Environment http://iowapublicradio.org en Predators Come Back to Iowa http://iowapublicradio.org/post/predators-come-back-iowa <p>A mother black bear and her two cubs were spotted earlier this week, on the border of Fayette and Clayton Counties, in northeast Iowa.&nbsp; The next day, a beekeeper discovered bear scat and paw prints near some damaged hives. Also this week, the <a href="http://www.iowadnr.gov/">Iowa Department of Natural Resources</a> confirmed the state's first mountain lion of 2014. A deer carcass with signs of mountain lion predation was found in Cherokee County, in northeast Iowa.</p> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 11:35:04 +0000 Sarah Boden 43911 at http://iowapublicradio.org Predators Come Back to Iowa Nine Counties See Shipments of Bakken Crude http://iowapublicradio.org/post/nine-counties-see-shipments-bakken-crude <p>Officials with the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management agency &nbsp;released to the general public the routes rail lines take to haul crude oil through the state from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The rail lines are complying with a new federal mandate to report shipments of more than a million gallons. &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Mon, 07 Jul 2014 20:57:11 +0000 Joyce Russell 43356 at http://iowapublicradio.org Nine Counties See Shipments of Bakken Crude Pollutants in Iowa's Watershed http://iowapublicradio.org/post/pollutants-iowas-watershed <p>A <a href="http://www.environmentiowacenter.org/reports/iac/wasting-our-waterways">report </a>released today by <a href="http://www.environmentiowacenter.org/">Environment Iowa Research and Policy Center</a> listed <a href="http://www.cargill.com/index.jsp">Cargill Meat Solutions’s</a> pork processing plant in Ottumwa as the state’s number one disposer of toxic chemicals into waterways.</p><p>In 2012 Cargill disposed more than 2,800,000 lbs of chemicals into the Lower Des Moines River.</p> Thu, 19 Jun 2014 22:21:46 +0000 Sarah Boden 42510 at http://iowapublicradio.org Pollutants in Iowa's Watershed Iowa's globally significant bird area http://iowapublicradio.org/post/iowas-globally-significant-bird-area <p></p><p>Effigy Mounds-Yellow River Forest in northeast Iowa’s Allamakee County is designated as the first globally important bird area for Iowa, and it’s all because of a very small blue and white bird with a lovely song called the Cerulean Warbler.&nbsp; Bird Biologist with Iowa DNR Bruce Ehresman says it’s the largest important bird</p><p></p><p>conservation area in the state with about 135 thousand acres….</p><p>A dedication of the state’s first globally important bird area takes place May 31<sup>st</sup> at the Yellow River State Forest headquarters.</p> Mon, 19 May 2014 22:45:31 +0000 Julie Englander 40888 at http://iowapublicradio.org Iowa's globally significant bird area Trumpeter Swans Returning to Southern Iowa http://iowapublicradio.org/post/trumpeter-swans-returning-southern-iowa <p></p><p></p><p>Last spring, flooding destroyed 19 percent of trumpeter swan nests in Iowa.&nbsp; Then in the fall many of the juveniles, or cygnets, died from drought.</p><p>Iowa Department of Natural Resources wildlife research technician Dave Hoffman says modification of Iowa’s watershed causes this severe weather.</p><p>“Wetlands…act as sponges to clean and hold the water in the spring, but also…hold the water in the fall (to) provide the moisture we need.”</p> Wed, 14 May 2014 18:35:11 +0000 Sarah Boden 40616 at http://iowapublicradio.org Trumpeter Swans Returning to Southern Iowa River Curriculum Helps Decorah Earn Statewide Honor http://iowapublicradio.org/post/river-curriculum-helps-decorah-earn-statewide-honor <p></p><p>Each year, the statewide nonprofit organization <a href="http://iowarivers.org/">Iowa Rivers Revival</a> honors a community for its commitment to the river that runs through it. This year the group named Decorah as its River Town of the Year.&nbsp;</p> Wed, 07 May 2014 10:00:00 +0000 Amy Mayer 40249 at http://iowapublicradio.org River Curriculum Helps Decorah Earn Statewide Honor Rusty Blackbird Blitz in Iowa http://iowapublicradio.org/post/rusty-blackbird-blitz-iowa <p>Although the current weather may not feel like spring is near, many birds are already beginning to migrate. And that includes the Rusty Blackbird. But the species is declining. And that is where the Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz comes in. It’s a bird count of sorts.&nbsp; The event’s Iowa coordinator Chelsea Underwood says there are several ways to identify the bird….&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; For more information go to www.rustyblackbird.org. Or, contact your local bird-watching group.</p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p></p> Sun, 02 Mar 2014 14:00:00 +0000 Julie Englander 36968 at http://iowapublicradio.org Rusty Blackbird Blitz in Iowa Air Quality Concerns from Frack Sand to be Studied by UI Team http://iowapublicradio.org/post/air-quality-concerns-frack-sand-be-studied-ui-team-0 <p></p><p>Researchers at the University of Iowa have received a $125,000 federal grant to study the effects of frack sand mining on air quality.</p><p>The rise in hydraulic fracturing in the US and Canada has created demand for silica sand, used in the fracking process. There’s currently just <a href="http://www.pattisonsand.com/">one major frack sand mine </a>in Iowa’s Clayton County. But parts of northeast Iowa are rich in these sand deposits.</p> Fri, 29 Nov 2013 05:30:00 +0000 Sarah McCammon 32781 at http://iowapublicradio.org Air Quality Concerns from Frack Sand to be Studied by UI Team Bison Roundup at the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge http://iowapublicradio.org/post/bison-roundup-neal-smith-wildlife-refuge <p>The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) manages almost 1,400 bison spread out amongst seven herds located in Iowa, Colorado, Oklahoma, Montana, Nebraska and North Dakota.&nbsp; About 70 of these bison live at the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge in Prairie City.</p><p>FWS aims to preserve the species genetic diversity with as little human intervention as possible by allowing the forces of natural selection determine which bison live and die.&nbsp; However, because herds are isolated from each other the agency conducts genetic testing to prevent inbreeding.</p> Thu, 14 Nov 2013 16:53:00 +0000 Sarah Boden 32120 at http://iowapublicradio.org Bison Roundup at the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge Iowa Politicians Critical of Investigative AP Report on Ethanol http://iowapublicradio.org/post/iowa-politicians-critical-investigative-ap-report-ethanol <p></p><p>Critics are challenging an investigative report by the Associated Press that says ethanol production is damaging the environment. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, the debate comes as the Environmental Protection Agency is getting closer to finalizing how much ethanol will be blended into gasoline in 2014.&nbsp;</p> Tue, 12 Nov 2013 21:20:15 +0000 Clay Masters 32012 at http://iowapublicradio.org Iowa Politicians Critical of Investigative AP Report on Ethanol Urban Wetlands Play a Part in Improving Iowa Water Quality http://iowapublicradio.org/post/urban-wetlands-play-part-improving-iowa-water-quality <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</span>Iowa homeowners and municipalities can use urban wetlands to capture nutrients that pollute state waterways and improve water quality. <a href="http://www.iowapolicyproject.org/2013Research/131030-Wetlands.pdf">That’s according to a new report out Wednesday. </a>But researchers say it would only be a small part of improving the state’s water quality.</p> Wed, 30 Oct 2013 21:15:00 +0000 Clay Masters 31370 at http://iowapublicradio.org Urban Wetlands Play a Part in Improving Iowa Water Quality Environmentally Sensitive ‘Driftless’ Region Highlights CAFO Concerns http://iowapublicradio.org/post/environmentally-sensitive-driftless-region-highlights-cafo-concerns <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</span></p><p>Thanks to tight competition, hog farmers are feeling a push to expand or get out of the business. That means indoor confined animal feeding operations – or CAFOs&nbsp;– are growing even in the most environmentally sensitive areas.</p> Wed, 23 Oct 2013 07:59:31 +0000 Clay Masters 30957 at http://iowapublicradio.org Environmentally Sensitive ‘Driftless’ Region Highlights CAFO Concerns Scientists Fight Bat Fungus in a "Race Against Time" http://iowapublicradio.org/post/scientists-fight-bat-fungus-race-against-time <p>As the weather gets colder, bats will soon head into hibernation. But Iowa’s bat population is at an important juncture: Scientists are watching to see whether a devastating fungus that has already been discovered once in the state, will infect cave-dwelling bats.</p><p></p><p></p> Tue, 24 Sep 2013 14:04:11 +0000 Sarah McCammon 29565 at http://iowapublicradio.org Scientists Fight Bat Fungus in a "Race Against Time" Sioux City May End Glass Recycling http://iowapublicradio.org/post/sioux-city-may-end-glass-recycling <p></p><p></p><p>Sioux City’s garbage contractor is asking the City Council to discontinue collecting glass for recycling.</p><p>The City Council will vote next week on the request to exclude glass from the city’s curbside pickup of recyclable materials.</p><p>Glass is easy to recycle, but expensive to haul to a recycling center - and inexpensive to make new.</p> Mon, 02 Sep 2013 11:02:26 +0000 Dean Borg 28435 at http://iowapublicradio.org Sioux City May End Glass Recycling Farmers, Policymakers Debate Water Quality Regulation http://iowapublicradio.org/post/farmers-policymakers-debate-water-quality-regulation <p></p> Wed, 28 Aug 2013 11:00:00 +0000 Clay Masters 28127 at http://iowapublicradio.org Farmers, Policymakers Debate Water Quality Regulation 5 years later, Iowans learning to live with floods http://iowapublicradio.org/post/5-years-later-iowans-learning-live-floods <p>It has been five years since the floods of 2008. Now, a week after another round of flooding in Eastern Iowa, IPR’s Durrie Bouscaren looks at how many Iowans are adapting to changing times.</p><p></p><p></p><p>More than a thousand runners participated in “Run the Flood,” an annual race through Cedar Rapids to commemorate the anniversary of a flood that would change the landscape of many Iowa cities and towns. Carmen Covington says she participates every year.</p> Wed, 12 Jun 2013 14:39:51 +0000 Durrie Bouscaren 22309 at http://iowapublicradio.org 5 years later, Iowans learning to live with floods Are Iowa Fertilizer Plants at Risk? http://iowapublicradio.org/post/are-iowa-fertilizer-plants-risk <p></p><p> The deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas is prompting questions about regulatory oversight there.&nbsp; In Iowa, officials say fertilizer is only produced at a handful of sites across the state, but many others store it.</p><p>A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency spokesman says the agency regulates 700 retail facilities in Iowa that store more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous&nbsp;ammonia fertilizer, an ingredient that can be particularly volatile.</p> Fri, 19 Apr 2013 13:13:49 +0000 Sarah McCammon 19453 at http://iowapublicradio.org Are Iowa Fertilizer Plants at Risk? As Rustic Camps Struggle, Girl Scouts Look at Modernizing Camping http://iowapublicradio.org/post/rustic-camps-struggle-girl-scouts-look-modernizing-camping <p>Officials with<a href="http://www.gseiwi.org/"> Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois</a> are voting on whether to downsize four of their Girl Scout camps. The proposal is a step back from an earlier plan, to sell all four camps entirely. Girl Scouts officials say today's girls want a more modern camping experience.</p><p>There are certain traditions that are essential to being a Girl Scout: reciting the Girl Scout Pledge, selling cookies, and – for many girls over many decades – going to summer camp.</p> Thu, 11 Apr 2013 13:40:46 +0000 Sarah McCammon 19058 at http://iowapublicradio.org As Rustic Camps Struggle, Girl Scouts Look at Modernizing Camping It's not easy being green; University of Iowa Hospitals try composting http://iowapublicradio.org/post/its-not-easy-being-green-university-iowa-hospitals-try-composting <p>A longtime composting program in Iowa City is about to gain a major participant; the dining halls at the state's largest hospital. Iowa Public Radio's Durrie Bouscaren looks at how landfills are turning food waste into a smelly source of garden soil.</p><p></p><p>At the Iowa City landfill, there are tall rows of compost; a goulash of food waste and lawn trimmings. Each pile is about the size of a city bus, but it’s the smell that you notice first. When it’s cold, you can see steam coming off of the mounds.</p> Wed, 27 Mar 2013 22:30:33 +0000 Durrie Bouscaren 18358 at http://iowapublicradio.org It's not easy being green; University of Iowa Hospitals try composting Some Northeast Iowans Fear Expanded "Frac" Sand Mining http://iowapublicradio.org/post/some-northeast-iowans-fear-expanded-frac-sand-mining-0 <p>Northeast Iowa is known for the big, scenic hills that dot the Mississippi River Valley and beyond.&nbsp; Many of those hills contain sandstone. They can be used in hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas.</p><p>But some residents are concerned that more sand mining would harm the area’s environment.</p><p>Iowa Public Radio’s Sarah McCammon looks at the current state of “frac” sand mining in Iowa…and the potential for more.</p> Tue, 05 Mar 2013 14:39:30 +0000 Sarah McCammon 17200 at http://iowapublicradio.org Some Northeast Iowans Fear Expanded "Frac" Sand Mining Economic Opportunites and Environmental Concerns Set Up Debate Over 'Frac' Sand Mining http://iowapublicradio.org/post/economic-opportunites-and-environmental-concerns-set-debate-over-frac-sand-mining <p>You’ve probably heard about controversies over the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing – the technique known as “fracking.” There’s no oil or gas fracking in Iowa…but the increasing use of the technique is affecting the state. It’s creating a market for finely-grained silica sand from northeast Iowa.</p><p>And some residents of the area are in conflict over the future of frac sand mining.</p> Mon, 04 Mar 2013 13:24:45 +0000 Sarah McCammon 17137 at http://iowapublicradio.org Economic Opportunites and Environmental Concerns Set Up Debate Over 'Frac' Sand Mining Frack Sand Mining Stirs Up Controversy in Northeast Iowa http://iowapublicradio.org/post/frack-sand-mining-stirs-controversy-northeast-iowa <p></p><p>Controversy over so-called “frack” sand mining is heating up in northeast Iowa. A community meeting Wednesday evening in Decorah will focus on concerns about the possibility of mining development in Winneshiek County.</p><p>Fine sand can be used in the hydraulic fracturing process known as “fracking.” The technique is used to remove natural gas and oil from deep underground. There’s not any oil or gas fracking in Iowa right now – but there is a<a href="http://www.pattisonsand.com/"> sand mine </a>in northeast Iowa’s Clayton County, which is shipping frack sand out of state.</p> Wed, 20 Feb 2013 13:17:57 +0000 Sarah McCammon 15674 at http://iowapublicradio.org Frack Sand Mining Stirs Up Controversy in Northeast Iowa Does Drought Have an Upside? http://iowapublicradio.org/post/does-drought-have-upside <p>Over the past several months, we’ve been reporting on lots of problems caused by a lack of rain. And for good reason – the historic drought plaguing Iowa and much of the nation has dried up crops, destroyed landscaping, and killed off fish.</p><p>But like with most things, there can be a silver lining.</p><p>John Larson makes wine at <a href="http://snushillwine.com/">Snus Hill Winery</a> in Madrid, Iowa. This time of year, he’s not growing grapes – but he is mixing wine in giant, silver tanks.</p> Thu, 24 Jan 2013 13:52:24 +0000 Sarah McCammon 13959 at http://iowapublicradio.org Does Drought Have an Upside? Des Moines street chosen for EPA partnership http://iowapublicradio.org/post/des-moines-street-chosen-epa-partnership <p></p><p></p><p>Since 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has picked five cities each year for its <a href="http://www.epa.gov/dced/greencapitals.htm">Greening America's Capitals</a> project. On this year’s list? Des Moines.</p><p>The project will focus on revitalizing the 6<sup>th</sup> Avenue Corridor in downtown Des Moines.&nbsp; The idea is to make the corridor friendlier to pedestrians, with wider sidewalks, improved lightning and larger bus stop shelters.</p> Tue, 11 Dec 2012 13:16:06 +0000 Sandhya Dirks 11855 at http://iowapublicradio.org Des Moines street chosen for EPA partnership Deer numbers down http://iowapublicradio.org/post/deer-numbers-down <p>Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley was in a car that hit a deer last month and that was the beginning of a series of tweets to see if other Iowans have had similar experiences this fall.&nbsp;Senator Grassley says in addition to the vehicle crash, he began noticing a significant amount of dead deer along the highway.</p><p>Department of Natural Resources deer biologist Tom Litchfield admits there are certain pockets in the state where there are high concentrations of deer, but for the most part</p> Fri, 30 Nov 2012 04:48:38 +0000 Pat Blank 11414 at http://iowapublicradio.org Deer numbers down More Money for Livestock Inspectors http://iowapublicradio.org/post/more-money-livestock-inspectors <p>The head of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources &nbsp;asked the governor and his budget advisors for &nbsp;more than a million dollars to hire new inspectors for the state’s livestock facilities.&nbsp; But that&nbsp; may not be enough to prevent the federal Environmental Protection agency&nbsp;</p><p>from taking over enforcement of clean water standards.</p> Wed, 28 Nov 2012 22:31:45 +0000 Joyce Russell 11362 at http://iowapublicradio.org More Money for Livestock Inspectors Branstad Unveils Water Pollution Strategy http://iowapublicradio.org/post/branstad-unveils-water-pollution-strategy <p></p><p><a href="http://www.nutrientstrategy.iastate.edu/">&nbsp; A strategy on how Iowa will cut back farm and sewage treatment</a> pollution released today by Governor Branstad’s office is being criticized for being too friendly to farmers. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, its intent is to shrink a dead zone in the nation’s top commercial fishery in the Gulf of Mexico.</p> Mon, 19 Nov 2012 22:32:02 +0000 Clay Masters 10990 at http://iowapublicradio.org Branstad Unveils Water Pollution Strategy Iowans Seeing Rare, White-Tailed Squirrels http://iowapublicradio.org/post/iowans-seeing-rare-white-tailed-squirrels <p></p><p></p><p>We’re all too familiar with <a href="http://www.iawhitetaildeerassociation.com/">whitetail deer</a>. But there also have been a few recent sightings in Iowa of rare white-tailed squirrels.</p><p>The rodent with the bushy, snow-white tail is snow white. It’s been seen in the Witmer Park area near Drake University. Earlier this year, <a href="http://globegazette.com/news/local/unique-white-tailed-squirrels-the-talk-of-osage/article_c20a512e-aec2-11e1-ac18-0019bb2963f4.html">several were spotted</a> in the town of Osage.</p> Mon, 19 Nov 2012 14:06:05 +0000 Rick Fredericksen 10958 at http://iowapublicradio.org Iowans Seeing Rare, White-Tailed Squirrels Drought's Impact on Iowa Trout Streams Could Intensify http://iowapublicradio.org/post/droughts-impact-iowa-trout-streams-could-intensify <p>The attention often centers on agriculture when a drought hits. But new Iowa Department of Natural Resources numbers show the state’s stream flows are well below normal and groundwater levels are reaching historic lows. There's a ripple effect in how the drought will affect the state’s fish.</p> Thu, 04 Oct 2012 21:45:00 +0000 Clay Masters 8912 at http://iowapublicradio.org Drought's Impact on Iowa Trout Streams Could Intensify A year after flood, Hamburg hopes to keep levee http://iowapublicradio.org/post/year-after-flood-hamburg-hopes-keep-levee <p>Last summer, Iowa and Nebraska were in the grips of major flooding along the Missouri River. Now, a small southwest Iowa community hopes to make permanent a levee that protected them from the river.&nbsp;</p><p>To find out more about the levee project, click <a href="http://hamburglevee.com">here</a>.</p> Tue, 07 Aug 2012 16:31:43 +0000 Deborah Newcombe 5905 at http://iowapublicradio.org A year after flood, Hamburg hopes to keep levee