Environment

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.

Iowa Young Birders

Aug 25, 2012

Iowa Young Birders is a new program to get kids outside and develop their interest in birds.  Executive director Carl Bendorf says the nonprofit is a first of its kind in the state.

www.iowayoungbirders.org

Iowa State University

Farmers are already making changes to adjust to global warming. A researcher from Iowa State University meets with agriculture officials, including USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, in Washington, D.C. Thursday.  ISU Climate Science Program Director Dr. Gene Takle is briefing Vilsack and other officials on how to prepare and plan for global warming.  He says climate change actually has some benefits for farmers, at least in the short-term. But he the greatest risk for the industry is unpredictability and wild fluctuations in weather patterns.

Spring may be the time when a young man’s fancy turns to love, but for many species late winter is the season of love. It's Wildlife Day on Talk of Iowa and with eagles nesting, barred owls calling and cardinals singing, we’ll celebrate Valentine’s Day with wildlife biologist Dr. Jim Pease of Ames.

Norman Borlaug, an Iowa farm boy who became the father of the Green Revolution, is credited with saving over a billion people worldwide from starvation. Today, Charity speaks with biographer Noel Vietmeyer about his book “Our Daily Bread: The Essential Norman Borlaug” (Bracing Books) and Ambassador Kenneth Quinn of Des Moines, President of the World Food Prize Foundation.

Food Wasted

Feb 1, 2012

According to the EPA, more than 34 million tons of food waste ends up in landfills each year. Iowa generated nearly 3 million tons in 2010, but some Iowans are working to keep waste out of Iowa's landfills. Bakery goods that don’t get eaten or go bad, food scraps and bi-products of the food preparation process can all be recycled. In Anamosa, Endres Processing turns this waste into feed for Iowa’s livestock. We’ll hear from Brad Edwards, a manager at the plant about what goes on there and how he feeds his own cattle the processed waste in addition to traditional feed.

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