Environment

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.

Pixabay

 

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.

pixabay

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.

USFWS/Ann Froschauer

 

Feel like braving the dark? Those who head outside after nightfall are sure to be rewarded with natural sights and sounds unlike anything available during daylight hours.

 

Tim Sackton/flickr

With the changing leaves and the cooling temperatures, it’s time to start harvesting late season produce.

It can be difficult to know when to harvest crops like sweet potatoes and winter squash, but Iowa State University Horticulturist Ajay Nair recommends paying close attention to the recommended harvest dates when you plant. He also says it’s very important to prepare your produce for storage.

IPR file photo by Amy Mayer

Parts of northwest Iowa saw up to 10 inches of rain over the last couple of days, which caused manure systems at nearly 30 livestock operations to overflow.

Kate Payne / IPR

Federal agencies and local leaders are committing to work together to expand water quality monitoring on the Mississippi River. Representatives from the U.S. Geological Survey, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Transportation signed the agreement Wednesday with a coalition of mayors from up and down the Mississippi.

neverything via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/neverything/

State investigators say heavy rains were in a factor in a manure spill at a dairy farm in eastern Iowa. Some researchers say a changing climate could increase the risk for similar incidents. 

Courtesy of National Park Service / nps.gov

Funding and staffing issues have led Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources to close its only fish habitat monitoring station on the Missouri River, leaving some western Iowa residents unhappy. 

Wikimedia Commons

Conservationists say they’ve made progress in the 10 years since historic floods hit eastern Iowa. Now they're calling for even more investment in flood protection. 

Wapsipinicon Mill via facebook / https://www.facebook.com/wapsi.mill/

The flooding Wapsipinicon River rose to 16.86 feet in Independence on Wednesday. Floodwater streamed into some businesses and parking lots and marrooned some cars in the northeast Iowa City.

Kate Payne / IPR

The city of Cedar Rapids is preparing for another flood. The Cedar River is forecast to crest at 16.5 feet this week, after days of rainfall saturated eastern Iowa.

Katie Peikes / IPR

Bison are helping sustain a diverse native prairie in western Iowa through grazing.

The Crisis Center of Johnson County / https://www.jccrisiscenter.org/

Residents across eastern Iowa are cleaning up, after severe weather pelted the area Tuesday night. The storm brought hail, flooding rains, and winds upwards of 80 miles per hour, knocking out power to thousands, downing trees and flattening some crops.

Kate Payne / IPR

Early results from a survey of the Iowa River show mussel populations are lower than researchers hoped. Scientists are monitoring the animals to better understand water quality in the river. 

Carl Wycoff via flickr creative commons

Some experts say Iowa farmers are largely exempt from a re-instated federal rule on water pollution. But the rule is still facing resistance from some ag groups.

Devlon Duthie via flickr creative commons

Iowa City is once again debating how to rein in a growing urban deer population. As the city has done in the past, local officials are considering hiring sharpshooters to cull the deer. But residents are divided on how to manage the deer, which some say are damaging gardens and spurring car crashes.

Kate Payne / IPR

Farmers began phasing out the use of a particular pesticide long before a federal judge recently banned it. But chlorpyrifos could still have some long-term effects in Iowa.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/cwppra/ / Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection And Restoration Act

This year’s so-called "dead zone" off the coast of Louisiana is much smaller than expected. After monitoring farm runoff from the Midwest, that has some researchers surprised. 

Kate Payne / IPR

A non-profit organization hoping to restore native habitats in eastern Iowa is getting some help from a herd of goats.  Seventeen goats are currently eating their way through 40 acres of invasive plants on the Muddy Creek Preserve in Johnson County. Staffers at the Bur Oak Land Trust hope to ultimately restore the parcel to pre-settlement conditions, but they say they need the animals' help to get it done.

Stefan Maurer / Creative Commons

Wolves are a keystone species, but they haven’t lived in Iowa for years. Their successful reintroduction into the upper midwest and the Yellowstone National Park shows us the incredible impact wolves have on the ecosystem they live in.

For example, wildlife biologist Jim Pease says the wolves make sure there aren't too many elk and other grazing animals around. He points out some of the changes that resulted in Yellowstone National Park when the wolves returned.

 

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