With cool fall weather firmly in place over Eastern Iowa, most of us have our windows flung open, enjoying the crisp fresh air. I've been waiting so long for a stretch of weather this cool! But having my windows  open has made me aware of yet another side effect of last year's derecho. Its no secret that we lost over half of our tree cover in Cedar Rapids and Marion due to the storm. We lost shade. Animals lost homes. But we also lost something else. Peace and quiet.

I've noticed this week how much louder my street is. Every car and truck that drives by sounds like it is being amplified through a speaker system and pumped into my living room. The reason for all this noise? No trees. Emma Hanigan, the Iowa State urban forester, told KCRG that trees and their leaves act as insulation from the noise. Trees help deflect the sounds of cars and trucks and trains. So what can you do to make your street a little less noisy? Unfortunately there isn't a quick fix.

Hanigan told KCRG that residents can plant trees, but those trees will need to grow quite a bit to offer any help. The city of Cedar Rapids says that they have received only one complaint about increased interstate noise. KCRG reports that they passed that information on to the Iowa Department of Transportation. The DOT says there are no current plans to add noise walls along I-380, but the city could pass an ordinance to prohibit truck engine and brake noise.

In other words, get used to being able to hear everything!

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