Environmental Efforts

Our Community
Hosting Peregrine Falcons
MidAmerican Energy facilities serve as hosts to peregrine falcons, a species on the threatened and endangered lists of Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota. In 2005, a pair of falcons hatched four chicks in a nest box built for them on the stack of the Louisa Generating Station in Muscatine, Iowa. At the same time, two adult falcons called the Davenport, Iowa, office building home.

Over the years, more than 50 employees have volunteered their time to build or install boxes, feed chicks, provide water or rescue chicks that are just learning to fly. MidAmerican Energy works with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Iowa Falconer's Association and the Macbride Raptor Project to band the chicks so their progress can be monitored as they grow. More than 40 chicks have been successfully raised at MidAmerican Energy facilities and returned to the wild.

Iowan Habitat Preservation

MidAmerican Energy set aside 420 acres for an environmental preserve during the development of the Louisa Generating Station in Muscatine, Iowa. Since that time, Monsanto, an industrial neighbor, has added an additional 90 acres. Together, this area is known as the Big Sand Mound Nature Preserve. MidAmerican Energy and Monsanto work together to maintain the natural state of the 510-acre preserve. The site is a diverse ecosystem of unusual plants and animals, rolling sandy hills, open prairie, woodlands and shallow ponds. Plants and animals of the preserve are more like those found in the Southwest United States, and the vegetation is well adapted to the dry, infertile sandy soil. More than 600 different plants have been identified on the site and, due to available habitat, a wide variety of unusual animals flourish.

An ecological advisory committee oversees the management of the preserve. The efforts of the committee focus on resource management, research, education and providing controlled access to the public. Educational tours are available to students and other groups upon request. In addition, the preserve is open to the public every three years for Big Sand Mound Field Day. This one-day event includes walking tours and presentations that highlight the biological, archaeological and historical significance of the area.

Settling ponds for coal ash at two of MidAmerican Energy's power plants provide successful nesting sites for two endangered bird species, the Piping Plover and the Least Tern. When the Missouri River was channeled, sandbars, which were the natural habitat of the two birds, were destroyed, causing the birds to give up nesting in Iowa. Today, the birds utilize the company's ash deposits, which resemble sandbars, for nesting. The Audubon Society and researchers from Iowa State University conduct periodic bird counts during the year to monitor the presence and nesting results of the birds. Iowa Audubon has designated these sites as Important Bird Areas, or IBAs.

Restoring Prairie Grasslands
In the early 1970s, a MidAmerican Energy predecessor company purchased 3,600 acres of land in Jasper County, near Prairie City, Iowa, with the intention of constructing a nuclear power plant. By the 1980s, however, it was apparent that the company would not proceed with additional nuclear power. About that same time, Iowa Congressman Neal Smith was promoting the idea of a wildlife refuge and prairie restoration project in central Iowa. MidAmerican Energy made the company's site near Prairie City available, and joined with area conservation leaders, Congressman Smith and the U.S. Department of the Interior to secure the property and establish the refuge.

Congress formally approved the establishment of the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in 1990. In 1993, MidAmerican Energy employees helped start the Friends of the Prairie Learning Center to support refuge activities, and in 1997, the company helped sponsor the refuge grand opening, which included former Vice President Al Gore's participation in the Neal Smith Prairie Learning Center dedication. MidAmerican Energy employees' preserve work is primarily centered on reconstructing the native tall grass prairie ecosystem, conducting research and providing environmental education. To learn more about the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, visit www.tallgrass.org.