Iowans help battle Colorado wildfire

Firefighters working in Colorado. Photo by USDAgov, Flickr.

As the Colorado wildfire continues, Iowans offer a helping hand.

According to their Twitter account, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has sent two fire engines and two firefighting crews (eight firefighters in total) to help contain the Colorado wildfires.

There are another 20 Iowa firefighters ready to leave for Colorado if needed.

Read more from KCCI here.

Several Iowa counties updated to drought status

Graphic courtesy of the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Several counties in eastern Iowa have been updated to drought status, according to U.S. Drought Monitor map issued by the National Weather Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the University of Nebraska.

The map adds the counties of Scott, Clinton, Jackson, Dubuque to the affected drought area, while also downgrading other counties from “abnormally dry” status after ample rainfall last week.

For more information, read the full article at the Des Moines Register.

ISU reduces bus emissions on campus

Photo by manop, Flickr.

Next school year, Iowa State University will reduce the environmental impact of their on-campus buses.

ISU is adding two new buses – each of which is twice the size of a traditional bus. These buses can run on biodiesel, which produces much less polluting emissions than conventional diesel fuel.

These buses will also help the school save money on fuel expenditures.

Read more from Iowa State Daily here.

Cattle owners must help their animals fight the heat

Photo by NDSU Ag Comm, Flickr.

Iowa is in the midst of a hot spell. This is particularly challenging weather for cattle and their owners.

In order to keep cattle safe, their owners should make sure there’s clean water and shade available. Additionally, it’s recommended to feed the cattle more than usual during the hot afternoons.

Finally, if the cattle are really struggling, their owners should sprinkle the animals with water.

Read more from the Des Moines Register here.

Iowa walnut trees threatened by beetle

Photo by Ollie Crafoord, Flickr.

Tree and bug experts across Iowa are keeping an eye out for the walnut twig beetle – a tiny insect that could damage Iowa’s black walnut industry.

The beetle carries a fungus known as thousand cankers disease, which can kill a tree within three to five years of it first showing symptoms.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said walnut beetle traps have been distributed all over Iowa state parks, county parks, sawmills, and within communities. The traps are baited with a pheromone card that attracts the beetles.

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Takle discusses farming and climate change with IPR

Photo by eutrophication&hypoxia, Flickr.

Earlier this month, Iowa State University Climate Science Program Director Dr. Gene Takle discussed the relationship between climate change and farming with Iowa Public Radio.

Takle, who is also a Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research member, covered both how climate change has altered farming practices, and how farming has impacted the climate.

Listen to the brief interview with Takle here.

UI implements more composting efforts

Compost pile. Photo by bunchofpants, Flickr.

The University of Iowa has implemented composting techniques at many locations around the campus.

Both the UI Hillcrest Marketplace and the UI Hospitals and Clinics have food pulpers, which grind food waste into a pulp that’s easily converted into compost.

UI’s Burge Marketplace and Iowa Memorial Union also participate in composting.

In addition to creating something productive out of waste, composting also saves the UI money. For instance, using a food pulper instead of a garbage disposal at the Hillcrest Marketplace will save $25,000 a year because of the lowered water use.

Read more about other composting efforts around Iowa City in the Daily Iowan’s article here.