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Good News!
1,000-Acre Pollinator Initiative

Before winter, Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation staff seeded the remaining acreage committed as part of the 1,000 Acre Pollinator Initiative.  Partnering with the Monarch Research Project, Linn County, and Marion, Cedar Rapids contributed 325 acres of new native pollinator habitat which will provide crucial habitat to butterflies, bees, and countless insects, birds, and more.  Of those 325 acres, 240 was funded by the Monarch Research Project and the remaining by a REAP grant and Collins Aerospace.  The initiative to achieve 1,000 acres of pollinator habitat is now complete, achieving 1,082 acres and doing so one year early.

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New bioreactor cleans water before it enters the Cedar River watershed

The City of Cedar Rapids installed a bioreactor at City-owned farmland adjacent to the Tuma Sports Complex in November.

A bioreactor is a trench filled with specialized woodchips through which drainage water is routed. Bioreactors reduce water pollution by absorbing nutrients. The bioreactor intercepts drainage water from adjacent farmland, absorb pollutants, and return cleaner water to a drainage ditch contributing to nearby Dry Creek.
In pilot projects installed in the Middle Cedar watershed, bioreactors were found to reduce nitrate concentration by 42% on average for tile water flowing through woodchips according to data from the USDA Agricultural Research Service and Iowa State University.
The project is a partnership between the City's Parks and Recreation Department and Utilities Department. Nutrient reductions will be credited in a statewide registry, offsetting more costly future construction needs at the City's water and/or wastewater treatment facilities. The bioreactor is expected to have a life of 10-12 years, at which point the wood chips would be removed and replaced with new woodchips.

More information:
Solarizing Linn & Johnson Counties

Cedar Rapids is a partner in the third solar group-buy program coming to the area this spring. For the first time, the program will be available to residents in both Linn AND Johnson Counties! The program is expected to launch in the spring with online-only sessions. Midwest Renewable Energy Association, the program organizer, is currently accepting proposals from installers.

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My Job is a Sustainability Job...
Meet City of Cedar Rapids staff who lead by example and support the environmental, social, and economic sustainability goals of the iGreenCR Action Plan!
Jeff Wozencraft

Jeff is working with a cross-departmental team of City staff to develop an equity-focused tool for public engagement. The tool will track public engagement events and provide tools to improve the gathering and synthesis of community input. As our community develops city-wide plans, like the Community Climate Action Plan, improved public engagement tools can help City staff reach more under-represented and under-resourced residents.
Stephanie Schrader
Community Service Coordinator

Stephanie Schrader oversees the City's Municipal Volunteer Program (MVP). The program focuses on growing relationships and acts of service to bring our residents together and strengthen our community. Learn more.
Cedar Rapids is pursuing community climate action. Public engagement kicked off in October with two virtual events featuring the community planning process and timeline. Community members featuring diverse perspectives on climate action joined the event. Watch the whole event or a specific speaker below:
    • 10:15 - Jeff Pomeranz, City Manager, City of Cedar Rapids
    • 16:36 - Eric Holthaus, Sustainability Coordinator, City of Cedar Rapids
    • 33:55 - Karla Twedt-Ball, Senior Vice President, Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation
    • 40:00 - Mark Weldon, Sustainability Principal Engineer, PepsiCo / Quaker Oats
    • 46:45 - Monica Vallejo, President of Westdale Area Neighborhood Association, Young Parents Network, League of United Latin American Citizens
    • 52:58 - Eric Tate, Professor of Geography, University of Iowa
    • 6:14 - Jeff Pomeranz, City Manager, City of Cedar Rapids
    • 15:17 - Eric Holthaus, Sustainability Coordinator, City of Cedar Rapids
    • 31:58 - Liz Callahan (and Nia), Environmental Educator (and student), Cedar River Academy
    • 38:28 - Dara Schmidt, Director, Cedar Rapids Public Library
    • 45:26 - Mugisha Bwenge, Director, United We March Forward
    • 54:15 - David Osterberg, Professor Emeritus at University of Iowa; Founder of Iowa Policy Project

The Community Climate Advisory Committee will provide valuable perspective and connections to the Community Climate Action Plan process.  Out of 40 applicants--all of whom were excellent candidates--these 13 were chosen and will help to provide leadership, input, and a focus on equity to the planning process:
  • Ana McClain
  • Carter Oswood
  • Dennis Rigby
  • Jason Snell
  • Jean Wiedenheft
  • John Zakrasek
  • Kelzye Bedwell
  • Kristine Sorensen
  • Laura Barr
  • Mark Weldon
  • Megan Crawford
  • Mugisha Bwenge
  • Rachel Maker
Learn More
In Case You Missed It
The City of Cedar Rapids has an Idling-Reduction Policy.

The City of Cedar Rapids developed an Engine Idling policy to help reduce carbon emissions in the city, and to increase the life of our vehicles. We understand the impact on the environment, and also the excessive wear on the engine components from idling.

Idling and wasted fuel can have a serious environmental impact. It is particularly bad for the air quality and can pose negative health risks. When your car is moving, the exhaust blows away, but when you're sitting still, it can accumulate in the car's interior and areas around you.

A vehicle that idles does more damage to the engine than starting and stopping. Low speed idling can cause twice the wear on internal parts compared to driving at regular speeds. It creates incomplete fuel combustion, which lowers oil viscosity and can cause residue to build up. This may cause increased maintenance costs and shortening the life of the engine. We recommend warm up or cool down a vehicle for no more than 5 minutes.

To aid the improvement for our environment and citizens, the city has incorporated idling reduction goals and performance metrics into city sustainability goals and reporting. As employees and citizens, we all have a stake in the future of our community.

Contact Joy Huber, Fleet Manager, for more information and questions:

Bringing important ideas to you...
  • Find out how "social infrastructure" provides critical resilience in times of distress. [The Guardian]
  • What is vulnerability, and how do we support residents with unique needs and circumstances? View the Social Vulnerability Index. [CDC]
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