Green Iowa Americorps to host Upper Iowa River Cleanup

Photo by vastateparksstaff, Flickr.

Green Iowa Americorps is hosting the Upper Iowa River Cleanup on June 9th and 16th at 1 PM.

Volunteers will remove trash while paddling down the Upper Iowa River in a provided canoe or kayak.

On June 9th, the volunteers will meet at Pulpit Rock in Decorah. On the 16th they will meet at Decorah’s Upper dam. Find directions and details about these locations here.

Sign up to volunteer via Facebook here, or email Josh at

New tax credit make solar a better investment for Iowans

Photo by rob.rudloff, Flickr.

Energy companies and lawmakers say a new tax credit will make the installation of solar energy systems on homes and businesses an affordable investment.

“A lot of people have been looking at solar energy systems and now, with the state tax credits, they’re starting to move forward,” Brad Duggan, energy efficiency project manager at Van Meter Inc. in Cedar Rapids said Tuesday. “It makes solar ripe for the residential use. I think it will push the market.”

The credit, which was signed into law by Gov. Terry Branstad last week, provides state tax credits for solar electric, solar hot water, and geothermal energy systems – allowing homeowners credits of up to $3,000 per project, and $15,000 for businesses.

For more information, read the full article at The Gazette.

Iowa Flood Center radar remains safe from landfill fire

Photo by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Flickr.

Researchers at the Iowa Flood Center are crossing their fingers that the Iowa City Landfill fire wont affect one of their sensors.

One of their mobile weather radar units is located at the landfill. So far it has avoided damage, but the Iowa Flood Center engineers will continue to monitor the situation closely. The radar provides rainfall intensity data for the Clear Creek watershed.

The Iowa Flood Center plans to clean the radar once the fire is extinguished.

Read more about the radar from the Iowa Flood Center’s website here.

Read a question and answer interview about the Iowa City landfill here. The interview explains the environmental concerns involved, and why it might be best to let the fire extinguish on its own.

Photos from Hickory Hill Park in Iowa City

This summer I’m going to highlight some beautiful nature areas in Iowa. Here’s a gallery of Hickory Hill Park in Iowa City. It contains terrific trails for hiking, running and dog walking. It also contains more than 13 acres of restored prairie. The various trail entrances and a map are available here. Continue reading

UI engineers check Mississippi River for PCBs

Mississippi River. Photo by bdearth, Flickr.

University of Iowa engineers spent a day collecting core samples from the Mississippi River.

The group of engineers was part of Keri Hornbuckle’s team. Hornbuckle is both a professor in UI’s Civil and Environmental Engineering department and a member of the Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research.

The team will study the core samples to determine PCB levels. This data will then be compared to previous data taken from the Iowa River.

Click here to see a photo gallery of the researchers’ day on the Mississippi River.

Click here, here and here to find out more about Hornbuckle’s research.

Green grilling on Memorial Day

Photo by sarahbarrow, Flickr.

A quick note for Iowans grilling on Memorial Day:

Charcoal grills release 11 pounds of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the air every hour. This is almost exactly twice the amount of carbon dioxide released during gas grilling.

If you have the choice, consider using a gas grill both today and the rest of the summer.

Check out a short video on this topic here.

On the Radio: Iowa organizations work to reduce flooding risks

Photo by U.S. Geological Survey, Flickr.

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s episode highlights efforts of two Iowa organizations that are working to reduce flooding risks.

Efforts to increase flood preparedness in Iowa continue four years after the 2008 disasters.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Continue reading