Kate Payne / IPR

A handful of Iowa City students, parents and grandparents joined thousands of protestors around the world Friday in calling for action on climate change.


It’s been a spring to remember for the feathered residents of the North and Fish Hatchery eagle nests in Decorah.

Four eaglets have hatched in total, with only three surviving. The death of one eaglet at Decorah North follows a tumultuous year at the nests, leaden with heartbreak, missing mates, new courtships and even a couple housing renovations.

Hornick resident Dale Ronfeldt's garage in water in March 2019. A reporter joked with him that he had "lakefront property" and Ronfeldt joked, "you want to buy some?"
Katie Peikes / IPR file

As Iowans recover from devastating flooding along the Missouri River, Gov. Kim Reynolds is urging them to consider long-term sustainability. There are urgent short-term needs. But she says the state should work to ensure the same communities don’t flood year after year. 

guizmo_68 / Wikimedia Commons

This time of year nature lovers and ornithophiles alike can go out and witness the wild and wonderful mating displays of a strange looking little bird, the American Woodcock.  

"It's nothing I can define, it's nothing tangible, but boy, you spend a few evenings in the woods or on the edge of the woods watching these guys, and they just get into your heart like few other species can," says naturalist Greg Hoch.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement member Brenda Brink of Huxley speaks in front of the Capitol at Wednesday's lawsuit announcement.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

State agencies should be required to take greater steps to improve water quality in the Raccoon River according to a new lawsuit filed Wednesday by Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and Food and Water Watch.

The river provides drinking water for much of the Des Moines area, but it often carries excessive levels of nutrients from the farm fields that drain into it.

Christine Warner Hawks via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/christinehawks/14392501295/in/photolist-nVPkd4-TMTEXb-dFC3GW-aNDnvB-aNCVqT-asc5dz-bkyHJA-4RrZCb-4Rny6e-aseJa3-4qwnsL-aNCVHc-Gmyfpj-9bD6Jx-GuKwPM-268UxNo-dTM9Aj-Rr6swT-58v5mx-9k7rVZ-2aBNPnG-pkHJmC-rB5EDN-Rr6sse-67B8ga-qhwZdF-T

The Des Moines Water Works plans to do more testing for toxic chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS, after high levels were detected at a nearby military base. Groundwater contamination at the Iowa Air National Guard base in Des Moines is nearly 200 times the federal government’s health advisory, according to a recently published military analysis obtained by Iowa Public Radio.

Don Graham via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/23155134@N06/43926581151/

Iowa officials suspect chemical contamination at a military base in Sioux City could be reaching other wells in the area, including the private drinking wells of local residents. Recently published test results show a class of chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, were detected at the base at levels 100 times federal guidelines.

Katie Peikes/Iowa Public Radio

Gov. Kim Reynolds has issued a total of 43 countywide disaster proclamations in response to flooding that began on March 13. 

The impact has been widespread, but communities in southwestern Iowa continue to experience the heaviest impact, with many community members finding themselves displaced and assessing the damages of homes, properties, and businesses.

On this episode of River to River, we hear stories from three communities who continue to feel the effects of last week's flooding. 

This program features conversations with: 

Kate Payne / IPR

Tuesday is the last day for current and former residents of Muscatine to file a claim in a class action pollution case. Lawyers expect to receive approximately 3,000 requests from potential beneficiaries by the deadline.

John Grimm via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/awesomecool/

The Green New Deal has broad-based support among Democratic voters, according to a new Iowa poll. Ninety-one percent of likely Democratic voters favor candidates who support the Green New Deal, according to the Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll of likely Democratic caucusgoers. 

Wikimedia Commns

Due to deep snow, plenty of ice, wild winds, and frigid temperatures, it has been a long, hard winter for all of us in Iowa. That includes the non-human residents. 

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Wildlife Biologist Jim Pease about the possible impact of harsh winter weather on wild animals here in Iowa.

Courtesy of Iowa DNR

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is working to control an invasive aquatic plant and improve access for boaters in the Iowa Great Lakes region.

Courtesy of CDC.gov

Iowa environmental officials are working on a plan to find out how many public water systems in the state are having problems with an element called manganese. High levels of this contaminant were recently found in a west-central Iowa city. 

josquin2000 / Flickr

Conservationists are bashing a plan to cut off state funding to buy public lands, at the state and local level. Critics are calling the bill “potentially disastrous” and a “direct attack on conservation”, and say the plan could undermine wildlife habitat, economic development and water quality.

Justin Hofman/National Geographic


Plastic is cheap, easy to manufacture and endlessly flexible. Over the last 70 years plastic has completely transformed the way we live. This innovation has created a global pollution crisis that threatens humans and wildlife, from the smallest of plankton to blue whales, with more than 18 billion pounds of plastic waste flowing into oceans every year.

On this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with the co-leaders of National Geographic's "Source to Sea" plastics initiative, environmental engineer Jenna Jambeck, and marine biologist Heather Koldeway about the causes of this crisis, and steps we can take to reduce plastic pollution at home and around the world.

Monumental change is needed to reduce the impact of plastic on our planet's waterways, but Jambeck and Koldeway say small, everyday lifestyle advancements can help you do your part to reduce single use plastic waste.

Draft Final Site Inspection Report for PFOS and PFOA at Sioux City ANGB

An Iowa Air National Guard official says the agency supports further testing for groundwater contamination at a base in Sioux City. Preliminary results from a U.S. military report show high levels of toxic PFAS chemicals are present and may be spreading offsite. 

josquin2000 / Flickr

Officials at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources have decided not to set numeric standards for water quality at the state’s recreational lakes. Environmental groups wanted specific limits on phosphorus, nitrogen, chlorophyll-a and water clarity.

Don Becker via USGS / https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rescued_Flood_Victims,_Coralville,_IA_(2593492801).jpg

The National Weather Service is raising certain flood stage categories along parts of the Iowa River. The revisions are intended to ensure flood warnings better reflect the impacts communities are seeing on the ground.

Courtesy of Sarah Haptonstall

A western Iowa city that has been dealing with brown tap water for almost a year says it has finally found a fix.

James Pritchett

A Lot of Iowans have been planting milkweed over the years in an effort to bring Monarch butterflies back from the brink, and there has been some success. But dramatic changes in the landscape due to large scale agriculture and our own personal landscapes have such an impact, that planting milkweed is just a drop in the bucket.

National Weather Service, Johnston, Ia.

Iowa’s coldest air in more than 20 years moves into the state Tuesday night. The National Weather Service says wind chill values by Wednesday morning will range from -30 in southern Iowa to -50 in the northern part of the state.  Wednesday morning will see the coldest temperatures and wind chills of this winter blast.

John Schneider / flickr

It takes 30 plastic water bottles to make a recycled plastic prosthetic hand. Crazy, right? 

A few years ago, Chris Moriarty woke up in the middle of the night with an idea. Two weeks later, A Million Waves was born. The company, founded by two Iowans and based in Seattle, 3D prints prosthetic limbs made from repurposed ocean plastic. A entirely volunteer run operation, they have a network of more than 2,000 people who can print limbs around the world to distribute to those in need.

USFWS / flickr

Some staff members have returned to wildlife refuges in the Midwest after being furloughed from work for nearly three weeks due to the partial federal government shutdown.

Gene5335 / Flickr

It's hard to believe today, but there was a time when white-tailed deer in Iowa were a rare sight. Sometime around 1900, Iowa's white-tailed deer population was extirpated.

Elk and bison, both species native to Iowa, disappeared from the state's landscape even earlier due to over-hunting. Elk are now known as western, mountain dwellers, but at one time they were more numerous than bison in the state.

The deer population rebounded in Iowa as hunting laws were enforced. But, it took more than 50 years before the first modern deer hunting season could be held, in 1953.



A new investigative series from the Cedar Rapids Gazette shows that Iowa has a long way to go when it comes to clean waterways and reductions in nitrate and phosphorus runoff.


Emily Woodbury

The Trump administration's Fourth National Climate Assessment, featuring the conclusions of more than 300 scientists, predicts that climate change will cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

The report predicts that by 2050, crop productivity in the Midwest will decline to levels of the 1980s.


Got a "bee in your bonnet?" Fighting a major "computer bug" on your laptop? Insect-themed idioms have found a solid place in our everyday language, and on this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa, we're finding out just how that came to be. 

This hour, Charity Nebbe is joined by Iowa State University Extension horticulture expert Richard Jauron and Iowa State University professor of entomology Donalod Lewis, who has written and researched on the topic of insects in language. 

Dr. Jennifer Graham, USGS via EPA / https://www.epa.gov/national-aquatic-resource-surveys/indicators-cyanobacteria

Toxic bacteria blooms are affecting public drinking water systems across Iowa, according to a survey by the state's Department of Natural Resources. But data shows utilities are capable of handling current levels of these toxins, called microcystins. 

Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy of Iowa

Environmentalists are protecting 500 acres of southwest Iowa’s Loess Hills prairie from future development by turning it into a public area for hiking and birding.

Courtesy of Sustainable Driftless, Inc.

The glaciers that once covered Iowa provided rich topsoil and a land welcoming to farmers, but in the northeast corner of the state, there is wild, beautiful land untamed by glaciers.

This edition of Talk of Iowa focuses on the Driftless region in Minnesota, Wisconsin, northwestern Illinois, and northeastern Iowa. Charity Nebbe talks with Tim Jacobson and George Howe, the filmmakers behind the new documentary, Decoding the Driftless.