Environment

Kate Payne/IPR

Sixteen-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg took her weekly climate strike to Iowa City Friday, and was welcomed by local elected officials and several thousand supporters.

marcia-oc / Creative Commons

The population of monarch butterflies has been cut in half over the last decade, according to University of Wisconsin Arboretum Director Karen Oberhauser. 

Oberhauser joins Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe to  discuss the latest updates on the status of monarch butterflies. She has dedicated 35 years to studying the species. As monarch butterfly populations dwindled,  her resarch expanded to focus on conservation. 

Oberhauser says monarchs have recently been faring better and have risen in population throughout the last two years.  

Katie Peikes / IPR file

A state board has signed off on $15 million to buy out damaged homes and to build and repair levees in western Iowa. But some flood recovery projects are being left on the table.

Kate Payne / IPR

The U.S. Geological Survey is expanding its network of water quality sensors to include a first-of-its-kind mobile sensor – that will cruise the Mississippi River attached to a steamboat.

Courtesy of CDC

Sioux City has been working to get its drinking water back to compliance after violating a drinking water standard for disinfection byproducts.

Kate Payne/IPR

Iowa’s elected conservationists want to stop farmers from planting up to the edges of creeks and rivers. A statewide association is pushing for mandatory 30 foot stream buffers along the state’s waterways, to slow erosion and nutrient loss.

Kate Payne/IPR

Iowa is seeing certain impacts of climate change impacts more clearly than much of the rest of the country, according to a new analysis for the Iowa Policy Project. The findings predict the trend of increasingly hot, wet weather in the Upper Midwest will likely continue and worsen if greenhouse gas emissions go unchecked.

Katie Peikes / IPR

A group of conservationists is embarking on a four-day scenic bike tour through western Iowa’s Loess Hills region. The tour, which starts Thursday, is designed to get people out to this rare landform and recognize its value.

Jessica Francis / Flickr

cogdogblog, Creative Commons

The average American consumer is responsible for 234 pounds of plastic waste each year, and of the 30 million tons of plastic produced each year across the globe, about half are created for single-use purposes. Used once, then thrown away.   

Jeremie Silvestro / Wikimedia Commons

Hibiscus blooms can be big and showy, or small and delicate. Growing hibiscus can be an easy way to add a little bit of exotic beauty to your yard or garden.

On this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe and Cindy Haynes, Associate Professor of Horticulture at Iowa State University, chat about how to grow sun-loving, flowering hibiscus plants in Iowa.  

Amy Mayer/IPR

The roar of diesel buses, and more importantly the pollution they emit, will be reduced when CyRide, a partnership between Iowa State University, its students and the city of Ames, gets its first two all-electric buses.

CyRide received a $1.66 million grant from the Federal Transit Authority’s Low or No Emission Bus Program for the buses and the changes to the garage that will be necessary to accommodate charging them.

Courtesy of CDC

State environmental officials have started testing the state’s public water supply systems for an emerging chemical of concern.

Kate Payne/IPR

Scientists are urging Davenport officials to factor in climate change as they debate future flood protection plans. Some analysts say this year’s historic flood levels could’ve been much worse.

John Krzton-Presson / Iowa Master Gardener Program

This year the Iowa Master Gardener Program celebrates 40 years of community engagement through gardening initiatives and educational outreach. Since 1979, over 14,300 Iowans have received master gardening training. 

Kate Payne/IPR file

Eastern Iowa residents will have a chance to weigh in on flooding, drought and navigation on the Mississippi River at public meetings this month. Events are slated for this Saturday in Muscatine and July 27th in Dubuque.

Ryan D Riley / Flickr

Water quality is one of the greatest environmental challenges in the state of Iowa. There are many sources of pollution and finding and implementing solutions is complicated. Jim Pease, Emeritus Associate Professor of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Iowa State University, developed an exercise designed to spark problem-solving creativity when it comes to water quality.

Valerija B / Pixabay

Hot and cool, wet and dry, Iowa weather can be inconsistent and the changes dramatic, which can negatively impact plants. On this Hort Day edition of Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe talks with horticulture experts about how the heat of an Iowa summer affects our plants. And we get some advice on watering strategies to keep your plants happy and healthy. 

Also during the program, Charity and our panel of horticulture experts answer listener questions on all things green and growing.

Guests include:

Kate Payne/IPR file

The city of Davenport is taking a deeper look at this year’s historic floods and the city’s handling of them. A task force of residents, business leaders, local officials and scientists met for the first time this week, kick-starting a formal review process.

CHRISTINE WARNER HAWKS/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Starting Monday there's a new director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. After serving as Gov. Kim Reynolds legislative liaison, Kayla Lyon will become the agency's first female leader, after the department has gone over a year without a permanent leader in place.

Anna / Unsplash

On this Hort Day edition of Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe talks with Aaron Steil of Reiman Gardens in Ames about how you can get the most out of your roses and how to pick the right plants for your landscape.

Don Graham/flickr creative commons

Iowans now have a new way to find out about private drinking water wells in their area. A team of researchers at the University of Iowa has built an interactive online map for residents, engineers and well drillers to better access well location and water quality information.

CHRISTINE WARNER HAWKS/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

A new analysis shows Iowans may face higher risks of certain health issues due to nitrate pollution in drinking water. Across the country, thousands of cases of certain cancers and birth defects may be linked to the contaminant, researchers found.

Katie Peikes / IPR file

Extreme weather, including flooding and tornados, has been topping the news in Iowa and the Midwest. But the number of extreme weather events in the region may be even more numerous than we're able to recall. 

Kate Payne/IPR

Some business owners in downtown Burlington are pumping out river water after a temporary floodwall broke Saturday. It’s the second such breech this year for Iowa cities on the Mississippi.

Charity Nebbe

This program originally aired on July 18, 2017.

Rivers are a vital part of Iowa's ecosystem.

“Rivers in Iowa are the most important corridors of habitat, the ribbons of habitat, that we have left," says  wildlife biologist Jim Pease.

Over the past four summers Pease has paddled 1800 miles of Iowa rivers. On these trips he’s learned a lot about habitat, water quality, and human impact on the water ways. 

Wikimedia Commons

We survived the polar vortex and just had a cool damp spring, but now that the weather seems to be catching up with the season, many of our trees look like they are still lagging behind. If you've been asking yourself "What's wrong with my trees?" this spring, rest assured you are not alone.

Kate Payne/IPR

An eastern Iowa conservation group is taking an unconventional approach to tracking rare turtles on its land. Iowa Public Radio tagged along with a man who’s trained his hunting dogs to find the reptiles for researchers. Counting the creatures will help conservationists manage the land better.

Katie Peikes / IPR

An environmental group has bought a vast property in western Iowa’s Loess Hills. The purchase will allow them to preserve native prairie.

CHRISTINE WARNER HAWKS/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Des Moines Water Works is putting pressure on state regulators to clean up contamination at a nearby military base. In letters to the state Department of Natural Resources and the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, the utility called the chemicals a public health concern.

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