Environment

Jewel Passes 180, Keeps Going

Nov 18, 2015
National Park Service

Jewel Cave is now 180 miles long and it contains a second lake.
 
On a four day exploration trip during the second week of November cavers pushed  into the deepest reaches of the world’s third longest cave and mapped passageways past the 180 mile marker.  They also found a new lake.

Dakota Midday: Solarize South Dakota

Nov 17, 2015
Charles Michael Ray

In this segment SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray speaks with Don Kelly an advocate for more home based renewable energy.  He’s one of those behind an effort called Solarize South Dakota that is backed by the group Dakota Rural Action.   Kelly lives in an all solar home that is off the grid in the Black Hills.

First W. SD Wind Farm Approved

Nov 13, 2015
Wind Quarry LLC

The first large scale wind farm in Western South Dakota has received approval to move forward.

 

Brothers Patrick and John O’Meara with the company Wind Quarry LLC are behind the Willow Creek Wind Energy farm. They may seem like an unlikely par to start up a large scale wind farm.   John O’Meara says they also have day jobs.

“I’m a chemist I work in the chemical management industry supporting manufacturing and Patrick is a family practice physician with a full time medical practice in Colorado,” says O’Meara.

U.S. Department of Energy

Dr. Bull Bennett is one of the lead authors of the Third National Climate Assessment and a PhD graduate from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.  Bennett now runs Kiksapa Consulting LLC based in North Dakota.

A member of the Mi'kmaq Tribe of Maine, Bennett recently spoke at the School of Mines and Technology about the impact climate change has on indigenous nations and water resources.

Jackley Joins Suit Against EPA Over CO2

Oct 26, 2015
Charles Michael Ray

South Dakota has signed on to a multiple state lawsuit against the EPA over attempts to limit CO2 emissions.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says the EPA’s move hurts the state’s economy by increasing energy prices and reducing jobs.

But many scientists worry that industrialized nations need to go even further to reduce greenhouse gasses, they cite a disjunct between well-established research and policy.

Wind Cave Bison Culled For Relocation

Oct 22, 2015
Courtesy National Park Service

Nearly 300 bison were processed at Wind Cave National Park this week in preparation for shipping a portion of them to several ranches across the country. The labor-intensive task took 3 days and required dozens of park personnel and volunteers. SDPB’s Jim Kent attended the rather noisy event and filed this report.

Plan To Protect Rare Black Hills Plants And Research Areas

Oct 20, 2015
Chelsea Monks / Forest Service

The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are planning to set aside a few natural and botanical areas in the Black Hills.   

The areas hold a scientific value and contain rare plants that grow in fragile environments.   The plan would prohibit mining and quarry operations on sites that are designated Research Natural Areas and Botanical Areas.
 

Spearfish Local Aims To Grow Business

Oct 14, 2015
BHSU

A program through Black Hills State University has landed $100 thousand dollar USDA grant to put more local food on the menu in Spearfish.  

The grant helps build a new business that can move fresh local fruits and vegetables from farmers to cafeterias at nearby schools, hospitals, and other facilities.

Efforts To Clean Spring Creek Move Forward

Oct 13, 2015
Charles Michael Ray

Spring Creek looks much like any other stream in the Black Hills, it meanders through serene meadows and drops into a steep walled canyon.
 
But Spring Creek is different.    Water quality monitoring in recent years shows levels of fecal coliform and E. coli bacteria above the EPA threshold for swimming.    The pollution may come from both human and animal waste entering the stream.

Badlands Calls For Comments On Bison Plan

Oct 8, 2015
Courtesy National Park Service

Badlands National Park is accepting public comments until October 30 on a Bison Preliminary Action Alternative for the park’s North Unit. SDPB’s Jim Kent spoke with Badlands personnel about the current bison management plan and what changes might lie in the future.

The North Unit Bison Resource Management Plan calls for expanding the area where the Badlands Park bison herd currently grazes. After a series of public scoping meetings on the topic in 2013, two plans have been presented.

Permitting Poop: Groups Want More Say In Feedlot Regulations

Sep 15, 2015
DENR

Feedlots and chicken farms can create tons of manure, literally.
 
Now some environmental and industry groups are crying foul over a state government permitting process that governs how large animal confinement operations deal with all that waste.
 
The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources is reviewing its regulations for hog farms, dairies, feedlots, and chicken farms where thousands of animals can be grown in a single location.
 

The Mayor of Sioux Falls is hosting his 3rd annual Big Sioux River Water Summit Thursday. Conservationists, city officials, and agriculture specialists are discussing projects to improve the water quality near the Big Sioux River.

Jesse Neyens is an environmental analyst and water quality specialist with the city of Sioux Falls. He says this year the Mayor decided to host the summit in Brookings hoping to engage more people in the discussion of water quality.

SDSU Extension

Dr. David Graper is professor of horticulture at South Dakota State University in Brookings. He’s also the SDSU Extension interim Coordinator of the South Dakota Master Gardener Program and former director of McCrory Gardens and the South Dakota Arboretum. He joined Dakota Midday and answered listener questions about ridding crabgrass from lawns; transplanting peonies; plum trees; and planting new bulb gardens.

SDSU Extension

One of the strongest El Ninos in recorded history could be on its way. That’s according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. While a strong El Nino event could bring much-needed rain to California, it could also disrupt weather patterns across the globe and boost temperatures in some areas.

El Nino is a climate phenomenon that occurs every two to seven years in the tropical Pacific and sets off a chain weather patterns.

CO Mine Wastewater Spill Highlights SD Cleanup Plan

Aug 13, 2015
Amy Varland

A recent spill of 3 million gallons of mine wastewater from an EPA Superfund Site in the Rocky Mountains turned Colorado’s Animus River orange.

South Dakota and other states across the west are dotted with abandoned mines that are now being cleaned up by government regulators.

Currently the Gilt-Edge Superfund Site in the Northern Black Hills has 68 million gallons of mine wastewater stored in holding ponds.     

But EPA and state officials are undertaking a $50 million project to reduce the annual cost of water treatment.

Caribou Productions for SDPB

Over the past several years, the Izaak Walton League has helped organize Missouri River clean-ups in the cities of Pierre, Ft. Pierre and Yankton. Since the first river clean-up in 2009, volunteers have picked up an average of 2.5 tons of garbage each year. They've found everything from bowling balls to pop bottles.

Thanks to a $10,000 grant from the South Dakota Community Foundation, the conservation group is starting a pilot program to help prevent trash from getting into the river in the first place.

Nate Wek SDPB

The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States, but by the middle of the 20th century populations of the bird of prey were decimated. In 1963, there were only 487 nesting pairs in the contiguous states. However new regulations and the banning of the pesticide DDT helped the bald eagle population recover. 

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The National Wildlife Federation intends to sue the federal government over pipeline regulations – and some are in South Dakota. NWF leaders say federal officials aren’t enforcing a 1990s law that helps protect communities, people and animals when oil spills happen. The problem arises when pipelines cross waterways. 

National Wildlife Federation leaders say the US Department of Transportation is failing to comply with the Oil Pollution Act, and they’ve filed a notice of intent to sue. Mike Shriberg is the executive director for the Great Lakes Region.

SDSU

Over a 35 year period, the length of forest fire seasons worldwide increased by nearly nineteen percent. That’s according to a study co-authored by South Dakota State University professor and wildfire expert Mark Cochrane. He was part of a team that researched weather data from 1979 to 2013 to determine the impact changing climate has had on forest ecosystems.

Rapid City Skyline Changing As Power Plant Dismantled

Jul 20, 2015
Charles Michael Ray

A part of the skyline in West Rapid City is changing as Black Hills Power is beginning work on dismantling a coal fired power plant.  
 
The Ben French Plant located on Deadwood Avenue supplied electricity to Rapid City and parts of the Black Hills for about 50 years.    But in efforts to comply with federal guidelines to reduce carbon emissions Black Hills power is switching to a new cleaner natural gas fired power plant located in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
 

South Dakota State University

Dr. David Graper is professor of horticulture at South Dakota State University in Brookings. He’s also the SDSU Extension Interim Coordinator of the South Dakota Master Gardener Program and former director of McCrory Gardens and the South Dakota Arboretum. He joined Dakota Midday and answered listener questions about clematis, blue spruce trees, planting onions, corn suckers and fall planting.

Thunder Valley Breaking The Mold To Break Ground

Jun 17, 2015

A new community is breaking ground on Pine Ridge on Monday.

Officials with the Thunder Valley Community say they are also breaking the mold for the way housing is developed in Indian Country.    

Nick Tilsen, an Oglala Lakota, is the Executive Director of Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation.  He says the project aims to not only address the critical housing shortage, but also to build economic development and a sustainable healthy community  on Pine Ridge.

SDSU

Dr. David Graper is professor of horticulture at South Dakota State University in Brookings. He’s also the SDSU Extension Interim Coordinator of the South Dakota Master Gardener Program and former director of McCrory Gardens and the South Dakota Arboretum. He joined Dakota Midday and answered listener questions about clover in lawns, linden trees, hydrangeas, shade plants and Shasta daisies.

State of South Dakota

Summer is a time of furious work in South Dakota. Farming and ranching ramp up as the weather warms, and 2015 is no exception. But growing crops and raising livestock comes with risk. Kealey Bultena spoke with South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch for an update on the latest concerns of the state's farmers and ranchers. Lentsch began the conversation by discussing the latest round of heavy rains after a spring that started with fears of a season hindered by drought.

Amanda Bachmann

According to the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, there are about 216 South Dakotans keeping bees. Around 93 of these producers maintain their bees on a commercial scale. The state usually ranks in the top five states for number of hives. South Dakota also ranks second in the nation for honey production.

SDSU Extension

After the driest January through April on record, much of South Dakota received a soaking in May. But the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows a large area of eastern South Dakota still with dry conditions. However, likely wetter conditions will continue to reduce precipitation deficits in those places as more rain in expected this week. SDSU Climate Field Specialist Laura Edwards joined Dakota Midday and discussed the wet May and what’s ahead for the summer.

Norm's Greenhouse and Nursery

Norm Evers joined Dakota Midday and answered listener questions about planting sugar maples, mulching with wood, Creeping Charlie and Jenny 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.

Photo by JT Thomas

Colorado writer Craig Childs travels to some of the world’s most desolate and challenging places and reflects on the millions of years of change on Earth. In his latest book, Apocalyptic Planet: Field Guide to the Everending Earth, Childs goes from the driest deserts of Chile to the drowned land bridge of the Bering Sea to understand what could be next.

South Dakota Missouri River Tourism

According to a recent survey sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service, birding ranks as the 15th most popular outdoor recreational activity in the country. And the interest in birding is expected to grow over the next 50 years. Spring is perhaps the most exciting time for birders as they welcome the return of their feathered friends after a long winter.

NPS Asks Public To "Find Your Park"

Apr 20, 2015
Courtesy Badlands National Park

The National Park Service is asking members of the public to participate in a nationwide educational program called “Find Your Park”. As SDPB’s Jim Kent reports, the goal is for visitors to find and their favorite park and then share their stories on-line at the FindYourPark.com site.

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