Chris Jones

Demand clean water now

Chris Jones is a research engineer (IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering) at the University of Iowa. The Cedar Rapids Gazette published a version of this essay on August 28. -promoted by Laura Belin

August 26, 2019

Prologue: Some time ago, I wrote an essay for the Iowa Ideas Magazine , which was published recently by the Cedar Rapids Gazette. That piece forms the bulk of this essay. I received no compensation from the Gazette, and the title here is mine and not the Gazette’s.

I am 58 years old, grew up in Iowa, and have lived here most of my adult life. Although some things have improved and exceptions can be found, for the most part the state’s water quality has never been good or even adequate during the span of my life.

Some of this connects to decisions made 100+ years ago by our great-great-grandparents, including my own. But some or most of it is because of recalcitrance and the insistence that we tolerate the status quo. I reject that. Hence the title.

I’ve slightly edited the essay I sent to the Gazette. The new version follows.

Continue Reading...

The Swine Republic

Chris Jones is a research engineer (IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering) at the University of Iowa. An earlier version of this piece was first published on the author’s blog. -promoted by Laura Belin

I have written some things about manure lately (link, link, link, link). If you were able to make it to the end of those essays, you learned:

· We have a lot of livestock animals in Iowa

· These animals produce a lot of waste

· This waste is used to fertilize crops

· Manure is a good fertilizer

· Sales of commercial fertilizer are not affected very much by the availability of manure

Continue Reading...

Drain Baby Drain

Chris Jones is a research engineer (IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering) at the University of Iowa. An earlier version of this piece was first published on the author’s blog. -promoted by Laura Belin

The Landscape of Capitalism by former University of Iowa professor Robert F. Sayre (1933-2014) is an excellent short history of Iowa agriculture. I read Sayre’s essay many years ago and had all but forgotten it, but it was restored to my memory recently by a conversation I had with an ag drainage engineer.

Continue Reading...

Stop saying we all want clean water

Chris Jones is a research engineer (IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering) at the University of Iowa. An earlier version of this piece was first published on the author’s blog. -promoted by Laura Belin

If you have followed water quality issues in Iowa, you’ve probably heard or read the phrase, “We all want clean water.” If so, in all likelihood it came from someone of stature or someone knowledgeable about water quality issues.

A while back I had the idea to shake the Google tree and see what fruit fell to the ground when I entered the phrase “we all want clean water.” It turns out one of our politicians has been quoted saying this so many times that I had a hard time figuring out who else had said it, so I started plucking names out of my head and attaching them to the phrase.

What resulted was an impressive list, a veritable who’s who of Iowa politics and agriculture.

Continue Reading...

Hello Darling

Chris Jones is a research engineer (IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering) at the University of Iowa. An earlier version of this post was first published at the author’s blog. -promoted by Laura Belin

You might recall a recent post assessed the amount of public land Iowa has relative to other states. Iowa is 8th-lowest of the states in the total amount of public land and 3rd-lowest in the percentage of our land area that is in public hands. This made me wonder about water, specifically, how much water we have relative to other states.

Continue Reading...

It's good to be orange

Chris Jones is a research engineer (IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering) at the University of Iowa. This post first appeared at the author’s blog. -promoted by Laura Belin

Many have written how earth’s species are undergoing a mass extinction right now, the sixth such event in the planet’s history. These writers include Elizabeth Kolbert and the famous biologist Edward O. Wilson. Extinctions are occurring now at a faster pace than any time since 65 million years ago, when earth’s collision with a 7-mile wide asteroid caused the 5th great extinction, wiping out 70 percent of all species.

One species that did survive the fifth extinction was the Pallid Sturgeon. This fish entered earth’s evolutionary record about 70 million years ago. “Pallid” means absence of color, and true enough, the pallid sturgeon is nearly white. It is one of the largest (up to 85 pounds), longest-lived (as long as 100 years) and ugliest (like a bizarre cross between a shark and an armadillo) fish species in North America. The fish is endangered because we wrecked the Missouri River.

Continue Reading...
View More...