Environment

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.

Research Suggests Ducks Spreading Roundup-Resistant Weeds

Dec 6, 2016
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.

For Prairie Conservation, Bison Serve as Tools

Nov 1, 2016
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.

Audubon Society's Big Sit: "Like Tailgating for Birders"

Oct 13, 2016
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.

Micro Fishers Hunt for the Tiniest Catch

Sep 27, 2016
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.

Native Plants in Growing Demand

May 5, 2016
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.

Future Far From Secured For Endangered Missouri Bird

Apr 19, 2016
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.

In Oregon County, Mixed Feelings About New State Park

Mar 15, 2016
Sebastian Martinez / KBIA

  The Eleven Point River flows for more than 100 miles through Oregon County, and right through the heart of the almost 4,200 acres the Department of Natural Resources recently bought to create a new state park. The river starts just north of the small town of Thomasville: home to the Eleven Point Cafe.

Like a lot of people in the county, the cafe's owner Jamie Warren is conflicted about the new park. "I think it could bring in a lot of tourists and it could help the economy, but it’s going to take a fight," Warren said. "I’m like most of the locals: we hate change."


Attorney General's Office

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is criticizing the Environmental Protection Agency for missing deadlines in its planned cleanup of the West Lake Landfill near St. Louis.

Charlie Llewellin / CC BY SA 2.0 / Flickr

4,167 acres of land in Oregon County are at the heart of a dispute between state legislators and state agencies, supported by a slough of environmentalists.

That land, part of the former Pigman Ranch, is the subject of a proposal the Missouri Department of Natural Resources put forward last year to create a new state park.

Missouri Group Sues EPA Over Nutrient Levels in Lakes

Feb 25, 2016
bsabarnowl / flickr

 A Missouri group is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, accusing it of shirking its responsibility for regulating nutrient levels in the state's lakes.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment Foundation has filed the lawsuit in Kansas City against the EPA and its administrator, Gina McCarthy.

Natural Gas Usurping Nuclear and Renewables in Missouri

Feb 16, 2016
Sebastian Martinez / KBIA

A crucial part of the effort to mitigate climate change is finding alternatives to fossil fuels.

A recent conference at the University of Missouri in Columbia focused on one of the most controversial of those: nuclear power.


Visiting Owl Highlights Loss of Missouri Prairie

Feb 2, 2016
Sebastian Martinez / KBIA

On a cold but clear Saturday evening, with the sun dipping towards the horizon, a group of 20 or so bird watchers assembled at Wah Sha She Prairie, about half an hour north of Joplin. They braved the cold, hoping to see the migratory short-eared owl.


Missouri is looking at more than 4,000 acres in the southern portion of the state for a new state park, but it's not without opposition. 

PG Palmer / Flickr

 

 Ashland water and sewer customers have started to see an increase in their monthly bills thanks to a ballot issue passed in 2014.

The ballot issue asked voters if the city could issue $7 million in bonds for a new mechanical sewage facility. The city currently uses a lagoon for sewage.

Pages