On the Radio- Green infrastructure key to keeping urban flooding at bay


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Green roofs are a type of green infrastructure (flickr).

Julia Poska | November 19, 2018

This week’s segment looks at flood mitigation approaches that incorporate nature into city design.

Transcript:

As Iowa’s extreme rain events intensify over time, flood management considerations will need to expand beyond river floodplains.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Floods commonly occur when rivers swell over their banks, but flooding can happen far from river systems, too.  Urban flooding occurs when drainage systems fail to move large amounts of storm water away from developed areas quickly.

According to the Iowa Climate Statement 2018, scientists forecast that daily rainfall in Iowa’s most extreme rain events will double by midcentury, meaning cities and towns will have even more water to manage.

One solution is to replace areas of impermeable concrete and asphalt with green infrastructure. These swaths of soil and vegetation absorb and slow down water to process it more naturally and reduce flooding.

Green infrastructure can be incorporated into sidewalks, buildings, backyards and even parking lots. Rain gardens, bio-swales, green roofs and more bring plants, soil and mulch into community design in attractive and helpful ways.

For more information, visit iowa-environmental-focus-dot-org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Sara E. Mason.

 

 

 

On the Radio- Flooding in Polk County


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A view of downtown Des Moines (Jason M/flickr)

Eden DeWald | July 30, 2018

This week’s segment discusses the recent flooding in Polk County.

Transcript:

Flooding in Polk County has impacted over five thousand homes this summer.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

A June 30 torrential rain storm brought unprecedented volumes of rain as high as nine inches primarily to Des Moines and surrounding areas, leaving residents displaced and sixteen million dollars in damage to public infrastructure, homes, and businesses.

Des Moines has set aside over eleven million dollars to buy out eighty of the most devastated homes, and is offering interest free loans to its residents for repairs.

And it’s not just the monetary damage. The floods resulted in at least one death when flash-flood waters swept away a sixty-five-year-old man trying to get to safety.

As reported by The Des Moines Register, some of the flood damage to homes and businesses was due in part to insufficient storm sewer systems.

For more information, visit iowa-environmental-focus-dog-org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Sara E. Mason.

On The Radio – Petition to strengthen regulation for livestock operations denied


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A confined dairy feeding lot in northeastern Iowa. (Iowa State Univesity)
Jenna Ladd | October 16, 2017

This week’s On The Radio segment discusses how a recent attempt to strengthen regulatory standards for livestock facilities in Iowa was shut down by the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission. 

Transcript: A petition to make it more difficult to build animal feeding operations in the state of Iowa was recently denied by the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Under current law, applicants seeking to construct livestock facilities must meet only 50 percent of the state’s master matrix of rules and regulations pertaining to the structures. The petition, filed by two environmental groups, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and Food & Water Watch, requested that applicants meet at least 86 percent of the matrix’s requirements.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources sided with the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission and recommended against passing the petition, both groups said that the proposed changes would be too stringent. Proponents of the petition pointed out that just two percent of applicants are denied permission to construct livestock feeding operations in the state of Iowa.

The current animal feeding operation master matrix was developed fifteen years ago by state lawmakers.

For more information, visit iowa-environmental-focus-dot-org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Betsy Stone.

UI researchers take part in “Lake Michigan Ozone Study”


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2013-2015 graph of ozone in the Midwest showing high ozone levels along the coast of Lake Michigan. Ozone levels above 70ppb violate the new ozone standard established by the EPA. (Rob Kaleel / SSEC)
Jake Slobe | October 17, 2016

This week’s On The Radio segment discusses the Lake Michigan Ozone Study.

Transcript: Researchers at the University of Iowa are taking part in a collaborative field campaign to better understand the sources and transport of ozone near Lake Michigan.

This is the Environmental Focus.

The Lake Michigan Ozone Study is a joint effort of scientists at the University of Iowa, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and other research institutions to gain useful information about the concentration of ozone along all sides of the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Commissioned by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Lake Michigan Air Directors Consortium, the study’s objectives include an evaluation of current regional ozone models and the effect of Lake Michigan’s breeze circulation on ozone transport.

Communities with little industrial activity on all sides of Lake Michigan have consistently experienced ozone levels higher than the EPA’s limit of 70 parts per billion.

Project organizers are still seeking additional  funding in order to install high tech, real-time monitors at various ground measurement sites in the region.

For  more information about the Lake Michigan Ozone Study, visit iowaenvironmentalfocus.org

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Betsy Stone.

On The Radio – Environmental activist Sandra Steingraber visits UNI


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Sandra Steingraber is an American biologist, author, and cancer survivor. Steingraber writes and lectures on the environmental factors that contribute to reproductive health problems and environmental links to cancer. (Flickr)

Jake Slobe | September 26, 2016

This week’s On The Radio segment discusses Sandra Steingraber and her recent visit to the University of Northern Iowa

Transcript: Long time environmental activist, Sandra Steingraber recently hosted a lecture, film showing and discussion at the the University of Northern Iowa.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Steingraber visited UNI to discuss three of her recent articles and give a lecture entitled “Be Arrested If Necessary.” She spoke about the role of environmental science as a catalyst for political and cultural change.

Sandra Steingraber, lives in Trumansburg, New York and has worked for years with government officials and other activists to bring about changes in her home state and around the country. She is a co-founder of Concerned Health Professionals of New York and New Yorkers Against Fracking and is currently the science advisor to Americans Against Fracking. In twenty-fourteen she led a successful campaign against fracking, resulting in the process being banned in the Empire State.

Steingraber is working hard to bring awareness to the effects of environmental degradation due to chemical contamination, fracking, shale gas extraction and climate change.

For more information on Sandra Steingraber and her environmental efforts visit iowaenvironmentalfocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Betsy Stone.

 

 

On the Radio: GPC of Muscatine facing lawsuit over environmental violations


 

Photo by Saul Tannenbaum; Flickr

This week’s On the Radio segment covers the state lawsuit against GPC of Muscatine for their environmental violations. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

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On the Radio: Iowa’s solar energy future is looking bright


Photo by Chandra Marsono; Flickr

This week’s On the Radio segment covers a new report released by the Iowa Environmental Council that supports the growth of solar energy in Iowa. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

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On the Radio: New Facebook Data Center


Photo by user vanhookc; Flickr

 

This week’s On the Radio segment covers the new Facebook data center that will be opening in Altoona, and their wind energy plan. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

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On the Radio: Iowa City businesses use composting to reduce waste


Compost pile. Photo by bunchofpants, Flickr.
Compost pile. Photo by bunchofpants, Flickr.

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s segment discusses the efforts of Iowa City businesses to reduce waste through composting.

Businesses in and around Iowa City are using composting to reduce their impact on the environment.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

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On the Radio: Iowa senate considers feed-in tariffs


The Iowa State House. Photo by  w4nd3rl0st, Flickr.
The Iowa State House. Photo by w4nd3rl0st, Flickr.

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s segment discusses a bill to establish a statewide feed-in tariff.

A proposed bill could add incentives for farmer-owned wind installations.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

The Iowa Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously passed a bill to establish a statewide feed-in tariff for small wind projects on agricultural land. This means electric utilities must purchase power from the small wind installations at a guaranteed price for up to ten years.

Now that the bill has passed through the committee, it can be voted on this year or next year by the full Senate. Three states and many countries around the world already use feed-in tariffs. In Germany, feed-in tariffs are believed to have played a major role in increasing renewable energy. Iowa would become the first Midwest state to adopt such a policy.

For more information on the bill, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Jerry Schnoor.