Monday, December 28, 2015

Maps, coal mines & Iowa's rare species

Thanks to friend Lauri Hilgemann Ghormley, who shared the initial link yesterday afternoon, I've got all sorts of new stuff to look at oneline this morning when, otherwise, that bright pink (winter storm warning) weather map might demand attention.

Lauri's find was the Iowa Department of Natural Resources' interactive Coal Mine Maps application, located here, locating the mines --- most in south central Iowa --- that were such an important part of the region's economy from the 1870s until the 1930s and, to a much diminished extent, beyond.

When you open the map, "home" will be Des Moines --- but you can navigate to the part of the state you're interested in. The clip here is of Lucas County's English and Pleasant township coalfields, with Williamson in the lower left-hand corner of the map. Click on the name of a mine and, if information is available, it will pop up. If original maps of the mines are available, the pop-ups will contain links.

It's the best resource I've found for locating these old mines specifically and I'm having lots of fun with it.

The mines map is one of several mapping applications you can locate at the DNR's "Mapping & GIS" cover page, which is located here. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the menu.

Several of these are interesting, but my other new favorite is entitled "Natural Areas Inventory," devoted to Iowa's rare species. Search by county, and you'll come up with this listing for Lucas.

Click on "PDF" after a species and an information sheet about it will pop up.

What a great way to spend a little time on a stormy day --- if you've got the time. And, of course, unless that ice develops, the winds arise and the power goes out.

Have a great day!

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