Environmental Issues and Controversies

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Entries - Entry Category: Environmental Issues and Controversies - Starting with I

Independence Steam Electric Station

The Independence Steam Electric Station (ISES) is a coal-fired electric-energy-generating plant consisting of two units nameplate-rated at 850 megawatts (MW). Located near Newark (Independence County), the units—constructed by Arkansas Power and Light Company (AP&L, now Entergy Arkansas)—were launched into service in 1983 and 1984 following vigorous litigation before the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) in 1978. The ISES plant burns Powder River Basin low-sulfur coal transported to Arkansas from the Antelope Coal Mine in Wyoming by rail in cars owned by Entergy. ISES—originally proposed by AP&L, Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC), and City Water and Light (CWL) of Jonesboro (Craighead County), and now also co-owned or leased by several other Arkansas municipal utilities—operates in coordination with other generating plants within …

Invasive Animals

aka: Alien Animals
An “invasive species” is defined as a species that is non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental problems or harm to human health. It typically matures and reproduces quickly and increases its geographic range rapidly, establishing populations and persisting over large areas. There are several reasons for this spread, including favorable environmental conditions and lack of natural predators, competitors, and diseases that normally regulate their populations, allowing invasive species to thrive. Invasive biota not only includes a variety of plants but also incorporates a wide variety of invertebrates and higher taxa from their native sites. As invasive species extend and dominate ecosystems, they invariably reduce native biodiversity …

Invasive Plants

aka: Exotic Plants
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, an invasive species is “a species that is non-native or alien to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.” As such, there are a suite of negative effects from exotic plant species that include replacing rare and endangered species, hybridizing and competing with native species, killing trees and shrubs, altering hydrological patterns and stream function, preventing forest regeneration, possibly containing toxins that may be lethal to certain animals, changing fire patterns, and harboring pathogens. The cost to control invasive species and the damages they cause to property and natural resources in the United States is …

Ivory-billed Woodpeckers

aka: Campephilus principalis
Long believed to be extinct, the ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) was apparently rediscovered in the Big Woods of east Arkansas in 2004. More than sixty years after the last confirmed sighting in the United States, a research team announced on April 28, 2005, that at least one male ivory-bill survived in the vast bottomland swamp forest. Published in the journal Science, the findings included multiple sightings of the elusive woodpecker and frame-by-frame analyses of brief video footage. The evidence was gathered during an intensive year-long search in the Cache River and White River National Wildlife Refuges in eastern Arkansas, involving more than fifty experts and field biologists working as part of the Big Woods Conservation Partnership, led by the Cornell …