Another great year of river cleanup for Project AWARE

From July 7-14, volunteers around the state helped clean Iowa’s rivers as part of Project AWARE (A Watershed Awareness River Expedition).

This year there were 387 participants. They worked on 823 rivers, collected 60.36 tons of trash and recycled 86 percent of what they collected.

Read this article to learn some of the event’s history. Also, watch the video above to see Project AWARE volunteers working together to remove a large tire from the Iowa River.

Iowa DNR works to contain chronic wasting disease

Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Midwest Region, Flickr.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is working hard to limit the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) after the first positive detection in Iowa was found about one week ago.

These efforts center on finding the source of the disease.

Some of the DNR’s actions include monitoring the area around where the positive sample came from, running a DNA test to determine for sure which deer gave the positive sample and discouraging deer feeding in the area since it causes the deer to congregate which could quicken the disease’s spread.

Read more from the Iowa DNR here.

On the Radio: Dubuque benefits from renewable energy map

Dubuque, Iowa. Photo by SD Dirk, Flickr.

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s episode discusses a renewable energy map developed for the city of Dubuque.

Dubuque residents and businesses will better understand how to optimally use renewable energy thanks to University of Iowa graduate students.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus on sustainable communities.

Continue reading

Year’s hottest day prompts record energy usage

Photo by Tessss, Flickr.

Alliant Energy reported record-breaking peak energy usage on Wednesday, the hottest day so far in Iowa’s abnormally hot summer.

The peak usage of 3,724 megawatts occurred at 5pm in Alliant’s “West Control Area,” which covers Iowa and Minnesota. The previous record of 3,699 megawatts was set on July 18th, 2011.

“A number of days with high energy usage this summer remind us that an ample supply of electric generation is critical for our customers today and in the future,” said Tom Aller, president of Interstate Power and Light Company, a subsidiary of Alliant Energy.

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

Tips for watering trees during the drought

Photo by iowa_spirit_walker, Flickr.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has released a set of tips for watering trees during drought conditions.

They advise using buckets of water or a hose instead of sprinklers, since sprinklers are less efficient.

An area within and just beyond the canopy should be watered with one gallon of water per square foot. This should be done in the evening or early morning to avoid evaporation.

On weeks with no rainfall, trees should be watered one to three times.

Read more tips on watering trees here.

Extreme drought spreads into Eastern Iowa

Graphic courtesy of the National Drought Mitigation Center.

A map released Tuesday by the U.S. Drought Monitor shows that extreme drought conditions have spread into Eastern Iowa, while the remainder of the state remains categorized as severe drought.

This latest map doesn’t include Wednesday’s overnight rainfall which averaged roughly one half-inch, but meteorologist Harvey Freese said it wasn’t enough to lift the drought.

“Most of Iowa had received less than a tenth of an inch of normal rainfall during July,” he said. “The fact that it did rain is encouraging, because it indicates that more rain might be on the way.”

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

Iowa City dam will see modifications thanks to EPA grant

Photo by Jon Fravel,

The City of Iowa City has received a $60,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to alter the Burlington Street dam.

The planned modifications should increase boating and rafting, while also improving water quality, fish habitat and riverbank stability.

It will likely be about a year and a half before construction begins on the dam.

Read more about this project here.