Burlington EMPACT ProjectEPA Grant Number: R827068
Title: Burlington EMPACT Project
Investigators: Wang, Deane , Scherbatskoy, Tim , Silverman, Julie
Current Investigators: Rosenbluth, Betsy , Wang, Deane
Institution: City of Burlington
Current Institution: City of Burlington , University of Vermont
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Period: January 1, 1999 through December 31, 2000
Project Amount: $508,000
RFA: Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT) (1998) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water , Sustainability , Air , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration
The primary objective of the Burlington EMPACT project is to institutionalize a process for engaging citizens in developing environmental information accessible to a broad cross-section of residents and using it to inform collaborative actions that address priority environmental problems in the urban ecosystem. The Burlington EMPACT Project will provide the means, methodology, and structure for a community-based environmental monitoring, processing and delivery system.
Project partners will use an approach integrating (1) an informed and engaged public as partners in monitoring, analyzing, and sharing environmental information; (2) the wise use of new and existing technology for real-time collecting and distributing monitoring data; and (3) a systematic, comprehensive, inclusive values identification process to facilitate improved ecosystem health in the Greater Burlington Ecosystem. Data will be used to directly influence personal and institutional behaviors, with a particular focus on youth as future leaders.
A Project Coordinator with technical and public outreach skills will be hired to coordinate the activities of the consortium which includes scientists, engineers, data specialists, educators, and public process facilitators. Two monitoring, processing, and dissemination schemes will be immediately implemented to address recognized urban air quality issues (especially particulates and emissions) and water quality degradation (biological and toxics) affecting Lake Champlain and City beaches. New technology and approaches will utilize low-cost, transportable air monitors and a combination of lay monitoring and runoff modeling. Concurrently, a facilitated public process will identify co-education opportunities as well as community perceptions and needs for additional monitoring. Community needs will then be integrated into the project as additional monitoring and information sharing.
Expected results include new and revised City policies, programs, and/or public awareness activities; a comprehensive public decision-making process utilizing environmental information; development and dissemination of new indices of urban ecosystem health; changes in personal behaviors; maintenance of a sustainable working relationship among the institutional partners. The City has committed to specific urban ecosystem endpoints including, among others, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 10% from 1990 levels by 2005 and making Burlington the nation's most sustainable city. The EMPACT Project will be a critical component of the City's efforts to achieve sustainability and improved environmental health.