Environmental Issues

Cover Crops

Iowa Learning Farms

Faculty in agriculture from Iowa State University and staff from Iowa Learning Farms talk with farmers from the area at a gathering in Central City, Iowa, about the value of cover crops and other measures that will strengthen soil and reduce nutrient runoff. Presentations and commentary by Mark Licht, Matt Helmers, Jamie Benning, Liz Juchems, and Meaghan Anderson, all associated with Iowa Learning Farms and Iowa State University.

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The Des Moines Waterworks in Jeopardy

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement convened and hosted a meeting with the Des Moines Waterworks CEO Bill Stowe and members of the its Board to discuss efforts underway in the Iowa General Assembly to dismantle the waterworks and distribute its assets among several communities. The underlying intent, according to DMWW officials, is to crush its suit of three upstream counties over pollution of rivers that provide drinking water for its ratepayers. The suit is scheduled to be tried in Sioux City, IA, in June.

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The Solar Experience

An Introduction to Photovoltaics

I-Renew, Alliant Energy and Prairiewood Franciscan Spirituality Center join in presenting and panel to introduce concepts, current technology, and to respond to questions and comments from an audience of about 20 people. Panelists were:Paul Trieu, Lead Engineer, Moxie Solar; Chris Hoffman, Business Development, Moxie Solar; Nick Smith, Senior Product Manager, Alliant Energy; and Mike Otter, a Cedar Rapids resident who had PV installed at his property. The discussion was at Prairiewood Franciscan Spirituality Center, Hiawatha, Iowa, in late October 2016.

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Factory Farm Summit

Socially Responsible Agriculture Project

A gathering from across the country of advocates for a more responsible approach to agriculture than that offered by prevailing corporate agri-business hear speakers and participate in workshops focusing on issues posed for the environment, animals, and human beings by concentrated animal feed operations (CAFOs). Workshops were not recorded at the request of Summit leadership.

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Field Day: Miscanthus and Prairie Strips

Eastern Iowa Airport: A Collaborative Effort

The Eastern Iowa Airport has partnered with Iowa State, Iowa Learning Farm, the University of Iowa, and others to improve water quality by planting prairie strips and a variety of miscanthus. The latter, after being harvested,is used by the University of Iowa as fuel in place of coal.

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Bakken Pipeline Protest Actions

Pilot Mound/Boone, Iowa

Protesters gathered at City Hall in Pilot Mound, Iowa, for training and preparation for an action at the Bakken construction staging area adjacent to the Boone County fairgrounds. The action was organized by Bold Iowa, Catholic Workers House, and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, all based in Des Moines.

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Bakken Pipeline Protest Actions

Pilot Mound/Boone, Iowa

Protesters gathered at City Hall in Pilot Mound, Iowa, for training and preparation for an action at the Bakken construction staging area adjacent to the Boone County fairgrounds. The action was organized by Bold Iowa, Catholic Workers House, and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, all based in Des Moines.

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Dakota Access, LLC, Bakken Pipeline

Ethical Considerations

A panel on the ethics of the Bakken Pipeline at UNI, an Iowa Utilities Board hearing in Boone on whether to grant emimnet domain to Dakota Access, LLC, and an Iowa Department of Natural Resources public hearing on whether to grant a permit for construction of the pipeline across sovereign lands were part of the discussion of the controversy and controversial discussion of the Bakken Pipeline proposed to run diagonally through Iowa to carry oil pumped in North Dakota to a destination in Illinois.

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Cleaning up Our Waterways: Reducing Pesticide Use in Urban Settings

Iowa City Public Library

Kamyar Enshayan explores reduction of use of pesticides in urban settings—especially their application to lawns, parks, and roadsides—for an audience gather by Backyard Abundance in Iowa City. He directs the Center for Energy & Environmental Education at the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa.

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Cedar River Watershed Coalition

Meetings & Events

The Cedar River Watershed Coalition, organized early in 2010, is a volunteer organization with participation from counties, communities, soil and water conservation districts. It meets twice a year and sponsors other events to futher understanding of new developments and best practices for water management, both water quality and flood prevention.

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Iowa 350.org

Events

Iowa 350.org began in the summer 2015 with a planning session at Wikiup Hill Learning Center, near Cedar Rapids. In November it was in the forefront of organizing protests against the Bakken pipeline. Catch up on what's going through the links on their page.

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Indian Creek Watershed Management Authority

Lunch & Learn

In the first in a series of Lunch and Learn events provided by the Indian Creek Watershed Management Authortiy, Greg Karlovits, P.E., CFM, Hydrologist, US Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District provides an overview of "hyrology for beginners," and follows up with a presentation on hydrological issues involving Indian Creek, Linn County, Iowa. The luncheon concludes with Jennifer Fencl, Environmental Services Director at the East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECICOG), and staff for the ICWMA, leads participants in clarifying objectives for the work of the management authority. (3 parts).

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Agricultural Issues

Linn County Farm Tour

This conservation tour of four farms plus presentations on agricultural practices aimed at reducing nutrient runoff was sponsored by the Linn County Farm Bureau, Linn County Soil and Conservation District, Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Linn Co-op Oil Co. Participants viewed, heard discussed, and posed questions at a hog confinement operation, a shallow water wetland, a riparian buffer, and a farm using strip-till. In addition were presentations on "variable rate technology" used to apply fertilizer and on Iowa's nutrient runoff reduction program.

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Tama/Benton Counties Farm Day

Ray Archuleta, who works for the National Resources Conservation Service(NRCS), advocates care of the soil. His focus on this day was on cover crops as a way to build and strenthen organic matter in soil. Dan Jaynes, who works for the USDA at the Agricultural Research Center in Ames, Iowa, demonstrates use of saturated buffer at a Tama/Benton Counties Farm Day in Dysart early in October. Saturated buffer is a relatively new conservation measure farmers may use to reduce nitrates and phosphorus in tiled run-off.

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Solar Works in Iowa

An Event in Cedar Rapids, June 21, 2014

"This event sponsored by Iowa Climate Advocates, moderated by Iowa State Senator Rob Hogg, held at the IBEW Local 405, 1211 Wiley Blvd SW, in Cedar Rapids is on of a series of events across Iowa to encourage broader use of solar energy capabilities across the state, supported by increased state tax credits.

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Iowa Water Conference, 2014

Presentations and Discussion, March 3-4, 2014

"Making Connections, Solving Problems: Water strategies for success in a changing world" was this year's theme for the Iowa Water Conference that meets annually at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. It was held March 3-4, 2014 in the Scheman Building. Recordings of this year's conference includes six (6) plenary presentations and twenty-one workshops involving stormwater management, floodplain management, agriculture and environment.

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The Frontier of Climate Change: State and Local Action In the Heartland

Panel Discussions and an Interview

Two panels and an interview with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack explore urban responses to climate change, the future of Iowa's energy economy and the role of agriculture in responding to climate change. Participants included James Brainard, Maoyr of Carmel Indiana and Frank Cownie, Mayor of Des Moines, Iowa, Kathie Obradovich, political columnist for the Des Moines Register; David Courand-Hauri, Director Envionmental Science, Drake University, William Fehrman, President and CEO, MidAmgerican Energy Company; Rob Hogg, Iowa State Senator (Democrat, District 19), Taylor Soule, Editor-in-Chief, Drake University's The Times Delphic and Jeffrey Ball, Scholar-in-Residence Stanford University's Steyer-Taylor Center of Energy Policy and Finance and columnist for The New Republic; Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. This event was held at Drake University. Drake, the Iowa League of Women Voters and the political journal New Republic sponsored the discussions.

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Iowa's Waterways

Presentations and Discussion

A special joint committee appointed by the Iowa Legislature hears more than a dozen presentations on addressing issues related to recovery of Iowa's rivers and and waterways. Both flood protection and water quality are at issue.

Iowa's Clean Water Plan: Jeff Berckes, Project Manager, presents the "nonpoint source management plan" at one in a series of public information sessions—this one in Iowa City at the Public Library—as part of a public comment period. The EPA requires it; so does the State of Iowa. Note: a "nonpoint source" is one whose runoff is not subject to a permit, e.g., the water that runs off your roof and into the storm sewer, or water that runs off agricultural fields Learn more at: http://watershed.iowadnr.gov, and click on "Nonpoint Source Management Plan."

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