The Envirocast® project, branded as e-Life, or Environmental Quality of Life, was an innovative project that sought to increase awareness about local environmental issues and to promote individual, voluntary measures that the public can take to protect watershed resources in North Central Texas. In order to help North Central Texans better understand the factors that influence their environmental quality of life, the e-Life project, in a partnership with the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Region 6, North Central Texas Council of Governments, CBS/KTVT-11, and StormCenter Communications, Inc., featured two main elements. One component consisted of on-air broadcasting of environmental tips and stories, and the other was a specialized web site about the Upper Trinity River Watershed where visitors were able to learn more about their local environment.
The e-Life project was modeled after Washington D.C.’s Envirocast®, which was designed to raise awareness of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Like Envirocast® and other similar projects across the nation, e-Life employed local television weather reports as a means to raise the environmental awareness of the region’s residents. Research shows that weather is the top reason 80 percent of Americans watch local news. In addition, for most Americans, the weather report is their only consistent exposure to science in any form.
The broadcasting and on-line components of the e-Life project had the potential to provide watershed information to nearly 2.3 million television viewing households in 31 counties and brought 101,557 visitors to the project web site. During the 2-year project period (2006 to 2008), 283 on-air stories ran a total of 362 times and 77 on-line stories and at least 20 different educational features were posted to the project web site. While a systemic change in the public’s attitude and behavior as a result of this project to protect watershed resources in North Central Texas is difficult to measure, e-Life has nevertheless had a positive effect on the region’s environmental awareness and quality.
The e-Life Final Report can be accessed here [PDF].
This project was administered and awarded funding by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) under the Clean Water Act (CWA) §319(h) Agricultural/Silvicultural Nonpoint Source Grant Program in Texas. Grant funds were distributed to the TSSWCB through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as appropriated by Congress. The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) coordinated with StormCenter Communications, Inc. and CBS/KTVT-11 Dallas/Fort Worth to meet the terms of the TSSWCB Federal Funded Agreement.