Environment

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.

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.

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.

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.     

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.

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.

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

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.    

Unlocking Prairie Secrets from a Sod House

Apr 15, 2014
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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.  

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. 

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.

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.

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.

Going Going Gone

Jul 30, 2013
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.

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.

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.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Under an agreement with the EPA, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will have to inspect 1,600 livestock facilities each year, for the next five years.  Debate at the Iowa Statehouse is centering around how many inspectors are needed to do the job.  Then, Iowa was one of the first states to approve a graduated driver's license system for teens. Since then, the state has dropped to 49th in rankings of teen driving safety.  A new Iowa law puts more restrictions on the youngest and most inexperienced drivers.

Julie Malake 2012

In 1998 the Environmental Protection Agency declared Nahant Marsh near Davenport a Superfund site. Fifteen years later the marsh is a beautiful, thriving wetland that attracts wildlife and visitors.  Charity Nebbe, talks with guests about the history and resurrection of Nahant Marsh and the challenges facing wetlands across the state of Iowa.

Sarah McCammon / Iowa Public Radio

Northeast Iowa is known for the big, scenic hills that dot the Mississippi River Valley and beyond.  Many of those hills contain sandstone. They can be used in hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas.

But some residents are concerned that more sand mining would harm the area’s environment.

Iowa Public Radio’s Sarah McCammon looks at the current state of “frac” sand mining in Iowa…and the potential for more.

Sarah McCammon / Iowa Public Radio

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.

And some residents of the area are in conflict over the future of frac sand mining.

Kathleen Masterson / Harvest Public Media

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.

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 sand mine in northeast Iowa’s Clayton County, which is shipping frack sand out of state.

Des Moines street chosen for EPA partnership

Dec 11, 2012

Since 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has picked five cities each year for its Greening America's Capitals project. On this year’s list? Des Moines.

The project will focus on revitalizing the 6th Avenue Corridor in downtown Des Moines.  The idea is to make the corridor friendlier to pedestrians, with wider sidewalks, improved lightning and larger bus stop shelters.

The head of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources  asked the governor and his budget advisors for  more than a million dollars to hire new inspectors for the state’s livestock facilities.  But that  may not be enough to prevent the federal Environmental Protection agency 

from taking over enforcement of clean water standards.

USGS

  A strategy on how Iowa will cut back farm and sewage treatment 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.

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