Sand mining controversy in northeast Iowa

sand mining

Iowa Public Radio has created a series of stories about the fracking controversy in northeast Iowa.

There’s no oil or gas fracking in Iowa. The controversy is over frack sand mining. This is finely-grained sand that’s used during the process of hydraulic fracking.

Many communities in northeast Iowa are worried about some of the consequences of the increased sand mining. These include destruction of local hills, increased truck traffic and pollution.

Check out the stories here.


Climate change alters animal reproduction

Photo by GraphicReality, Flickr.
Photo by GraphicReality, Flickr.

Climate change could affect reproduction in some animals.

Specifically, some animals – especially reptiles – have temperature dependent sex determination. In other words, the temperature leading up to some animals’ birth will determine if the offspring is male or female. Cold weather usually leads to more males, and warm weather leads to more females.

The worry is that this could lead to the extinction of some species as the planet continues to warm.

Listen to the full story, including interviews with Iowa State University researchers, here.

IPR discusses Iowa’s water

The Mississippi River. Photo by SSShupe, Flckr.
The Mississippi River. Photo by SSShupe, Flckr.

Iowa Public Radio has released a piece about the state of Iowa’s water supply.

The beginning of the segment focuses on the research of University of Iowa assistant professor, and CGRER member, Craig Just. He discusses his research using mussels to monitor water quality in the Mississippi River.

Author Charles Fishman is also part of the radio segment. He wrote “The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water.”

Check out the full story here.

Benefits of the drought in Iowa

Photo by Phil Roeder, Flickr.
Photo by Phil Roeder, Flickr.

While the drought had many negative consequences, there were also a few benefits.

Iowa Public Radio highlighted some of these benefits in a story last week.

The drought provided near ideal conditions for Iowa’s wineries, since grapes grow better in drier conditions. It also helped Iowa’s pheasant population. Pheasants struggle to survive in cold and wet temperatures after hatching. Finally, the drought meant that there was less agricultural runoff.

Read and listen to the full story here.

Farm bill could lead to less organic agriculture

Photo by Sarah Cady, Flickr.
Photo by Sarah Cady, Flickr.

The new farm bill extension that went into place on January 1st could limit the amount of organic agriculture.

This new legislation cuts most funding for organic agriculture programs. This includes a program that reimburses much of the cost of organic certification.

For many farmers, this means that they will not pay the $800 it costs annually for organic certification.

Listen to the whole story here.

The challenge of waste at feed lots

Photo by USDAgov, Flickr.
Photo by USDAgov, Flickr.

Iowa Public Radio released an audio story about the challenges of disposing waste from beef feedlots.

The story covers both how owners of beef feed lots deal with waste, and the challenge states face in regulating feed lots.

This is an important topic in Iowa right now, as our state is deciding how best to limit runoff into waterways.

Listen to Iowa Public Radio’s story here.

Des Moines selected for Greening America’s Capitals project

Photo by jimmywayne, Flickr.
Photo by jimmywayne, Flickr.

Des Moines has been selected this year as one of five cities to take part in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Greening America’s Capitals project.

This project incorporates green building and green infrastructure strategies on parts of the cities, which can be used as a model for future construction projects.

In Des Moines, the project will focus on the 6th Avenue Corridor. The environmentally friendly plans include adding street trees, permeable pavement and rain gardens.

Read more from Iowa Public Radio here.

CWD’s impact on Iowa

Photo by James Preston, Flickr.
Photo by James Preston, Flickr.

A couple weeks ago, Iowa Public Radio explored the impact of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Iowa.

During the radio segment you will hear from a wildlife biologist, the wildlife management supervisor of Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources and Iowa state Senator Dick Dearden.

Although they explore the general impact of CWD, there’s a particular focus on the relationship between CWD and hunting in Iowa.

The radio segment is available here.

Check out some of our CWD coverage here

DNR asks for over $1M to hire more livestock facility inspectors

Photo by shufgy, Flickr.

Over the past few weeks we’ve posted about how the Environmental Protection Agency may take over waterway protection from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

In order to avoid this takeover, the Iowa DNR is asking for $1.3M to hire 11 new livestock facility inspectors.

Listen to the full story from Iowa Public Radio here.