Green infrastructure Under Trump, Planting Healthy Air, City as Bee Refuge

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News and commentary for emerging green infrastructure markets GrowerTalks MagazineGreen Profit Magazine

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Debbie Hamrick Subscribe
New Terrain

Trump's Green Infrastructure Planting Healthy Air
City as Bee Refuge
Living Air Conditioners
Natives for the Midwest
Bird-Friendly Plants
How Big Will it Grow?
Tree ID apps
Reader Comments
Worth Reading

Plantopolis: Green Infrastructure Under Trump

How will green infrastructure fare in a Trump Administration? That’s the question on my mind after last Tuesday’s election. Green stormwater infrastructure, urban forests, pollinator and wildlife habitat initiatives, and research into the place-based, health and environmental services of the managed urban landscape. The federal government plays a role in all of it through policy, regulation and direct financial support of programs and institutions.

With an unfocussed policy agenda, an indifferent attitude to science and pledges to invest big in our failing infrastructure, there’s no clear indication of exactly where a Trump administration may fall. What follows are a few early thoughts presented with no detail.

Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) has been driven by government policy and mandate -- at the core is the Clean Water Act (CWA).

Cities across the nation have green infrastructure included in consent decrees signed with EPA to settle CWA violations caused by things like combined sewer overflows (CSOs). Will EPA begin to pull back on mandated GSI requirements to cities in their settlements? EPA mandates have driven installation of thousands of BMPs like rain gardens/bioswales, green roofs, permeable pavement, urban forests and numerous others in cities across the U.S.

Then separately there’s the issue of the Obama Administration’s expansion of Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) by EPA rule, which significantly expands the CWA’s reach. Implementation is currently on hold nationwide by court order. 

And the Chesapeake Bay Rules that came before WOTUS expansion places Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) on allowable discharges to the Chesapeake Bay from the entire multistate watershed. The Chesapeake Rules are meant to serve as a national model for other large watersheds -- for instance, like the Mississippi. LID is how many jurisdictions all over the country deal with TMDLs. LID has also driven installation of thousands of GSI BMPs with lots of plants.

To say groups (agriculture especially) are unhappy about EPA’s regulation by administrative action is an understatement. 

The federal push for GSI has created a tremendous number of jobs, companies and industries established or expanded to deal with the rules. Philadelphia’s push into GSI is estimated in its first five years to already have an economic impact of about $60 million and 430 local jobs. Properties proximate to the 496 green stormwater infrastructure projects already installed are estimated to have risen 10% in value according to "The Economic Impact of Green City, Clean Waters: The First Five Years" by Econsult Solutions submitted to Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia’s Green Stormwater Infrastructure Partners initiative.    

Pollinator habitat is another form of green infrastructure that’s received a federal push. Section 1415 of the FAST Act passed nearly a year ago includes provisions to restore pollinator habitat along roadsides. It’s been a clear signal to states that managing highway rights of way for pollinators is a national priority. The bill’s language encourages “development of habitat and forage for Monarch butterflies, other native pollinators and honey bees through plantings of native forbs and grasses.” Most importantly, states may use federal highway funds to provide pollinator habitat, so the effort is financially hardwired. Pollinator habitat has also been pushed by other agencies, including the General Service Administration (GSA), the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in policy, with grants for habitat installation and through research support.

The Obama Administration put performance-based metrics and sustainability at the core of GSA's guidelines "Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Service." The federal government houses 1.1 million federal workers and manages 377 million sq. ft. spread through more than 8,700 assets—that’s a lot of buildings and grounds. How GSA designs, builds, maintains and repairs federal assets influences the private sector. Recently, GSA adopted the Sustainable Sites Initiative for GSA’s capital construction program in their 2016 Guidelines.

There’s also the research and education piece that’s critical to developing science upon which to base actions and the pipeline of trained horticulturists, engineers, landscape architects, landscape designers, urban planners, city managers, water quality regulators and dozens more professionals that have been critical to moving the concepts of green infrastructure forward. Federal research dollars and other budget lines to public universities and other institutions provide critical support.

Green infrastructure is, after all, infrastructure. Being flexible in how green infrastructure is presented and making the case for community and economic good in hard dollars and cents has always been important to garnering broad political and community support. Presenting the economic case will only become more important moving forward.

Governmentally influenced markets are just one aspect of functional plant demand for green infrastructure. No matter who’s president, consumer demand drives retail markets and influences or shapes many commercial markets. Pollinator habitat, monarch gardening, native plants, drought-sensitive landscapes, permaculture and home food production are among the gardening and landscape trends that are likely to keep rolling. You can change political leadership, but you can’t change demographics.

These thoughts are early rambling. Stay tuned -- it’s going to be a ride for the history books.

Here’s what some others are saying: What a Trump Win Means For the Global Climate Fight by David Victor for Yale Environment 360; Donald Trump's U.S. election win stuns scientists--Republicans sweep White House and U.S. Congress, with uncertain implications for research by Jeff Tollefson, Lauren Morello and Sara Reardonon on Nature News; and 14 Obama regs Trump could undo by Tim Devaney, Peter Schroeder and Timothy Cama for The Hill.

We Can Plant Better Air

"Planting Healthy Air" got a lot of press when it was released at the American Public Health Association annual meeting in Denver that ran from late October to early November. The report dives into the research evidence base for how trees positively affect air pollution and urban temperatures and directly ties those benefits to public health.

"Planting Healthy Air" was written by The Nature Conservancy for C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, which represents a network of 785 cities with 650 million residents (about 25% of the world population).

Particulate matter, a.k.a. the worst part of air pollution (especially fine particulate matter) kills about 3.2 million people a year worldwide. Urban heat waves are estimated to kill an additional 12,000 people a year and make cities hard to live in for millions more. However, the right, well-placed urban trees help to improve air quality and reduce urban temperatures. 

The authors of "Planting Healthy Air" provide an evidence base for the effects of trees on air quality and temperature in cities and extrapolate how and where trees should be planted for the greatest benefit. They even include short case studies for specific cities like Denver, Beijing and Atlanta, among others. Their conclusion, in short: Planting more trees where there are more people provides the highest benefit.

The specifics are more complicated as the results of studies conducted worldwide provide a spectrum of data. As always, in looking at how plants behave and impact the world, the answers are “it depends.”

In general, trees with greater leaf surface area and rougher surface area are better at dry particulate matter deposition for reducing air pollution. Evergreens are generally good choices for this purpose, especially if air pollution doesn’t dissipate seasonally and continues to be a wintertime issue. As could be expected, however, when regarding the cost of trees in isolation only for particulate matter removal, trees aren't always the least-expensive option. Co-benefits back to the community like stormwater mitigation, aesthetics, higher property values, etc. make the proposition pencil better. There was no parsing of how tree structure, pruning or maintenance would impact net benefits, although when trees are planted with the primary purpose of improving air quality, the authors noted they shouldn't be planted in such a way as to block airflow.

Research into the temperature-reduction effects of urban trees shows that most benefits are felt within about 300 ft. of the tree. Trees cool based primarily on providing shade and transpiration. Some studies have demonstrated that a 1.5F rise in extreme temperatures results in approximately a 3% to 5.5% increase in all-cause mortality and a 1.1% to 26% increase in cardiovascular mortality. The August 2003 European heat wave was well documented in Paris. In those neighborhoods where temperatures were the warmest, there were more deaths. The authors write that “each increase of 1C (1.5F) raised the odds of death during this particular heat wave by 21%.” As high temperature extremes continue, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that deaths from high temperatures could reach 100,000 worldwide by 2030 and 250,000 by 2050. Trees effectively reduce nearby air temperatures, as do cool and living green roofs, and cool pavements.

The report focusses exclusively on street trees and on particulate matter and temperature reduction. While the authors state that the benefits of urban trees go far beyond these two specifics, they don't delve into the other co-benefits of urban forests.

"Planting Healthy Air" provides a great evidence-based case that can be leveraged by urban foresters, urban planners, landscape architects, garden designers and others that seek to provide health and environmental benefits in cities through vegetated systems. The information is meant to engage the public health community as well, creating more stakeholders and allies. The professional document supports the arguments, while allowing plenty of room for urban foresters and local authorities to provide the specifics of design, tree selection, planting and maintenance. There are a couple of visuals that quickly convey how trees do the work of impacting particulate matter and temperature (Figures 7 and 10), that practitioners will find beneficial in stating tree benefits in an easy-to-understand way.

"Street trees can be part of a cost-effective portfolio of interventions aimed at controlling particulate matter pollution and mitigating high temperatures in cities,” the authors write, adding that “trees cannot and should not replace other strategies to make air healthier,” but instead be used “in conjunction with these other strategies …”

The take away: Plant more trees in areas where they make a difference .

A selection of some of the publicity that the release of "Planting Healthy Air" generated: Urban Trees Can Save Tens of Thousands of Lives Globally by Reducing Air Pollution and Temperature--Nature Conservancy Study Projects Impact of Tree Planting in 245 Cities on the Nature Conservancy website; The Big Green Payoff from Bigger Urban Forests-Trees clean and cool the air, but just how much depends on where you are, a new report finds by Laura Bliss for The Atlantic’s CityLab; How planting trees in cities can save thousands of lives by Chelsea Harvey in The Washington Post; and Why Public Health Researchers Are Looking to Urban Trees by Katharine Gammon on

"The city as a refuge for insect pollinators."

Residential gardens in cities and other urban spaces can be important havens for native bees.

"Urban ecology research is changing how we view the biological value and ecological importance of cities,” write a group of international, multidisciplinary scientists in Conservation Biology. Cities can be wildlife refuges and can be managed to support biodiversity and ecology.

“In a rapidly urbanizing world, transforming how environmental managers view the city can improve citizen engagement while exploring more sustainable practices of urbanization,” writes Jeff Ollerton, University of Northampton, on his Biodiversity Blog.

Ten years of research on wild bees in cities shows that cities can be pollinator biodiversity hot spots. The loss of habitat and homogenization of agricultural lands and increased use of a variety of pesticides everywhere has affected wild pollinators. In the past, conservationists and the public have excluded cities with the attitude that they must be devoid of wildlife.

Small actions can yield big results they write. How? Forage (flowers) on vacant lots and residential land. Decisions made by individuals on how to manage land matter. Work done so far shows that residential plantings in low-income, low-density city neighborhoods have greater bee diversity than higher-income neighborhoods. Likely that’s due to more vacant lots, abandoned buildings and less pesticide use.

The city as a refuge for insect pollinators by Damon M. Hall, Rebecca K. Tonietto, Jeff Ollerton, Karin Ahrné, Mike Arduser, John S. Ascher, Katherine C. R. Baldock, Robert Fowler, Gordon Frankie, Dave Goulson, Bengt Gunnarsson, Mick E. Hanley, Janet I. Jackson, Gail Langellotto, David Lowenstein, Emily S. Minor, Stacy M. Philpott, Simon G. Potts, Muzafar H. Sirohi, Edward M. Spevak, Graham N. Stone and Caragh G. Threlfall  in  Conservation Biology (2016).

Trees for Bees Back in Stock

Speaking of bees, the Pollinator Partnership has replenished stock for this year’s pollinator poster Trees for Bees by artist Natalya Zahn. Posters are $13.

Trees as Air Conditioners

Tilia cordata trees don't transpire to the same extent in all environments based on a study by Mohammad Rahman, Chair for Strategic Landscape Planning and Management, Technical University of Munich (TUM). During the summer heat, transpiration -- the loss of water from the leaves -- from those trees grown in open green squares cools us down more effectively than grown in narrow, paved squares. This is caused by local differences in the meteorology and the surface covers. Street canyons, roads and squares get particularly hot in summer. Trees cool the asphalt under their crowns by up to 30F and the air by up to 3F as demonstrated in the TUM studies.

TUM’s tests were conducted on two squares in the heart of Munich: the green Bordeaux Platz and the paved Pariser Platz. “Local meteorological conditions vary greatly and affect how the trees transpire,” Mohammad explained.

Urban trees growing in open green squares provide an optimal cooling effect on summer days compared to narrow and paved squares. The cooling power of these "green air conditioners" is at least 20% lower on narrow, paved squares with small cut-out pits for trees.

Plants release water vapor when they absorb CO2 for photosynthesis via stomata. At Bordeaux Platz, the researchers measured a sap flow rate of up to 2 gal./hour in the vascular system. In terms of energy loss, this means that Tilia cordata achieves a cooling power of up to 2.3 kilowatts. “The trees’ output is comparable to that of an air conditioner for a single room,” he said.

Solar-powered measuring system on the green space at Bordeaux Platz in Munich. (Photo: M. Rahman/ TUM).

The study measurements show that small-scale differences in the immediate environment around the plants affect transpiration. Wind blows across open green spaces at a higher speed, the air is less saturated with water and the trees are exposed to more sunlight as compared to a narrow paved square that's surrounded by buildings on all sides. Furthermore, the ground of the green spaces at Bordeaux Platz is cooler and can retain soil moisture longer than the completely covered Pariser Platz. “These conditions influence transpiration and hence the trees’ cooling effect.

“In order to reduce the amount of heat in cities, it would make sense to create more open spaces and squares—this would allow us to directly influence the cooling potential of the trees,” Mohammad recommends. In addition, the plant ecologist advises that more grass lawns might have added benefit in terms of reducing the effect of ground heat storage and increase boundary layer cooling compared to those planted in narrow paved squares.
--University of Munich press release in English.

Natives, Localism, Smart Water are 2017 Garden Design Trends

Native plants with ecological provenance are one of the 2017 trends identified by Garden Design magazine. This display is from Clear Ridge Nursery, Union Bridge, Maryland.

Local isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Hyperlocalism, one of the trends writer Pan Penick identified for 2017 gardens in Garden Design, isn’t just about using native plants, but also about plants with provenance, natives endemic to the local ecosystem.

Garden Design quotes New Jersey garden designer Susan Cohan, “What’s new,” she says, “is the impact that climate change is having on each region and how that drives design. More rain, drought, increased snowfall, no snowfall, cataclysmic weather events—these are all factors. Add local rules for impervious coverage, chemical runoff and storm-water retention, and you have the basis for intense regional, even local, design qualities.”

Turf and lawns serve important purposes, but increasingly they're being significantly downsized and/or replaced by low-water, low-maintenance, low-input alternatives like native grasses, says Garden Design. Habiturf from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center is one alternative mentioned. Habiturf is a seed mix of native turfgrass species -- Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss), Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) and Hilaria belangeri (curly-mesquite) that works well in dry areas like Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona. Artificial turf was also mentioned as a trend for some purposeful spaces, like pet play areas.

Deploying sophisticated irrigation technology to control landscape irrigation is another trend for 2017 cited by Garden Design. Hunter’s Hydrawise is one irrigation controller mentioned. It can be programmed and monitored from a smartphone enabling the user to make the best use of water depending on need.

Top Garden Trends for 2017 a Garden Design article by Pan Penick. 

"Native Plants of the Midwest"

"Native Plants of the Midwest" by Alan Branhagan features more than 500 species of trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, ground covers, bulbs and annuals native to the Midwest. Plant profiles include growing information, use in the landscape and related plants. The book is targeted to Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, northern Arkansas, and eastern Kansas. Alan Branhagen is director of horticulture at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden. He also wrote "The Gardener’s Butterfly Book," as well as numerous articles in popular and trade press. Alan is a naturalist and plantsman specializing in botany, butterflies and birds, utilizing his background in garden design and management.

2018 Bird-Friendly Plants of the Year

Lonicera sempervirens is one of North Carolina Audubon's 2018 Bird-Friendly Plants of the Year. Native honeysuckle provides nectar for hummingbirds and fruit for other bird species later in the season. 

Audubon North Carolina recently released their list of  2018 Bird-Friendly Plants of the Year. They’re grouped below by food source. 

Berries: Vaccinium spp. supports 286 moths and butterflies, and a range of birds with summer berries. Viburnum nudum supports 97 native moths and caterpillars, and offers summer/fall berries; Viburnum prunifolium for fall berries and Ilex decidua for winter berries.

Nectar for hummingbirds: Aquilegia canadensis for early spring nectar, Lonicera sempervirens for spring and Monarda punctata for summer nectar.

Seed sources: Vernonia noveboracensis attracts butterflies and bees, while seeds from August to October attract birds. Helianthus angustifolius, a native, tall-growing sunflower, produces seeds for birds from September through November and plants are host to 73 native caterpillar species. Chrysogonum virginianum is a deer-resistant evergreen with yellow flowers and seeds April through July. Chrysogonum is also a bird-friendly native option for Hedera helix

Caterpilars: Acer floridanum has great fall color and is a top 10 caterpillar tree, supporting 287 species in North America. More food = clutches of baby birds. Quercos phellos is a host to caterpillars for feeding baby birds and acorns for woodpeckers, jays and turkeys.

NC Audubon’s Bird-Friendly Communities “is a partnership program that focuses conservation efforts where most people live -- in cities and towns.”

Tree ID apps

The Colorado Nursery & Greenhouse Association’s latest newsletter had links to two handy tree identification apps.

Leafsnap (iPhone). A collaborative creation by Columbia University, the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institute. Leafsnap uses visual recognition to identify tree's leaf photographs. 

VTree (Android). Developed by the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. VTree can identify nearly 1,000 trees and shrubs based on location and user response to questions.

Reader Comments

Georgia tested pollinator plants for the Southeast:

“In my Canadian Zone 5 garden, I have observed many of the same plants being very attractive to pollinators and beneficial insects. I observed something I had never noticed before this year, probably because I had never looked. My mint plants and Stachys byzantine were in bloom this year [at the] same time, side by side. The honey bees gathered nectar and pollen exclusively from the mint. The bumblebees exclusively from the lamb's ear. It was quite a sight seeing so many pollinators in such close quarters, but separate.”
—from Pamela Pilling  

“Two quick notes about the Georgia study: 1) About the cabbage white: It is widespread and populations are found across Europe, North Africa, Asia, South America and Great Britain. It has also been accidentally introduced to North America, Australia and New Zealand. The caterpillar of this species is seen as a pest for commercial agriculture. Often referred to as the "imported cabbageworm," they are a serious pest to cabbage and other mustard family crops; 2) A cardboard box, dead tree or an abandoned wheelbarrow can provide refuge and shelter. That’s a sadly low bar for researchers to set.

“Studies like that one so transparently attempt to maintain a status quo with landscape plants. I don’t know who funded it, but I would not be at all surprised to find out that the funder(s) had a stake in a plant company that pumps out celosia and other annuals.

“I have nothing against annuals in general.

“The key point about pollinators, and using visitation as the only measurement, is that pollination and plant reproduction are supposed to represent a circle, not a single event. Visitation is a single event. The model is simple—it’s a fair, even trade. Plant offers nectar, pollinator needs nectar. In exchange, pollinator offers fertilization because plant needs that. If the pollinators are fed and happy, but the plants are not reproducing (such as celosia, which is not really a persistent valuable perennial of course), then the plant world is just seen as a feeding service. This is the key problem with everything being considered ‘ecosystem services.’ Who is being served? A cabbage white? That’s not the goal. The goal is a healthy system of mutualism, a function circle. Plant feeds insect, insect pollinates/fertilizes plant, plant reproduces, grows up to feed insect, etc. It goes on and on. In a circle, not a single event. When we only think of pollinators being attracted to a nectar source, that’s only half the cycle. It’s basically the same as saying sugar water in a hummingbird feeder is as valuable as a trumpet vine flower—it is, if we are only counting visits to the nectar source.

“Anyway, my 2 cents.

“Thanks, nice newsletter.”
—Dan Segal 

Tennessee’s Smart Yards--harmony of natives, soil and topography:

“Many states have a program just like this. Florida started it all, but South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Missouri and Maryland offer this program through cooperative extension. For a guide specific to your state, Google your state name and smart yards, friendly yards or yards and neighborhoods (ex. Florida-Friendly Yards; Carolina Yards and Neighborhoods). “
—from Wendi


November 17: Watershed Approach to Landscaping

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program and the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) are offering the Garden Gurus’ Watershed Approach to Landscaping webinar. Green Gardens Group (G3) CEO Pamela Berstler and Marianne Simon, G3 certification coordinator, will speak about how G3’s Garden Gurus’ coaching sessions have transformed traditional irrigation system audits into educational experiences for home and property owners.

December 5-8: ARCSA Conference

The schedule for Reinventing Water Supplies, the 2016 ARCSA Conference from December 5-8 in Las Vegas, will include a variety of workshops, including "Rainwater is a Reliable and Viable Water Supply," "Roofing Materials Assessment Update," "Completion of the Study on Quality of Harvested Rainwater" and more.

December 9: Creating Ecological Plant Communities

The Ecological Landscape Alliance (ELA), in collaboration with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Brooklyn Bridge Park, is hosting Creating Ecological Plant Communities: Digging Deep into Plant Knowledge with The Masters targeted to landscape professionals. The event will be held Friday, December 9 at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Brooklyn, New York. The all-star speaker list includes Claudia West, Roy Diblik, Ian Caton and Andrew Bunting. 

December 9: N.O.F.A. 11th Annual Gathering

Catch Catherine Zimmerman of "Hometown Habitat" fame who will be the keynote speaker on Creating Habitat Heroes Across the Nation for NOFA’s annual meeting at Aqua Turf Club, Southington, Connecticut, with the theme of Biodiversity in the Landscape. 

January 18: RainScapes Environmental Site Design Workshop

RainScapes Environmental Site Design Workshop by Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection's RainScapes Program will help the audience increase knowledge, market share and sales in stormwater management using RainScapes Environmental Site Design installation practices. Learn the essentials in designing and installing Raingardens and Conservation Landscapes.

Claudia West to Lead Design Workshop at 2017 Western

Claudia West will be leading a four-hour design workshop at the 2017 Western on Designing Resilient and Stunningly Beautiful Plant Communities. Join Claudia as she digs deeper into the art and science of successful planting design. This interactive workshop teaches an alternative to traditional planting and will take the mystery out of good plant combination. You'll learn how to create beautiful and lasting plant communities for modern landscape needs. Several hands-on design exercises will give you the opportunity to refine newly acquired planting design and management skills so you can successfully apply them to upcoming projects.

January 23, 24, 30, 31: Rutgers Organic Land Care Certificate Course

Organic Land Care is a holistic approach to landscaping that improves the natural resources of a site by fostering cycling of resources, promoting ecological balance and conserving biodiversity. More than 20 university and industry experts teach the Organic Land Care Certificate Course and share their experience of how to successfully transition a landscape to organic management and add organic services to a business. The course focuses on organic practices for promoting healthy soil, enhancing biodiversity and reducing polluted runoff from managed landscapes. Offered by Rutgers Cooperative Extension in Monmouth County, Freehold, New Jersey, the course is designed for professional landscapers, property managers, public works employees, groundskeepers, landscape architects and Rutgers Master Gardeners.

February 11: EcoLandscape California

The EcoLandscape California Conference and Trade Show 2017, at the Robert J. Cabral Agricultural Center in Stockton, California, is the west coast's premier conference and trade show dedicated to sustainable landscapes. A full day of workshops on plant selection, efficient irrigation, gray water/water catchment, maintaining sustainable landscapes, plant availability, hardscape alternatives and many more topics will be featured. Plus, there will be product exhibits on the latest tools, services and supplies. 

Worth Reading

Urban Forests: What city trees do for us, and what we should do for them by David Maxwell Braun on the National Geographic Society blog.

Free-roaming cat interactions with wildlife admitted to a wildlife hospital by McRuer, D. L., Gray, L. C., Horne, L.-A. and Clark Jr, E. E. in the Journal of Wildlife Management. doi:10.1002/jwmg.21181 and A wildlife rehab center confirms that cats are killers by Joshua Learn in the Washington Post.

Green Roofs Take Root Around the World--The eco-friendly design just got a big lift in San Francisco, and it is spreading globally by Jackie Snow on National Geographic.

The Danish Food Park That Wants to Nourish the World--An agricultural park outside the city of Aarhus is a proving ground for the future of food innovation and urban farming by Mimi Kirk on The Atlantic’s CityLab.

Using Native Plants in Urban Landscaping — NYC High Line Plants by Paul Spencer on Audubon.

MSD Continues Funding for 2016-2017 Rainscaping Large Scale Grants press release by the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District.

Road mortality potentially responsible for billions of pollinating insect deaths annually by James H. Baxter-Gilbert, Julia L. Riley, Christopher J. H. Neufeld, Jacqueline D. Litzgus and David Lesbarrères in Bee Culture.

Put Down Those Pruners: Pollinators Need Your ‘Garden Garbage!’ by Justin Wheeler on the Xerces Society blog.

As Composting Gains Popularity, Cities Struggle to Meet Demand--Americans want to live more sustainable lives. Can governments keep up? by Elizabeth Daigneau on Governing.

Sponge-Worthy Design for the Gowanus Canal by Alan Brake on Architectural Record.

A bit about hydrozoning by Doug Pushard in The New Mexican.

What is the Big Deal about Natives? By Caitlin Dunham on The Tree People blog.

The Hidden Dangers of Botany by Aurora Toennisson on Digging into the Science of your Yard.

How to Keep Buildings from Killing Hundreds of Millions of Birds a Year by Sam Lubell in Wired.

Bees use multiple cues in hunt for pollen on

RHS science lecture hears of value of urban horticulture by Matthew Appleby in Horticulture Week.

Algal blooms prompt Lake Erie ‘impaired’ designation by John Flesher in the Detroit News.

Study: climate change already dramatically disrupting all elements of nature by the Wildlife Conservation Society on EurekAlert! Science News.

How Water Use Has Declined With Population Growth by Padma Nagappan on  Water Deeply.

Improving Irrigation--What you see is what you get—and that’s a good thing—with Vectorworks’ new irrigation toolset that uses scientific data to take accurate design from on-screen to real life by Laura Rote in gb&d.

Wouldn’t it be Better if Ecologists and Planners Talked to Each Other More? by an interdisciplinary trio from Salt Lake City, Diane Pataki, Sarah Hinners, and Robin Rothfeder on The Nature of Cities.

Montecito Heights, Sonoma, CA garden transformation pays off on this beautiful one-acre property on Habitat Network.

Building Community Resilience from the Ground Up by Jared Green on The Dirt.

Colorado Native Pollinators, website by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.


Debbie Hamrick


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