Category Archives: Environment

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Rock Island Line Corridor One Step Closer

Pictured: A portion of Grant’s Trail. This newly signed agreement opens the door for another classic trail, like the Great Rivers Greenway trail system in the St. Louis area.

Department of Natural Resources and Ameren Missouri’s Missouri Central Railroad sign agreement on Rock Island Line Corridor.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources recently signed an Interim Trail Use Agreement with Missouri Central Railroad Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ameren Missouri, paving the way for the future railbanking of 144 miles of the former Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad corridor, which stretches from Windsor to Beaufort, Missouri. The Interim Trail Use Agreement ensures the preservation of the former railroad corridor for future transportation use and facilitates the eventual donation of the property to the department for recreational trail use.

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Forest Park Forever Receives 2019 Saint Louis Zoo Conservation Award

Jeffery P. Bonner, Ph.D., Dana Brown President & CEO, Saint Louis Zoo (left) next to Lesley S. Hoffarth, P.E., President & Executive Director, Forest Park Forever (center) and Lisa Kelley, Ph.D., Executive Director, Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute (right). Accepting the 2019 Saint Louis Zoo Conservation Award for Forest Park Forever was Hoffarth. The Conservation Award and three community awards were presented at the Zoo’s 28th Annual Marlin Perkins Society Celebration on Nov. 13, 2019. Photo courtesy S. Carmody Photography.

The Saint Louis Zoo Conservation Award was recently presented to Forest Park Forever. For over 30 years, the nonprofit conservancy has worked to enhance the ecological diversity of Forest Park and create the recreational and educational opportunities for students and adults that make Forest Park the number one city park in the country.

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Here’s How You Can Help Reverse Declining Bird Numbers

Eastern Meadowlark Photo: MDC

A recent study from prominent bird researchers in the U.S. and Canada, including Cornell Lab of Ornithology, found that North America has lost nearly 3 billion birds in the last 50 years, and those declines are also occurring in Missouri. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is partnering with other conservation agencies and organizations to address population declines in the state and offer solutions.

“It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact causes of these widespread bird declines because many birds are migratory and they breed here but winter out of the country,” said MDC State Ornithologist Sarah Kendrick. “But one of the threats birds are facing is loss of breeding habitat and managers of public and private land can help reverse these declines.”

Eastern meadowlark, prairie warbler, field sparrow, cerulean warbler, and red-headed woodpecker among threatened species.

See details below with information about what you can do to help!

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Jiminy Cricket! Where’s The Beef?

Holy cow! Jiminy Cricket! Sarah Schlafly of Des Peres wants us to kick the red meat burger habit in favor of incorporating a little more cricket into our daily diet. She is issuing a “Cricket Challenge” in the Gateway City.

“The idea behind the exciting Cricket Challenge is to dare St. Louisans to try a dish or beverage made with powdered crickets,” said Schlafly, CEO of her company named Mighty Cricket. “The idea is to put St. Louis on the map for innovation in sustainable food choices.”

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“Organic” – What Do You Think It Means?

This is an interesting article by Modern Farmer about the items labeled “organic” that we purchase at our local grocers and markets. It seems there is a battle on the menu between the “Big Ag version of organic agriculture” and the “organic purists.”

The purists say the USDA certified organic label no longer represents the “spirit” of what organic should be.

This easy-to-read article from Modern Farmer answers five questions about what the organic labels do not clearly mean for consumers. It’s worth the few minutes!

Read the article HERE.

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New Book Gives Refreshing Look At Solution To The Asian Carp Crisis

Picture yourself out for a celebration dinner at an upscale seafood restaurant. So many choices on the menu: Orange Roughy, Chilean Seabass, fresh lobster – Asian Carp? Hang on, wait just a second, the last item must be a mistake! Who would put a “trash fish” like the Asian Carp on the menu? Joseph Classen, that’s who.

Classen’s new book, “Eat the Enemy!” explains why the invasive Asian carp should be on every menu and family dining table around the country. The outdoorsman, author and photographer is working to spread the word about a clean, healthy, undervalued and an entirely wasted resource that also happens to be environmentally devastating our rivers.

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What’s The Weather?

City of St. Charles’ Frontier Park. (Holly Shanks)

Steve Reed, a Sunset Hills resident, recently sent commentary about the severe flooding in our local areas.  Please take a moment and read about his concerns.

 

By Steve Reed, Sunset Hills (Guest Commentator)

What’s with the weather?

Galatians 6:5 “For each one will bear his own load.”

I once heard a sermon about a man who awakes in the middle of the night feeling uncomfortably chilled. To get warm he needs to rouse himself, grasp the blanket at the foot of his bed, and pull it over him. And yet he does nothing. Half awake, and with dim awareness that any movement will expose him to cold room air, his mind turns from the effort to act, and he snuggles deeper into the blankets for warmth.

We have had recent severe prolonged flooding in the Mid-west causing multiple damage: crops destroyed and spring plantings missed; buildings and equipment destroyed; loss of livestock and human lives. Damage cost estimates are $ 5 billion and above, most of which is uninsured.  The floodwaters which flow to the Gulf of Mexico carry farmland fertilizer which results in an enormous, oxygen depleted “dead zone” in the Gulf, killing fish and causing fishermen to seek disaster relief along with farmers.

This flooding is not unprecedented. Comparable flooding occurred in 1993. But what should concern us is that the frequency of severe flooding rises higher and higher. Why?

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More Trees Create Cooler Urban Areas

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Missouri Department of Agriculture Announces “Senior Farmers” Market Nutrition Program

Program details released by the Missouri Department of Agriculture will offer Low-income seniors in the Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield regions vouchers to purchase fresh produce from local farmer’s markets.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture announced that the Missouri Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) is up and running for the summer. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services, the SFMNP assists low-income seniors in obtaining fresh, Missouri Grown produce and injects up to nearly $200,000 into the farmers’ market community. Through the program, more than 4,100 households may be touched.

Read more from the Missouri Department of Agriculture below, including where to apply for program vouchers.

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Aerial Photographs of Flooded Infrastructure in the St. Louis Region

Ameren’s Sioux Power Station at the confluence between the Mississippi and the Missouri Rivers | Photo taken on June 3, 2019 by Derek Hoeferlin. Courtesy Missouri Confluence Waterkeeper.

Dramatic photos of area infrastructure sites and information released by Missouri Confluence Waterkeeper. Everyone should be concerned about how the recent flooding events will affect the local region’s important infrastructure, such as our drinking water supply.

Informational release from the MCW starts below.

Missouri Confluence Waterkeeper Rachel Bartels and volunteer photographers captured aerial photos of the flooded Missouri and Mississippi Rivers in the St. Louis region during three flights taken between May 28, 2019 and June 3, 2019, where they surveyed the extent of the flooding and assessed how flooded infrastructure will impact the region’s clean water.

Flooded Mississippi River near downtown St. Louis, Missouri | Photo taken on June 3 by Derek Hoeferlin. Courtesy Missouri Confluence Waterkeeper.

“The majority of our drinking water is from the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, so we wanted to get up in the air as quickly as possible to document the hazards and the potential risks to our community,” Bartels said.

Among the possible hazards are ponds storing highly toxic coal ash along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, as well as at the confluence of these two major rivers, which have seen seven major floods since 2008 and experienced three record-setting floods in the past three years alone.

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