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F. X. Browne, Inc.'s

Sustainable Environments
February 2009



A book of verse, underneath the bough, 
A jug of wine, a loaf of bread - and thou 
Beside me singing in the wilderness - 
Ah, wilderness were paradise enow!

A Book of Verse by Omar Khayyam


Photo credit: byrdiegyrl on Flickr



Editor's Notes:


 Happy Valentine's Day on behalf of F. X. Browne, Inc.!

Our readers may notice some slight modifications to Sustainable Environment News in the coming months. F. X. Browne, Inc has chosen to reduce the overall amount of material in the newsletter slightly so that we can continue to provide you with all the news and tidbits you have come to enjoy. Beginning next month we may have some changes in editorial staff as well. It has been a pleasure developing and editing this publication for the past eight years (has it really been that long?? yikes!), and I hope you continue to enjoy it as much as I have. Thank you!
~ Rebecca Buerkett, Sustainable Environments Editor/Designer



Topic of the Month:


Tips for Getting the Most Out of Life, Even in a Bad Economy


The economic news gets worse every day, and naturally it makes a body nervous. We have some recommendations for low-cost activities and alternatives for enjoying the world around you. It may be as simple as turning your attention and your entertainment budget closer to home, and finding ways to have fun without spending much money. More...


Pop Culture's Best (Fictional) Couples: 
  • Lois Lane and Superman 
  • Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet 
  • Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy 
  • Han Solo and Leia Organa (Star Wars) 
  • Lancelot and Guinevere (Camelot) 
  • Buffy Summers and Angel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) 
  • Ross Geller and Rachel Greene (Friends) 
  • Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger (Harry Potter) 
  • Rick Blaine And Ilsa Lund (Casablanca) 
  • Jim Halpert And Pam Beesly (The Office)

- To see the whole list of the top 26 couples, visit Entertainment Weekly,,20178000,00.html 


News Clips:


Google Earth Launches Exciting New Viewing Options

It used to be that anything below sea level just showed up as blue ocean on Google Earth. But starting February 2, viewers will be able to see what is under the water, using an upgraded version of Google Earth. More...

$25 million Proposed for Delaware River Cleanup

More than four years after the oil tanker Athos 1 hit an anchor just off Paulsboro and spilled nearly 265,000 gallons of oil into the Delaware River, federal and state officials have released a draft document outlining nearly $25 million in restoration projects. More...

National Water Quality Inventory Report Available Online 

A National Water Quality Inventory Report has been released that summarizes water quality assessments submitted by the states to EPA under section 305(b) of the Clean Water Act. More...

First WaterSense Energy Efficient Home Completed 

The first home built to the EPA's WaterSense draft specification for new homes has been completed. The home is expected to conserve 10,000 gallons of water per year, or be at least 20 percent more water efficient than a traditional new home. More...

Library at Alexandria Becomes Scientific Repository

The ancient Library of Alexandria in Egypt is rumored to have been the largest library in the ancient world. Today's Bibliotheca Alexandrina is seeking to recapture some of its former glory. An online repository of thousands of scientists' lectures from around the world was launched by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in January. More...


Policy Update:

PADEP announced it has extended the deadline for comments on the draft document "Policy for Consideration of Local Comprehensive Plans and Zoning Ordinances in DEP Review of Authorization for Facility and Infrastructure" until March 2.
A New Jersey land-preservation board has voted to accept a conservation easement for Petty's Island, marking a crucial first step toward restoring and preserving one of the Delaware River's largest islands.
The PA Climate Change Advisory Committee is inviting technical experts and members of the public to help develop recommendations that may be included in an action plan for Pennsylvania to address climate change.


What To Do and What Not To Do
In Erosion and Sediment Control

Have you ever seen what happens when erosion and sediment control measures are improperly installed? This Web site includes some great photo examples of good and bad erosion and sediment control practices. 

Link of the Month:

NPS Encyclopedia is Online Resource for Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Info 

The NPS Encyclopedia is a free online reference guide designed to facilitate a basic understanding of nonpoint source (NPS) pollution control and to provide quick access to essential information from a variety of sources. The purpose of this online resource guide is to support the implementation and development of NPS total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) and watershed action plans with a goal of protecting high quality waters and restoring impaired waters. 


Who Will Win the Golden Snowball Award?

Each year, five cities in Central New York compete for the Golden Snowball Award. The award is given to the city that receives the most snowfall during that winter season. Competing cities are Albany, Buffalo, Binghamton, Rochester and Syracuse. Last year, Syracuse was the champion. Who will win this year? Keep tabs on the competition at

Photo Credit: Golden Snowball Blog


New Tools and Publications:

New Stormwater Runoff Video Produced

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Botanic Garden produced an on-line video, “Reduce Runoff: Slow It Down, Spread It Out, Soak It In,” that highlights green techniques such as rain gardens, green roofs and rain barrels to help manage stormwater runoff. The video highlights green techniques on display in 2008 at the U.S. Botanic Garden’s “One Planet – Ours!” Exhibit" and at the U.S. EPA in Washington, D.C., including recently completed cisterns. 

Soil and Water Assessment Tool Book Published

The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) book, Special Publication IV of the World Association of Soil and Water Conservation (WASWC), is now available. The book includes an overview of SWAT, an overview of the SWAT Model, a worldwide compilation of articles on SWAT, and future research applications. To order copies, contact Samran Sombatpanit at

Virginia Water Resources Research Center Releases Stormwater BMP Decision Support Tool

The Virginia Water Resources Research Center (VWRRC) recently released a report entitled, "Virginia's Stormwater Impact Evaluation: Developing an Optimization Tool for Improved Site Development, Selection and Placement of Stormwater Runoff BMPs." The report describes the development of an "optimization tool" for stormwater BMP selection. The new decision support tool is based on physical site characteristics; local, state, and federal pollution control ordinances; and implementation and long-term maintenance costs. [3.42 MB]

Stormwater BMP Performance Verification Checklist Available

The Center for Watershed Protection has released Tool #8 of their post-construction stormwater management project, Managing Stormwater in Your Community. Tool #8 is a downloadable checklist that will help local program authorities provide a consistent set of questions for applicants proposing to use manufactured and proprietary BMPs. The goal of this tool is to provide more of a level playing field so that all applicants provide the same type of BMP performance information and data as a basis for approving particular devices. 


Newsletter Editor/ Design and Layout: 
Rebecca Buerkett

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Unless otherwise cited, all photos in this newsletter © Rebecca Buerkett. Photos may not be used or reproduced without permission.
Clipart from Microsoft Office Online.