ISU study finds Iowa rivers offer big economic boost

Photo by tony_bibbs, Flickr

Last week, we made a post about how Iowans have increased pride in our state’s rivers. Now, a study is indicating that Iowa’s rivers also give a large boost to our economy.

According to the study, the 73 Iowa rivers that were looked at generated 6,350 jobs, $824 million in sales and $130 million is personal income.

This study was conducted by the Iowa State University Department of Economics and Center for Agricultural and Rural Development.

Read more about the study from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources here.

Decorah Eagle Cam eaglets arrive

Photo captured from the Raptor Resource Project's Decorah Eagle Cam.

The Raptor Resource Project welcomed two new eaglets into the Decorah Eagle Cam family this week, with a third and final eaglet expected to arrive very shortly.

Millions of viewers worldwide have tuned in to the Decorah Eagle Cam since its installation in 2009.

Watch the live cam here, or continue reading for recorded videos of the eaglets hatching.

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More pest projections based on Iowa’s warm winter

Photo by servitude, Flickr.

Two weeks ago, we linked to a Des Moines Register article suggesting that Iowa’s mild winter could lead to an increase in pests. The Des Moines Register released a new, more in-depth, article today indicating that this year’s pest population may actually be close to normal.

An entomologist quoted in the article explained that spring weather affects insect populations more than the winter because most insects reproduce in the spring. Therefore, although there are more insects out now than most years at this time, the overall amount of insects will likely be similar to the norm.

The article also notes that the warm winter could help Iowa’s bee colonies, giving a boost to honey production.

Read more about this year’s pest projections here.

Warm weather presents dilemma for corn farmers

Photo by brandoncripps, Flickr.

Iowa’s warm weather is tempting farmers to start planting corn early.

Conditions are ideal for planting right now, but many farmers worry that a freeze may still come. If corn is planted within the next couple of weeks, it would face a high risk of damage from a May freeze.

The incentive for planting early is that corn delivered in September receives a 50-cents per bushel premium over the corn delivered in October.

Read a Press-Citizen article about the farmers’ dilemma here.

Read about how the warm weather affects Iowa’s fruit farms here.

Read about what the warm weather means for Iowa’s pests here.

DNR to conduct prescribed burns across Iowa

A firefighter controls a prescribed burn in Coconino National Forest, AZ. Photo by Coconino National Forest, Flickr.

This spring the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will conduct a series of prescribed burns in forests and wildlife areas throughout the state.

These burns are used to reduce hazardous fuel loading, which reduces the potential for wildfires, while also reducing vegetative cover, controlling exotic species, cycling nutrients, controlling weeds, and restoring native prairie.

For more information on prescribed burns in Iowa, read the full Iowa DNR press release, or check out the Iowa Environmental Focus’ radio segment on the subject.

Most high-risk Iowa homes don’t have flood insurance

Flooding in Cedar Rapids. Photo by U.S. Geological Survey, Flickr.

A press release from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources indicates that many Iowans are unprepared for flooding.

Only 18 percent of Iowa homes in high-risk floodplain areas have flood insurance policies.

Since the waiting period for activating flood insurance policies is 30-days, the Iowa DNR encourages Iowans to get the insurance as soon as possible.

For more information, including a way to calculate flood insurance rates, read the Iowa DNR press release here.

Fewer Iowans volunteer for roadside clean up

Photo by adamhgs, Flickr.

The number of people adopting Iowa’s roadsides has decreased, causing an increase in litter removal costs for the Department of Transportation.

Rural stretches of roadside in particular have seen a significant decline in volunteer numbers.

Over the past six years, the Department of Transportation has increased their litter removal costs by 53 percent, partially because of the decrease in volunteers.

Read the Press-Citizen’s article on this issue here. The article also contains information on how to adopt a highway.