ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Martin O’Malley joined Rio de Janeiro Governor Sergio Cabral Filho last night to sign an agreement to share best practices for keeping both the Chesapeake Bay and Rio’s Guanabara Bay clean, healthy and sustainable. The agreement aims to connect the more than three decades of experience Maryland has in restoring the Chesapeake Bay with the current challenges that Rio faces with improving the water quality of Guanabara Bay in time for the 2016 Olympics. The agreement follows a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by the two Governors in March 2011 and a cooperative effort that began earlier this year between Maryland’s Secretaries of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Environmental Secretary and State Environmental Institute (INEA) in Rio.
“We’ve made tremendous progress cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and today, we’re building on that progress by sharing our experiences with our counterparts here in Brazil,” said Governor O’Malley. ”From BayStat to restoring our signature blue crab and creating hundreds of green jobs across our state, Maryland’s programs are leading the way to a greener, more sustainable future.”
Today, Governor O’Malley toured the Grael Project in the city of Niteroi, which has a sister-state relationship with Annapolis. The Grael Project is a Brazilian sailing school for underprivileged youth and mirrors a similar effort in Maryland by the Living Classrooms Foundation. Following the tour, the Governor attended an environmental seminar discussing the recovery of Rio’s Guanabara Bay and the best practices that Maryland has used in its clean-up of the Chesapeake Bay. The Governor also visited Rio’s State Hospital Alberto Torres (HEAT) Shock Trauma Centers, which has a partnering agreement with the University of Maryland Medical Center where several Brazilian physicians and nurses received training.
Governor O’Malley also announced that Germantown, Md.-based Earth Networks, the company behind the popular WeatherBug line of mobile apps and operator of the world’s largest weather and climate networks, has entered into an agreement with the INEA. INEA, the agency chartered to protect, conserve and restore the environment of Rio to promote sustainable development, will use Earth Networks’ early warning technology to track thunderstorms capable of producing severe weather, including flash flooding and damaging winds, which is particularly challenging for the State of Rio where deadly and destructive mudslides occur.
Earth Networks Founder and CEO Bob Marshall said, “Since 2010, we have been working with Brazil’s Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE), the Brazil equivalent of NASA in the USA, to deploy advanced weather sensors throughout Brazil that enable the generation and delivery of the most advanced severe weather warnings in the world. We are thrilled that this ground breaking public-private partnership will help protect the lives and property of the citizens of Rio, and help the city become more resilient to the impacts of climate change.”
“INEA is always looking for tools to improve disaster forecasting,” says Carlos Alberto Fonteles, Director of Information, Monitoring and Surveillance at INEA. “The early warning system from Earth Networks will contribute to the advancement of technologies employed by the Institute, providing greater predictability and anticipation of alerts. The technology is also assisting us in the protection of vulnerable communities from natural disasters in the state of Rio de Janeiro.”
The Governor also announced that Sparks, Md.-based consulting engineering firm KCI Technologies Inc. has established a partnering with Brazilian firm Global, Ciência & Tecnologia (GCTbio) to provide integrated research, development, engineering and geospatial solutions for land management, water, wastewater and renewable energy projects.
The KCI/GCTbio partnership will initially focus on development and integration of customized geographic information systems for land mapping and data management that can be used by both public and private-sector organizations in Brazil. The firms will also focus on development, sharing and implementation of advanced technologies in wastewater treatment and bio-energy.
KCI also aims to encourage highly-qualified, recently-graduated student engineers and scientists in Brazil to participate in professional internships with the firm. Working with the Ciência Sem Fonteiras (Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program) initiative, KCI will identify and train Brazilian students who will then return home and thus contribute to the internal education and scientific capacity of the country. The company further intends to hire some of the interns to represent and grow the firm locally in Brazil.
About Earth Networks – WeatherBug
For 20 years, we have been Taking the Pulse of the Planet® using the world’s largest weather and climate networks. Our sensors across the planet keep consumers, businesses, and governments informed, updated, and alerted. Our popular WeatherBug® apps and website provide neighborhood-level weather, superior forecasts and advanced severe weather alerts to more than 30 million people monthly. Enterprises such as schools, airports, professional sports teams, utilities and government agencies rely on our Early Warning Solutions to safeguard lives, prepare for weather events, and optimize operations. Know Before™. Learn more at www.earthnetworks.com.
About KCI Technologies
KCI is an engineering, consulting and construction firm serving clients throughout the U.S. and beyond. With revenues of approximately $146 million in 2012, KCI is ranked 81 on the Engineering News-Record’s list of the top 500 engineering firms in the country. Roughly 1,000 KCI employee owners provide environmental, transportation, telecommunications, construction, facilities, and land development services from more than 20 locations.