Legislature seeks input on Iowa’s Rivers

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Paddlers at Turkey River Rocks! Photo courtesy of Lee Searles.

The Iowa Legislative Interim Study Committee on Rivers and Waterways is seeking input before the committee meets, Dec. 10. Let them know you care about the quality and health of Iowa’s rivers.

To submit your comments:

– Go to the General Assembly’s home page at www.legis.iowa.gov, and under “Popular Links,” look for “Public Input: Iowa Rivers and Waterways Study Committee”
– Click “Submit Response” to submit comments
– To view others’ responses, click “View Moderated Responses”

IRR is currently preparing our own set of comments, which will include:

1. At the top of IRR’s list for upcoming state legislative action is creation of an  Iowa River Restoration Program to focus attention on rivers and streams and their adjacent corridors.

Most states have such programs, which can improve water quality,  recreational opportunities, flood management and wildlife habitat. Some river-restoration practices can also significantly decrease phosphorus and nitrogen runoff and should be considered as part of Iowa’s Nutrient Management Strategy.

2. Maintaining and increasing funding for state funded river-related natural resources programs. 

Increasing the Infrastructure Appropriation for the Low-Head Dam Public Hazard and Water Trails program to at least $2M.

– Supporting full funding for Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program.  REAP is authorized by the state legislature to be funded up to $20 M annually, however it has never been fully funded. REAP provides essential funding for soil and water conservation, habitat protection and recreation resources.

– Providing a reliable and consistent revenue stream for the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund.

3.  Establishing effective river nutrient standards and targeting the state’s natural resource protection programs to assure effective use of taxpayer dollars.

In brief, IRR supports measures that would help clean up our waterways and improve their natural functions. We oppose changes in regulations or programs that could exacerbate threats to our rivers and streams.