This Acrylic Fridge Magnet Has an Image of Bald Eagles on the Des Moines River
The Des Moines River (literally "River of Monks" in French) cuts across the heart of the American state of Iowa before joining with the mighty Mississippi River at the state's southeastern corner. The state's capital, and larges, city - also named Des Moines - is located at the junction of the Des Moines and the smaller Raccoon River. The river passes through some of the richest farmland in America. However, this bounty almost caused the scene on this magnet never to occur. In the 1950s and 60s, farmers throughout Iowa used the chemical DDT to control pests on their crops. But it collected in the runoff from their fields and drained into rivers like the Des Moines. There it was concentrated in the bodies of fish which were eaten by bald eagles. The chemical affected the eagles' eggs, which became too thin and were crushed under the mother birds' weight. The population of eagles dropped precipitously.
The Return of the Bald Eagle is a Triumph
By the 1970s, the eagles were threatened with extinction. In 1962, the environmentalist Rachel Carson published her book on the subject Silent Spring, which examined the threat of indiscriminate spraying on the bird population - from tiny songbirds to the mighty eagles. This became a rallying cry of environmentalists and eventually led to the chemical being banned in the USA in 1972 and internationally via the Stockholm Convention in 2001. Along with the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, the banning of DDT became the first step in restoring the national bird of the United States. Today, the population of birds has rebounded - even in former DDT heartlands like Iowa - and nesting pairs can once again be seen on the Des Moines River.