Category Archives: Environment

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JUST MOMS STL: Update On Threat From Bridgeton Landfill Emissions

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The Night The Lights Went Out On The St. Louis Gateway Arch

The National Park Service recently released that it will shut down the Gateway Rach lights at night from September 17-30. The decision was made to help reduce the effects on nite-time migrating birds.

“The end of September is the peak migration period for birds migrating south for the winter,” says Frank Mares, deputy superintendent of Gateway Arch National Park. “In order to avoid the possible disorienting effect of the monument’s upward lighting on birds that migrate at night, the Gateway Arch’s exterior lights will be turned off for the last two weeks of September.”

The recently upgraded lighting systems will resume nightly October 1, at 7:00 p.m. Less than three dozen static xenon skylights with new custom lenses replaced 44 outdated light fixtures. The new system allows more light to be focused on the Arch itself. The number of fixtures has been reduced, but due to advances in technology, the upgraded fixtures provide increased light coverage of the Arch legs and energy efficiency.

Find more information about the Gateway Arch National Park HERE.
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Want Interesting Facts About The Saint Louis Zoo? Check Out Their Blog!

Photo: Saint Louis Zoo

St. Louisans love Forest Park and their Zoo! One of the zillion amazing things about our world-class Saint Louis Zoo is the fact that admission is still FREE!  This allows everyone, from every background and walk in life, to enjoy the zoo and its many learning opportunities.

The editors at Environmental Echo have had the pleasure of meeting several of the zoo’s staff members over the years. And one thing always stands out – the talented and knowledgeable people working at the zoo love what they do and love to share what they know about the animals they love, the zoo’s outstanding operations and facilities, the serious environmental challenges we face and their continuous conservation efforts.

One way to stay informed on what’s happening at the Saint Louis Zoo is by reading their online blog. Did you know the zoo had a blog?

Well, they do, and it’s a variety of interesting topics filled with insights. Did you know that some of the zoo’s catering menu has food items grown right in their own culinary garden?

How about the partnership with Ameren to help feed the animals and create mulch from tree limbs that are trimmed and removed to help prevent storm damage?

Oh, and, if you happen to browse the gift shop and take home a soapstone statuette handmade in the village of Tabaka in Kenya, the purchase helps support the village’s people and their local conservation efforts.

And, of course, news and information about the animals, along with many more interesting tidbits directly from the staff members who work at the zoo.

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A Comprehensive Look At The Valley Park Levee And Local Historic Flooding Issues

The Valley Park levee has been a tense and bitter debate since historic flooding hit the area twice in 18 months during 2015 and 2017. With any major forecasted rain or storm event, the threat of flooding is always on the minds of local residents.

This weekend, heavy rain is predicted as the last of tropical storm Gordon pushes its way into the Midwest.  (September 2018)

Environmental Echo has posted several stories and updates about the local flooding situations related to the Valley Park levee issue in the past and we wanted to share a comprehensive piece of investigative journalism we ran across from ProPublica.

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Australia’s “Godfather of Coral” Says Great Barrier Reef’s Extinction Could Cause “Ecological Collapse”

Photo: Pixabay/Pexels

A reef expert, nicknamed “The Godfather of Coral,” has decided to become vocal about the extinction threat facing Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

CNN recently published a story on the topic. The online article is complete with photos, maps, videos and links to more information about the reef.

If you have the time, take a few minutes and check it out. The story can be found HERE.

Also, the link to CNN’s full video documentary for “Race To Save The Reef.” Find it HERE.

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Informed Young People Are The Key To Protecting Our Natural Legacy

Don Corrigan at Rocky Falls. Photo by Emery Styron

When it comes to the environment and the outdoors, there are very dark clouds casting shadows now. They will not clear – even with the departure of  EPA’s Scott Pruitt, the most bizarre “protector of the environment” ever.

Despite Pruitt and Company, there are silver linings on all the dark clouds. Just when you think the push for more mining and drilling in pristine places is the last straw, you find encouragement in stories about — what else, the coming demise of the plastic straw.

That’s right. Starbucks, American Airlines and several hotel chains have announced that they are phasing out plastic straws. The straws make up eight metric tons of the plastic that end up in our waterways and oceans every year.

Entire islands of plastic are floating in our oceans. Seabirds and sea turtles are victims of the plastic straws that find their way into the poor creatures’ nostrils and respiratory systems.

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Missouri AG Announces Settlement With Republic Services Concerning Bridgeton/West Lake Landfill

Just Moms STL, a community advocacy group working to bring awareness and solutions for the West Lake Landfill nuclear waste issues,  published a press release about the Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley ‘s decision concerning Republic Services responsibility at the Bridgeton/West Lake Landfill site.

Below, we have included the Just Moms STL’s full release. The West Lake Landfill and Coldwater Creek in North St. Louis County is a regional issue. Communities and citizens should in the entire region should be aware of and understand the dangers and risks the tons of illegally dumped nuclear waste pose to the area.

“This site will never have a perfect solution and resident vigilance is needed now more than ever,” says Dawn Chapman. “We must ensure that nothing changes at this site and that all instituted controls are effective and in working order. This community could be at risk if even one system fails. We look towards our elected officials and St. Louis County to help us with this task.”

Read the full release below.

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Air Quality Forecasting Season Kicks Off For 2018

The latest “State of the Air” report reveals St. Louis region still receives poor grades for air quality.

The region may no longer be among top 25 most polluted cities, but ozone pollution levels still indicate air pollution concerns in the St. Louis area and nationwide, with more than 40 percent of Americans living with unhealthy air

May 1 marked the return of daily air quality forecasting by the Clean Air Partnership to keep area residents informed as to whether the air we breathe is in a healthy “green” range, unhealthy “red” range, or somewhere in between.  If the latest data from the American Lung Association’s (ALA) recently released 2018 “State of the Air” report is any indication of what to expect this year, the region once again needs to be prepared for a mix of conditions and the potential for many days of unhealthy ozone levels.

See where St. Louis area counties rank on the air quality listing below.

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Are Weeds Edible? Catrina Adams Says, Yes!

Pictured: Catrina Adams. Photo by Diana Linsley.

Catrina Adams, who teaches a class in the Master Naturalist Program on the Meramec campus of St. Louis Community College in Kirkwood, has a timely message for you: “It’s OK to eat the weeds!”

In fact, that’s the actual name for her college continuing education class: “It’s OK to Eat the Weeds: Wild Edible Plants of Spring.” This past Saturday (5/4/18), she was hunting for weeds on campus with a dozen students who enrolled in the course.

“Plants I focus on in my Meramec class this time of year are the ones that people are pulling out of their yards and out of the garden,” said Adams.

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West Lake Landfill Whistleblowers Honored

Pictured above: Dawn Chapman (Left) and Karen Nickel, co-founders of Just Moms STL.

Two brave ladies from North County were honored at the Gateway Journalism Review (GJR)annual First Amendment Celebration.

Dawn Chapman and Karen Nickel, founders of Just Moms STL, an advocacy group focused on the cleanup of nuclear waste contained in West Lake Landfill, were honored for “blowing the whistle” on the inept handling of atomic waste in the St. Louis region. Every day more St. Louis residents are becoming aware of our city’s role in the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb – and the deadly legacy left behind here.

Read more below about St. Louis’ nuclear waste issues and the people working to bring awareness to the public.

Check out Don Corrigan’s latest for the Gateway Journalism Review an informative article titled  “Activists draw national attention and EPA response to the atomic city” – Read the article HERE

Also, read Corrigan’s second article for the GJR –  “Documentary movies draw attention to the atomic city” – Read the article HERE.

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