PNS Daily Newscast - July 19, 2019 

Chants of a different sort greet U.S. Rep. Omar upon her return home to Minnesota. Also on our Friday rundown: A new report says gunshot survivors need more outreach, support. Plus, sharing climate-change perspectives in Charlotte.

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IA Vanishing Grasslands Noted in 'State of the Birds' Report

May 6, 2011

DES MOINES, Iowa - Bobolinks, prairie chickens and meadowlarks aren't as common as they once were in Iowa, according to a new federal report which lists vanishing grasslands throughout the state as a reason for the change.

A lawsuit recently filed by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) claims that federal laws to protect grasslands are not being enforced, and that farmers are being encouraged to plow grasslands under in order to plant corn for ethanol production.

Julie Sibbing, NWF's director of agriculture programs, makes her organization's stance clear:

"Let's produce corn on the best acreage out there, which is what's already in production. Let's leave the rest for nature."

Bruce Ehlesman, an Iowa Department of Natural Resources wildlife diversity biologist, says the state is helping restore habitat for grassland birds that have been disappearing.

"One of the things that the Iowa DNR is doing (is) creating these bird conservation areas. Each one of these needs to have at least a 2,000-acre core area of grassland, and we try to manage that to accommodate all the grassland birds."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's "2011 State of the Birds" report notes that very little grassland is public land, so protecting it is a challenge. Sibbing says native grasslands once spread from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains through the Midwest.

The "2011 State of the Birds" report is at Details of the NWF lawsuit are online at

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA