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I hope you all had a great week. It’s been a beautiful sunny week here at The Balmoral Group Seattle Office as the flowers are starting to bloom. It’s near peak cherry blossom season and Seattleites are looking forward to the sweets and treats that come with the annual U District Cherry Blossom Festival beginning this Friday and lasting until April 2. Additionally, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is one of the destination events for the Pacific Northwest, held from April 1-30, celebrating millions of tulips bursting into bloom. I am planning to be at both events. Hope to see you there!
On March 22, we celebrated World Water Day. This day celebrates water and raises awareness of the two billion people living without access to safe water. For a list of actions you can take, see here. Additionally, our own Jennifer Nunn, P.E.is showcased below left with her Florida Engineering Leadership Institute (FELI) class. Congrats!
This week's articles feature current water conditions in Washington, rising temperature effects on forest growing seasons, and new SMART grants awarded, among others.
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100 Years of Rising Temperatures Has Led to Extended Forest Growing Seasons
A recent study released by researchers at Ohio State University shows that due to climate change increasing temperatures by about 5 degrees Fahrenheit over the last century, growing season for forests in the Eastern U.S. is now about 15% longer than 100 years ago. Scientists tracked 7 species of trees in Northwest Ohio, and compared their growth rate and time to records of a local farmer who catalogued tree growth from 1883 to 1912. They found that with the increased temperatures in spring and fall, trees are able to bear leaves for a full month longer than they could a century ago. Read more about the study here, and find the full publishing here.
Petri-Dish Meat Takes Another Step Toward Restaurant Dish
California-based GOOD Meat received approval this week from the FDA that its lab-grown chicken is safe for consumers. UPSIDE Foods was similarly approved a few months ago. Both still await the final nod from USDA before sales in the US can actually start, but GOOD Meat has been selling their lab-grown chicken in Singapore since 2020. The global value of lab-grown meat is about $250M/year as of 2022, and it’s expected to increase about 50% annually through 2030. Production costs for lab-grown meat have plummeted as the technology has improved, and a life cycle assessment found much lower water and energy and carbon impacts from lab-grown meat compared to conventional meat.
CSIRO embarks on mission to create a 'weather service' for water quality
This week, CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, launched AquaWatch Australia. This monitoring system will use a network of Earth observation satellites and ground-based water sensors to provide near real-time updates and predictive forecasting for water quality. This will help by providing early warning of harmful events as well as increasing the resilience of communities who depend on water. Once fully operational, the system will extend from rivers to coasts, with the ability to monitor bays, coastal wetlands, aquaculture farming, mangrove forests and coral reefs. CSIRO
$94.8M in SMART Grants Awarded to 33 States
Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) grants have been awarded this week to fund 59 projects in 33 states at a total cost of $94.8 million. The SMART grants, which are part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, will support the development of technology to improve transportation safety, equity, efficiency and innovation. The selected projects range from automation technology, sensors, systems integration, delivery/logistics, innovative aviation, smart grid applications, and traffic signals. Read more from ENR
The White House Releases First Ocean Climate Action Plan
The Biden-Harris administration released the first U.S. Ocean Climate Action Plan on March 21, 2023. This document was developed by a workgroup of the Ocean Resource Management Subcommittee of the Ocean Policy Committee and focuses on important ocean ecosystem and marine activities. The purpose of the document is to guide and coordinate federal and societal actions to address ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes-based climate change mitigation and adaptation solutions while also building resilience to impacts. The authors received input from a variety of stakeholders, including scientific and non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and industry partners. The plan outlines priority areas to enhance the resilience of ocean ecosystems, including increasing offshore wind and marine energy, decarbonizing the maritime shipping sector, conserving and restoring coastal and marine habitats that store carbon, and expanding marine protected areas. Read more here.
Data Visualization of the Week Will Washington Experience a Drought this Year?
The state of Washington released its 2022 Pacific Northwest Water Year Impacts Assessment to summarize the water year conditions and sector impacts as a resource for future management of drought and other climate extremes. The main thing folks are wondering is, should we expect a drought this year? Researchers are hoping not. Current conditions show snowpack slightly above 100 percent of normal, with runoff statewide forecasted to be just shy of average. In terms of precipitation, the west coast and east coast were split, with the former being drier than usual and the latter being wetter. However, springtime and summer precipitation play a big role in future drought conditions. WA Ecology