area is adjacent to TIF redevelopment areas, the Chicago Police Department is determined to locate a project on the Southeast side that other communities would not embrace.
On a recent tour of the property, members of SETF, CEPA, IDNR, DOE, Chicago Audubon Society and and other community organizations were given a presentation of the project by Sgt. Raymond Hamilton of the Chicago Police Department. While Sgt. Hamilton briefed us on the details, butterflies flittered through the wet prairie plants, egrets flew overhead criss-crossing the river and a spotted hawk glided effortlessly above us.
Ironically, the same attributes that make it a plausible site for the firing range make for an even better nature reserve. And after visitng the site and discovering the bird rookeries along the Whitford Pond area, learning that there hasn’t been a serious natural resource survey of the area in more than 15 years, and observing the wildlife thriving there, SETF is convinced that the Police Department should consider an alternative site - like one of the many brown fields or vacant industrial properties that exisit in the city - instead of impacting an area where nature and wildlife have taken refuge. While there are many location options for a gun range, the herons and egrets would have few choices for relocating, as isolated wetland areas with tall trees that are suitable for rookeries are far less common than brownfields.
|EGRETS AND HERONS|
|View of O'Brien Pond from 134th Street|
|CURIOUS MOTHER DEER AND FAWN WITH CID LANDFILL IN BACKGROUND|
|VIEW OF MWRD PROPERTY|
|BIRDS OF A FEATHER...|
|WHITE EGRET AT O'BRIEN POND|
|ASSEMBLING FOR TOUR OF THE MWRD PROPERTY|
Monday, August 16, 2010
|Tearing paper into tiny pieces.|
|Blending paper into a slurry.|
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
A memorial mass has been scheduled for Tuesday, July 13th from 6-8 PM at Our Lady Gate of Heaven, 2338 East 99th Street, Chicago, IL 60617. You may check back here for updated information and a reminder as we approach the service.
Those who are interested in making a donation in memory of Marian may choose from one of the following:
Southeast Environmental Task Force
In memroy of Marian Byrnes
13300 S. Baltimore Ave.
Chicago, IL 60633-1425
Circle Pines Center
In memory of Marian Byrnes
8650 Mullen Road
Delton, MI 49046
The Human Society of the United States
In memory of Marian Byrnes
2100 L St. NW
Washington, DC 20037
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
View Larger Map
(Hopefully, my Geography friends will find this map a little more acceptable than my last one. If not, a better map can be found here.)
Purpose of the rotenone treatment
The purpose of this piscicide treatment, which is being conducted by the IL Department of Natural Resources, is to determine if Asian Carp are in the waterway. I am told that the locks will close on Thursday the 20th, at which point the canal will be cleared, nets will be put in the water, water samples will be collected and chemical barriers will be put in place to protect boats, marinas and other properties. Rotenone treatment will begin on the afternoon of the 20th, and IDNR will collect dead fish and conduct monitoring from the 21st through the 25th or 26th. Dead fish collected during the process will be sent to landfills.
What the public should be aware of
It is important that between May 20-27, 2010 the public should:
- NOT Swim or recreate in the Little Calumet River
- NOT Fish in the Little Calumet River
- NOT Eat fish found in the Little Calumet River
The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee will be holding a press conference at 10 AM on Thursday, May 20 at Sunset Bay Marina, and more information can be found at the website: www.asiancarp.org.
What about Rotenone?
I did a little digging about the chemical and came up with an opinion piece from the research journal Bioscience which advocates for the use of Rotenone in fish and marine research. The article is accessible to the non-expert, and here are a few points of interest I pulled from my read through:
- The World Health Organization classifies rotenone as moderately hazardous (level 3 on a scale of 1 [most toxic] to 4 [least toxic]). It has a low toxicity for birds and is moderately toxic to rats.
- Rotenone kills fish by blocking a cell's ability to take in oxygen, and the chemical is easily taken up through the gills. The chemical is not readily absorbed by human skin or the gastrointestinal tract, which is the primary reason why it is less toxic to humans.
- Rotenone breaks down when exposed to sunlight and plenty of oxygen.
- The chemical is used in a variety of fisheries management practices, typically to eliminate undesirable species prior to seeding an area with target species.
- Application as a piscicide is the only legal use of rotenone in the US.
We at the Task Force are paying close attention to the Asian Carp issue and are talking to a lot of people. As we learn more about the impact this invasive species (and subsequent management operations) has on the environment, recreation and residents, we'll pass the information along to you. If you have some information to share, please contact the SETF office.
Thanks to Nicole Kamins at Chicago Dept. of Environment and Greg Morris of the USCG Marine Safety Unit Chicago for providing me with information for this blog entry.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Second, I'd like to announce a partnership between SETF, Chicago DOE and Green Corp - Calumet (GC-C). GC-C is a job training and community service program which will specialize in ecological restoration projects in the Calumet area. Funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the USDA Forest Service will allow GC-C to set up its home base in the SETF office starting this month and provide programming through November 2011.
Finally, there's green as in money. Our membership drive will be wrapping up shortly, and we still have a long way to go to reach our goal (and feed a few more birds). If you haven't become a member or made a donation, it's not too late. Please support the Task Force by becoming a member and letting your neighbors and colleagues know about our programming and activities. Thanks for reading.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
It seems curious, however, that many representatives thought the potential economic benefits (Sen. James Meeks thinks Geneva energy might leave the area should they not get incentives to stay in Ford Heights) outweighed the environmental risks (the Illinois EPA has cited Geneva Energy for pollution violations 4 times since 2006). Was your representative one of them? You can check the house vote here and the senate vote here. (And if you don't know who your representatives are, check this link.) You might want to send your representative an email, asking him/her why they thought SB380 was a good idea. Feel free to ask if they think there is any merit to Illinois EPA's investigation into whether or not the incinerator, built in a small village with a 95% minority population, vioates any environmental justice laws.
There is no doubt that we need economic revitalization in our region. To do so at the expense of the health and well-being of residents is unsustainable and unethical.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
View Larger Map
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
We at the Task Force are proud to be part of an organization created by person such as Marian, and we hope that we can meet the high standards of environmental advocacy she has set for us all.
By the way, the summit is amazing! The first day was filled with exciting and informative talks that focused on connecting people and places in the Calumet. I'll post a follow up to the entire summit after tomorrow's activities.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
I'd like to bring your attention to the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance which will help improve air quality by requiring Chicago's two coal fired power plants to significantly reduce their soot and carbon dioxide emissions. Here's an exerpt from the Chicago Clean Power website:
The Chicago Clean Power Ordinance is one of the first of its kind and will protect public health, promot clean energy and help Chicago live up to its pledge to be the greenest city in America.
You have an opportunity to show your support for this ordinance by attending the press conference on April 13th held by 49th ward alderman Joe Moore. Stop by the 2nd floor of city hall at 10 PM and let the politicians know that all Chicago residents have a right to breathe clean air.
Last but not least, this link to an article in the Southtown Star came to my inbox from one of the SETF board members. You should check it out before tossing that outdated cell phone or broken ipod.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
But if you're wondering if supporting the Task Force is necessary, consider the following excerpt from Amendment 1 of House Bill 1470:
"Renewable energy resources" includes energy and its associated renewable energy credit or renewable energy credits from wind, solar thermal energy, photovoltaic cells and panels, biodiesel, crops and untreated and unadulterated organic waste biomass, trees and tree trimmings, hydropower that does not involve new construction or significant expansion of hydropower dams, incineration or burning of tires, and other alternative sources of environmentally preferable energy.
Passage of this bill would allow Geneva Energy, one of two tire incinerators in the country, to earn valuable green energy credits for generating large amounts of toxic air pollution. For years, Chicago's South Side has struggled with developing economically viable communities that are also healthy living areas. Many of the communities in the south side are predominantly minority and low income. Ford Heights, where the Geneva Energy plant resides, is no exception.
SETF works to empower residents in their fight for environmental justice. We hold workshops for residents to learn about environmental issues. Our Good Neighbor Dialogs bring residential concerns to local businesses and encourage industrial partners to strive for ever greener practices. Our Watchdog program keeps an eye out for environmentally unfriendly activities and teaches residents how they can report suspicious activity.
Speaking of suspicious, here's more of HB1470:
"Renewable energy resources" does not include the incineration or burning of garbage, general household, institutional, and commercial waste, industrial lunchroom or office waste, landscape waste other than trees and tree trimmings, railroad crossties, utility poles, or construction or demolition debris, ..."
Does it make sense to you that tires are not on this list? Why not share your opinion with your representative. If you think this legislative foolishness is disturbing, you are not alone. Post a comment if you have other useful information about tire burning or HB1470.
Please consider supporting the Task Force. Thanks for reading.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Food, Inc., for those of you that haven't seen the movie, covers a wide variety of issues related to the food industry. Topics such as: the environmental impact from production, the genetic engineering of seed, the expansive use of corn in our food as well as animal feed, worker issues, and the impact industrial food production has on our health. The film was packed with information. We took a break midway just to let our audience digest it some (no pun intended) before continuing. You can't watch the movie without feeling inspired afterward to plant a bucket of tomatoes on your patio at the very least! Doing so guarantees that they will be produced locally, organically, vine ripened and free of worker abuse.
Comments made after the movie:
"Organic farmers are inspiring - monopolies need to be fought."
"I wasn't aware of the persecution from companies against farmers."
"I didn't know about the subsidization of crops making certain foods less expensive."
"Unaware of the incredible power of the food industries."
"I'll be canning more foods and buying more organics."
"My mind is boggled by the use of corn in so many products."
"I'll be buying my food at farmers markets when possible."
"I recommend shopping at more farmers markets and reading more labels."
"It was an eye-opener!"
Monday, March 8, 2010
Saturday, January 23, 2010
The board of directors has a lot on its plate this year, and we are dilligently working to improve the organizational structure, which will in turn increase the value of the Task Force to the community. We'll continue to post important announcements both here and on our website www.setaskforce.org.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
If approved, AOS would like to start construction of the facility in early 2010 with the plant to begin operation by winter 2010 and be fully operational in early 2011. Mr. Meitl predicts the new facility will create 30-45 new jobs for the area.
A public meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 18, 2010 from 7 to 9 PM at St. Kevin Church, 10509 S. Torrence Ave. A special hotline has been created for those who have questions or concerns, and they can call 1-773-729-7545 for more information
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
On December 18th, Richard and Linda Cook and I were guests at Finkl Steel’s annual Christmas party. The party was held on the uppermost floor of what use to be an old plastics factory. The expansive room was bordered by lighted Christmas trees, lights twinkled from the rafters overhead and tables dotted the floor. There was even a snowy vignette of life-size snowmen flanked by mistletoe reindeer. It was a virtual wonderland.