"STUART, Neb. -- Stepping carefully through a 12-foot-deep canyon gouged into the sandy soil of their family ranch by a long-gone storm, Kurt and Laura Meusch ask a Shakespearean question: What's in a name?"
Great Plains (IA KS ND NE MO SD)
"The historic Texas drought caused the Ogallala Aquifer to experience its largest decline in 25 years across a large swath of the Texas Panhandle, new numbers from a water district show."
The American Bird Conservancy has gone to court after the Interior Department stonewalled its Freedom-of-Information-Act requests for correspondence between feds and the wind industry on how potential wind projects in 10 states might affect birds and bats.
"Oil drilling has sparked a frenzied prosperity in Jeff Keller's formerly quiet corner of western North Dakota in recent years, bringing an infusion of jobs and reviving moribund local businesses. But Keller, a natural resource manager for the Army Corps of Engineers, has seen a more ominous effect of the boom, too: Oil companies are spilling and dumping drilling waste onto the region's land and into its waterways with increasing regularity."
"In a St. Louis courtroom last month, attorneys geared up for a trial more than a year away that will center on whether 17 children allegedly poisoned by the lead smelter in Herculaneum can prove their ailments deserve compensation."
"Mason Hansen guns his pickup and cranks the steering wheel to spin through sand up to 4 feet high, but this is no day at the beach. Hanson once grew corn and soybeans in the sandy wasteland in western Iowa, and his frustration is clear. Despite months spent hauling away tons of sand dropped when the flooded Missouri River engulfed his farm last summer, parts of the property still look like a desert."
"KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Cattle farmers complained on Wednesday that a federal agency is 'spying' on their operations by flying airplanes over Midwest cattle feedlots to see if they are complying with clean water regulations."
"A new study looking at key aquifers beneath the Great Plains and California's Central Valley suggests that areas of Texas and Kansas are drawing groundwater at an unsustainable rate."
"The Bitterroot Salish, Kootenai and Pen d'Oreilles tribes consider Montana's National Bison Range part of their heritage, a link to the animals their ancestors once hunted and worshipped."
"July 4 is the normal standard for wheat harvest in Southeast Nebraska. This year, Memorial Day might not be far off the mark. It’s the fastest pace from green to gold that Steve Baenziger has experienced in 26 years as a wheat breeder at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln."