Ongoing Coverage:

Environment

Environment
1:03 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Habitat Loss and Its Impact on Iowa's Biodiversity

An IPR listener photo submission of a Great Blue Heron, titled: "My pond is like stopping at McDonald's"
Kenneth Mertes

Many scientists believe that Earth is in the midst of a sixth great extinction. On this edition of Talk of Iowa, threats to biodiversity in the Midwest.

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Books
3:43 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Actress Melissa Gilbert on Life After "Little House on the Prairie"

"Talk of Iowa" host Charity Nebbe with actress Melissa Gilbert in Iowa Public Radio's Iowa City studio
Lindsey Moon Iowa Public Radio

Reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie books is a rite of passage for millions of children. 

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News Buzz
3:54 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Ebola Vaccines in Ames and Algae Blooms in Lake Red Rock

Blue-green algae is dangerous to drink and to swim in.
Chris Tomlinson Geograph

Ebola and algae scares hit in Western Africa and Toledo respectively this week. The threats may feel far away, but they hit home closer than you think.

On this News Buzz edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Anne Pham, in charge compliance and enforcement of the drinking water program at the Department of Natural Resources. She explains what made the water in Toledo undrinkable and how we can protect Iowa water.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:05 am
Thu August 7, 2014

My Farm Roots: A Father, a Daughter and a Tractor

Emily Robbins and her father, Vic, at the family's farm in Osage County, Kan.
Courtesy of Emily Robbins

Emily Robbins is a city girl now.

Well, I’m using that term as a cliché. Robbins, 27, lives in Kansas City and works as an engineer at a large firm. She is part of a profession that is made up of just 14 percent women.

Her choice of professions makes sense, though, when you know that she started out as her father’s “boy.”

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Ripple Effects
3:41 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Carrot or Stick? The Government's Role in Environmental Policy

A sunrise near Decorah
Katherine Perkins IPR

The Clean Air Act was most recently amended in 1990, with overwhelming bipartisan support.  Is that kind of sweeping environmental policy possible today? 

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Ripple Effects
9:50 am
Mon July 28, 2014

The True Cost of Energy

Iowa leads the nation in wind energy. Host Charity Nebbe speaks with three guests to discover the state of energy in Iowa.
Kwerdenker Wikimedia Commons

"Cheap energy isn't cheap."

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Ripple Effects
4:15 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Invisible Air: Regulating Iowa's Air Quality

An ethanol plant near Marcus, Iowa
keeva999 / flickr

The EPA sets regulations for 6 sources of air pollution, but there are hundreds of pollutants known to the EPA that go unregulated.

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Ripple Effects
4:22 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Urban Iowa: "Once you put asphalt over the top of it, there's no reclaiming it"

Just outside of Des Moines, Ankeny's population has gone from 15,000 in 1980 to more than 50,000 in 2014. By 2035, population is expected to reach 90,000.
David Wade Couch

Today we continue our summer series on the environment by taking a look at urban development – what we’re doing right and wrong.

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Environment
3:57 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

News Buzz: Decorah Eagle Electrocuted

Indy, or D18, when he first hatched.
Petrarchan47 Wikimedia Commons

A beloved Iowa eagle was found dead earlier this week. Indy, as his fans called him, a young male eaglet whose hatching was witnessed by thousands online earlier this spring was electrocuted by a power pole on Tuesday. The bird had a large following in the state and across the country; more than 500 people have posted condolences on the Raptor Resource Project’s Facebook page. Host Ben Kieffer speaks with their executive director, Bob Anderson, about what happened to the bird and what can be done to protect these eagles in the future.

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Ripple Effects
5:14 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Garbage Meets Its Potential: Thousands of Plastic Bags Become a Park Bench

A park bench can be made from tens of thousands of plastic grocery bags.
Courtesy of PLASTIC RECYCLING OF IOWA FALLS, INC

Reduce, reuse, recycle. That’s been the mantra among the environmentally conscious for the last 25 years. This hour – an in-depth exploration of recycling in Iowa.

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Ripple Effects
4:52 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Recycling 101: Are you doing it right?

Clare Roth

Recycling can be a tricky process - whether you leave materials curbside or deposit them at a drop-site, it's often hard to know exactly what can or can't be recycled.

On this Talk of Iowa "short," Joe Hummel of City Carton and Theresa Kurtz of the Iowa Recycling Association share how recycling really works, answer common questions, and alleviate recycling myths.

DO -

Clean out your glass and plastic bottles as much as you can.

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Bakken Crude Shipments
3:57 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Nine Counties See Shipments of Bakken Crude

Photo by Cha gia Jose

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.     

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Talk of Iowa
2:18 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Prairie Silence

When Melanie Hoffert returned home to help with harvest, she decided to try driving a grain truck.
Melanie Hoffert melaniehoffert.com

Melanie Hoffert grew up on a farm in North Dakota.  Like so many others, she left.  But now she feels torn between the land and people she loves and the freedom to live an authentic life.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with Hoffert about her memoir Prairie Silence: A Rural Ex-Patriot's Journey to Reconcile, Home, Love and Faith.  In that book, she describes the month she returned to her family farm to help her father and brother during harvest.  They also discuss what it was like to grow up as a gay woman in rural North Dakota.

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River to River
3:22 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Air Quality Concerns: Are Coal Plants to Blame?

Southend, a Muscatine neighborhood that borders the Grain Processing Corporation and Muscatine Power and Water coal plants
Adam Burke

For decades, U.S. climate change policy has amounted to, "Do as I say, not as I do." However, this week President Obama announced its boldest step yet to reduce carbon emissions. The President wants to reduce carbon emission from power plants by 30% by the year 2030.

Today on River to River, what these guidelines mean for Iowa.

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Children and Nature
12:40 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

The Nature of Childhood

ISU Historian Pamela Riney-Kehrberg's brother Scott looks at a salamander captured in the irrigation ditch where he played as a child.
Mary Thompson Riney

Despite news reports that highlight danger, the world is actually a much safer place for children than it once was.  Accidental death rates for children were much higher in the early 19th and 20th centuries.  And yet, children who were once encouraged to go outside and play, are now highly supervised in organized sports and spend more time watching television than playing outdoors.  On this Earth Day, Host Charity Nebbe talks with historian Pamela Riney-Kehrberg about her new book The Nature of Childhood: An Enivornmental History of Growing Up in America since 1865."  In it, Kehrbe

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Tax Cut for Environment
7:23 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Tax Hike for Environment Advances

Democrats in the Iowa Senate  got the ball rolling on a bill that’s a dream come true for  environmentalists  and natural resource advocates.   The bill raises the state  sales tax for a natural resources trust fund that voters approved by constitutional amendment two years ago.  Backers added a tax cut​  to the bill to soften the blow.    

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Unlocking Prairie Secrets from a Sod House

Researchers prepare to take down a section of a sod house in Gates, Neb., in order to study the bricks made of dirt.
Credit Jackie Sojico/for Harvest Public Media

 

Ecologists in Nebraska are trying to find out what the Great Plains looked like when homesteaders settled there in the 19th century. To do that, they’re working with a team of archaeologists and historians dissecting a sod house, a house built out of bricks cut from dirt.

Larry Estes has had a sod house in his backyard in Gates, Neb., for as long as he can remember. He never really thought anything about it until a year ago when a repairman asked him about it.

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Talk of Iowa
4:17 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

God and the Environment

Statue of St. Francis at Linfield School of Nursing in Portland, Oregon
Geek2Nurse / flickr derivitive work: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode

Increasingly, efforts in environmental preservation are coming from churches.  Join host Charity Nebbe for a talk with Sister Mary Beth Ingham, professor emerita at Loyola Marymount University.  They cover what the Franciscan tradition is in viewing nature and our role in keeping it healthy.  Also, hear about what some churches in Iowa are doing to keep green.

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Nature
3:54 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Jane Goodall on Her Life, Work, and Legacy

Jane Goodall will be in Iowa on Monday, March 10 to present a lecture, “Sowing the Seeds of Hope”
World Bank Photo Collection / flickr

Jane Goodall is famous for her groundbreaking observation of wild chimpanzees; but for the last 30 years, she’s devoted most of her time to traveling the world, telling her stories, and trying to fan the flames of an environmental movement that could save her beloved chimpanzees and so many other species from extinction.

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Talk of Iowa
2:39 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Connecting Habitats in Iowa

At one time 85% of Iowa was covered by tallgrass prairie.
USFWS Mountain Prairie

Every year more wildlife friendly habitat disappears from Iowa and many different species are paying the price.  Host Charity Nebbe discusses the importance of wildlife corridors and roadside prairies with wildlife biologist Jim Pease and Rebecca Kauten, program manager for Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management.  They explain how Iowa's species are suffering due to a lack of connecting habitat as well as both the history of the state's roadside prairies, and the pros and cons of these

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Iowa History
1:20 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Midwestern History Uncovered

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge
Rachel Gardner

We get flown over, driven through, dismissed and mocked, but the history of this region is rich and important. Today on Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with John Lauck, author of The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History, and historian Leo Landis. They talk about the history of the Midwest and why it matters.

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Environment
11:30 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Air Quality Concerns from Frack Sand to be Studied by UI Team

A sand pile at the Pattison Sand Company mine in eastern Iowa's Clayton County. It's the only site in Iowa actively mining for sand to be used in hydraulic fracturing.
Credit Sarah McCammon / Iowa Public Radio

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.

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Talk of Iowa
3:33 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Photographing the Heartland

David Plowden's new book "Heartland: The Plains and the Prairie" captures the Midwestern landscape.
David Plowden

For more than 50 years photographer David Plowden has been capturing images of American and the land he loves most is here in the Midwest. Host Charity Nebbe talks with Plowden about his latest book "Heartland: The Plains and the Prairie." 

Also, Dennis Chamberlin of Iowa State University's Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication discusses how the field of photojournalism is changing.  

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Environment
4:15 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Urban Wetlands Play a Part in Improving Iowa Water Quality

The Raccoon River in Des Moines.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

 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. 

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Talk of Iowa
12:45 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

That Tree: Documenting a Year in the Life of a Lonely Bur Oak

Mark Hirsch

"That Tree" is a lonely Bur oak standing in the middle of a cornfield in Southwest Wisconsin. That Tree is a tree that sparked the imagination of photographer Mark Hirsch. Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Hirsch about what drew him to That Tree and his year long odyssey, taking a picture of the tree every day for a year… and the stunning results.

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Environment
6:02 am
Mon September 2, 2013

Sioux City May End Glass Recycling

The cost of hauling glass to a recycling center often exceeds the value of the material, prompting communities including Sioux City to consider stopping collection.
Credit Dean Borg

Sioux City’s garbage contractor is asking the City Council to discontinue collecting glass for recycling.

The City Council will vote next week on the request to exclude glass from the city’s curbside pickup of recyclable materials.

Glass is easy to recycle, but expensive to haul to a recycling center - and inexpensive to make new.

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Talk of Iowa
2:19 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Regulating Iowa's Water Quality [Talk of Iowa]

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Bill Northey (left) and Governor Terry Branstad (right) reenact a bill signing in front of a wetland at a farm in Winterset, Iowa, south of Des Moines.
Clay Masters IPR

The Gulf of Mexico is the largest hypoxic zone currently affecting the United States. Today on Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hosts a discussion on water quality in Iowa and the connection our state has with the Gulf. We take a look at Iowa's Nutrient Reduction Strategy as a conservation plan.

Today's guests include: Iowa Public Radio reporter Clay Masters, Bill Stowe, the CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works, Iowa's Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey, and John Lawrence, the Associate Dean in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
2:32 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Going Going Gone

Credit Courtesy photo

A new report out Tuesday shows millions of wetland acres and highly erodible grassland and prairie are being plowed under and planted into row crops. This in turn causes intense soil erosion especially in a wet spring like this year. The four year, multi state study was conducted by Environmental Working Group. http://www.ewg.org/research/going-going-gone.

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News
6:00 am
Fri June 28, 2013

The Geese of Cedar Rapids: A Love Story

Every year, parks employees round up hundreds of Canada Geese in Cedar Rapids. But no matter how far they're taken, they always seem to come back.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

In Cedar Rapids, Canada geese are a constant sight in parks, rivers, and pretty much everywhere else. For years the city has tried to control the waterfowl, most recently by implementing a no-feeding ordinance in public parks. Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports from the front lines.

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Talk of Iowa
12:33 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Bison bison bison

Flickr / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Midwest Region

They were once more common than white tailed deer, but now bison live only in controlled and managed herds.  Today on Talk of Iowa Charity Nebbe talks about why bison are so captivating as well as the future of bison in North America.

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