Category Archives: Environment

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Vandalism Couldn’t Keep Him Down: Smokey Bear Returns To Rockwoods Reservation In Wildwood

Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

Smokey Bear returned home to Rockwoods Reservation in Wildwood recently. His homecoming is thanks to a partnership between the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) and the Metro West Fire Protection District of St. Louis County.

Smokey’s Journey…

In August 2015, Smokey Bear was stolen from his post along Route 109 in an apparent act of vandalism.  Part of the mascot turned up about a week later in a local junkyard, but there was not enough left to put back up.

According to MDC Forestry District Supervisor Gus Raeker, the facility received a number of calls expressing concern over the disappearance of the local icon.

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Flooding Issues Take Center Stage At City of Fenton Meeting

The Fenton Board of Aldermen heard concerns from the residents and business owners about the recent flooding at its meeting on June 8. Historic flooding has plagued the area for the second time in less than 18 months. Comments ranged from the issues of floodplain development to the Valley Park levee.

Listen below to hear first-hand the comments from the residents and business owners about their concerns and anxiety about the continued flooding.

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Perfect Storm: Climate Change, Commercial Development, and Floodplains

Photo by Ursula Ruhl, South County Times

“How high’s the water, mama?” Johnny Cash sang in 1974. The  scary answer: “Five feet and risin.’”

The late, great Cash should have seen our flooding Meramec River, between Kirkwood and Fenton, earlier this month. He could have easily sang, “43 feet and risin.’”

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ST. Louis Community College Receives Environmental Job Training Grant

St. Louis Community College (STLCC) received $200,000 in grant funding from the Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training program. The grant funding will offer program enrollees the skills needed to work in the environmental industry.

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Flooding Once Again Spotlights Levees: “We Knew Better”

Photo by Ursula Ruhl, South County Times.

The issue of building levees to hold back the local rivers is again in the spotlight due to the latest round of flooding in areas, such as Fenton, Pacific, Eureka, Valley Park and Kirkwood. (Look for more coverage about the current flooding soon on Environmental Echo.)

Last year, Don Corrigan interviewed Professor Bob Criss, with the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Washington University. The interview contains some valuable insight into what could be a continuing flooding situation.

This was Criss’s comment last January about the December 2015 round of flooding – “Our flood problems in St. Louis and St. Louis County have been hugely magnified by what I would call idiotic decisions since 1993 especially,” Bob Criss said. “And we knew better.”

Check out the interview from last January below. We’ve come full circle back to where we were last year and Criss’s observations are still relevant today.

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Earth Day & Beyond

by Don Corrigan (South County Times)

This has been an Earth Day Month. From the very beginning to the very end of April, there have been so many notable events to remind us how to become better stewards of the planet.

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Groundwater In Short Supply?

Photo by Holly Shanks.

From Carl’s Climate Letter #886 dated April 4, 2017.

Carl’s analysis:
Groundwater depletion will soon affect supplies and prices of food around the globe.  Irreplaceable groundwater now supplies global agriculture with 43% of its crop irrigation needs, simultaneously reducing its ability to meet future emergency needs in times of drought, which is sure to intensify in many places.  This post discusses the problem as revealed by a new study.

Read the Climate News Network story referenced by Carl’s Climate Letter HERE.

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Are St. Louisans Breathing Clean Air? Environment Missouri Research & Policy Center Releases New Report

Environment Missouri Research & Policy Center recently released a new report spotlighting the concerns of air pollution and air quality in St. Louis and the U.S.

The report,  Our Health at Risk: Why Are Millions of Americans Still Breathing Unhealthy Air?, “comes during National Public Health Week, a celebration of efforts to tackle the underlying causes of disease – like air pollution – and ensure that all people have a chance to live long and healthy lives.”

“There’s no safe level of exposure to smog and particulate pollution,” said Elizabeth Ridlington, policy analyst with Frontier Group and co-author of the report. “Elevated levels of air pollution – even levels the federal government says are safe for most people – hurt our health.”

“Even one day with unhealthy air is too many,” said Taylor Hale, campaign organizer with Environment Missouri.

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From Pocket Parks to Our Beloved Forest Park Author Carver Chronicles 600 Parks of St. Louis

A new book by Nancy Carver, Discovering Public Parks in St. Louis, Missouri, has put hundreds of St. Louis County and St. Louis City parks in one combined reference place. The details of each park are included and readers get a glimpse into elements, such as the history, sculptures, amenities, special features, size, location, and little-known facts about each park. The book is comprehensive and incorporates all parks, whether federal, state, city, county, or neighborhood.

“Only three other major cities have more parks than St. Louis City and County combined. Only three other major cities have a signature park with more visitors than our Forest Park.”

Carver shares insights with Don Corrgian about her new book, and how St. Louis parks and the parks system developed, and why St. Louis should be considered a premier city with access to numerous local parks and green spaces.

Listen to the interview below.

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Suburban Memories Of The New Year’s Eve Twister

Photo courtesy James Kramper, NWS. (Tornado in the photo does not represent the Fenton, Crestwood, or Sunset Hills 2010 twister.)

Environmental Echo’s Editors Note: Starting the week of May 22, Environmental Echo will begin a series of weekly podcasts about the most destructive tornadoes to ever hit Missouri. The stories will be based on the research by Don Corrigan for his book, “Show Me … Nature’s Wrath,” and he will be interviewed by Holly Shanks of Environmental Echo. Stay Tuned.

The first tornado covered will be the half-minute hurricane that beat down St. Charles. We hope you will add to the conversation by posting your own observations about Missouri’s tornadic tales. Should Missouri be included in Tornado Alley?

Read about the New Year’s Eve Twister that hit Fenton, Sunset Hills and Crestwood below…

Missouri marked its annual Severe Weather Awareness Week this past March. Residents of Fenton,  Sunset Hills and Crestwood, who recall the New Year’s Eve tornado of 2010, don’t necessarily need a “heads up” that the skies can turn deadly in an instant.

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