The Iowa Flood Center offers tools to track local flood conditions


664px-FEMA_-_44906_-_Flood_Responders_in_Iowa

With the abundant rain in Iowa over the past couple of weeks, it’s important to remember that the Iowa Flood Center offers tools for tracking flood conditions.

Make sure to check out the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS). This online tool allows you to track rainfall and stream levels across Iowa.

UI and ISU participate in EPA’s College and University Green Power Challenge


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Photo by Photo Mojo Mike, Flickr.

 

The University of Iowa and Iowa State University participated in the EPA’s 2012-2013 College and University Green Power Challenge.

This challenge compared the green power usage of the collegiate athletic conferences. The Big Ten Conference and the Big 12 Conference finished first and second. The University of Iowa contributed 9,842,480 kWh of Green Power, while Iowa State University contributed 17,964,3300 kWh.

Check out the rest of the results here.

Ecolotree helps clean our environment


Poplar trees
Poplar trees

Lou Licht, who received his PhD in the University of Iowa’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is using poplar trees to clean polluted water.

Licht started the Iowa-based company Ecolotree. This company installs forests of poplar trees near sites that leak pollutants. Through a process called phytoremediation, the roots of the poplar trees help filter some of the harmful pollutants, and keep them from contaminating the water and soil.

Ecolotree has worked with 110 sites in the U.S. and one in Europe.

Learn more about Licht and his company here.

ISU’s BioBus Club continues to create sustainable fuel


CyRide. Photo by Manop, Flickr.
CyRide. Photo by Manop, Flickr.

Iowa State University’s BioBus Club has now been around for three years.

This student initiative takes waste vegetable oil from the campus dining facilities and converts it into biodiesel fuel. The fuel is used on Ames’ CyRide buses.

The recycled fuel significantly reduces the harmful emissions released by the buses.

The BioBus Club consists of students, faculty and community members from many disciplines.

Learn more here.

Rain helps lessen drought in Iowa


Photo by iowa_spirit_walker, Flickr.
Photo by iowa_spirit_walker, Flickr.

This week’s rain has helped lessen the drought in Iowa. The rainfall for the week was the most that has fallen in Iowa since June 2011.

The rain came after the ground thawed, which allows the water to soak in.

According to the last drought report, central Iowa is in a moderate drought, and some areas of northwest Iowa’s are experiencing more severe drought conditions.

Read more here.

Researchers look to start Center for Nutrient Management


Photo by eutrophication&hypoxia, Flickr.
Photo by eutrophication&hypoxia, Flickr.

University researchers are hoping to create the Center for Nutrient Management at Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Illinois.

This new center would work on solutions to limiting farm runoff. As detailed in our radio segment, Iowa’s runoff contributes to an area in the Gulf of Mexico known as a dead zone. This dead zone is unlivable for most marine life due to lack of oxygen.

In order to start the center, the researchers need to obtain a $2.5 million federal grant.

Read more here.

Drake and Coe cut down on bottled water waste


Photo by djwaldow, Flickr.
Photo by djwaldow, Flickr.

Similar to the University of Iowa’s efforts, Drake University and Coe College are cutting down on bottled water use.

At Drake, a student initiative has led to a bottled water ban on campus starting next fall. All new Drake students will receive a reusable bottle at the start of the school year.

Coe College has been giving out reusable bottles to its students for the past five years. Both Coe and Drake have installed “hydration stations” on campus that make it easy to refill bottles.

Read more here.

Experts discuss radon testing in Iowa’s schools


Radon mitigation system. Photo by theglauber, Flickr.
Radon mitigation system. Photo by theglauber, Flickr.

Iowa Public Radio spoke with Senator Matt McCoy, a radon–induced lung cancer survivor and a member of the Iowa Association of School Boards about radon testing in Iowa Schools.

As detailed in our radio segment, a bill was proposed in Iowa that would require schools to test for radon ever two years. If the schools fail the test twice, they would have to install radon remediation systems.

Listen to Iowa Public Radio’s story here.

Iowa considers expanding nickel-per-bottle recycling


Photo by John Walthall, Flickr.
Photo by John Walthall, Flickr.

A bill that would expand nickel-per-bottle recycling programs to more beverage containers is being considered in Iowa.

This program, which would incentivize recycling, was signed by Democratic subcommittee members and will advance to the Appropriations Committee.

It’s unlikely that the bill will get passed, but it may gather enough attention to prompt research into its potential.

Read more here.

ECO Iowa City returns


Photo by The-Lane-Team, Flickr.
Photo by The-Lane-Team, Flickr.

Like the University of Iowa, Iowa City has big plans for Earth Month.

Iowa City is bringing back the ECO Iowa City environmental education programs. These programs are offered by the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center and aim to help residents learn more about environmental issues.

ECO Iowa City was discontinued in 2010 due to lack of funding, but a recent grant led to the renewal of the program.

Read more here.