Environment

Environment
1:52 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Dakota Midday: Spring Outlook From State Climatologist

State Climatologist Dennis Todey
Credit SDSU Extension

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center has released its seasonal drought outlook. For April through June, forecasters expect drier than average conditions for the eastern edge of South Dakota. The latest weekly U.S. drought monitor map released on Thursday shows 82 percent of the state as either abnormally dry or in moderate drought conditions.

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Environment
3:18 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Dakota Midday: Growing up in a Nuclear Shadow

Kristen Iversen
Credit Photo by Jay Adkins

Kristen Iversen’s book, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, is part memoir and part investigation. She grew up in the 1960s and 70s near the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons factory. Her father was a lawyer and her mother a housewife. She and her brother and two sisters had dogs and horses and played outdoors in what seemed like an idyllic landscape. 

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Environment
2:16 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Dakota Midday: Environmental Activist Vandana Shiva

Vandana Shiva

Vandana Shiva is an internationally-known advocate for sustainable agriculture. She argues that biodiversity produces more nutrition and health per acre, thus addressing hunger, malnutrition, and poverty on a global scale.

The Delhi-based activist challenges the safety of genetically modified seeds, claiming they also harm the environment, are more costly and leave local farmers deep in debt as well as dependent on suppliers. She's the author of more than 20 books, including Making Peace with the Earth.

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Environment
2:01 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Dakota Midday: March Fire Danger

Temperatures are expected to reach into the 60s over most of South Dakota today. Wednesday could see highs creeping into the 70s in some spots. Current weather conditions have led to a very high fire danger in the Black Hills area. A Fire Weather Watch has been issued for Wednesday for areas south of I-90 and west of the Missouri River. South Dakota fire meteorologist Darren Clabo joined Dakota Midday and discussed the current fire danger across the state and what March conditions could mean for the summer fire season.

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Environment
2:12 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Dakota Midday: Researchers Identitify Cover Crops to Lure Deer

Winter rye, Daikon radish and Austrian winter peas are on the menu for this deer at the SDSU Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences Research Facility, as part of a Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration study to determine which fall cover crops the animals prefer.
Credit SDSU

During tough winters, hungry deer often eat hay and other stored livestock feed. South Dakota State University researchers are currently exploring fall cover crops that will attract deer and provide nutrient-rich winter forage. Preliminary results show that turnips and radishes are the top two choices followed by peas.

The research project is in its final year and focuses on eastern South Dakota. It’s funded by a three-year grant from the Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration, administered by the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

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Environment
2:28 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Dakota Midday: New Study Predicts Extreme Drought for Central Plains

A report published last week in Science Advances predicts extended and severe drought for the American Southwest and central Great Plains. The analysis says the drought will be the worst in nearly 1,000 years with drying even more extreme than previously predicted. According to the study, the drought period is expected to begin between 2050 and 2100.

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Environment
3:04 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Dakota Midday: Six More Weeks Of Winter?

Groundhog Club handler Ron Ploucha holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, during the 129th celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa.
Credit Gene J. Puskar AP

It’s Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning. According to the weather-forecasting rodent, that means six more weeks of winter. That’s probably not what some people want to hear, especially in southeastern South Dakota which was hit with up to eight inches of snow over the weekend. The snow has been followed by sub-zero wind chills.

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Environment
2:38 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Dakota Midday: 'The Big Burn'

Wallace, Idaho after a massive wildfire ripped through the town in 1910
Credit Library of Congress

In the summer of 1910, a massive wildfire devoured more than three million acres in the Northern Rockies in 36 hours. Some 78 firefighters perished in the flames. The catastrophe occurred at time when the U.S. Forest Service was only a few years old, firefighting was a primitive science and conservation of America’s public lands was controversial. Over a century later, the legacy of what's become known as the Big Burn can be measured in the growth of the U.S. Forest Service and fire suppression policies.

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Environment
1:53 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Dakota Midday: New Research Explains Endangered Pallid Sturgeon Decline

Pallid sturgeon
Credit Photo by Ken Bouc; Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Weighing up to 80 pounds and growing up to a length of six feet, the pallid sturgeon is one of the largest fresh water fish species in North America. It can also live 50 years or more. But even though pallid sturgeon come from a genetic line going back tens of millions of years, it’s been decades since there has been documentation of the large fish successfully producing young that survive into adulthood on the upper Missouri River basin. The pallid sturgeon was placed on the endangered species list 25 years ago.

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Environment
3:47 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

$50-Million Gilt Edge Superfund Cleanup Sought

The Gilt Edge strip mine became an EPA Superfund site after the company operating the gold mine when bankrupt and abandoned the site.
Credit Amy Varland

The EPA is planning to spend an extra $50-million to reduce acid mine drainage at a former strip mine in the Northern Black Hills that is now a Superfund site.

South Dakota’s new U.S. Senator Mike Rounds is now chair of the Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Regulatory Oversight.

The committee oversees both the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers–the Subcommittee that Rounds chairs has oversight of federal programs like EPA Superfund sites.    

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Environment
12:09 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Thune / Obama Disagree On Climate Action

U.S. Senator John Thune.

Climate scientists largely agree that global warming is a problem to be taken seriously.    

But there is no similar consensus among politicians on this topic.

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray compares Presidents Obama’s statements on climate change in Tuesday’s State of the Union Address to reaction from Republican leader U.S. Senator John Thune. 

Click play below to hear more.

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Environment
2:32 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Dakota Midday: Winter Birds

David Swanson and friend
Credit David Swanson

For bird watchers across the country, the holidays mean the National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count. The 115th count wrapped up yesterday. Volunteers at a couple dozen locations around South Dakota were among those counting birds over the past couple weeks.

David Swanson is a professor of biology at the University of South Dakota where he teaches ornithology. He’s also a contributing author of Birds of South Dakota and secretary of the South Dakota Ornithologists Union. He joined Dakota Midday and discussed the state's winter birds.

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Environment
1:34 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Secret Science Act Irks Some Scientists

Critics of the EPA question the science the agency uses in making policy decisions on issues like water quality. But proponents say the proposed legislation making its way through congress undermines both science and environmental protection.

Congress is considering two bills that deal with how the EPA uses science to base its policy decisions.   Those backing the bills say it addresses an increase transparency and accountability over the agency that has overstepped its bounds.

But critics call the bills a thinly veiled attempt to change the science the EPA uses to base its decisions.  They say the legislation undermines scientific integrity and opens the door for polluters to stop or slow the regulation process.

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Environment
2:34 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Dakota Midday: USGS EROS Bird Study

The Ferruginous hawk will lose 21.2 percent of its range according to a new USGS study
Credit Terry Sohl

What birds will people see at their feeders sixty years from now? According to a new study from the U.S. Geological Survey, they could be different from the ones we see today. Climate and land use changes could have an impact on the ranges of bird species with some birds losing a significant amount of their current  range and others nearly doubling their range.

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Environment
2:29 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Dakota Midday: State Climatologist Dennis Todey

South Dakota isn’t the only state dealing with early cold. The whole nation is witnessing the coldest November weather since 1976. All 50 states have reported temperatures below freezing this week, including some mountain peaks in Hawaii.

The cold November follows an October with a national average of three degrees warmer than normal – the fourth warmest October on record.

State climatologist Dennis Todey joined Dakota Midday and explained the reasons for the early cold and discussed the difficulty in predicting this season's winter weather.

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Environment
10:27 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

KXL Fails To Pass U.S. Senate

Chris Fire Thunder chops wood at the Spirit Camp that sits on the proposed pipeline route near the Rosebud Reservation. Despite the frigid cold occupiers say they aren't moving until the Keystone Pipeline is stopped.

The U.S. Senate has refused a bill that would send approval of the Keystone Pipeline project to the president’s desk.

Those opposing the Keystone pipeline are claiming a small victory.   Keith Fielder is one of the occupiers at the "Spirit Camp" on the pipeline route near the Rosebud Reservation.   He says the short term construction jobs aren’t worth the long term threat to the water supply from an oil spill.

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Environment - Wind Cave - Meetings
3:29 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Wind Cave National Park Public Meetings

Ancient buffalo jump on Casey Addition to Wind Cave National Park.
Credit Photo by Jim Kent

A series of public meetings are being held across western South Dakota this week by the National Park Service. This is the last opportunity to offer comments on the Visitor Use Plan for the recent Casey Addition to Wind Cave National Park.

Wind Cave National Park has pursued public comments on a Visitor Use Plan since the Casey Addition was obtained in September 2011. The expansion of the park at that time consisted of a 5500-acre ranch that included a historic house and an ancient buffalo jump.

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Environment
1:02 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Asian Fungus Attacks Tiger Salamander

The Tiger Salamander may be vulnerable to a foreign fungus brought in through the pet trade.
Credit USD Graduate Student Drew Davis

South Dakota is home not only to mountain lions, but also tigers--tiger salamanders that is.

If you know where to look, you can find tiger salamanders across the state.    
 
But researchers fear these shy often elusive creatures could be wiped out by an invasive fungus that could come in from the Asian pet trade.

Click play below to hear more.

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Environment
2:29 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

USDA Funding to Help Honey Bee Habitat

A honey bee, with pollen attached to its hind leg, pollinating a watermelon flower
Credit USDA

Honeybees are a backbone of agriculture production. An estimated $15 billion worth of crops are pollinated by honey bees, including more than 130 varieties of fruits and vegetables. But the population of honey bees has been declining in recent years due to such causes as colony collapse disorder.

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Environment
2:24 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Fall Gardening Tips

Credit Norm's Greenhouse and Nursery

This week on Dakota Midday, Norm Evers answered listener questions about trimming apple trees, protecting trees in the winter, seeding lawns and soil moisture conditions in the eastern part of South Dakota. Norm Evers is Instructor Emeritus of Horticulture at South Dakota State University in Brookings and former manager of McCrory Gardens. He’s the owner of Norm’s Greenhouse and Nursery in Aurora.

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Environment
5:48 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

National Bat Week

National Bat Week.
Credit USFWS

Halloween not only means trick-or-treaters, it’s also National Bat week.     Bats play an important role in controlling agricultural pests, not to mention mosquitoes. 

Research has shown that an average small bat can eat 600 to one-thousand mosquito sized insects per hour.    

But some timber industry officials in the Black Hills don’t like a proposal to list the Northern Long Eared Bat as endangered.

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Environment
2:36 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

SDSU Ecologist Receives Grant for Beaver Research

North American beaver

Beavers are ecosystem engineers that alter the landscape by cutting down trees, building dams and creating ponds. Many other species, from frogs to moose, rely on the habitat created by beavers. The animal is a “keystone species,” meaning they have a disproportionately large effect on their environment relative to their abundance.

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Environment
2:46 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Reducing Animal-Car Collisions

Credit USDA photo by Scott Bauer

According to the South Dakota Department of Public Safety, there were over four thousand vehicle collisions with wild animals last year, mostly deer. 59 people were injured and one person killed. Across the nation there are about one million collisions each year that kill some 200 people and cause more than ten thousand personal injuries. The peak for collisions is in the fall when animals are on the move and drivers are more likely to be on the road at dawn and dusk.

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Environment
1:01 am
Mon October 27, 2014

A Call To Shut Down The EPA In The US Senate Race

A small deer thinks about crossing Bear Butte Creek downstream from the Gilt Edge Superfund Site in the Black Hills.
Credit Amy Varland

For U.S. Senate candidate and former Governor Mike Rounds the EPA has gone too far.  

Rounds and many others say the Environmental Protection Agency is an example of oversized federal government abusing its power and meddling too much in the livelihoods of people in South Dakota.
 
Rounds has spoken publically about eliminating the EPA, often to the cheers of those gathered in the crowd.
 
SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray asks what it would really mean if the EPA went away in South Dakota.

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Environment
2:34 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Black Hills Artist and Environmentalist is Subject of New Film

Dick Fort

Dick Fort is an environmental activist who has been called the caretaker of Spearfish Canyon. He’s also a painter, sculptor composer, teacher, cross-country skier, fly fisherman, World War Two code breaker and winemaker. He was born in Mitchell in 1922 and was a professor of humanities at Chicago City college for 28 years. He is well known for his efforts to protect the beauty of the Black Hills as the founder of ACTion for the Environment.

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Environment
3:48 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Warm Temps Good for Fall Yard and Garden Work

With a forecast of temperatures in the 70s across much of South Dakota, this promises to be a good week for some fall lawn and garden work. Rick Abrahamson, horticulture instructor at Southeast Tech in Sioux Falls, joined Dakota Midday and answered listener questions about fertilizing lawns, trimming dead tree limbs, apple trees, fertilizing house plants, amaryllis and more.

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Environment
2:21 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

More Pheasants Expected for Hunting Opener

Credit South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks

Saturday is South Dakota's pheasant opener and hunters should find more ringnecks in comparison to last year. The state Game, Fish and Parks annual brood count survey showed a 76 percent statewide increase in the pheasants-per-mile index over 2013. Last year’s sharp decline in pheasant numbers led to Governor Daugaard’s creation of the Pheasant Habitat Work Group. The group presented its recommendations in September.

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Environment
2:57 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Dakota Midday Gardening Tips from Norm Evers

Autumn blaze maple foliage

Norm Evers answered listener questions about autumn blaze maples, raspberries, planting bulbs, hen-and-chick succulents, fall lawn care, sharing coneflower seeds and more. Norm Evers is Instructor Emeritus of Horticulture at South Dakota State University in Brookings and former manager of McCrory Gardens. He’s the owner of Norm’s Greenhouse and Nursery in Aurora.

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Environment
4:50 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Getting Gardens and Plants Ready for Fall

A collection of succulent plants

Tonight marks the official start of the fall season. Leaves are starting to turn color. Gardeners are harvesting late season vegetables, preparing for the winter and making plans for next spring. Julie Hoffman of East River Nursery in Huron joined Dakota Midday and answered listener questions, including how to bring succulent plants indoors for the winter.

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Environment
2:29 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

New Book Explores Life Lessons from Fly Fishing

David O'Hara and his book, "Downstream: Reflections on Brook Trout, Fly Fishing and the Waters of Appalachia"
Credit Kealey Bultena SDPB

David O’Hara grew up in the Catskill Mountains of New York, home to some of the most famous trout fishing streams in the world. Today he’s a philosophy professor at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, but when he gets the chance, he goes back to fish the familiar streams of his youth.

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