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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

Carp isn't the only invasive species threatening the watersheds and lakes.

The round goby and zebra mussel have both invaded the Mississippi River basin in the past decade via the Chicago Waterway System. Built in 1900 to reverse the flow of the Chicago River, the system carries the city's wastewater away from Lake Michigan and supports about 25 million tons of bulk commodities annually.

Environmentally friendly cities more successfulResearch

The gap between cities that implement “sustainable” concepts and those that don't is becoming wider.

Portland, Ore., has made the greatest progress toward becoming self-sufficient, according to a peer-reviewed study by SustainLane Media. The company ranks the 50 largest cities by talking to more than 100 officials and analyzing data from organizations such as the U.S. EPA, Smart Growth America, the Trust for Public Land, and the Texas Transportation Institute.

On the state level, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has named California the most and Wyoming the least energy-efficient.

The council's analysis looks at utility-sector efficiency programs and policies; transportation and land use policies; building energy codes; combined heat and power; appliance efficiency standards; energy efficiency in public buildings and fleets; research, development, and deployment; and financial incentives for efficient technologies.

California City Triples Commuter Parking

Design & construction

Cedar Rapids adopts flood-control plan

Less than six months after the Iowa city was submerged in record floodwaters that affected more than 7,000 parcels of land and nearly rendered its drinking water system useless, the city council approved a $1 billion flood-control plan that would include the extension of some main downtown streets and a new levee system. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hopes to present a feasibility study to Congress by July 2010.

Oregon considers plan to fund transportation upgrades

A 2 cent gas tax hike, 2.5 cent tobacco tax increase, and $16 million from the state lottery are just a few ideas that Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski is floating to raise $1 billion for new roads, bridges, and railways. The state is $1.3 billion short of the money necessary to maintain its transportation infrastructure. If approved, the package would be the state's largest-ever commitment to transportation.

Salaries inched up in 2008

The median annual income for all engineering fields is $85,000 — a 7.6% increase from 2007, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. Licensed professional engineers earned a median of $92,100, while those with a PE as well as a second professional registration earned even more: $106,675. Engineers without a license or certification earned $86,000.