Environment news


Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler is on a wild goose chase, literally. Canada geese are flocking to the town in hordes and occupying parkland. Tyler hopes to evacuate the avian infestation with the help of Muncie Parks Superintendent Harvey Wright, who has a plan to ship the geese to another location.

"If we get the 800 caught, then we will take them up north and release them," Wright says.


The Indiana Natural Resources Commission has voted to end the hunting season of a game bird whose numbers have declined in recent years. The ruffed grouse is a chicken-sized bird native to Indiana, but Indiana Department of Natural Resources spokesman Phil Bloom says it's become harder to find.

"I think in the last four years, out of 15 routes, our biologist who does that stuff on an annual basis has heard one drumming," Bloom says. "We need to do something to protect what ruffed grouse are left and go from there."

Martin LaBar / https://www.flickr.com/photos/martinlabar/

The federal government will spend millions of dollars trying to figure out why honeybees and monarch butterflies are disappearing.

Purdue entomology professor Christian Krupke says the study—which will include several federal agencies-- is long overdue.

He says the consensus is that there are a number of factors that have led to the decline of honeybees.

"Pathogens, parasites, pesticides and habitat availability," says Krupke. "Which of those ranks first largely depends on where those particular bees reside."

USDA / https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/

Open the Purdue Tree Doctor app and select the kind of tree you’re having trouble with. Then scroll through several pictures to determine which ones look like your tree. The app will tell you what the problem most likely is and give you recommendations on how to fix it.

Purdue entomologist Cliff Sadof helped create the app that he says will particularly help with the invasive emerald ash borer, that’s been wreaking havoc on trees throughout Indiana.

Now that Lafayette plans to buy new trash bins for residents, city officials are trying to figure out how to squeeze as much profit from the venture as possible.

The current small, blue recycling bins will be replaced with larger toters, like those used for garbage. The city will also be decrease the size of garbage toters from 96 to 64 gallons. Mayor Tony Roswarski (D) says he would like to sell the old bins if he can. 

G.E. Long / https://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonmetal/4902096710/

An Indy-based meteorologist says Indiana won’t get the severe storms and tornadoes the West got, but the same system will likely bring thunderstorms over the weekend.

National Weather Service Meteorologist John Hendrickson says the best chance for bad weather is early next week.

“I don’t see anything with a real big risk of severe across our area, but there’ll be a few strong thunderstorms and it looks like the chances of severe might be a little bit better towards Monday,” Hendrickson says.

Paul Falardeau / https://www.flickr.com/photos/pfala/

Indiana’s air quality is improving, but there’s still a lot of work to be done, according to an annual American Lung Association report released Wednesday.

The report indicates Indiana has reduced the amount of long-term soot pollution in its air since last year. Counties, though, are reporting more days that include a few hours of high soot levels and more days with high ozone levels—things they say can be dangerous to people’s health.

Brian Gratwicke / NatureServe

Biologists say it’s not likely to be a big year for fish kills, but fishing a local pond is the best way to check its health.

Department of Natural Resources officials say the warmer temperatures could reveal the amount of winter fish kills.

When snow and ice piles on top of the pond, sunlight is cut off, plants produce less oxygen and fish die. Biologist Tom Bacula says some bodies of water in Northern Indiana had up to 20 inches of ice on them this year – and may still be recovering from last year’s harsh winter.

Bill Shaw / https://www.flickr.com/photos/dougiebeck/

House Speaker Brian Bosma Tuesday halted a bill opponents say significantly reduces incentives for Hoosiers to use alternative energy for their homes.

Proposed legislation made changes to the system by which utility companies purchase excess electricity from Hoosiers who produce energy through alternative means, such as solar panels.  Utilities would buy that energy at a lower price, and be able to charge alternative energy users fixed monthly fees for using the energy grid.

courtesy Duke Energy (Flickr)

Hearings began this week in a case that will determine whether utility customers or shareholders should pay for additional costs related to Duke Energy’s Edwardsport coal gasification plant.

When first proposed in 2006, the project was expected to cost nearly $2 billion. Final costs totaled $3.5 billion, not including ongoing operational costs.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has previously approved requests from Duke Energy to recover a large portion of that money through customer rate increases.