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Urban Sprawl (Jean C. Prior, Research Geologist)

Jean C. Prior, a geologist, raises concerns of farming or building within a working landscape.

Transcript: Urban Sprawl

People, however, are attracted to the Loess Hills both for the fact this is a place where they can go and see prairie [and] the scenic aspect of the hills makes them also an attractive home site for example -- especially overlooking the Missouri Valley which is a tremendously scenic view. So you get people moving out from say, Sioux City or Council Bluffs wanting a scenic home site. They want to overlook the valley. They want to see the Loess Hills. They don't maybe fully appreciate that they're also competing with the native ecology of the area for the space. That's one of the things that we see in our landscapes everywhere in Iowa is competing uses for the same piece of ground. And in the Loess Hills you have a natural value to that land because of the scenic character of the hills and what they provide in the way of natural habitats for native grassland, prairie, and associated animal species. So you begin to find yourself on the horns of a dilemma here between wanting to protect this last little remnant of natural vegetation and habitat and at the same time, the pressures of people -- who either want to build there or who want to come to see this environment or who want that dirt that's there so nicely available to them for use as fill or the fact that the Missouri River has cut so deep that it does expose some limestone deposits underneath it for quarrying. So you're in a topographic setting where you've got scenery, you've got needed earth resources, you've got attractive native [plants] from a scientific and educational standpoint -- you've got a terrific resource. Plus you have native habitats that are essential to maintaining a route that plants and animals can migrate along. So you just have an area that has many attractions to many different elements of society. So when you would move into a place like that, you would need to realize you're in an environment where lots of people have something at stake there.

Tags: biology business economic development Energy/Environment Explore More farms geography geology Jean Prior land management land rights landscapes Loess Hills tourism urban sprawl viewpoints Working Landscapes




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