BySophia Schillinger and Sabine Martin /IowaWatch and the Cedar Falls Tiger Hi-Line |
The rainbow trout released into Prairie Lakes were fine to eat because they came from a hatchery. But trying to distinguish what fish to eat from one Midwest state to the next can be difficult, an IowaWatch/Cedar Falls Tiger Hi-Line investigation showed.
That’s because rules guiding what’s safe to eat vary in each state. Also, despite fish sampling by the states, knowing where to fish is hard because fish from only a few waterways where people fish are tested each year, the investigation showed. Anglers at farm ponds are on their own when it comes to the health of the fish they catch because the state’s natural resources department (DNR) does not sample fish in private water bodies for contamination.
When Jim and Kathy Kachel moved into their home south of Bagley, Wisconsin, overlooking the Mississippi River in fall 2007, they couldn’t see the Pattison Sand Mine directly across the river in Clayton, Iowa. Since then, terraced layers of limestone carved into the northeast Iowa bluff have made way for more truck traffic as the mine, which occupies 750 acres — much of it underground — expands. Meanwhile, the Kachels have had to clean dust from their home.
“See that brown building, to the left of the tree line? That’s the University of Dubuque. And a little further left, you can kind of see that little ridge, you can see it better some days, that’s the Platteville ‘M,’” John Foster, administrator for the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Regional Landfill, said, referencing the Wisconsin border-town’s landmark: a large white M on the side of a mound, by the Mississippi river. Foster was standing in Dubuque at the top of a closed landfill cell, one of nine cells the landfill has planned for the more than 600 acres around him — enough to last the Dubuque area in eastern Iowa through the century. But smaller landfills in Iowa have not fared as well as Dubuque’s the last 24 years, since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency created federal rules on issuing permits that municipal landfills have to follow.
The Environmental Protection Agency has registered more than 16,000 pesticides. However, a large portion of those are only "conditionally registered," meaning they lack important data on health safety and environmental well-being. A report by the Government Accountability Office recently criticized the process behind registering such pesticides.