Farm Bill 101: What do you know about this important Bill, and what does it mean for the Mississippi ?
In this video, we learn about this major piece of federal legislation that shapes farming livelihoods, how food is grown, what kinds of foods are grown, and its impacts on our environment. This is the first step in our process of providing information and advocacy opportunities to those in our UMRR community on the Farm Bill. We will roll our more in the weeks to come.
Iowa Environmental Integrity Project Report: Clean Water Act's Promises Half Kept at Half-Century Anniversary
What can be done to close the gaps between the Clean Water Act’s lofty goals and reality?
The Clean Water Act at 50 report offers several solutions as the law’s half-century birthday approaches (the Act passed the U.S. House on an initial vote on March 29, 1972, and became law on Oct. 18, following votes by the Senate and House to override President Nixon’s veto.)
This post from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition provides excellent information on conservation programs of the USDA aimed at reducing nutrient loss and improving soil health. If you are interested in these programs, take a few minutes to read the post.
Here's the opening paragraph:
On April 1, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) opened enrollment for the Conservation Reserve Program’s (CRP) CLEAR30 subprogram. CLEAR30 is an important component of the larger Continuous Conservation Reserve Program. With both programs taking applications, in this post, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) offers a quick review of how these essential conservation tools function and shares key information for producers interested in applying.
72 miles of the Mississippi, the part that passes through the Twin Cities in Minnesota, constitutes the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, a National Park. You can paddle the river and not realize that you are passing through the heart of a metropolitan area with a population of more than 3 million. There are places where you can rent a canoe or kayak and be dropped off and picked up, doing an easy paddle with the current on the river.
Biking along this corridor is also a stellar experience. The Mississippi River Bike Trail has several routes through the Park. This is largely on separate trails, not roadsides, and takes you through city and regional parks and along beautiful river vistas. Elevation isn't much of an issue - the hills are few and small, and you can tool along in a very relaxed ride. There are many places you can rent bikes if you travel to the area, both bike shops where you can rent electric or manual bikes, or do a short-term rental through the local Nice Bike system.
There are many excellent restaurants and breweries along the way that will keep you fueled as you enjoy the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. Owamni by the Sioux Chef is located along the river in downtown Minneapolis,. It features Native American fare, and received the James Beard Best New Restaurant Award in June, 2022.
The LWV US Climate Interest Group is an official group organized under LWV US. They regularly contribute blog posts for the LWV US Blog. Here is a summary of the four posts they have shared to date, with links:
The Economic Cost of Climate Change by by Diz Swift, Dan Zalles, and Carolyn Caywood, June 2022
The need for action has gone beyond individuals making small changes. We need broad, strong public policies to decrease the costs of climate change. This post takes aim at identifying policy changes needed now.
How Changing our Economy can Protect our Planet April 2022
This post examines our personal roles in combating Climate Change.
Climate Change Threats to Food and Water: by members of the League of Women Voters Climate Interest Group, Water Team and Food, Soils, and Agriculture Team . March 2022
This post refutes the assumption that water is both available and safe to drink and that our food supply is adequate may not be true in the future.
What I Learned at the UN Climate Change Conference: by Emily Polakoski, November 2021
Emily Polakoski was a delegate observer for League of Women Voters to the UN Climate Change conference in Glasgow. In this post, she writes about her experience and learnings, including Feminist Climate Justice.
Membership in the Climate Interest Group is open to all LWV members. The CIG has ten teams that are organized around ten topic areas - you can link to these teams from the CIG website. The teams meet monthly by Zoom, sharing information on research and events linked to their topic.
LWV UMRR would welcome members from these groups providing updates on these meetings to UMRR so that we can all benefit from the work of the CIG. If you are interested in being a link between UMRR and these groups, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
but more funding is needed. You may have heard the news that EPA has earmarked $60million for nutrient reduction work in the 12 states of the Mississippi River basin. This is good news, but more is needed. In Iowa, a law was passed in 2010 that established the Iowa Water and Land Legacy fund, which will be funded when the sales tax is increased by 0.38%. This money will go to conservation programs. Those in Iowa need to lobby for inclusion of this amount in the state budget, McGovern urged. It is in the Governor's budget but the legislature must approve it to make it law. Now is the time for action.
Jared was excited to share about past successes in Iowa that prove that change CAN happen. He pointed to Iowa's success in reintroducing river otters to the state, a project begin in 1985 after the animals had been extirpated in (entirely removed from) Iowa. Thanks to efforts to rebuild habitat, reintroduce otters and protect growing populations, river otters are now found in most counties in Iowa. The success of the "There Oughta be Otters in Iowa" project proves that concerted efforts by Iowans can bring about major change.
Many thanks to Nancy Porter for organizing this event! And thanks to Jared McGovern for a great tour, and thanks to the Mississippi River Network for their support and leadership in developing River Days of Action events throughout the watershed! You can read the full report from the Mississippi River Network at this link.
Smack in the middle of the rural and urban landscapes that define Ankeny, Iowa, Griffieon Family Farm exemplifies diversity and ingenuity as keys to sustainability - theirs for 160 years and for so many aspects of the health of their community. They raise multiple species of livestock on pasture, including a herd of Limousins begun in 1960; they raise crops, including corn that goes to a local distillery; there is riparian restoration on the farm; area vegetable growers rent land on the farm; cover crops, portable hen houses, direct markets, farmers markets, and soap have their roles on the farm.
But, says LaVon Griffieon, “With urban growth pressure increasing upon our farm’s boundaries, we hope more people begin to realize the importance of local food security and a community based food system." LaVon will describe some of their niche markets because of all the urban growth as well as address some practical barriers to growing food and soil without chemicals. To learn more about the Griffieon’s farm click here!
This monthly series is a project of the Upper Mississippi River Initiative (umri.org) of the Izaak Walton League of America, with co-hosts Chris Henning of the Panora Conservation Chapter and Des Moines Chapter Communication Director, Bud Hartley. We feature guests for 30-40 minute presentations that shed daylight on good works done in the name of the Mississippi and its uplands. In this way we uplift our shared goals for a cleaner river, a cared for environment, and kinder communities. Recorded programs are available shortly after they air live.
If you missed the May presentation, here is the link: Stream TEAM Science is (slowly) shifting policy! How E. coli & DNA data changed Mower Co. septic system practices… A discussion with leaders Larry Dolphin, Bill Buckley, Mark Owens, lifelong members of the Izaak Walton League (IWLA), and Josh Balk, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Our featured presenters are Alicia Vasto from the Iowa Environmental Council speaking on the Mississippi River Restoration and Resilience initiative (MRRRI), Brandt Thorington from the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative on the Safeguarding the Mississippi River Together initiative (SMRT), Lara Bryant from the Natural Resources Defense Council speaking on behalf of the Clean Water For All Coalition on the Farm Bill reauthorization and Kirsten Wallace from the Upper Mississippi River Basin Authority on the notion of an Upper Midwest Compact to protect the waters of the Mississippi from diversion. We have more information on the speakers in this post on the UMRR Blog.
This video was recorded on May 21 at 10:30. This video is presented by the League of Women Voters Upper Mississippi River Region. To learn more about our organization and our work, visit our website at https://www.lwvumrr.org/ .
Chicago's local forest preserves are a treasure. Join LWV Chicago for a series of naturalist-led walks in the woods of Chicago. All are welcome – bring a friend! Click the link for each walk below to learn more and register.
LWV Chicago is a supporter of the Cook County Forest Preserve VOTE YES referendum coming up on the November ballot—voters will have the opportunity to vote YES to protect clean water sources, air quality, and wildlife in Cook County. A property tax increase of 0.025% (less than $1.66/month for the vast majority of homeowners) will protect, restore, and expand the Cook County Forest Preserves.
LWV Chicago has the following walks planned. Please share this and encourage others to register for the walks. The only way people can understand the importance of Voting Yes for the November referendum is to get out into the woods! Anyone can learn more and to register for the walks by clicking on the links:
Dan Ryan Woods
Wednesday, June 8, 10:00 AM–Noon
S Western Ave & W 87th St
Tuesday, July 19, 10:00–11:30 AM
W Doty Ave S, southeast of E 130th St & S Ellis Ave
Wednesday, August 3, 10:00–11:30 AM
W Irving Park Rd, east of Des Plaines River Rd
Catherine Chevalier Woods
Thursday, September 15, 10:00–11:30 AM
N East River Rd, north of W Foster Ave
|LWV Upper Mississippi River Region||