Local Firm Helps Farmers After Bird Flu

Our Board Member, Jan Sherwood works with Shekar Engineering, out of Des Moines Iowa. Below is about a project they received to help farmers recover and clean up after the effects of the Bird Flu. Shekar Engineering, from Des Moines Iowa, has been in business since the 1990’s performing environmental consulting and construction services. In September, Shekar Engineering was awarded a contract with the USDA to work on turkey farms affected by bird flu in Sac, Buena Vista, and Cherokee counties. Each of the farms, consisting of four to five barns, lost turkey flocks consisting of as many as 40,000 birds earlier this year. Altogether, the various farms we worked on lost in total over 500,000 turkeys due to the strain of bird flu that was particularly virulent this year. The USDA provided clean up services to remove the birds as well as clean and disinfect the barns while they were under quarantine. The birds were removed along with up to a...
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Local Food Cycle on KCWI Great Day Show

Prairie Rivers of Iowa is bringing back the Local Food Cycle again this year. The Local Food Cycle is a culinary bike ride that is a special event where bike riders tour local farms, meet farmers and eat delicious culinary delights prepared by area chefs. This year’s ride is through eastern Story County. We were fortune enough to be a guest on KCWI Channel 23 Great Day show on Friday August 14th. Jessica Johnson, Prairie Rivers of Iowa’s Marketing Coordinator and Emily Zimmerman, with the Sustainable Agriculture Student Association were the interviewees. To register and find out more about the stops visit www.prrcd.org/bike Listen to the interview below: ...
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That Chautauqua Thing on October 3-4

For many older Iowans, Chautauqua is not a new word. But for non-natives, or if you are from a younger generation, you may have never heard of the word Chautauqua! In the late 1800's and early 1900's, each Chautauqua was a popular multi-county gathering, where folks would travel far and wide to attend the popular assembly. A Chautauqua brought education, culture, and entertainment for the whole community with speakers, teachers, musicians and entertainers. Legacy Learning Boone River Valley is putting a new spin on an old tradition with "That Chautauqua Thing" on October 3-4, 2015. It's about learning - a new skill, discovering a new hobby, the history of the region, or learning a heritage craft. This community-wide intergenerational learning weekend will feature events for the entire family with entertainment, tours, and both short and longer workshops. There's a range of prices - some are free! Individual workshops with their details and registration are on the website (see October 3-4 classes), so...
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Barn Owls May Be Coming Back to Iowa

Written by our Board Vice President, Erv Klaas   I just finished reading the Fall 2014 issue of the DNR’s Wildlife Diversity Newsletter in which biologist Bruce Ehresman wrote an article entitled “What’s Happening With Iowa’s Barn Owls?”  It brought back nostalgic memories of my own encounter with Barn Owls more than 40 years ago.  It was in the early years of my career as a research biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Maryland.  I was conducting studies on the effects of DDT and other organochlorine pesticides on Barn Owls.  The Chesapeake Bay was dotted with numerous off-shore blinds built by duck hunters.  These were often elaborate structures consisting of a large wooden rectangular box mounted on stilts in shallow water.  A partial roof projected over a bench for 3 to 4 hunters to sit inside.  A rough lean-to on the blind provided a place to hide a boat.  The outside of...
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Giving Tuesday

There’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday and now Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving December 1st.  It is a day to bring together donors, volunteers and communities around a common cause that is near and dear to your heart. Every program area has expanded here at Prairie Rivers of Iowa, more people are engaged and participating, and our projects are receiving more attention than ever before. None of this would have been possible without the incredible support of our financial partners, donors, and volunteers. There are several ways you can give back to Prairie Rivers of Iowa.  Two special ones are:  Prairie Rivers of Iowa has launched a new online store where you can buy products, memorabilia, or give a donation. Currently, we offer a selective collection of inventory including replica signs of the historic Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway and stunning pictures of dragonflies. What a wonderful way to purchase a gift for a loved one while giving back to Prairie...
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The Natural World as Classroom

by John Mazzello, Project Coordinator If you’ve been following Prairie Rivers of Iowa’s Facebook page or newsletter, you might remember that we are working on a unique project with the opportunity to affect how Iowa’s students of all ages experience and learn about the environment and the natural world around us. Through our “Outdoor Learning Environments in Iowa” project, funded by grants from Iowa’s Living Roadway Trust Fund and the Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education Program (REAP CEP), we are exploring the state of outdoor classrooms in Iowa and building resources and guidance to assist future creators and funders in developing successful and sustainable outdoor learning sites. This summer, with the assistance of Prairie Rivers of Iowa’s Mike Brandrup, we have completed site visits to outdoor classrooms previously supported by the Living Roadway Trust Fund and surveyed outdoor educators and school staff on the successes and challenges of using outdoor spaces to deepen learning across all subject areas. While there are...
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Wild Warriors Camp Week 1

We just completed the first week of Wild Warrior Camp here at Prairie Rivers of Iowa and it was a blast!  We had 9 campers total for the first week and these 9 wild warriors had the opportunity to experience a great range of things from everyday hikes to the importance of developing a sense of wonder when exploring the great outdoors. The first day they learned about the great Iowa Arboretum and its extensive history as a not-for-profit tree museum and then learned about camping and survival skills with the great help of JAX Outdoor Gear.  We got to taste test some freeze dried food first hand and learn about all the equipment needed to go camping or to survive in the wilderness.  The campers even got to meet some wildlife friends such as a brown bat that has been cared for by the Wildlife Care Clinic.  (photo 1)   The other days, the kids learned how to kayak, archery, how to...
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Giving Back – Brandrup’s Timber

This story is in three parts. Make sure to keep an eye out for each piece to learn more about The Hamilton County Conservation Board is proud to proclaim its newest public wildlife management area that will be known as “Brandrup’s Timber”. Part 1 The Hamilton County Conservation Board is proud to proclaim its newest public wildlife management area that will be known as “Brandrup’s Timber”.  The story of this land and its designation as public land begins with Mike and Pat Brandrup and their story of the lands journey. “The land we call our farm was once part the Native American culture, owned by no one and shared by all, and used for centuries.   In 1803 the United States government acquired the land as part of the Louisiana Purchase. According to the land abstracts, our farm was deeded from the federal government to a private individual in the 1854, and has been owned by over 30 individual and families.  During the 160 years...
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IOWATER program is rolling out some big changes

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources IOWATER program is rolling out some big changes and want to keep the people informed. They are updating and creating some great resources to use if you are interested in Iowa waters. Check out all that is happening below and follow the links to learn more.   1. New Water Monitoring Atlas - The Iowa DNR has replaced the old Water Monitoring Atlas with a new version at: http://programs.iowadnr.gov/maps/watermonitoring/   2. IOWATER Workshops - They are now being scheduled. See the current schedule at www.iowadnr.gov/iowater and click on “Calendar of Events” for Introductory, Biological or Bacteria workshop in your area..   3. IOWATER Success Stories - Do you have a story of how IOWATER data are being used in your community (or school, or where ever), the DNR woule love to hear from you at www.iowadnr.gov/iowater   4. 69th Annual Soil and Water Conservation Society Meeting - This meeting will be held on July 27th – 30th,2014, Lombard, IL. For more information...
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See EOR’s Presentation on the Squaw Creek

Would you like to see the presentation and data that Emmons and Olivier Resources Inc. has presented to the Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority?  Check out their Water Quality Summary and their Stream Assessment presentations to read about their findings thus far.   Water Quality Summary Stream Assessment   A quick summary of their Key findings of the water quality and stream assessment: ·        The hydrology of Squaw Creek has been significantly altered. Flashy: Peak flow rates in the stream can be as much as 100x the base flow. ·        Monitoring data indicates that there are very high levels of nutrients (P and N) and bacteria. Boom/Bust dissolved oxygen cycles. ·        The manner in which past monitoring has been done makes it difficult to detect any trends. Recommendation is to focus effort at one or two sites along the creek and take more frequent baseflow and storm event samples. ·        Stream is NOT healthy: unstable, degraded habitat, carries large sediment load (without flushing it downstream)  ...
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