Environment news

Indiana Recycling Coalition / http://www.indianarecycling.org/recycle/indiana-food-scrap-initiative/

An estimated 35 million tons of food is discarded each year in the U.S., equaling $165 billion in food waste, according to the Indiana Recycling Coalition.

A new program launched this week, the Indiana Food Scrap Initiative, will work with organizations that generate a lot of food waste, such as grocery stores, and help them find resources for composting the food.

Indiana Recycling Coalition executive director Carey Hamilton says they hope working on a larger scale will eventually inspire individuals to participate as well.

Indiana DNR

The so-called "Indiana Bear," who made headlines around the state when it wandered into the Michigan City area, has been shot and killed.

The black bear, who hailed from southern Michigan, was humanely euthanized by that state's wildlife officials after it attempted to break through a resident's door. 

The first bear humans have seen in Indiana in 140 years, the creature had regular run-ins with Hoosiers last summer, breaking into trash cans, upending bird feeders and looking through windows. 

Betty B / https://www.flickr.com/photos/betty_b/3735467627

The popular Mt. Baldy sand dune along the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore will remain closed to the general public once again this summer. The National Park Service won’t reopen the site until it’s safe.  

The National Park Service closed Mt. Baldy after a section of the dune collapsed in 2013. That hole trapped a 6-year-old boy under 11 feet of sand. The boy survived.

Since then geologists have been studying the dune, trying to determine what caused the hole to form.

Daniel X. O'Neil / https://www.flickr.com/photos/juggernautco/

More than 100 Indiana sewage systems, including those in Lafayette and West Lafayette, are undergoing millions of dollars in upgrades to comply with U.S. EPA regulations that restrict the overflow during heavy rains of untreated wastewater into rivers and streams.

Purdue Researchers: Sponges Can Soak Up Contaminants

Apr 5, 2016
Justin Weibel / Purdue University

Purdue University researchers have found a way to separate oil and other contaminants from water using materials you can find around the house. The discovery may lead to way to clean up environmental spills.

The scientists take melamine sponges similar to those found in cleaning pads or insulation then dip them into a solution of silicone rubber and hexane solvent. That creates a thin coating that repels water, and at the same time allows the sponges to absorb materials like oil, hydrocarbons, PCBs and some pesticides.

Tom Gill / https://www.flickr.com/photos/lapstrake/16144565664

Indiana’s Dunes National Lakeshore is helping scientists study the effects of climate change on maple syrup production. The park is the only site in the Midwest to take part in the study.

University of Massachusetts Amherst professor Joshua Rapp says Indiana is an important location for the study. It’s near the western edge of maple trees’ natural range-- which runs from Canada to Virginia, and the Atlantic to the Midwest.

The study looks at the ways a changing climate will affect the chemistry and sugar content of maple sap.

Vincent Parsons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrtickles/

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security is updating their Hazard Mitigation Plan to comply with a new policy from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, more commonly known as FEMA. The new plan will include a section on the risks posed by changes in extreme weather patterns.

Indiana’s Hazard Mitigation Plan describes the natural disasters that affect the state and ways communities can lessen their impacts.

Justin Ladia / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jrladia/

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources received more this year in their annual grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The extra money will be used for special, one-time projects.


Indiana’s share of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program comes to $16.5 million this year, $2 million more than last. Chief Fiscal Administrator for the Division of Fish and Wildlife Julie Kempf says the program is critical, even though not many people know about it.

Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA

A bill that mandated new environmental regulations could not exceed federal standards is headed to the governor’s desk. It heads there only after significant changes.

The Senate passed the so-called "No More Stringent Than" bill, House Bill 1082, after significant amendments. The bill now only requires the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, or IDEM, to report proposed changes for legislative review.

Senate sponsor Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso) led the bill’s overhaul.

Maycomb Paynes / https://www.flickr.com/photos/24730945@N03/

House lawmakers approved a bill Monday that regulates Indiana’s high-fenced deer hunting preserves, sending the measure to the governor. That comes more than a decade after the legislature first began working on the issue.

The state tried to shut down high-fenced hunting preserves more than 10 years ago.  A court battle finally ended last year with a ruling that said the state couldn’t regulate the facilities at all, under current law.