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Top Ten Environmental Issues In Missouri

Pictured: Rich Thoma of the Webster Groves Nature Study Society

by Don Corrigan

What are the Top Ten Environmental Issues that Missourians have coped with last century, from 1900 to 2000? Rich Thoma of the Webster Groves Nature Study Society (WGNSS) recently had a conversation about this. WGNSS members have been involved in a number of environmental battles. What quickly became apparent to me is that naming these Top Ten will depend in large part on what environmental groups you may have affiliation. St. Louis and Missouri have a number of such organizations that have been on the frontlines.

Here is one take on the Top Ten Environmental Issues in Missouri, but it is not definitive. Revisions and commentary on these are welcome. Additions and subtractions may be necessary to put an accurate list together.

1.)  Atomic City – radioactive waste issues in Weldon Spring, West Lake Landfill, Coldwater Creek.

2.) Lead Contamination – Lead smelter products poisoned people in urban center and the Leadbelt.

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Community Science Volunteers Needed For FrogWatch USA

Photo: Gray tree frog By Michael Dawson, Saint Louis Zoo.

Saint Louis Zoo virtual training sessions set for March 5, 13

Jump in and become a FrogWatch USA™ volunteer with the Saint Louis Zoo! Members of the St. Louis-area community are needed to monitor frogs and toads from their backyards, parks, fields, creeks or just about anywhere. The information gathered can lead to practical and workable ways to stop amphibian decline.
You do not have to be an expert to be help with frog conservation. All you need is an interest in frogs and toads and a willingness to participate at the level of commitment that works for you.
“We will train you to distinguish the croaks, peeps, and various calls of the 10 most common frog and toad species around the St. Louis area,” says Michael Dawson, Conservation Education Liaison at the Zoo, and coordinator of the St. Louis Chapter of FrogWatch USA. “Breeding calls vary greatly and are often mistaken for birds or insects. Their volume ranges from a soft musical trill to a deafening chorus.”

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Invasive Asian Carp Global Malnutrition Solution?

The University of Missouri published a news release entitled, “Asian carp could pulverize world hunger, MU researcher finds: Powdering Asian carp could address an environmental problem and a global malnutrition crisis.”

The article and video give valuable information about the ongoing fight against the invasive Asian carp and the destructive impact the species have on our rivers and lakes. Please take a few moments to read the article and watch the video to learn more about the efforts to reduce damage caused by the Asian carp and to also help the “global malnutrition crisis.”

Read the article HERE. See the video below.

“These fish are a delicacy in China, where they are native, but Americans tend to dislike them,” said Mark Morgan, an associate professor in the School of Natural Resources. “Why eat bony, ugly carp when we can have trout and salmon, instead? But taken as a nutritional supplement, these fish, which have high amounts of macro and micronutrients, could have an incredibly positive impact on society while we loosen their hold on our waterways at the same time.”

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February Polar Vortex Knocked Out Electricity in Texas; Utility Experts Say “Green New Deal” Is Not To Blame

Photo: Michal Dziekonski

By Don Corrigan

The worst polar vortex event of the winter has faded quickly for St. Louis residents. The memory of the bitter cold and snow storm have melted away. Not so in Texas, where electrical outages, burst pipes and critical equipment failures continue to plague the Lone Star State.

Texas towns suffered weather-related fatalities and millions of dollars in damage from one of the costliest weather disasters in U.S. history. Could the St. Louis area and Midwest suffer a similar fate in a brutal winter storm and extended cold snap?

Mark Petty, Kirkwood Electric Director, who said his job “is to keep the lights on,” does not foresee any such utility catastrophe for his suburban city. Kirkwood is the only municipality in the St. Louis region with its own electric department.

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Missouri Prairie Foundation Earns National Recognition

Missourians strongly support protecting the open spaces they love. Since 1966, the Missouri Prairie Foundation has been doing just that for the people of Missouri. With its 25 properties across the state, which are open to the public to enjoy, the Missouri Prairie Foundation is protecting extremely biologically diverse and rare original, unplowed prairie, which is one of the most imperiled ecosystems on the planet, as well as expanding prairie habitat with native grassland plantings.

Today, the Land Trust Alliance announced that the Missouri Prairie Foundation has achieved national accreditation—joining a network of accredited land trusts across the nation that have demonstrated their commitment to professional excellence and to maintaining the public’s trust in their work. There are currently 1,363 land trusts across the United States according to the Land Trust Alliance’s most recent National Land Trust Census, and more than 400 of them are accredited.

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Freshman Rep. Cori Bush Takes On Equity, Environmental Issues

by Don Corrigan

In just a few short weeks in Congress, newly-elected U.S. Rep. Cori Bush, D-St. Louis, has given her city visibility on issues ranging from education equity, racial discrimination, environmental racism and the impeachment of a president.

Like it or not, the new freshman in Congress has a voice and it’s getting heard.

Bush’s 1st District includes parts of north Webster Groves and Rock Hill and extends north and east to take in St. Louis City and parts of the County. Ken Warren, a noted pollster and political science professor at St. Louis University, is a Webster Groves constituent of Bush and admits he has underestimated her.

“I was wrong in my prediction for the Bush-Clay primary race in 2020,” said Warren. “Incumbents in our political system have the huge advantage, and I did not really think she could bring about an upset of the seat held so long by Lacy Clay and his father, William Clay.

“Once she won the primary, she was a sure bet in November regardless of what happened with the Biden-Trump presidential election,” added Warren. “And she has attracted a lot of attention and media notice right out of the gate as a vocal member of Congress in 2021.”

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Cockroaches Are Getting A Makeover, But They Aren’t Incredible or Edible Yet!

by Don Corrigan

In any insect popularity contest, cockroaches always are near the bottom of the barrel. Cockroaches may rate more favorably than black widow spiders or tsetse flies, but they are generally loathed by most Americans.

All is not lost for the lowly cockroaches, however. Recently they have gained some cachet as lead characters in promotions, benefits and charitable causes. Celebrity cockroaches have arrived, like it or not.

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Bald Eagle Shot In Washington County, MDC Investigating

MDC Conservation Agent Jaymes Hall holds a wounded bald eagle at the Word Bird Sanctuary. MDC is seeking information from the public on the incident. Call 1-800-392-1111 to report any tips.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is investigating the shooting of a male bald eagle near the town of Belgrade in southern Washington County. The incident occurred at the intersection of Highways C and Z and is believed to have happened on Feb. 3 or 4.

On Feb. 5 MDC Washington County Conservation Agent Jaymes Hall received a report about the injured bald eagle from the U.S. Forest Service office in Potosi. Agent Hall responded and found the male bald eagle in a field near a nest, with its mate in the nest. Conservation Agent Hall verified the eagle was seriously injured and determined it needed to be captured so its injuries could be treated. Agent Hall was able to capture the eagle with the help of Viburnum Police Chief, Hershel Shipman.

“A special thank you goes out to Chief Shipman for his assistance,” said Hall.

Agent Hall transported the injured eagle immediately to the World Bird Sanctuary (WBS) in Valley Park. WBS staff examined the eagle and found that the bird’s right wing was dislocated and severely fractured. A closer examination revealed two gunshot wounds through the joint connecting the wing to the torso. Based on the extent of tissue healing, WBS estimated the bald eagle was shot on Feb. 3 or 4.

WBS operated on the bald eagle hoping to repair its injuries and rehabilitate it. Those injuries were too extensive however, and the bird did not survive.

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Part II: Missouri Rep. Sassmann Brings Conservationist Ethic To State Capital

Newly-elected state Rep. Bruce Sassmann and his wife, Jan.

By Don Corrigan

Newly-elected state Rep. Bruce Sassmann, R-Bland, was recently appointed to the Missouri House Committee on Conservation and Natural Resources. He brings unrivaled credentials to this work to be done under the dome in Jefferson City.

Sassmann and his wife, Jan, have taken a family farm and converted it into what they call the Prairie Star Restoration Farm. They give tours of the prairie site, where they have built replicas of the outdoor shelters of Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold and also a site for John Muir.

Thoreau, Leopold and Muir are praised by Sassmann as the “holy trinity of conservation.” But Sassman has brought his own brand of conservation to the farm, where he gives educational tours of the restored farm’s indigenous flora and fauna.

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Saint Louis Zoo Makes Decisive Move to Save American Red Wolves

Pictured: American red wolf. Photo by Rebecca Bose, Wolf Conservation Center, South Salem New York.

The American red wolf is staring down extinction, with only about 20 left in the wild – but the species has an important new ally in the Saint Louis Zoo.

Responding to an urgent call to keep this species from going extinct, the Zoo is transforming part of its land in Franklin County, Mo., into a conservation habitat where 24 American red wolves will live and breed in a private, protected natural setting.

The Zoo is developing approximately 20 acres of its 355-acre property in Franklin County, known as the Saint Louis Zoo Sears Lehmann, Jr. Wildlife Reserve, with separately secured habitats for 12 mating pairs of wolves in 2021. The wolves will come from other conservation organizations in 2022. The campus will not be open to visitors, as the Zoo wants the wolves to learn natural survival skills without much human interaction in the secured facility.

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