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foggy desoto clear sky


Monday, January 10, 2022
Comment on Des Moines Register editorial to use budget surplus money on water quality.
foggy desoto clear sky

Iowa 2021: The Year in Review

Saturday, January 1, 2022
2021 highlights for Iowa Agriculture and Environment
Maginot line

The Maginot Line

Sunday, December 26, 2021
Should the public fund Soil Health?
foggy desoto clear sky

C is for Carbonalism

Tuesday, December 14, 2021
Carbon capture schemes for agriculture are discussed.
drake 8

The Three Drakes

Monday, December 6, 2021
Meme of the entertainer Drake, and speech at Drake University, are discussed to illustrate the sensitivities of Iowa agriculture
mississippi river

Remarks to SOILs Meeting at Drake Law School

Thursday, November 18, 2021
Remarks to the Drake University Law School SOILs conference, November 17, 2021.
trucks on land

Call me Crazy

Thursday, November 11, 2021
lowa farmland prices and rentend land in the context of degraded water quality

On Popcorn Farts and Porcupine Pee

Tuesday, October 26, 2021
discussion of post drought river nitrate
turkey river paddlers

Rancid Turkey

Thursday, October 21, 2021
Summary of anhydrous ammonia release into Turkey River
mississippi river

God Made Me Do It

Thursday, September 16, 2021
Discussion of the moral issues related to Iowa water pollution.
Kent Park

Mea Culpa--Nitrate event that wasn't

Tuesday, September 7, 2021
Retraction of data related to Upper Iowa nitrate episode.
mississippi river


Friday, August 20, 2021
Ag propaganda and claims of improvements in nutrient loss are examined.

Truth or Consequences

Tuesday, August 3, 2021
This post evaluates and ranks overall water quality for 44 Iowa streams.

Photo of Ring Lardner

Means, Ends, and Granfalloons

Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Essay discussing pushback from a member of the Iowa legislature, and agriculture's objectives and strategies for water quality in Iowa.
Photo of Svante Arrhenius

Crap and Trade

Friday, July 16, 2021
What will Iowa's new carbon task force do? And what about the Growing Climate Solutions Act, recently passed by the U.S. Senate? It's high time to clarify what these programs do and why it is not appropriate to call them markets.
Photos of Oppenheimer and Teller

The Swine and the Swill

Friday, July 2, 2021
Decades ago, physicist Edward Teller made some predictions with startling relevance to today's events.
discharge on Des Moines river

Des Moines River Discharge Anomaly

Friday, June 25, 2021
Des Moines River flow exceeded that of the Mississippi River on this day.

Take this Stream and Shove It

Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Blog entry on the Iowa Supreme Court decision dismissing water-quality concerns in the Raccoon River.
Raccoon River. Photo by Christine Warner (Flickr Creative Commons)

Raccoon River Discharge: 2021 vs. Other Drought Years

Thursday, June 17, 2021
Drought has hit Iowa hard in 2021. How does this dry spell compare to legendary droughts in 1934 and 1956?
Installing a bioreactor on Bogard Farm near Des Moines Photo by Lynn Betts (SWCSIDALS )


Wednesday, June 9, 2021
A recent Polk County plan would install 200 "edge of field" practices to capture nitrate from underground drainage pipes at the expense of Iowa taxpayers. Effective, yes, but is it fair?
The ugly

Iowa Rivers 1 to 45: The Fair, the Marginal, & the Ugly

Thursday, May 27, 2021
Determining whether water is good, bad, or something in between is not at all straightforward. An accurate water-quality index can be useful. Why doesn't Iowa have one?
Map of the watersheds of the central United States

Grading on a Curve

Thursday, May 6, 2021
How much nitrate does Iowa contribute to the Missouri and Mississippi river basins?
Iowa City Press-Citizen Wordmark

Wake Up and Smell the Manure

Wednesday, May 5, 2021
We need regulation to clean up Iowa’s water. We have a massive, continental-scale problem here with nutrient pollution — one so large that the average person can barely get their head around it.
A farmer in a green coat pulls a big sliding door shut on the machine shed


Sunday, March 28, 2021
Silvia Secchi comments on land values, government subsidies for agriculture, and the demographics of farmers who receive the subsidies.
Newspaper clipping about a couple's 50th anniversary

Environmental Injustice

Monday, March 22, 2021
Long and short, Iowa farming is whiter and older and manlier than the Caddyshack country club.
finally realizing Vichy water is for Nazis

Big Pollution

Sunday, March 7, 2021
How water pollution in Iowa has created a cottage industry of professionals dependent upon the maintenance of the problem.
Iowa 2020 Nitrate loss interior basins

Manure Matters: Iowa 2020 Nitrate Summary

Monday, March 1, 2021
Iowa 2020 Nitrate-Nitrogen loss to the Mississippi Basin and the Gulf of Mexico.
Manure applied to an Iowa farm field in winter

This Might Hurt Some Feelings

Wednesday, December 23, 2020
People have been thinking about “what can be done” about water quality and pollution in Iowa for a long time. But are we any closer to a solution?
Grant Wood Self Portrait

Defending Paris

Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Contrast between how urban storm water and agricultural runoff is regulated in the U.S.
Camper at Crowley's Ridge State Park

No Country For Old Men

Friday, December 4, 2020
Comparison of Iowa and Arkansas funding for parks and natural resources.
Serving the Reich by Phillip Ball


Thursday, October 22, 2020
Politicization of Science
E coli bacteria

Dream On

Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Discussion of E coli levels in the Des Moines, Raccoon and Mississippi Rivers.
mississippi river

On Brothels and Cathedrals

Saturday, September 12, 2020
Essay about the proposed cattle confinement in the Bloody Run Creek Watershed
mississippi river

Land of Milk and Money

Thursday, September 3, 2020
Discharge of milk from Ankeny HyVee grocery store into Fourmile Creek, and the devaluation of Iowa's water resources.
Soybean field with a lot of weeds

Everyone Is Responsible So No One is Responsible

Monday, July 27, 2020
It was inevitable that the law was going to catch up to the weedkiller Roundup (Glyphosate) and throw it in the hoosegow. The law of natural selection, that is.
crowd on lake okoboji

When the Ship Comes In

Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Discussion of water quality on Iowa Great Lakes and the dichotomy between water quality experienced by wealthy and not-so-wealthy people.
raccoon crossing road

Ripe as a Roadkill Raccoon

Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Discussion of lack of progress on water quality improvement in the Raccoon River Watershed.
mississippi river

China Journal

Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Journal of 2016 trip to China with Keith Schilling.
mississippi river

I'm Not a Scientist

Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Discussion of science and it's role in today's politics.
Gas Pump

Hair of the Dog

Monday, March 16, 2020
Future of corn ethanol as a fuel with the emergence of electrical vehicles, and duplicity of agriculture when discussing ethanol and climate change.
View of the DeSoto River with inset photo of Chris Jones

The Ethics of a Pig

Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Hog production and the environmental effects of globalization.
A cornfield

They Break It, You Buy It

Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Over fertilization of corn and it's role in degraded water quality.
Henderson Slough-Upper Mississippi River

Fool Me Once....

Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Foot dragging by agriculture on water quality, and failure of voluntary adoption of conservation practices.
A cornfield


Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Religion-like convictions when it comes to corn production.
mississippi river

Free Iowa Now

Thursday, January 23, 2020
Confined animal agriculture, dead zones, and ag industry rhetoric.
aldo leopold cropped

Woke Aldo

Thursday, January 9, 2020
How Aldo Leopold's vision is been unfulfilled by the Iowa farmer.
book cropped

Eau de BS

Thursday, December 19, 2019
Review of the book "On Bullshit" by Harry Frankfurt and how it relates to Iowa agriculture and water quality.
green lake

Don't P Down My Leg and Tell Me It's Raining

Thursday, December 5, 2019
Claims about improvement in Iowa stream phosphorus are exaggerated.
Spools of tile in an Iowa farm field in winter

Cry Me a Raccoon River

Monday, December 2, 2019
Iowa farmer response to climate change
Anhydrous ammonia tank

Iowa is Hemorrhaging Nitrogen

Thursday, November 7, 2019
Summary of 2019 Iowa nitrate data.