Environmental News Highlights – March 30, 2022


Obituary: Alaska Rep. Don Young, 88, Was Long-Time Infrastructure Leader – ENR

Biden wants to spend infrastructure billions on climate and equity initiatives. But it’s not his call. – Politico

Funding America’s Inland Waterway System During the Green Transition – Maritime Executive

US Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg – National Roadway Safety Strategy, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and More – ITE Talks Transportation (Podcast)


COVID-19 Recovery: Riders are Coming Back but Where are the Drivers? – Mass Transit

Arlington County, Virginia To Promote Transit Use In Post-COVID Marketing Push – ARLnow

Washington Ferries struggling with mask compliance – KGMI Radio


Many BLM grazing permits renewed without NEPA review, group says – E&E News


AASHTO Helps Launch EV States Clearinghouse – AASHTO Journal

New Guidebook Helps New Jersey Municipalities Prepare for More Electric Vehicles – SandPaper

New study points to key role of ports in future fuel infrastructure. – Lloyd’s Register

The neighbourhood leading a green energy revolution – BBC

Utah’s Walkable ‘15-Minute City’ Could Still Leave Lots of Room for Cars – CityLab


Colorado Welcomes Arrival of New Zero-Emissions Big RigsColorado DOT

There’s a Push to Get More Electric School Buses on the Streets – Moms Are Driving It – Route Fifty


Massachusetts program funds strategies pairing equity and clean transportation – Energy News Network

D.C. to prioritize equity in preparations for $3 billion in federal infrastructure funds – Washington Post

Two bills aim to make NJ transportation more accessible for people with disabilities The Record

A Black Vision for Development, in the Birthplace of Urban Renewal – CityLab


Tennessee DOT Deploying ‘Seabins’ for River Cleanup – AASHTO Journal

‘Canopy Clearing’ Helping Improve Roadway Safety – AASHTO Journal

Environmental group sues over new water quality law – Montana Free Press

Hydropower eyes bigger energy role, less environmental harm – AP

New ways to improve urban wetlands – Science Daily


Utah launches ‘Pledge to Protect the Past’ campaign to stop archaeological vandalism – KSL-TV


Are Mobility Hubs the Future of Urban Transportation? – Government Technology

DC Offers $200 Towards Bikes For School Staff – DCist

Henderson, Nevada opens 12-mile bicycle trail – KLAS-TV

Calls to end Potomac swim ban as DC celebrates Clean Water Act anniversary – WTOP Radio

New Trail In Burke Provides Direct Connection to VRE Station – Burke Patch

SDOT Starts Citywide Stop-For-Pedestrians Campaign With Signage In West SeattleWest Seattle Blog


Methods for State DOTs to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Transportation Sector – TRB

Primer and Framework for Considering an Airport Noise and Operations Monitoring System – TRB

TRB ACRP Insight Event – Systemic Inequality in the Airport Industry: Exploring the Racial Divide – ACRP

Mobility Equity Research Spans Diverse Needs of Underserved Communities – National Renewable Energy Laboratory


Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Department of Transportation’s Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant Opportunity – USDOT, Office of the Secretary of Transportation (Notice)

Notice of Solicitation of Applications for Stakeholder Representative Members of the Committee on Levee Safety – Army Corps of Engineers (Notice; extension of application period)

National Priorities List DeletionEPA (Final rule)

Clean Water Act Hazardous Substance Worst Case Discharge Planning Regulations – EPA (Proposed rule)

Control of Air Pollution From New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Standards – EPA (Proposed rule)

Great Lakes Advisory Board Notice for Virtual Meeting – EPA (Notice)

National Environmental Justice Advisory Council; Notification for a Virtual Public Meeting – EPA (Notification for a public meeting)

Hazardous Materials: Frequently Asked Questions – Applicability of the Hazardous Material RegulationsPipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (Notice; request for comments)

Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Indian Creek, Miami Beach, FL – Coast Guard, DHS (Final rule)

Port Access Route Study: Seacoast of North Carolina Including Offshore Approaches to the Cape Fear River and Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina – Coast Guard (Notice of availability of draft report; request for comments)

Port Access Route Study: Seacoast of New Jersey Including Offshore Approaches to the Delaware Bay, DelawareCoast Guard (Notice of availability)

Atlantic Wind Lease Sale 9 for Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf in the Carolina Long Bay Area – Final Sale NoticeBureau of Ocean Energy Management (Notice)

Boom: Oregon DOT Uses ‘Fireworks’ to Drive Birds from Bridges

The Oregon Department of Transportation has a public outreach message for water birds who want to nest on two of their iconic bridges: Beat it.

[Above: Matt Alex, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, fires a “flash pistol” to scare off birds. Photo via the Oregon DOT.]

Officially, Oregon DOT is utilizing an auditory dispersal method to relocate cormorants to facilitate infrastructure maintenance, such as inspection and painting. In practice, a technician fires a pistol that flashes, pops, and whistles. The sounds and lights chase the birds from the bridges.

“It basically is a gun-like mechanism that looks like a fireworks show,” explained Angela Beers Seydel, an Oregon DOT public information officer, in describing a test of the procedure in early March. “It whizzed, it banged, it flashed.”

Both bridges are on U.S. 101, along the Pacific coast. The 4.1-mile Astoria-Megler Bridge crosses the Columbia River and connects Oregon and Washington. It is the longest continuous truss bridge in the U.S., and painting it takes more than eight years and about $75 million.

Meanwhile, the Yaquina Bay Bridge – located about 300 miles south – is an 88-year-old arch structure built by the Public Works Administration; a depression-era federal program that also financed the Lincoln Tunnel and Hoover Dam. Conde McCullough, a renowned Oregon DOT engineer (he has his own Wikipedia page) designed the Yaquina Bay Bridge – along with 14 others along U.S. 101.

The sound-and-light program will continue through September on the Astoria-Megler Bridge and through June on the Yaquina Bay Bridge.

“These birds affect our ability to conduct inspections,” noted Don Hamilton, an Oregon DOT spokesperson. He added that those inspections occur at least every two years, but that cannot happen if birds, bird nests, or bird “guano” are on the bridge. Guano, or bird droppings, also have a corrosive effect on bridges and can be toxic to humans.

One or two technicians go on the U.S. 101 bridges every day and fire off several rounds.

Seydel said the sensory assaults take place at random times “so the birds don’t recognize a pattern. You want them to be uncomfortable to be in that area.”

Recently, Oregon DOT used propane cannons, which produce louder and deeper sounds, to successfully chase away birds from the Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River. Seydel said Oregon DOT might bring out those “big guns” if the pistol sounds and flashes do not work on the U.S. 101 bridges.

“There’s also the canon, if necessary,” she said. “So, whiz, bang, boom is the possibility.”

Tennessee DOT Helping Deploy ‘Seabins’ for River Cleanup

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has teamed up with Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful (KTRB) and other partners to establish a network of 17 “Seabin” automated litter and debris removal devices across the Tennessee River watershed.

[Above photo by the Seabin Project]

Seabin devices work continuously to skim and collect marine debris from the surface of the water. Each receptacle can remove up to 3,000 pounds of marine debris annually, while also filtering out gasoline, oils, and “micro-plastics” from the water.

Grants from the Tennessee DOT and the national Keep America Beautiful organization provided the funds supporting this deployment of the Seabin devices.

The Tennessee DOT’s contribution includes the purchase and installation of 10 devices at locations throughout Tennessee, as well as funding for two years of water-based cleanups of the river and its tributaries within the state – funding made in conjunction with the agency’s “Nobody Trashes Tennessee” litter prevention campaign.

“[Our] partnership with Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful demonstrates the link between roadside litter and debris that ends up in our waterways,” explained Joseph Galbato, Tennessee DOT interim commissioner, in a statement. “Investing in this substantial network of litter removal devices is another example of how TDOT promotes innovative solutions to making our state cleaner and keeping our waterways clear.”

In addition to the 17 Seabins deployed in Tennessee, another two will deploy on the Tennessee River in Alabama, with one other placed on one of the river’s tributaries in North Carolina.

“Until now, all of our work has only been able to prevent micro-plastics in our waterways, so we are thrilled to the Tennessee DOT and Keep America Beautiful for these – as I see it – revolutionary grants and to our partners who will be maintaining the Seabins to make this trailblazing project possible,” added Kathleen Gibi, KTRB’s executive director.

The Tennessee DOT is an agency known for funding different and innovative ways to reduce littering.

For example, in April 2021, the agency helped fund a pair of new exhibits at the Tennessee Aquarium illustrate how micro-plastics and other roadside trash can negatively affect the health of the ocean as well as rivers, lakes, and streams.

The new exhibits – housed in the Aquarium’s “River Journey” and supporting the Tennessee DOT’s “Nobody Trashes Tennessee” litter reduction campaign – include actual debris taken from the banks of the Tennessee River: the focus of its current Seabin deployment project.