During the 2012 Iowa Legislative session, Iowa Rivers Revival opposed the funding because the Lake is highly prone to erosion and sedimentation; it would require costly dredging in the future to maintain depth; it suffers from serous wastewater and water quailty problems; it lacks public access; and there are no real plans for fish passage.
IRR was unable to stop the appropriation for rebuilding the dam. However, we were successful in raising issues to the Governor and Iowa legislators about the problems associated with the rebuild effort, which resulted in lawmakers imposing restrictions on the funding. The Legislature required Lake Delhi interests to provide a plan to increase public access areas, such as boat ramps and beaches, and a plant to improve wastewater treatment systems to reduce pollution and increase water quality. The Delhi plans were required by Dec 31, before funds could be dispersed.
The Lake Delhi District did submit a plan to the Legislature, but it was inadequate, incomplete and vague in response to the Legislature’s concerns and conditions for funding. The response did not thoroughly address plans to increase public access, barely addressed wastewater treatment systems for homeowners to reduce pollution and improve water quality at the lake, had no serious plans to allow for fish passage around the dam.
The Iowa DNR, Director Chuck Gipp responded to the Lake Delhi District with a letter that outlined common-sense steps to ensure that any State funds “are spent in a manner that protects the interests of all Iowa taxpayers and that [the DNR’s] $5 million is a sound investment.” Director Gipp’s letter said the plans presented to the DNR to increase public access and address wastewater treatment systems for homeowners are simply “not adequate.”
IRR commends the DNR for the State’s measured, thoughtful response. We continue to urge the State to insist that these requirements are met as outlined by Iowa law, prior to state funds are issued for the project. Voice your support to the Governor and your legislators to ensure these common-sense requirements are met.