Regional Tree & Shade Summit 2.0 – PowerPoints from the Summit

The Regional Tree & Shade Summit 2.0 was a huge success, thanks to our partners, sponsors, and volunteers. We had over 200 attendees from across Arizona that came to learn more about improving urban forestry in the desert with water and planning constraints in mind. Continue reading

Western Lands and Communities: Resilient Communities Workshop

Western Lands and Communities invites communities from across the Intermountain West to apply to attend the Resilient Communities Workshop.

The Resilient Communities Workshop is a two-day training that gives community leaders the knowledge and tools necessary to build their community resilience to climate impacts. We will select two community teams with up to four individuals from city and/or county staff. Workshop participants will build a better understanding of how climate change will impact their community, and the areas in their city or town that are most vulnerable to climate impacts. Case study examples of what other communities are doing will help participants develop a plan of action for implementation in their own community.

The workshop will be held in Phoenix, Arizona on April 14-15. View full details and the application here. Applications are due by 5:00pm on Friday, February 27. Please submit one application per community team.

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Hannah Oliver at holiver@sonoraninstitute.org.

Call for Community Challenges, SOS 321

Class Descripion and Projects Desired
Professor Michael Schoon
of ASU’s School of Sustainability is teaching a class in the upcoming spring semester (Jan-May 2015), SOS 321 in which he will be having small groups of SOS students research sustainability issues from a governance and policy perspective. He would like to engage with several, local communities on a limited basis and have these communities submit their “real-world” issues for analysis by the students. The course description for SOS 321 and the engagement opportunity timeline and commitment is outlined below.

Your community is invited to review the opportunity below and consider posing a sustainability issue to this class. If you are interested or have questions, please email Anne Reichman at anne.reichman@asu.edu and I will be happy to assist you. Professor Schoon would be happy to help communities develop issue submittals if they feel they need assistance. Sustainability issues need to be identified by mid-January 2015.

Thanks so much for considering this opportunity!

Spring 2015 Session (January-April 2015)
SOS 321/Community Engagement Opportunity:
SOS 321 is looking for several, local communities to pose sustainability-related research questions, both general and specific in nature, to the class so student workgroups can research and propose policy and governance options back to the communities. The community sustainability challenge should include the following:
1) Must be a specific challenge for your community (Past examples include how to reduce recycling contamination by residents, how to dispose of brine removed from groundwater, and how to plan for and mitigate the urban heat island effect.);
2) Provide practical educational research opportunity for students (Students have great insight into current sustainability science and introductory skills in policy and governance theory; however, they do not, in general, have specific technical skills or advanced training on urban policy or planning.)
3) Building on the previous point, our goal is to leverage the sustainability training, the creativity and critical thinking skills, and the vitality of our students in a way that helps their municipal partners to solve real-world problems.

SOS 321 Course Description – Policy and Governance in Sustainable Systems:
Policy and Governance in Sustainable Systems (SOS 321) is a class that requires integration of theory and practice, exposing students to sustainability issues in governance and policy analysis. Using two lenses, institutional analysis and policy analysis, students will apply a broad understanding of sustainability governance to a specific issue in the city and/or region. By partnering with municipalities in the Phoenix Metro area, students will conduct policy and institutional analyses on suggested real, local environmental issues for these participating communities. This class provides students a unique opportunity to integrate theory and practice, while identifying solutions to real, local problems.

Community Participation and Engagement:
The following is a suggested schedule for the spring 2015 course. Details will be fine-tuned with your community prior to participation:
Early to mid-January: Project ideas are submitted, discussed and finalized with the cities and the course teaching faculty.
Mid- to end of January: City officials will visit the class and briefly present information on the sustainability challenge and/or topic which is requiring research or that is being faced locally.
In February, students will prepare a Code of Stakeholder Engagement that specifies how, how often, and when students will engage with their city project partners.
February – April: Students will work in small teams (4-5 students) to research and provide answers/solutions back to their city project partners.
Early April: Student teams will present a preliminary version of their findings to the project partners. Each project will have 3-4 student teams presenting their solutions as part of a mini, in-class competition. Following feedback from their project partners on their presentations, students will submit a final project overview with executive summary to their project partners by the end of April.

Erosion Control BMPs Potential Impacts to Snakes

Erosion Control BMPs Potential Impacts to Snakes

Injury or death to snakes from entanglement in erosion control devices has been documented as a threat to
snakes in some parts of the US. As many City of Phoenix (City) construction projects require the use of erosion
control devices per Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (AZPDES) permitting requirements, this
report investigates the potential for snake entrapment in erosion control devices in the Phoenix area.

Through literature review it appears that the netting used to contain a matrix material in erosion control
devices is responsible for entanglement, not the matrix material itself. For City projects, netting is primarily
used in erosion control mats/blankets and organic filter barriers such as sediment logs/wattles. The three
characteristics that vary in netting are material used, mesh joint configuration, and mesh opening size. Snake
entanglement hazard appears to be highest for plastic mesh with fixed joints and small mesh openings ≤ 1.0″
x 1.0″ and lowest for natural fiber mesh with loose joints and mesh openings > 1.0″ x 1.0″. However, plastic
mesh with fixed joints and rectangular openings of at least 0.25″ x 1.25″ may reduce entanglement hazard
over fixed mesh openings ≤ 1.0″ x 1.0″. The states of Vermont and Washington, and the province of Ontario,
Canada have cautioned, curtailed or prohibited the use of non-wildlife friendly erosion control materials.
Anecdotal evidence and reports from erosion control industry professionals suggest that the use of wildlife
friendly materials has reduced observations of snake entanglement in Wisconsin.

Wildlife friendly erosion control materials are manufactured and sold by several US companies, but are
currently about double the cost of traditionally used materials. In addition, because wildlife friendly devices
do not appear to be manufactured locally in the Phoenix area, there would be additional freight costs over
non-wildlife friendly products available locally. However, when considering entire project costs, the portion of
the project budget dedicated to erosion control may be so small relative to other budget items that the cost
increase of using wildlife friendly erosion control devices may be negligible over the project as a whole. For
example, the Vermont Department of Transportation calculated the cost increase of natural fiber matting into
the budget of a typical project, and the increase on a $2 million project was approximately $2,500, or 0.125%
of the project budget.

View the rest of the study at this link