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Birds, bats, mussels: Environmental team keeps an eye on how bridge may impact vulnerable species
During the months of March and April, drivers getting on or off Interstate 74 in Bettendorf have been met with what was perhaps a disquieting sight: scores of trees that were sawed down.

And yet, among those who may have rightly guessed the trees were being removed as part of ongoing efforts to construct a new I-74 bridge, few would have known this part of the project was carefully timed from an environmental standpoint.

According to Mary Kay Solberg, a senior environmental specialist with the Iowa Department of Transportation, current IADOT regulations mandate that any trees to be removed for a project must be cleared before the beginning of April or after the end of September. This is done in part to prevent disrupting the nesting cycles of birds that might use those trees in warmer months, and to minimize impact on other animals, such as bats, that may roost in the trees. More »

Prairie STRIPS: Program shows a little prairie packs a lot of power
An innovative Iowa State University program is finding ways to bring back some of Iowa's native prairie grasses and put them to work protecting farmland and waterways. The results so far have been impressive in showing a wide array of benefits, to farmers as well as the environment, including less topsoil erosion, cleaner water and enhanced biodiversity, including an increase in helpful pollinating insects and birds.

The program, developed... More »

Make it to market: Trips to area farmers' market reward on many levels
As a youngster, I didn't fully appreciate the Cedar Rapids Roundhouse, home to a thriving market where my mom would buy seedlings and other items to which I paid little attention back then. Homegrown fruits, vegetables and other local foods were mainstays at our house, whether they were ripe berries picked from our backyard or meat and produce from my grandparents' farm near Chelsea, home to some of the most fertile land in Iowa.

Limited... More »

Pollinator power: These small but mighty garden helpers need our care
The folks at the Wapsi River Environmental Education Center in Dixon, Iowa, have long been good stewards of the planet, working to preserve forests, grasslands, wetlands and the wildlife there while also offering outdoor recreation and education for the community.

Now, the center officially has pledged to protect pollinators like bees and butterflies as part of the Xerces Society's Bring Back the Pollinators campaign.

According... More »

Pizza to the people: Mobile wood-fire pizza oven brings taste of Italy to Q-C
On a trip to Italy in 2012, John Anderson wrote down four words that would become the foundation for Streets of Italy: "mobile wood-fired oven." John and his wife, Angie, were living in Germany at the time on a three-year civilian assignment for the U.S. Army. While overseas they traveled throughout Italy experiencing the local cuisine and getting a behind-the-scenes look at numerous restaurants.

"I weaseled my way in the back of kitchens in... More »

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