Environment

Kirk Kittell / flickr

Missouri utility regulators have rejected a proposed high-voltage power line to carry wind power across the Midwest to eastern states.

The decision Wednesday by the Missouri Public Service Commission creates a significant hurdle for Clean Line Energy Partners, which wants to build one of the nation's longest transmission lines.

All the other states along its route already have granted approval. The line would run from Kansas through Missouri and Illinois to Indiana, where it would connect with a power grid for eastern states.

Feral Hogs Can Damage Missouri Agriculture - And They're Not Easy to Catch

Jun 16, 2017
MDC Staff / Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation

A lumpy field of mud interrupts an otherwise untouched grassy meadow in a remote section of Mark Twain National Forest near Rolla. Just to the right stands a large, circular cage made of metal. The day before, a 200-pound feral hog followed a trail of corn through the cage’s small opening. 


James Gathany / CDC

Ticks. If you spend much time outdoors in Missouri you've likely come across more than one of these little arthropods.

KBIA's Kara Tabor talked with entomologist and University of Missouri Assistant Professor Richard Houseman to learn more about the ticks we encounter in central Missouri, bacteria they may carry and how ticks attach to people and our furry friends. 

More information on ticks and tick-borne diseases from the CDC.   

Sebastián Martinez / KBIA

Spring is wildflower season in mid-Missouri’s many woodlands. Already, dozens of species have bloomed and are going to seed, but there’s still time to catch some of the show, if you know where to look. If you don't, then you need Randal Clark, who has been guiding people through Missouri's spring wildflowers for close to 40 years. 

On a recent Thursday evening at the Devil's Icebox parking lot at Rock Bridge State Park, Clark was getting ready to do exactly that.


Sebastián Martinez / KBIA

After a historically hot and dry winter here in Missouri, spring rains have hit the state in a big way. With more rain forecast for the coming week, concerns over the winter drought could soon be supplanted by concerns about flooding. One critical piece of Missouri’s environment that helps guard against rising waters is the state’s wetlands – flood plains and wet prairies that can absorb excesses from rivers. But wetlands are also critical habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, something scores of kids learned on a recent Saturday in Saint Charles. 

On a sunny spring afternoon at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area, about a dozen children gathered around a pond, probing the waters with long-handled nets. After emptying their nets into shallow plastic trays, they walked over to a nearby table, where volunteer Melanie Sanford helped them identify their findings.


Keith Yahl / Flickr

With the official start of spring just a week away, more and more wildlife is emerging from the thawing winter undergrowth. If you’re listening from a rural area, you’ve likely already heard an increase in morning bird song, for example. But even in urban areas, where habitat is harder to come by, entire ecosystems can survive, if given the right space.

Stretching across almost 1,400 acres in St. Louis, Forest Park is one of the biggest urban parks in the country. While its most famous inhabitants are the number of exotic animals that live in the St. Louis Zoo, the park is also home to countless native species, including a great-horned owl named Charles.


Sebastián Martinez / KBIA

The White House has made it clear that one of the Trump administration’s priorities is deregulation. So far that has translated into executive orders, including one that requires agencies to get rid of two existing regulations for every new regulation proposed. Now, Missouri has joined a list of states aiming for a rollback. And that means a potential shake up for endangered species in the state. 

Sebastián Martinez / KBIA

Two weeks into the Trump administration, several cabinet-level positions remain open, including the Secretary of the Interior, who is responsible for federal lands in Missouri and other states. The issue of federal lands has become increasingly controversial, and some Missouri lawmakers have even called for Washington to give up control of National Parks Service land. Despite this uncertainty, life goes on for many of those in charge of managing federal land in the state.

USDAgov / Flickr

The Missouri Department of Conservation says a beetle that is fatal to ash trees has spread to southwest Missouri. 

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media and KBIA

 


A bipartisan U.S. Senate bill that would have made changes to the $22 billion federal program that distributes free and reduced-priced meals in schools is officially dead, according to bill sponsor Pat Roberts, Republican U.S. senator from Kansas.

 

The school lunch, breakfast, and summer meal programs will continue to operate under the policies set in 2010 under the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act.

Sebastián Martinez / KBIA

As the winter moves in, several species of ducks are making their way into and through Missouri, en-route to their overwintering grounds. While this time of year is a boon to duck-hunters, recent research suggests ducks moving through might soon be an ominous sight for farmers.

The Environmental Protection Agency has extended its deadline to propose a plan to clean up the West Lake Landfill Superfund site. 

Federal officials had aimed to decide whether to partially or fully remove the World War II-era nuclear waste at the landfill by the end of December, but they decided to postpone the decision. Recently, there were allegations that radioactive contamination from the West Lake Landfill was found on residential property.

Sebastián Martinez / KBIA

On a recent Friday morning, a group of about 20 Nature Conservancy Trustees, visitors and staff have gathered for a tour of the conservancy’s Dunn Ranch Prairie. The Nature Conservancy is an international non-profit focused on conservation, and its Missouri director Adam McLane is on hand for the day’s tour.  

The prairie covers more than 3,000 acres and is host to a dizzying variety of native insects and birds, but on this morning, the tour group gathered to see its most imposing inhabitants: bison.

Sebastián Martinez / KBIA

Every year on the second weekend of October, birders and bird-watchers across the country demarcate a 17-foot wide circle, set up shop within it, and bird watch from dawn to dusk. Countless chapters of the National Audubon Society organize the event, appropriately titled the Big Sit. Birders chat, knit and even barbecue during the event, all while keeping a count of all the different birds they see.

Jocelyn Augustino / FEMA

Missouri is sending help to the southeastern part of the United States as Hurricane Matthew continues to damage coastal states.

According to a press release from the Boone County Fire Protection District, FEMA activated Missouri Task Force 1 Thursday evening to aid in relief efforts. Missouri Task Force 1 is an urban search and rescue team trained in everything from large building collapse searches to water rescues. The task force is bringing more than 40 personnel and 100,000 pounds of gear to help the affected states.

Yinan Chen / Wikimedia Commons

Missourians will vote on the renewal of funding for state parks, water and soil in November.

Department of Natural Resources Director Sara Parker Pauley spoke at MU Wednesday on the current challenges the state faces and how the funding would keep resources maintained for the long haul.

The park, soils and water one-tenth cent sales tax returns to the ballot every ten years for reauthorization. The tax was first approved in 1984 when Missouri’s parks and natural resources weren’t in good shape physically or financially.

Sebastian Martinez / KBIA

Hinkson Creek, which runs through Columbia, might not seem like an ideal destination for anglers. While it carries some standard game fish like bass and blue gill, you’re not likely to find any record catches.

But on a recent late-Summer day, Michael Moore was after fish on the opposite end of the spectrum.

A doctoral student in fisheries conservation at the University of Missouri, Moore was turning over rocks in the creek, looking for tiny aquatic bugs to use for bait.

Paddlers Will Travel 100 Miles Down Missouri River

Sep 22, 2016
Aimee Castenell / Wikimedia Commons

About 70 paddlers will embark on a five day journey down the Missouri River on Sep. 24. They’re traveling the last 100 miles of the river, passing through New Haven, Washington and St. Charles, ending where the Missouri River meets the Mississippi.

The inaugural Paddle MO participants will spend five days on the river paddling, camping and learning about culture at educational waypoints.

Missouri agriculture officials are looking into widespread misuse of pesticides in in the Bootheel region.

Judy Grundler is division director for plant industries within the state's Department of Agriculture. She told a state House committee on Thursday that there have been 115 complaints in four counties of pollution caused by pesticides in the past month alone.

NASA

Some small Missouri towns that'll offer a view next year's total solar eclipse are trying to prepare for the event. The Kansas City Star reports that the total solar eclipse will occur Aug. 21, 2017. 

Challiyan / Flickr

Many cities and counties have banned smoking indoors, but the St. Louis suburb of Creve Coeur is going a step further.

jetsandzeppelins / Flickr

A sweltering heat wave is expanding as temperatures in the Midwest and South approach near record-setting levels in the waning days of spring.

The National Weather Service says the number of states under heat advisories nearly doubled Thursday to 12. The affected states are Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Louisiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Annual Mosquito Spraying Program Begins in Columbia

Jun 2, 2016
turkletom / flickr

The Department of Public Health and Human Services partnered with Columbia Parks and Recreation Thursday in an effort to reduce mosquito numbers.

Every year, Columbia’s trails are sprayed with an Environmental Protection Agency approved chemical for mosquito control. These locations include the MKT Trail, Grindstone Creek Trail, among other additional areas approved by Columbia Parks and Recreation. A small, red Chevrolet truck is scheduled to drive along the trails Friday mornings through September spraying the chemical.

The Missouri Department of Conservation

Missouri conservation advocates say the case of a man who received a modest fine for killing a black bear shows why the state Legislature should put more teeth in poaching penalties.

The Springfield News-Leader reports 40-year-old Chris Keown of House Springs shot the bear with a muzzle-loading rifle around May 2 in a heavily wooded area near his home.

Sarah Kellogg / KBIA

Mid-Missouri is home to cows, horses and even alpacas, but not everyone knows it’s also home to lions, tigers and pumas. Nearly a dozen of these jungle cats live on a farm north of the Columbia Mall.

The D&D Farm and Animal Sanctuary, just off Old Highway 63, houses more than 100 animals on a farm about five miles north of the Columbia Mall. It’s named for its owners, Dale and Deb Tolentino. Dale, a former mailman, and Deb, a former veterinarian technician, spend their retired years caring for these animals, day in and day out. There are lions, tigers, ligers, bobcats, mountain lions, pumas, wolves and other predators.

Sebastian Martinez / KBIA

Native plants are having a a boom year, thanks in large part to a butterfly.

The sharp decline in monarch butterfly numbers in the winter of 2014 led to headlines about the destruction of their habitat in the U.S.

It sparked a national movement to plant milkweeds: the family of plants monarchs rely on to lay their eggs and feed upon as caterpillars. 

Photo by cwwycoff1 / Flickr

 U.S. forecasters will review whether they went too far out on a limb to warn people about bad weather that didn't fully develop.

Sebastian Martinez / KBIA

The greater prairie chicken is one of Missouri’s rarest birds. There are actually fewer than 300 left in the state. So the opportunity to see one is coveted by nature lovers. Even when it means getting up before dawn on a Saturday, and making the trip down to Wah’Kon Tah prairie, which many of the remaining chickens call home.

A group of about forty people did just that, turning up to the Missouri Department of Conservation’s El Dorado Springs office for one of a handful of greater prairie chicken viewings the department has organized this spring. After a brief orientation, the attendees hopped onto two buses, one lead by wildlife biologist Matt Hill and the other by Max Alleger, the department’s grassland coordinator.


Sebastian Martinez / KBIA

Fire plays an important role in many Midwestern ecosystems, but when it burns out of control it can also be devastating, as the wildfires in Oklahoma and Kansas have demonstrated. This time of year, when a lot of summer grasses and brush are still dead but the weather is warming up, the land is particularly flammable. That’s why agencies like the Missouri Department of Conservation take meticulous care in planning prescribed fire.


In the wilderness of southern Missouri, 44 miles of the Eleven Point River is part of the National Wild and Scenic River system. Part of the river is nestled between the Mark Twain National Forest and a historically rich parcel called the Irish Wilderness. As the river descends to the Missouri-Arkansas border, cattle grazing intermingles with the edge of the forest.

Now, Missouri is considering developing the southern part of the river into a state park. But the park has become controversial -- both for its very existence and for the money used to buy it.

Pages