A blasting operation at Pattison Sand Co.'s surface mine near Clayton, Iowa, is seen on Sept. 14, 2015, from across the Mississippi River in Bagley, Wisconsin. Homeowners Jim and Kathy Kachel say dust from the mine has gotten inside of their home.

Controversy As Northeast Iowa Frac Sand Mine No. 1 In Violations Seeks To Expand

A controversial frac sand mining company that recently opened a site in Wisconsin is facing opposition to plans that would greatly expand its mine in Clayton County, Iowa. Pattison Sand Co. has requested re-zoning of 746 acres of land from agricultural to heavy industrial to expand its underground mine.

Members of the 2016 University of Iowa Dancers in Company troupe rehearse "Anatomy of a River," one of six dances in the group's Water Works program, on Feb. 11.

Water Issues Inspired University of Iowa Dance Program

Water — how it moves, its environmental and health impacts and its cultural significance —inspired upcoming performances by the University of Iowa Dancers in Company. The performance, called “Water Works,” is based on water quality research and dips a toe into an emotionally fraught conversation that boiled over this past year.


Severity Of Algae In Iowa Lakes Is On The Rise

That paint-like scum that covers some Iowa lakes every summer isn’t just gross and smelly. People, pets, and livestock coming into contact with or ingesting toxins produced by the algae are at risk to symptoms including skin rashes, gastrointestinal issues and, in high doses, liver failure.

A photo of an algae bloom this summer on Green Valley Lake in Union County.

The Science Of Iowa Lake Scum

Only certain strains of cyanobacteria can produce toxins, although they don’t always do so.

“Scientists generally agree that the cyanobacteria evolved this ability to produce toxin either as a competitive advantage or as some sort of protection,” Mary Skopec, who heads the Iowa Department of Natural Resources beach monitoring program, said.

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Wind Energy Industry Spun Into Bat Preservation Effort

Iowa’s wind industry must deal with unwanted bat deaths as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tries to stop the slaughter of one species – the northern long-eared bat. This, despite wind turbines not being the bats’ main tormentor.

Northern long-eared bat.

Federal Wildlife Service Seeks Public Input on Habitat Plan

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking the public’s suggestions for writing an environmental impact statement for an eight-state Midwestern plan designed to help conserve the habitats of several species of animals, including three types of bats that are impacted by wind energy facilities.