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Projects Updates for Resilience iCAP Team

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  1. Biodiversity Inquiry

    Associated Project(s): 

    Stacey Gloss reached out to the iCAP resilience team to ask if Illinois is at lower risk for biodiversity risk due to the fact that "most prairie was wiped out for corn and soy a long time ago". 

    Jennifer Fraterrigo replied with the following:

    Hi all,

     

    This topic falls within my area of interest, so I skimmed the peer-reviewed scientific article that was published in Ecological Applications upon which the NYT article is based. The authors of the paper model and map protection-weighted range-size rarity (PWRSR), a metric that partly reflects the range size of a species. More weight is given to species with smaller ranges, as these species are expected to be more imperiled. In Illinois, we have relatively few endemic species with small ranges; most species found here have relatively large ranges. Consequently, Illinois scores low on the PWRSR metric and does not appear to be a place where biodiversity is threatened.

     

    That is not to say biodiversity is not at risk here. Rather, the approach used in the study puts less weight on the types of species that tend to inhabit (or could inhabit) the region.

     

    If not already on your radar, an excellent resource for understanding biodiversity patterns and biodiversity threats in Illinois is the Critical Trends Assessment, a program supported by the IDNR and managed by the IL Natural History Survey (https://publish.illinois.edu/ctap-inhs/). The Urban Biotic Assessment Program may also be of interest (https://uofi.app.box.com/s/j1826i8uip6farrlxpckqzpa18b6d97e).

     

    Thanks,

    Jennifer

     

    NYT Article: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/03/03/climate/biodiversity-map.html?unlocked_article_code=AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACEIPuomT1JKd6J17Vw1cRCfTTMQmqxCdw_PIxfs9gGPzNiGeVTdcwqNPW9LavB-WIvI4INA33jGSWNIGOr4oSP1sw_VEPlB8Dgyhut2EhJEBaW0TmL6EY1kXjdjLTKxqtnjraHW0Mu502LyhslXYbTLsCK3bhWknIQxjvZdmc1-10HZZxrPBQbQijdkq2qx2A5tqVHxXMnnxyvrtChh0MNmCbgiNqVVlHrEEBkyA2IKU-LkCcw5NCFjZTXkZ4Ws06N9UPdN_L7-oZ ld7O5K42eNNfzQueIS5BJQxRJzWkqFostPOrB-PzMmwz5YmBU_3EHhoSfk4zLjbPk6CjH0&smid=url-share

     

  2. Sustainability and Green Job Certifications

    Sustainability & Green Job Certification examples have now been included on the Institute for Energy, Sustainability, and the Environment (iSEE) Education Portal website.  Scroll down on the page to find and review Professional Certification Programs.  This list can be used to inspire and provide insight into green careers. Green Job Certification Topics include: 

    Buildings & Energy

    Environmentalism & Advocacy

    Climate Change and Sustainability Professionals, Business, Reporting

    Water

    Outdoors, Gardening, Wildlife, Natural Resources

    A downloadable Excel file titled "Job Certifications" provides additional detail about these certifications and these careers.

  3. Career Services Meeting

    Stacy Gloss and Meredith Moore met with Amanda Cox and Samantha Potempa from University Career Services to discuss how to connect students to Green Jobs and Green Job Certifications.  Career Services staff described the services provided for students. Career Services across campus are distributed between the Colleges and students can meet with the central Career Services group or academic & career advisors in the College of their major. Career Services can provide presentations to both classrooms and RSO student groups. Trained peer career advisors can give presentations on interviewing, resume writing, Linked-in profiles and personal statements. A Career Services Council meets on a quarterly basis to discuss current issues and affairs. iSEE can have a representative join the Career Services Council. 

    Additional resources for students include:

  4. Resilience Work Meeting 11/18/21

    Stacy Gloss, Meredith Moore, Morgan White, and Scott Tess met to discuss Resilience Team work. 

    We discussed:

    • NGICP presentation scheduled for December 10 with presentations by Heidi Leuzler and Eliana Brown
    • NGICP SSC Step II Application to be submitted 11/19/21
    • Carbon Offset Program development. Discussed that "local" for this objective means within boundaries of Champaign County.  Next questions to answer are: Why, What, How for developing a local carbon offset program.
  5. Resilience iCAP Team September Meeting

    On Friday, September 24th the Resilience iCAP Team had their first meeting of the semester. The team reviewed the Resilience Charge Letter, discussed updates on the Hazard Mitigation Plan, Biodiversity Plan, and the Assessment of Progress. Meeting minutes are attached.

  6. Weekly check-in resilience work

    Resilience Work Weekly Check-In

    09/23/2021, 2:00 PM

    Attendees: Morgan White, Meredith Moore, Stacy Gloss

    Updates

    Stacy provided an overview of her activities for the previous week including

    • reviewing the Resilience page and project histories
    • beginning work (by contacting key stakeholders and setting up meetings) on Vision Zero, Green Infrastructure, and Taking Leadership on Sustainability objectives.

    iCAP Portal

    In this meeting we discussed additional functionality, the strategy and rationale on Resilience web page organization. Morgan provided insights on using the iCAP portal such as accessing projects through a table by using the Project Page and searching Projects by Status.  Projects can be added to the iCAP portal by sending a proposal to add a project to Morgan and Meredith.  There is an iCAP Portal Content template that should be used.

    Community resilience and sustainability projects

    We reflected that there are many community projects and programs related to sustainability and resilience that do not appear anywhere in the iCAP such as MTD projects, Sanitary District work, Stormwater partnerships, Recycling projects and programs, certain solar projects.  We discussed that having a website or webpage dedicated to community partnerships, programs, and outreach about sustainability, environment, resilience, water, energy, land-use etc could be an excellent community resource. The idea bubbled to have a Community Supported Resilience Portal in parallel to the iCAP portal for tracking programs, resources, and projects. This could be a recommendation for meeting one or more of the iCAP objectives.  

  7. First Weekly Check-In for Resilience Work

    9/17/2021, 2:15 PM

    Attendees: Morgan White, Meredith Moore, Stacy Gloss

    Summary:

    Stacy, Meredith and Morgan met for the first time together since Stacy was appointed and started work on 9/16/2021. The purpose of the meeting is to provide the information and resources needed for Stacy to start working on resilience activities in the scope work. We reviewed Stacy’s job description regarding activities for the next 6 months and related deliverables. See attached job description.

    Agreements:  

    • Stacy will take the meeting notes from each of these Resilience Work Check-In meetings and put them on the portal for project tracking.
    • Stacy will provide updates at the Resilience iCAP team meetings.
    • We set up a recurring meeting time for Thursdays from  2 pm – 3 pm.

    To-Do’s:

    Stacy will re-read the objective in iCAP 2020 PDF about all resilience objectives. Review the resilience theme, scan the project list, and look at project history for specific objectives.

    8.1 Check in when needed w/ Lisa Merrifield

    8.2 Start with campus contacts. Email Betsy Liggett,  Brent Lewis, & Morgan White and set up a call with Betsy. Betsy is liaison to community green infrastructure.  The objectives are to find out who it is to talk to in Champaign-Urbana-Savoy for off-campus infrastructure locations. Eventually, ask resilience team what information should be included on the iCAP portal map. Note: There’s an Oct 20 conference about the Champaign County storm water partnership.  With this objective, we will ultimately work towards planning a coordinated rainwater mgmt. plan, and what it might look like.

    8.3. Review documentation that Kimmy provided as a report on the portal. 

    8.4.  Request a call with Ximing to explain the concept behind 8.4 and report back. Further steps may be taken to include whole iSEE management team in a conversation.

    8.5.  Review 8.5 Discuss at meeting 2 weeks from now.

    8.6.  Morgan will connect Stacy with Sarthak Prasad. Review Vision zero website soon and request a meeting with Sarthak.

    8.7.  Review 8.7 Discuss at meeting 2 weeks from now.  Review Current State of the Market, and review files in the box folder that students created about local off sets.

  8. iCAP Team and iCAP Working Group Kickoff

    We had a great iCAP Team and iCAP Working Group Kickoff on 9/16/21! During the event, we heard from iSEE Interim Director, Dr. Madhu Khanna, went through the team rosters, iCAP Procedures, iCAP 2020 and progress made thus far, and lastly summarized other resources that sustainability advocates should be aware of. 

    The iCAP Teams and iCAP Working Group are instrumental in helping campus advance and achieve our sustainability goals and we look forward to a great year!

    The presentation is attached and the recording is found here

  9. Updated list of student projects that need YOU!!

    This is a list of projects that need students to work on.  It will be updated periodically by sustainability staff members, the last update was 9/16/21:

    • The campus MS4 stormwater permit currently has 49 Best Management Practices (BMPs) that have to be completed annually https://fs.illinois.edu/services/safety-and-compliance/about-the-program . One of the 49 BMPs is a Public Education and Outreach requirement to broadcast or publish one stormwater Public Service Announcement (PSA) on social media, radio, television and/or internet. We currently have a couple on our website and would like to keep it up to date with new materials whenever possible.  https://fs.illinois.edu/services/safety-and-compliance/about-the-program/events-and-outreach. Another opportunity is for a Public Participation and Involvement BMP to discuss and provide opportunity for public input on the Storm Water Program (permit BMPs), climate change and environmental justice topics. This could be met by webinars, PSAs, posters, etc. Contact is Betsy Liggett. ~ Morgan
    • Follow through with Facility Liaisons for implementation of recommendations from NRES 285: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors class: Huff Hall. ~ Meredith
    • Follow through with Facility Liaisons for implementation of recommendations from NRES 285: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors class: Armory. ~ Meredith
    • Follow through with Facility Liaisons for implementation of recommendations from NRES 285: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors class: Bevier Hall. ~ Meredith
    • CCNet Website: Work with the Champaign County Sustainability Network (CCNet) leadership team to redesign and publish the CCNet website (old version is online at http://www.champaigncountynet.org/). There is a monthly brown bag sustainability networking event on the Third Thursday of each month, but the website hasn't been updated since 2016. Contact Morgan White at mbwhite at illinois.edu. ~ Morgan
    • We are seeking a student volunteer who can do tree identification for a series of trees in the Arboretum, and work with the University Landscape Architect, Brent Lewis, and the Superintendent of Grounds, Ryan Welch, to compare the tree identification to the draft tree inventory. Contact Morgan White at mbwhite at illinois.edu. ~ Morgan
    • Help iSEE develop a Sustainability Literacy Assessment. Contact Meredith Moore, mkm007 at illinois.edu. ~Meredith
    • Help iSEE work with Student Sustainability Committee grant to expand small scale campus composting. Contact Meredith Moore at mkm0078 at illinois.edu. ~ Meredith
    • This project is a collaboration with the Illinois State Section of the American Planning Association; we have been asked to create a community land use and revitalization plan for a small town in Kankakee County.  It is a rural community, predominantly people of color, originally settled by folks leaving the South during the Great Migration.  There are many layers to the story, but it is ultimately a story of environmental equity as The Nature Conservancy and Field Museum have been collaborating with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to acquire land to create the Black Oak Savana nature preserve.  The majority of residents are opposed to this preserve, primarily because land has been purchased via tax sale and foreclosure, therefore taking land out of Black ownership.  This also further burdens remaining property owners because the nature preserve land becomes tax exempt, shifting the property taxes that are no longer paid on nature preserve property to a smaller and smaller portion of land owners.  

      Students interested in this project could assist with GIS analysis and help identify opportunities to balance environmental sustainability goals and land preservation with social and economic sustainability goals and to identify economic opportunities that accomplish all three.  Contact Lacey Rains Lowe at lacey.rains <at> champaignil.gov.

    • Expand on existing statistical analysis with ArcGIS and spreadsheets of potential race/income disparities in provision of street trees, sidewalks, urban heat, parks, bus stops, etc.  Data sets provided. Contact is Scott Tess at srtess <at> urbanaillinois.us.

    • LIVESTOCK FACILITY DECOMMISSIONING at the Imported Swine Research Laboratory - The push to expand the UI Research Park will require decommissioning of the waste lagoons associated with the Imported Swine Research Laboratory (ISRL). This presents an nice opportunity for a class to develop and design a decommissioning plan with associated costs and timeline. Colleen Ruhter is the point of contact, cruhter <at> illinois.edu.

    If you have a project idea, please contact us at sustainability@illinois.edu, or submit it through the iCAP Portal Suggestions page.

  10. EJ Plan Summer 2021 Summary

    Throughout the summer of 2021, I (Kimmy Chuang, iSEE intern, supervised by Meredith Moore) accomplished the following tasks to further the Environmental Justice Plan. Relevant documents documents attached. 

     

    1. Compile contact information for focus groups

    Number and type of contacts were organized into the following:

      1. Champaign Neighborhood Associations (16)
      2. Urbana Neighborhood Associations (8)
      3. Community Groups (10)
      4. Government Organizations (13)
      5. Social Justice Groups (8)
      6. Relevant UIUC Advisory Groups/Personnel (12)

     

    Contacts were primarily found through Internet searches. Many of the groups were identified as relevant during Environmental Justice Committee meetings. Where possible or necessary, I’ve included notes and additional links. 

     

    2. Research other EJ plans to draft focus group questions

    I drafted possible questions for focus group interviews through what I learned from the following EJ or similar Climate Justice Plans:

     

    City of Providence’s Climate Justice Plan

    • First, trained frontline community members in energy democracy through workshops by working with One Square World (equity and sustainability process consultancy). Then, conducted interviews of frontline community members along with citywide survey (survey results here)
    • Favorite takeaway: Must fundamentally change the way policies are created and prioritize historically excluded communities. “Zip codes shouldn’t determine your health or economic outcomes.”

     

    Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO)

    • Also hired consultant to conduct interviews and outreach
    • One of their goals was “Base Building” where they have a local base of families, school/community/youth/labor/business leaders as well as strengthening coalitions with other EJ groups in the region
    • Warren Lavey has worked with Kimberly Wasserman (LVEJO Director of Organizing)

     

    National City Health and Environmental Justice Element (San Diego County, CA)

    • First jurisdiction in California to adopt an EJ element and nationally recognized
    • Contains useful definitions of “healthy food supply” and “universal design”
    • Similar format to iCAP, ends every objective with “why is this important”
    • San Diego county is currently conducting outreach for their county-wide EJ plan with an online survey that can be found here

     

    3. Compile contact information of other municipalities with EJ plans

    For the plans I reviewed above, I collected contact information for each municipality into a spreadsheet. The EJ Committee suggested that we reach out to other municipalities that had successfully written EJ plans to inform our process. 

     

    4. Review local engagement efforts to identify salient local environmental issues

    Meredith and I’s original goal for the focus groups was to identify 4-5 of the most salient environmental issues in our community that our plan should address.These are issues that have been identified multiple times during EJ Committee discussions or through my research:

    1. Flooding (especially in the Garden Hills neighborhood)
    2. Toxic waste clean-up (mainly in the 5th and Hill neighborhood)
    3. Mahomet Aquifer contamination from Clinton landfill (allowing PCBs/toxic waste disposal)
    4. Heating/cooling centers (climate change preparedness)

     

    Through my research, I identified four local public engagement efforts that could be relevant for our EJ plan:

    Champaign County Community Health Plan 2021-2023

    • Champaign Public Health Department conducted 4 assessments, 2 of the following contained engagement with residents
      • Survey 634 community residents about strengths and weaknesses of the community – identified mental health, child abuse, gun violence, and infectious disease as top health concerns
      • 25 community leaders from different agencies brainstormed about major threats/opportunities that they perceived with various issues and filled out a survey. Some issues include climate change, Mahomet Aquifer threatened by Clinton landfill, toxic waste disposal, drought
    • Appendix includes all surveys used
    • Useful maps showcasing racial diversity and other important demographics

     

    Storm Water Management Plan

    • Identified their own EJ areas
    • Contains survey about storm-water specific issues

     

    Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District

    • Currently soliciting feedback through customer survey here
    • May be useful for phrasing questions about environmental services

     

    Urbana Comprehensive Plan

    • Ongoing engagement survey for Urbana’s new Comprehensive Plan, suggested for EJ by Scott Tess

     

     

    Here are ideas from the iCAP as it was listed in the Appendix “Acknowledgements for future considerations” that may be relevant for EJ:

      1. Reduce pollution in Boneyard Creek
      2. Identify places of heavy erosion, such as channel buffers and farms
      3. Implement curbside food and lawn waste pickup program for UC community to decrease per-household garbage volume
      4. Reduce mowing by 10% by 2022 to increase natural areas

     

    5. Start conversations with other community members about EJ

    Other than the Resilience iCAP Team and the EJ Committee, Meredith and I met with the following community members about EJ: 

     

    Gabe Lewis (Planner at CCRPC)

    • Reached out through email and made him aware of EJ Plan efforts

    Jessica Lehmkuhl, James Corbin II (Sustainability Advisory Commission)

    • Met over Zoom, SAC is open to collaboration and want to be a part of our plan

    Cassie Carroll 

    Met over Zoom about Cassie’s expertise in interviews/focus groups. The following are notes from our discussion:

    • Suggested for us to reach out to Dr. Robin Jarrett (rjarrett@illinois.edu) at UIC who has experience in Human Dimensions to develop training for interviewer and more
    • Told us that charettes (multi-day interviews/workshops) had been conducted in Washington Street Basin (possible follow-up item for us)
    • Start with organizations we’re friendly with who have a broach reach and start base building
    • Need to clarify how we will follow up with people after interviews and how much they want to be involved 
    • We should get buy-in from groups so they can actively participate in what we’re working on
    • Possibly incentivize focus group participation through offering lunch etc.
    • Recommended having person from community to lead focus groups, but they will need training
    • They had 7 people actively working at her job where they worked with Ameren to understand how people could be more connected to energy-efficiency jobs

     

     

    Moving Forward…

    In this section, I will summarize what I had hoped to accomplish this summer, why we weren’t able to do so, and questions to consider as the EJ Plan moves forward.

     

    Initially, I had planned to conduct focus groups this summer and analyze the results. However, after discussions with Meredith and the EJ Committee, we decided to delay the focus groups until we had more thorough knowledge about the best way to conduct them. The following are questions we have in mind, but aren’t sure how to proceed. 

     

    1. Scope of the EJ Plan

    1. What is the geographic range of the EJ plan? 
    2. The iCAP cites the urbanized areas of Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy. But since EJ goals may be different from the iCAP goals, how do we define which areas will be included/excluded in the EJ Plan? 

     

    2. Vulnerability Assessments

    1. Geography students working for Meredith in Spring 2021 submitted a report that used available data but did not identify specific EJ areas. 
    2. EJSCREEN, Solar for All, the previous Storm Water EJ Areas, and the Champaign GIS consortium can all be used. EJSCREEN may be sufficient for identifying vulnerable communities. All data and maps gathered can be found here.

     

    3. Possible funding

    1. I researched groups in Illinois that have received Environmental Justice Grants from the EPA. There weren’t very many, but it may be helpful to reach out in the future
      1. Metropolitan Tenants Organization (MTO) “Chicago Healthy Homes Inspection Collaborative” (2016)
      2. Legal Council for Health Justice “Building Community Capacity to Address Lead Poisoning: Creating a Blueprint for “kNOw LEAD” App Development” (2019)
      3. Center for Neighborhood Technology “Helping the Chatham Neighborhood of Chicago Become Rain Ready” (2015)

     

    4. Ownership of the EJ Committee

    1. Everybody on the committee is very passionate, but since they are all volunteering their time and have other commitments, it is sometimes difficult to determine ownership on initiatives. 

    This update is also attached as a report and was sent to Stacy Gloss, a member of the Resilience iCAP Team, who will be leading the EJ efforts this Fall. 

  11. iCAP Team Charge Letters

  12. Funding Approval for Resilience Development Proposal

    Madhu Khanna and Ehab Kamarah approved $18,025 of funding from the Carbon Credit Sales Fund for a Resilience Development Proposal.

    "The Resilience Commitment, signed in 2016, was incorporated in the iCAP for the first time in the 2020 version, with a list of seven specific objectives. iSEE is the primary department responsible for helping campus achieve these ambitious goals. We request approval to fund a 20-hour/week contract with ARI to have Stacy Gloss work to develop the structure and plan for completing these objectives. The cost of a six-month agreement is $17,500" (the cost was updated with the new fiscal year due to a salary change) -Morgan White (08/13/2021)

    An email of the approval is attached below.

  13. Res001 Champaign County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan - Successful

    Ehab Kamarah, interim Executive Director of F&S, responded to Morgan White and Sherry Wooten with the following message:

    "The plan is signed and is being sent back to the County. My apology for the late response."

    See transmittal of Res001 Champaign County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan here.


    See iWG assessment of Res001 Champaign County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan here.
    See recommendation and submittal of Res001 Champaign County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan here

    For future updates on this effort, visit Champaign County Hazard Mitigation Plan.

     

  14. Feedback requested: EJ Focus Groups

    Kimmy Chuang sent the following email to the Environmental Justice Committee, requesting feedback on conducting focus group interviews. The draft questions and contact group documents are attached.

    =================================

    Hello EJ Committee,

    Meredith and I have compiled a draft list of interview questions for small focus groups and we’d like to hear your input. A large number of questions are adapted from the Providence RI Climate Justice Plan -- which you can read here -- as well as other local surveys I’ve researched. 

    As mentioned during our last meeting, if you could please (1) approve each question (2) suggest any edits and (3) rank them in terms of priority. The full set of standard questions will be asked to the focus group. On the second page, you’ll find some other questions that we’ve been considering but aren’t sure whether to include as part of this list or only ask if time permits. If you think there is a question missing, please leave a comment. The draft questions can be found here on Box and are attached.

    As we’re finalizing these questions, Meredith and I were also thinking of starting to reach out to the people we’d like to interview. We propose hosting five focus groups for each of the constituency groups: Neighborhood Associations, Community Organizations, Government, Social Justice Groups, and Relevant UIUC Advisory Groups/Personnel. We plan to ask for one representative from each entity to attend the focus group interview (see contact list attached).

    We’re thinking of sending a Zoom invite for 12-2pm, but do you all think there would be a better time to convene the focus groups? For example, if usually people involved in Social Justice Groups or Neighborhood Associations work during the day, would it make more sense to host their focus group later from 4-6pm? With the interviewee’s consent, we will record these meetings. 

    We would love your participation in the interview process as well. We propose two or three of us per focus group interview, though are open to your thoughts. Our suggested dates for the interviews, based on our schedules, are: 

    Monday, July 26

    Tuesday, July 27 (afternoon only)

    Wednesday, July 28 

    Thursday, July 29

    Friday, July 30

    Please send me and Meredith your feedback on our draft list or interview questions and your thoughts on how/when we should convene these focus groups. We request your feedback on the interview questions by next Wednesday, July 14. We would like to contact the groups and send out the Zoom invitations as soon as possible; please send us your availability/thoughts on participating in the interviews by Monday at the latest. 

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