The board of the state's largest water utility has voted unanimously to sue three northern Iowa counties, holding them responsible for the high nitrate levels in rivers the utility uses for source water. Des Moines Water Works CEO and General Manager Bill Stowe says there have been significant peaks in nitrate levels throughout the last three years.
Not too long ago, the call of the Trumpeter Swan was unheard in Iowa; the last nesting pair was seen in 1883. But with concentrated effort from biologists and conservationists, the species has made a comeback in the state.
If you’re looking for a healthy way to start the New Year, take a hike. IPRs Julie Englander spoke with Todd Coffelt, the bureau chief for state parks with the Department of Natural Resources. He says on January first, Iowa State Parks are participating in America’s State Park’s First Day Hikes…
For more information on Iowa State Parks First Day Hike go to the Iowa Department Natural Resources events calendar at www.iowadnr.gov.
A proposal to modify the Clean Water Act from the Environmental Protection Agency will face stiff opposition come January, says U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley. That’s when both the House and the Senate will be held by the GOP.
Grassley and other Republicans have spoken harshly against the Waters of the U.S. rule, which would increase federal oversight of U.S. waterways.
Jaguars don’t roam the prairies and Hyacinth Macaws don’t perch in our oak trees, but today on Talk of Iowa we learn about the wild creatures of Brazil with wildlife biologist, Jim Pease.
Big cats, small primates, colorful birds, and rodents of unusual size. We also find out why the biodiversity of the Amazon matters here in Iowa.
"While we still celebrate the wildlife that we have here in Iowa, I think we need to remember how diverse it once was," says Pease. "Visiting places that are these 'mega-diversity' places is important for a number of reasons."
The recipient of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation’s highest honor is being recognized for her environmental work while serving on the Jasper County Conservation Board and elsewhere. The Newton woman credits her Native American heritage for instilling a love of Mother Earth.
The head of a major environmental organization will lead a new initiative to get farmers to comply with water quality standards. But other environmentalists are skeptical the new standards will work as long as they remain voluntary.
A mother black bear and her two cubs were spotted earlier this week, on the border of Fayette and Clayton Counties, in northeast Iowa. The next day, a beekeeper discovered bear scat and paw prints near some damaged hives.
Also this week, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources 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.
Officials with the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management agency 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. The rail lines are complying with a new federal mandate to report shipments of more than a million gallons.
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. Bird Biologist with Iowa DNR Bruce Ehresman says it’s the largest important bird
conservation area in the state with about 135 thousand acres….
A dedication of the state’s first globally important bird area takes place May 31st at the Yellow River State Forest headquarters.
Each year, the statewide nonprofit organization Iowa Rivers Revival 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.
On a cool spring day, fish splash at the trout hatchery in Decorah as a few hearty men in waders angle nearby. Alongside the Upper Iowa River is a multi-use, four season trail. The recreation options are among the reasons Iowa Rivers Revival selected Decorah and the Oneota Valley for this year's award.
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. The event’s Iowa coordinator Chelsea Underwood says there are several ways to identify the bird…. For more information go to www.rustyblackbird.org. Or, contact your local bird-watching group.
Researchers at the University of Iowa have received a $125,000 federal grant to study the effects of frack sand mining on air quality.
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 one major frack sand mine in Iowa’s Clayton County. But parts of northeast Iowa are rich in these sand deposits.
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. About 70 of these bison live at the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge in Prairie City.
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. However, because herds are isolated from each other the agency conducts genetic testing to prevent inbreeding.
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.
Iowa homeowners and municipalities can use urban wetlands to capture nutrients that pollute state waterways and improve water quality. That’s according to a new report out Wednesday. But researchers say it would only be a small part of improving the state’s water quality.
The amount of pollution municipalities put into the state’s rivers and streams are regulated. This new report from the Iowa Policy Project documents what else cities and homeowners to reduce polluted storm runoff.
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 – are growing even in the most environmentally sensitive areas.
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.
This summer, officials in Iowa have been asking farmers to voluntarily reduce the amount of fertilizer they use. That’s because the fertilizer contains nitrates that are being washed into state waterways and creating environmental concerns locally and nationally. The runoff has been particularly bad this year, and the outcry over typical crop practices is growing. To find if Iowa farmers are complying with the government’s request, Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters followed the water trail.