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January Upfront News & Views

January Upfront News & Views

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    Asian carp are known to eat up to 20% of their body weight in plankton daily and may grow up to four feet long. The species was released into the Mississippi River basin nearly two decades ago and is now within 50 miles of Lake Michigan.

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    Built next to Orange County's busiest train station, Irvine's four-story cast-in-place concrete structure serves 3,000 commuters/day and includes 6,000 square feet of retail space. Photovoltaic panels will be installed on the roof level to provide electricity for the entire facility. Photo: Bomel Construction Co. Inc.

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    Buying Pineywoods Mitigation Bank credits allows permit applicants to compensate for their project's impact on the surrounding environment. Photo: PBS&J

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    Public Works Director Scott McGolpin urged employees to find a system that ensures resources are available when a disaster cuts off access to communities beyond the county's borders. Photo: County of Santa Barbara

Readers respond

www.pwmag.com quick poll question:

Do traffic cameras enhance safety?

Big brother or big business?

Traffic-enforcement camera systems are more about generating revenue than reinforcing safe driving skills, say quick-poll respondents, and they increase the number of rear-end collisions. A sampling of comments:

  • “I don't believe this bunk about them reducing accidents. Remember when former Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Dole had the high-mounted stop lights installed on all cars in the ‘80s? They were supposed to reduce rear-end collisions by 50%. Where's the data on that?”
  • “What's next — mandated dashboard cameras integrated with speedometers?”
  • “When I'm working on intersections with red-light cameras, I hear more screeching tires than I do at regular intersections. But they've shown a reduction in crashes and light runners.”
  • On the other hand, driving is a privilege, not a right ...

  • “If your schedule's so tight that 5 to 10 minutes of extra travel time will destroy the nation's economy and/or interests, get your head on straight, a personal manager, or the hell off the road!”
  • “Did they miss the ‘red means stop' lesson? I say put ‘em up and let today's electronics help improve safety.”
  • Go to www.pwmag.com to weigh in on our next quick-poll topic.

    Break up Great Lakes, Mississippi, advocates sayRules & regulations

    The Alliance for the Great Lakes, an environmental advocacy group, is asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. EPA to further examine the possibility of separating the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River watersheds to stop the spread of invasive species.

    The group's 106-page study, “Preliminary Feasibility of Ecological Separation of the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes,” outlines six options for separating the watersheds and halting the transfer of species between them.

    “The Great Lakes and the Mississippi River are at risk because of a connection that's nothing natural,” says Joel Brammeier, the group's vice president for policy. “Fifteen miles of water and an experimental electric barrier are all that's standing between the Great Lakes and Asian carp.”

    Asian carp in the Mississippi River have been a known threat to the Great Lakes since 2003, when Chicago hosted the Chicago Aquatic Invasive Species Summit and city officials asked federal and state agencies to complete the electrical barrier.

    A 2003 analysis suggested that separation of the systems could reasonably be achieved within 10 years. Yet five years on, progress has slowed to a halt.