Legislative Interim Committee considers river restoration in Iowa

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Iowa Rivers Revival urged the Iowa Legislature to convene a Rivers and Waterways Study Committee. The all day session was a very important milestone for protecting and improving Iowa’s rivers and streams.

More than sixty-five people and 9 legislators attended the Iowa Rivers and Waterways Interim Study Committee at the Iowa Statehouse on Tuesday, Dec. 10, to hear from a broad group of stakeholders about the importance of a statewide River Restoration Program for Iowa.  Iowa Rivers Revival applauds the Iowa Legislature for taking steps to learn more about efforts to improve and protect Iowa’s rivers and streams, and protect Iowa’s lands.

Here are two news reports on the Interim Committee meeting:
–  Des Moines Register:  $300,000 requested for river plan
–  WHO-TV13:  CLEAN UP: Lawmakers Talk River Restoration

IRR presented to the Legislative Study Committee potential elements of a River Restoration Program and the many ways river restoration would benefit Iowa <IRR’s presentation>.  Testimony provided by state agencies, non-profit groups, landowners, and field and technical experts reinforced a unified message that a River Restoration Program for Iowa could help enhance local economies, preserve Iowa’s farmland, reduce nutrient pollution, improve wildlife habitat, and help lessen the damage of flooding.

The Legislative Study Committee will reconvene in mid-January to discuss possible next steps for establishing a state River Restoration Program.  We urge you to contact YOUR legislators.  Ask them to support the work of the Iowa Rivers and Waterways Legislative Study Committee and to create a statewide River Restoration Program
–  Contact your Legislators
–  Write a letter to the editor:  find your local paper or contact the Des Moines Register.

Iowa Rivers Revival is asking the Interim Study Committee to recommend to the full legislature an appropriation to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for the purpose of designating adequate staff with responsibilities to
–  Convene an inter-agency task force that includes private/public partnerships.
–  Research and survey information about river restoration through expert testimony, stakeholders, and examples of applied best practices.
–  Identify revenue sources appropriate for a successful Iowa River Restoration program.
–  Develop a plan that establishes statewide criteria and regional targeting, and identifies meaningful and effective river restoration priorities.
–  Recommend a River Restoration Program budget.

Helpful Links:
–  Submit comments to the Iowa Rivers and Waterways Study Committee (as of Dec 12 they appear to still be accepting comments)
–  Review comments submitted to the Iowa Rivers and Waterways Study Committee
–  IRR’s comments to the Iowa Rivers and Waterways Study Committee
–  IRR’s Fact Sheet on River Restoration
–  Iowa Rivers and Waterways Study Committee