Canoeists paddle in the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo courtesy Randall Hyman.
Pictured: Randall Hyman
By Don Corrigan
Fresh off a story about flooding and pollution on the Upper Mississippi River, photojournalist Randall Hyman of St. Louis is using a journalism award to fund an investigation into travails of the Navajo fighting oil companies wanting a piece of their native lands.
Hyman won a coveted Society of Environmental Journalism Award to cover expenses on a project entitled, “Betrayal in the Fog of Viral War,” a story on oil and gas companies exploiting native lands in New Mexico with the help of the White House and the Interior Department.
“This Administration’s Bureau of Land Management has been trying to give away drilling rights and fracking permits on the native lands of the Navajo in Chako Reservation territory,” Hyman explained. “It’s a little crazy now because the fracking industry is dead in the water in this economic downturn.
“The oil and gas industry has bankruptcies right and left,” said Hyman. “The fracking industry has never been profitable and it’s collapsing now with the lack of demand for oil in this pandemic economy.”
Read more of the article below.
Photo courtesy MDC.
Learn everything you’ll need to create the ultimate family nature outing at this free, virtual program.
There’s never been a better time to take a “staycation” than now. One very accessible, inexpensive, and fun family outing is a camping trip. But for those new to camping, the initial startup might seem intimidating.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is presenting a free online program to make getting a start with camping easy. MDC naturalists will present Beginning Camping Thursday, Aug. 13 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. for ages 10 and up. It’s especially tailored for novice campers and designed to take the mystery out of spending a night in the woods.
Find more information about the program and registration below.
MDC’s partnership projects, such as this pollinator plot at Cameron Golf Course in northwest Missouri, help make a difference for the state’s forest, fish, and wildlife. Photo: MDC
No one accomplishes anything alone, and through strong conservation partnerships, Missouri’s natural resources continue to be valued and supported. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is fortunate to work with numerous partner organizations that help make a difference for the state’s forest, fish, and wildlife in communities around the state. Community conservation – the practice of integrating nature into a city’s landscape – includes these impactful projects…
Read more about the MDC’s conservation projects and partners below, including grants and partnerships in the St. Louis region and across Missouri.
The incidence of COVID-19 cases has seen a significant rise in recent weeks, prompting the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) to close its St. Louis Regional Office on the August A. Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles to the public. The regional office closure is effective immediately until further notice.
All outdoor spaces and fishing lakes on the conservation area remain open. The All In Bait & Tackle Shop, operated by an independent vendor, will also remain open. Visitors are reminded to observe social distancing and other COVID-19-related guidelines when on the area.
Information from the Missouri Department of Agriculture in reference to unsolicited seeds showing up in mailboxes from China. See guidance below about what to do if you or an acquaintance might receive the suspicious seeds in the mail.
The Missouri Department of Agriculture has received reports from residents of unsolicited seeds being delivered from foreign countries such as China and surrounding areas. Missouri’s announcement follows several states who have also reported packages of these seeds being delivered across the United States. Consistent with nationwide reports, the packages were labeled as jewelry, specifically stud earrings, bracelets and other accessories.”
It is important to take steps to prevent the introduction of invasive species into Missouri to ensure safety of the environment, livestock and plants. The full risk associated with the seeds in question is unknown at this time. However, the seeds could be an invasive species that has the potential to destroy native plants and damage crops. Invasive species can also introduce diseases to plants and may be harmful to livestock.
If Missouri residents have received unsolicited seeds, the following guidance applies … Continue reading from the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s announcement HERE.
Photo courtesy MDC.
Learn what, when and where to fish for in the many fishing lakes in the St. Louis Urban Fishing program during this free presentation.
The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Urban Fishing Program (UFP) is one of the largest and oldest in the country. Started in 1969 to bring great fishing home to St. Louis residents, it has steadily grown and expanded over the decades to encompass St. Louis County, as well as the lakes located at August. A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles. Today, there are more angling opportunities year-round than ever before.
St. Louis area anglers will have the chance to learn more about the UFP at a free online program, Introduction to Urban Fishing in St. Louis. It will be held Mon., July 20, from 6:00-6:45 p.m. This virtual program will provide an opportunity to learn and ask questions about urban fishing in the metro area.
More details about the free online seminar below.
By Don Corrigan
As if humans aren’t suffering enough woe from the COVID-19 pandemic, now comes word of a new outbreak of bubonic plague in squirrels. A squirrel found in Colorado on July 11 tested positive for the bubonic plague.
This is the first known case of the plague this year in Colorado and the Southwest United States.
In researching the book, “Nuts About Squirrels,” this writer found any number of cases of squirrels carrying bubonic plague in southern California in recent decades.
The plague is a bacterial disease which brought untold suffering and carnage to the Mediterranean and Europe in the Middle Ages. Also known as black death, it wiped out as many as 200 million people and literally reduced the human population of the Earth by as much as a third. Bubonic plague is spread to humans from rodents, such as rats and squirrels, although it can be transmitted to humans when fleas feed on the blood of sick rats and squirrels and then bite humans.
Environmental Echo’s Don Corrigan was a guest on author Michelle Oyola’s podcast that provides advice and tips for getting published. Oyola is the successful author of “The Broken” series of novels for young adults published by Owl Hollow Press.
Oyola interviews Don about his own books, “Environmental Missouri,” “Nuts About Squirrels,” and his upcoming “American Roadkill.” Corrigan is Professor Emeritus in journalism at Webster University and Oyola was his journalism student in the first decade of a new century. Corrigan has high praise for Oyola’s skill using social media to promote her books, but remains mystified by her pen name: Shelly X Leonn. Author Oyola is originally from Washington, Mo.
CLICK HERE to listen to Michelle Oyola’s podcast interview – “Changing Lanes with Don Corrigan.”
Photo courtesy MDC.
MDC plants sunflowers at Columbia Bottom for viewing and photo opportunities! Visitors should be able to enjoy impressive golden displays continuously through mid-August.
Sunflower fans should have the opportunity again this summer to view and photograph spectacular sunflower displays at Columbia Bottom Conservation Area in North St. Louis County. Due to popular demand, Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) staff have planted additional sunflower plots again this year.
MDC staff were unable to plant last year because flood waters lingered on the area. However, conditions have been more favorable this season, so staff utilized a similar planting strategy to the one from 2018, which proved highly popular with visitors.
Spectacular sunflower fields have been an annual tradition at Columbia Bottom Conservation Area in Spanish Lake. MDC staff have been planting sunflowers for years as part of their management for mourning doves. The area is known as an excellent dove hunting destination each September. The large flowers supply seeds that entice the doves, and their lofty stalks create cover for the hunters who pursue them. Sunflowers also benefit a wide variety of other birds and pollinators.
The Missouri Department of Conservation has reopened Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center to the public again. The nature center has been closed since March due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The nature center has resumed its normal business hours of 8 am – 5 pm, Tuesday – Saturday. The trails are open every day from 8 am – 8 pm. This is a gentle reminder that pets are not allowed on the trails or in the nature center.
Please note that a St. Louis County Order requires face coverings. MDC strongly encourages visitors to wear a mask when visiting the nature center, and to observe recommended social distancing guidelines at the nature center.
Visitors will also be asked to provide contact information should it become necessary to use in the future.
For more information, visit the MDC webpage HERE.