Tag Archives: conservation

Council welcomes back agricultural policy intern

Agricultural Policy Intern Jorgen Rose

Agricultural Policy Intern Jorgen Rose

This week, we had the pleasure of welcoming Jorgen Rose back to the Iowa Environmental Council.

On Monday, Jorgen began his second summer as an agricultural policy intern with the Council. While here, he will work on a variety of agricultural and water policy issues, including analysis and evaluation of Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy and the associated Water Quality Initiative pilot projects.

“Coming from a family of farmers and outdoorsmen, the land and its resources have always been important to me,” Jorgen said. “Water is the most important resource we possess, and agriculture and its associated industries are vital to Iowa’s economy and culture. To work at the crossroads of the two is a rare opportunity to truly make Iowa a better place.”

An Iowa native and a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, Jorgen is currently a graduate student at Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, where he is pursuing degrees in environmental science and natural resource policy and management.

Jorgen’s passion for protecting Iowa’s land and water, as well as his skill set and understanding of the issues derived from his academic and professional experiences, make him the perfect fit for this position.

“We are excited to welcome back Jorgen as part of our team,” said Agricultural Policy Specialist Jennifer Terry, who will oversee Jorgen’s internship. “His educational background has prepared him well to work on non-point source nutrient issues in Iowa. We look forward to his analysis, assessment and recommendations on policy affecting the implementation of Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy.”

“My work with the Council last summer exposed me to so many passionate individuals and organizations working to protect Iowa’s natural resources. I learned so much, and I expect to learn even more this summer, especially now that I am more familiar with the issues. Ultimately, the experience that the Council offers cannot be replicated in any classroom,” said Jorgen.

Arbor Day reminds Iowans to appreciate & advocate for trees

Today is Arbor Day, a day to appreciate trees and to give back by planting saplings and seeds. For many Iowans, Arbor Day serves as a sharp reminder of the importance of confronting and advocating for initiatives to address an insidious issue: Emerald Ash Borer.

The Emerald Ash Borer, or EAB, is a small green invasive insect that has been killing increasingly large numbers of Ash trees across the Midwest. First found in Michigan in 2002, EAB has spread to numerous Midwest states including Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Colorado and Iowa. To date, EAB infestations have killed tens of millions of Ash trees, and while prevention is possible, once a tree is infected, there is no cure.

Once EAB larvae enter a young Ash tree, they tunnel and eat the wood directly underneath the bark, preventing the proper distribution of water and nutrients. After a few years of continual decline, the tree will eventually die. This is not only sad, but also dangerous as falling dead tree limbs can damage infrastructure and pose a hazard to cars and pedestrians.

There is no cure, but the spread of EAB can be stymied. Currently, there are national and state quarantines in effect that prevent ash wood in infected areas from leaving, and help healthy trees stay healthy.

Iowans with ash trees are encouraged to stay updated on the spread of EAB throughout Iowa. If there are confirmed infestations within 15 miles of your home, treatments are available to prevent or deter EAB spread. Another way to discourage EAB spread is to plant a diverse set of trees and plants in your yard. Bio-diversity is an important aspect of a healthy ecosystem, and decreases the impact of invasive species like EAB.

Council member Trees Forever has more information about the spread of Emerald Ash Borers, and tips for homeowners, on their website.

Conserving America’s Natural Places

LCWF helps establish and protect national parks, areas around rivers and lakes, national forests and wildlife refuges, and provides matching grants for state and local parks and recreation projects.

Iowa has received approximately $70 million in LWCF funding over the years. Funding has gone to protecting some of our state’s most treasured natural places including the Neal Smith and Driftless Area National Wildlife Refuges, the Effigy Mounds Monument, and the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site among others.

Earth day is here, and as we celebrate the 45th anniversary of this international event, we are reminded that we share planet and must do our part to keep it healthy. One way environmental and conservation organizations may help this Earth Day is by showing your support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

Created by Congress more than 50 years ago, the LWCF has one simple task: utilize a portion of offshore drilling fees to protect America’s precious and fragile natural resources for generations to come.

LCWF helps establish and protect national parks, areas around rivers and lakes, national forests and wildlife refuges, and provides matching grants for state and local parks and recreation projects.

The LWCF is authorized to receive up to $900 million a year, but that commitment has rarely been met. Each year, Congress diverts most of the funds that could go to LWCF elsewhere. Only once in the LWCF’s history has the full $900 million been authorized. As a nation, we need to stand up and insist that LWCF funds be used for their intended purpose.

The LWCF authorizing legislation is set to expire in less than six months on September 30, and broad support is needed to ensure this important source of conservation funds will continue.

The LWCF Coalition has created an update of the LWCF Coalition Statement of Support, which lays out to Congress the need to fully fund the LWCF. This statement has been signed by local and national organizations – including the Council and many of its member organizations – that support reauthorizing and fully funding the LWCF. By signing this statement and inviting our member organizations and allies to do the same, we demonstrate how broad the support for this fund is, and how important it is to protecting and preserving America’s natural resources.

To sign your organization on to the LWCF Coalition Statement of Support, please fill out and submit the online form.

This form includes the full text of the statement. Signatories are putting their organization’s name behind the message contained in the statement. Besides the specific text of the statement, nobody will claim to speak for your organization.

Questions? Contact LWCF staffer Brandon Helm at brandon_helm [at] tws [dot] org

An easy way to aid Iowa’s wildlife

This year’s tax deadline is rapidly approaching. As you file your Iowa tax form, please take a moment to consider supporting an important cause: Iowa wildlife. By donating a portion of your tax returns to the Wildlife Diversity Program, you can help protect and preserve Iowa’s wildlife.

You can support the Wildlife Diversity Program by checking off a small box at the bottom of your tax forms. This box, historically called the Chickadee Check-off, is now listed as the Fish/Wildlife Fund. Although the name may have changed, the donation process is still as easy as it is helpful. Simply write the amount you wish to donate on the space provided, and the entire donation, which will be tax deductible in next year’s filing, will be sent directly to support the program.

The Wildlife Diversity Program itself is designed to address numerous important environmental issues, including managing landscapes and ecosystems, monitoring and recording wildlife across the state and designating land for public conservation. The program also conducts public outreach to educate and build awareness about Iowa wildlife and its needs.

Donations from the Fish/Wildlife Fund have already helped restore numerous animals back into Iowa wildlife including peregrine falcons, ospreys and trumpeter swans.

So this year, when you sit down to file your taxes, please help keep Iowa’s environment one of the most diverse and beautiful in the nation.

For more information, please visit the Chickadee Check-off website.