Iowa's Rivers and Waterways 2013 What are your suggestions for restoring the quality of Iowa's rivers and waterways?
2014-01-16 The US Army Corps of Engineers is bowing to major political interests (state of Missouri, barges, Iowa Farm Bureau, IDALS, Gov Branstad, Iowa Corn Growers, Big Ag, Iowa Soybean Assn, barges, and other powerful lobbying interests) and ending all efforts to restore wetland habitat in the Missouri River flood plain immediately. Besides the above named interests, Iowa DNR and other supposedly "conservation-minded organizations" never stepped forward to lobby the Corps on behalf of recreation, wildlife and habitat restoration efforts in this 160 plus mile Iowa flood plain. They were silent and absent. This move by the Corps of Engineers will end habitat restoration and set back efforts many decades. Thank you BIG AG and Barges ... can you say "We are Greedy"? By 2042, the Corps was to mitigate habitat along 735 miles of river - about 166,000 acres. They have completed about 66,000 acres - mostly in Missouri. Now, they are renigging on the last 100,000 acres. Iowa DNR is in part, directly responsible for this decision. The DNR Director placed untenable restrictions upon the Corp's mitigation current efforts at the request of Big Ag interests along the river. Barge interests on the Mississippi River have long fought any restoration and have powerful backing by Iowa and Missouri politicians. So for now, Iowa DNR can breath easy -- no more habitat restoration along the west coast of Iowa. Thought preserving/restoring natural resources was one of their missions. The Corps was expending about $50 million a year on restoration. Now they will go to ZERO on that effort and put that money elsewhere. SO now Corps of Engineers ... I request you abandon the reconstruction of wing dams and barge navigation aids on the mighty Big Muddy on the Iowa Reach. Barges haven't docked in Iowa on the Missouri in nearly 14 years! And Missouri. Iowa gets an F grade on this aspect of your responsibilities. $50 million was on the table annually ... and Iowa has been anti-recreation, habitat and wildlife restoration on the Big Muddy. There is much money and economic development to be had in western Iowa if the BIG MUDDY was more than a dangerous ditch. The Iowa legislature should recognize that there is great economic potential in emphasizing recreation and refocusing Big Muddy efforts to capitalize on recreation and away from BARGES that are mythical. Unit trains can now haul bulk cargo even more economically and faster than barges. The Big Muddy in its Iowa reach has never - repeat: has never reached anything close to real success for BARGES. Make the barges in this reach go away and develop the recreation potential of the river and the Loess Hills ... Expect a fight from Big Ag and Barges! Do not forget flood control - that is number 1, 2, 3, etc. Barges should be way down the priority list. Also, the USACoE March 1 Main Stem Lake levels should be revised downward from ~56 MAF to around ~44 MAF for really good flood control. Make that happen and the rest will come easily. Good luck. Thanks
2014-01-16 There is an Iowa Statute 307C.1 "Missouri River Barge Compact"; it has got to be rescinded. There have been no barges to Sioux City in over 12 years! Recreation and other economic development projects along the Iowa reach contribute $640 million annually to western Iowa and eastern Nebraska. See "The Wilds" RV development wet of Bartlett, Iowa as an example. There are at least 13 such developments along this DITCH! Let's change this DITCH to a more friendly recreation river and still accomplish FLOOD CONTROL.
2013-12-22 Increase the taxes on fertilizers and other nutrients that cause the dead zone in the gulf. This will be the most effective method to manage a decrease in pollution and encourage organic practices without adding inspectors, audits, fines, etc.
2013-12-13 Ramping up the use of cover crops even more. I saw that it's estimated that only 10% of farmers in Iowa are using cover crops, so there's a lot of low hanging fruit there.
2013-12-13 Measurable standards, with actual penalties for non-compliance. None of this Farm Bureau "voluntary compliance", which has proven to not work.
2013-12-12 I attended your meeting on Dec 10th and was disappointed that you had allowed no time for public input. My concern is that if we are to clean up water in Iowa rivers, we need to address non-point pollution, since 90% of the contamintation comes from that source. We need to use both the carrot and the stick with agriculture. If cities are regulated as to what they can put in the rivers, why shouldn't farmers also be regulated?
2013-12-10 We need to have more perennials on the landscape. If the land is covered with pasture or forests/woodlands, there will be less runoff. less erosion and less water pollution. For land that is in row crops, cover crops such as rye could be seeded before harvest that would cover the ground during the winter after the main crop is harvested and in the spring before the next crop are planted. Both of these practices would keep the land covered with plants during the winter and spring, when we typically have most of our precipitation and the greatest potential for runoff and soil erosion. If we only grow corn and soybeans the land isn't covered for most of the year and it is very susceptible to erosion and runoff that pollutes Iowa's waters. For land that is in row crops, we need to stop practices such as applying nitrogen fertilizer in the fall when there are no crops on the ground to use that nitrogen. Most of the nitrogen fertilizer applied in the fall will leach out of the ground and pollute Iowa's waters. We could have every tile drain that empties into an Iowa waterway first go into a wetland or some other form of water treatment. Drainage tiles dump nitrogen and other pollutants directly into waterways. Another very important thing we could do is give more incentives for farmers to use organic practices so that pesticides are not going into the rivers.
2013-12-10 What kind of river and waterway projects should the state consider supporting? * Floodplain reconnection/restoration * Buffer establishment * Low-head dam removal * Water quality improvements * Wetland restoration * K-12 educational programs that introduce students to ecology and that provide opportunities for for extended learning through field ecology coursework and STEM projects that focus on water resource improvement. How should projects be prioritized? A. Benefit to aquatic life B. Reduces pollution C. Reduces flood risk in downstream communities D. Improves access to the river What goals should define Iowa's river investment program? * Nutrient and sediment reduction/elimination * Flood reduction * Improving public recreational access What factors can or should be measured? * Water quality * Biodiversity * Peak flow reduction * Percentage of tributary stream miles with buffer strips on both sides * Net number of wetland acres added to the state inventory after a base year, e.g. 2013. Other Comments * We regularly travel outside of Iowa (and bring along lots of friends) to paddle and swim overnight in Wisconsin, or hunt and fish in Montana, because of (1) the overall poor water quality of Iowa's rivers, (2) the general aesthetic character of Iowa's stream corridors, and (3) the relative lack of public access and public right to use the stream banks and bottom in Iowa waterways compared to neighboring states. Although anecdotal, this "dollar drain" of outdoor recreation spending out of Iowa and to other states that better steward their natural resources, should not be ignored. * Flood reduction goals should be achieved through projects that expand beneficial upland land cover practices, remeander streams, restore wetlands, and add greenspace within the floodplain. * A working group or panel should be convened to compile a comprehensive list of laws and regulations which inhibit or obstruct projects or practices intended to improve water quality and minimize peak flows, and then recommend a strategy to the Legislature for reforming these laws and regs. * The Legislature must restore and expand our state science and water resource data collection capacity, which provides the basic and necessary support for restoration decisionmaking. * Public access to waterways needs significant improvement. This includes reforming legal access, i.e. updating our archaic, vague and arbitrarily-enforced stream navigation laws, acquiring easements to definitively allow public access to waterways, and expanding the number of access sites and rest areas along rivers owned outright by the state or local public agencies. It also means improving physical access to our rivers and streams. At many existing access points, and through many stream reaches, the streambanks are unwalkable (because of flooding and/or poor land use practices on adjacent uplands) and canoe put-ins are unsafe or impossible to use for children or the infirm. * The state should require mandatory buffer strips extending away from the water a minimum of 35' from the top of the stream bank on each side of the stream, along all first-order streams and larger, as well as along intermittent streams with a defined bed and bank. * Enforcement of existing laws and regulations regarding any conduct impacting water quality should be aggressive and adequately funded to back it up. * The Legislature needs to restore and then expand the available funding for water resource science and water monitoring by the DNR. * I am in favor of a statewide moratorium on approval of permits for stream channelization, or any actions which will reduce linear feet of stream in Iowa, and heavy punishment for unpermitted conduct of this sort. * Likewise, I support a statewide moratorium on draining/filling wetlands, whether they are "isolated" or "jurisdictional", unless mitigated at no less than a 4-to-1 ratio of new or prior-converted cropland wetlands. * As part of the state code addressing floodplains, I would advocate for the prohibition of rebuilding any habitable structures, or structures not accessory to permanent open space uses or functionally dependent on a waterfront location, in the 100-year floodplain. In the alternative, no state emergency assistance funds should be available to any local governmental unit that has not adopted a local zoning ordinance which contains such a prohibition. Thank you
2013-12-10 Rivers are our Common Wealth. We must do what is necessary to protect them from polluters of many kinds. We must act ethically and responsibly and proactively to ensure the rights of rivers and future generations to enjoy, recreate and use rivers in Iowa. It is not ethical to subject rivers to abuse in the name of expediency or profits or economic job creation. There must finally be a question of ethics and responsibility. Just because profits can be made does not mean they SHOULD be made at the expense of our Common Wealth. We, the people of Iowa deny CONSENT to abuses of our rivers. We insist you act decisively and responsibly to ethically protect our rivers from polluters, farm-based, industrial and residential.
2013-12-10 To reduce nutrient runoff into our surface waters will require more thorough control of confined feeding operations. To wit: all of them should be permitted under the Clean Water Act; the DNR must have an adequate number of inspectors to make regular and detailed inspections. Local control - by county boards of supervisors - would give better control over siting of these operations, as well. We need to regulate the amount of nitrogen that can be applied to farm ground and how and when it can be applied. The recent manure spill at the Maschoff Keosauqua Sow Unit revealed that the effluent from this 7,500 animal unit - about 11 million gallons of manure annually - was being spread on just 591 surrounding acres! Without permitting and strong inspections, it is unlikely that this kind of behavior will be curtailed. Jim Walters
2013-12-10 Iowa's location between two great American rivers, the Mississippi and the Missouri, has driven the development of economic and social systems that are dependent upon rivers and waterways. The health and beauty of Iowa's streams and rivers are important to all Iowans, for many purposes. Protection and restoration of our rivers can enhance quality of life, support sustainable economic development and lead to a brighter future for Iowa. I strongly support the incorporation of current science-based and state-of-the-art practices into Iowa's river restoration efforts, as criteria and priorities are set for existing (and new) mitigation funding. A river restoration program for Iowa can be modeled after the successful lake restoration program, and involve mutually beneficial partnerships among communities, landowners, river users, and government agencies. Restoring Iowa's rivers and streams benefits everyone. There is no downside. Please take advantage of the opportunity to make a big difference in the future of our state. We (and our children) are depending on you.
2013-12-10 Dubuque League of Women Voters December 3, 2013 Rivers and Waterways Public Forum Swiss Valley Nature Center, Peosta Leaguer Tam Prenosil welcomed the audience (there were 45 to 50 people in attendance on an extremely foggy night.) and introduced Iowa Rep. Chuck Isenhart who explained the propose of the meeting and the purpose of the Interim River and Waterways Committee, which will meet one time on Tuesday, December 10 to hear presentations. Local meetings, such as this are the only way the public will have input for the Committee. If there is enough public interest the Committee may continue to meet. Currently there is a successful state program to protect Iowa’s lakes and Chuck would like to see a similar program for waterways. Leaguer Mary Rae Bragg asked Church what the Legislature had done this last year about waterway protection and financing those programs. Chuck said they had studied nutrient reduction in waterways, especially the Mississippi River. The EPA has set up a voluntary nitrogen and phosphate reduction project with 22.4 million dollars funding. Eric Schmechel of the Catfish Watershed Authority Board described the duties of his Authority. It is two years old and includes 46,000 acres in Dubuque County with representatives from the County and cities in the watershed – Dubuque, Asbury, Peosta. Laura Carsten is the Chair. They consider public input important and they will meet with individuals or groups anytime requested. They may be reached at Catfishcreekwatershed@gmail.com or email@example.com. Steve Knapp asked about the milky runoff from the land fill Eric answered that the run off wasn’t coming from the Landfill, but a new subdivision. Steve said it was there before the subdivision was developed. The EPA handles manure spills. There are new regulations governing run off from building projects over an acre. The NRCS (???) has a voluntary program. Steve was still concerned with nitrogen and nutrient runoff. Art Roche asked the boundaries of the watershed and Laura handed out a map which is also available at catfishcreekwatershed.org. The Winterwoods are water testers and have notice a high chloride reading on the North Fork of Catfish Creek. Diane Roche asked about planting boundary strips along waterways. The DNR has buffer zone regulations, but they are extremely understaffed. Dubuque County has its own buffer regulations. WHAT GOALS SHOULD DEFINE IOWA’S RIVER INVESTMENT PROGRAM? __Mary Rae – At best waterways should be safe to swim in __We need well defined quality goals. __There should be nutrient reduction __There should be public access to waterways __There should be berms and buffers with growth to the edge of the waterways __Move from voluntary to required actions to maintain water quality __No unfunded mandates – but a cost share __Repair of the locks and dams on Mississippi – a Federal project __Long range plans – 10-20 years out __All marinas need to have a sewage system dump for boats (concern with Massey) __Public education is important – people don’t know what they are doing wrong __We need to connect liability to solutions – go from opinion based approach to fact and data driven approach WHAT KIND OF RIVER AND WATERWAY PROJECTS SHOULD THE STATE CONSIDER ADOPTING? __Charlie Winterwood – work on nonpoint polluters and implement TMDL (??) __Nutrient standards for waterways should be defined and enforced __When nutrients are removed from the water they should be disposed of sensible __Better to remove the source of the nutrient pollution __Tom Davis, Loras College Biology Prof. – land owner partnerships have worked well in Wisconsin __We need to reinstate CRP acres or another program like that __Gary – Flyfisher – There should be incentives for buffer strips and stream bank stabilization projects. Funding should be available for those projects __Iowa should check out projects and ideas from other states which have successful programs __Use coalitions of different groups. Find projects that included several “stake” holders – combine Duck Unlimited with the League of Women Voters and prairie restoration people __relooking at CRP important – now prices control CRP not erosion control as in the past __tiling – just drains water faster not safer – increases flooding __do away with ethanol funding – too much emphasis on corm __Laura Carsten – need multi-jurisdictional projects that address both water quality and flood mitigation HOW SHOULD PROJECTS BE PRIORITIZED? __University of Dubuque student – Education should be first priority __Fact based solutions not opinions __Long term not short term __Sustainability important __Prevention rather than curative approach __Liability and fines for enforcement – but you can’t stop stupid __Dollar available for local groups – like CF Authority __Need a mission statement and then long term plan __Calvin Gatch – trails (hike, bike & water) are important – for health and education __Funding for projects and maintenance of that funding __priority given to greatest need and greatest overall benefit __calculate all the cost – back to education – not in by backyard attitude __Laura C. –project that have economic, environmental and social benefits – need all three – not first one benefit HOW TO MEASURE SUCCESS? __achievement of sustainability __water quality __nutrients and sediment and bacteria measured in water __are there fish and healthy organisms in the water? __compare Dubuque with other areas – competition is good __outcome measures should be biggest focus – not how many meetings were attended or people on the board __establish outcome measures – 5-10 years out and work to make that happen __water retention on the ground – permeable pavement and soil __water quantity defines water quality __flood mitigation __economic benefits – trout is an economic indicator GENERAL COMMENTS __everyone in Iowa lives in a watershed – what is your watershed address? __education is important __Farm service groups need to be included in this discussion and participate in the Catfish Creek Authority Board
2013-12-10 I would love to see the buffer strips become a mandatory policy. Changing and using small areas of important land can drastically improve the whole system. It is an easy fix that can add other benefits like habitat for bees and other important wildlife. Thanks
2013-12-10 Model the program like the Lakes Restoration Program. There should be a clear system for prioritizing where the money gets spent that includes specific criteria and project goals.
2013-12-10 To the members of the Iowa Rivers and Waterways Legislative Study Committee: I am writing as a concerned citizen and landowner along North Walnut Creek in Polk County, and as a member of the boards of directors of the Iowa Environmental Council and 1000 Friends of Iowa. I appreciate the work your committee is doing to focus on improving water quality in Iowa rivers and streams. I loved wading in creeks and canoeing on rivers as a child, but I don't feel safe letting my two children play in most Iowa waterways because of pollution levels. Iowa needs to do more to keep soil and nutrients on our farmland, a priceless non-renewable resource we need to feed the world's population and sustain Iowa's economy. Cleaner waterways will lead to economic opportunities in Iowa's many river towns and cities as well, through increased fishing, swimming, and paddling. The Iowa Legislature and relevant administrative bodies should set clear goals for any river restoration program, including numeric criteria for Iowa rivers and lakes. The Iowa DNR's lake restoration program could be a good model for improving rivers and streams. The strong majority vote for the the Iowa Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund Amendment in November 2010 indicates that Iowans support investing in ways to protect our natural resources. Thank you for doing your part to improve water quality in our state. Yours truly, Laura Belin Windsor Heights, IA
2013-12-10 In the past decade, Trout Unlimited, through the Driftless Area Restoration effort, has leveraged more than $30 million from federal and private sources to restore more than 40 miles of trout streams in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. These restorations involve a combination or working lands and state conservation land, and devote attention to the entire riparian corridor. More than 200 groups have been involved in funding or conducting the projects. According to a 2008 economic study, every dollar invested in such work generates more than $10 in increased license sales and local economic returns. Restorations undertaken by TU and our partners provide multiple benefits. In addition to improving habitat for coldwater species and increasing fishing opportunities and license sales, common work includes improving riparian lands to reduce runoff and the impacts of agriculture, assisting landowners with the development of managed grazing systems, grading and repairing streambanks to reduce erosion and eliminate a primary source of phosphorous and nitrogen impairments, increasing the carrying capacity of streams and adding wetlands to reduce flooding, and providing habitat for other species that rely upon the riparian corridor. Unfortunately, the majority of this spending has occurred in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and Iowa is missing the opportunity to leverage these funds. We face the following challenges in conducting work in Iowa: 1. Understaffing at the hatcheries in Decorah, Elkader and Manchester. Staffing levels and staff support have been cut so far that we regularly miss opportunities due to lack of planning and management capacity. Additionally, regular stream sampling and fish counts involved in monitoring project success often go undone. 2. The lack of an aggressive state easement program impacts our work. While we have significant funding available through Farm Bill sources to provide private landowners with funding to complete this work, we lack the DNR staff to make the contacts and pursue the opportunities. Likewise, TU can provide matching funding for landowners to eliminate their costs for the projects entirely, but only if the land is under easement for public access. The state regularly misses opportunities to obtain such easements due to lack of funding. We strongly encourage the legislature to look carefully at the easement and buffer programs in Wisconsin and Minnesota that are helping to generate so much economic activity. 3. There is also considerable work needed on our existing public lands. Increased runoff from ever-expanding rowcrop land has caused repeated devastation to Iowa’s remaining trout streams. If left unchecked, many streams are in danger of losing their ability to support fishable trout populations. Trout fishing generates tens of millions of dollars for the economies of the nine NE Iowa counties where the streams reside. But less than half of Iowa’s historic trout streams will still support trout today. We have the opportunity, with modest investment, to preserve and even expand this valuable resource. TU supports the creation of a Rivers and Streams Restoration Fund to parallel the Lake Restoration Fund. The nutrient reduction and habitat benefits we see on our projects are capable of being gained statewide on waters of all types, and it is long past time for the state to begin addressing the problems faced by our waters—not just in water quality, but in quantity as well. Additionally, we’d ask that some portion of that funding be devoted specifically to the needs of coldwater streams. TU has more than 200 volunteers trained in restoration techniques, and more than 1000 members in Iowa willing to lend a hand (along with thousands more in Wisconsin and Minnesota who regularly travel to assist us). Combined with current Farm Bill funding and regional attention to coldwater streams, there is presently an opportunity to match every state dollar invested with 2-5 dollars of private and federal money (most of which would benefit private landowners). A basic investment of $250,000 annually for easement acquisition and landowner education, and $250,000 for restoration work, over a period of 10 or more years, would allow us to bring millions of dollars to Iowa streams and ensure this resource is available far into the future.
2013-12-10 Legislative Study Committee on Rivers and Waterways, The Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA) appreciates this opportunity to provide comments to the Iowa Rivers and Waterways Legislative Study Committee on the issues that impact Iowa’s rivers and waterways. Founded in 1922, the IWLA is one of the oldest and most respected conservation organizations in the nation. The League is a grassroots network with more than 250 local chapters nationwide, including over 40 chapters and more than 6,400 members in Iowa. The League takes a common-sense approach in protecting our country's natural heritage and improving outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans. Our recommendation for the Study Committee is to support the ongoing recovery efforts on the Missouri River. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) is developing a range of alternatives for Missouri River recovery and mitigation. This action will include activities designed to recover the Missouri River species protected under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) pursuant to the 1958 Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act and the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1986, 1999, and 2007. The League believes a thorough analysis of all the management alternatives and adaptive management actions will ensure future management decisions and actions are continuously improved. Updating and incorporating what is learned through regular monitoring of the river and the current recovery efforts will provide benefits to the listed species and lead to recovery of portions of the habitat that has been lost along the Missouri River. The League asks the committee to support utilizing all of the objectives outlined in the authorities listed above and those in the 2003 Amended Biological Opinion (BiOp) including the Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project’s (BSNP) Mitigation Project. The League believes the committee should strive to change status quo on the Missouri River. We strongly urge the restoration of some of the habitat that has been destroyed. This will ensure the long term survival and recovery of the listed species and improve the overall health of the river. The BSNP resulted in the loss of over 522,000 acres of aquatic and terrestrial habitat between Sioux City and St. Louis. That loss is a result of the construction and ongoing maintenance of the BSNP. The IWLA asks the committee to support recovery efforts in the area of the BSNP. The League also urges the committee to consider the following: Water Quality – Is water quality in the Missouri River or its tributaries a contributing factor to low reproduction of the endangered pallid sturgeon or for the 51 of 67 native fish species now listed as rare or declining along the Missouri River? Water Supply – Could flows that more closely mimic the historic flows of the Missouri River be beneficial to native fish and wildlife species? Recreational Access – We urge your support for efforts that connect the river to the flood plain and also connect people to the river. The public needs many more areas where they can access the river to hunt, fish, birdwatch and enjoy the river with family and/or friends. When you get people to the river they will support activities that improve the overall health of the river. The League encourages your support for efforts that enhance and increase wetland and grassland habitat along the Missouri River. The Missouri is the most altered river in America. It’s 35 percent impounded and 33 percent channelized. Much of the river’s fish and wildlife habitat has been lost or destroyed including nearly half of the forest and shrub land vegetation and nearly all the sandbars and islands in the lower river have been eliminated due to the creation and ongoing maintenance of the BSNP. The League also encourages the committee to support aggressive control measures to contain the spread of invasive plant and animal species, especially Asian Carp and Zebra Mussels. These species are threatening native fish and plants and are disrupting the Missouri River ecosystem. The IWLA ask for the committee to support restoring the habitat needed to attract and maintain migrating waterfowl populations along the Missouri River. This will return waterfowl hunting opportunities to residents and nonresidents and will provide a huge economic impact to the area. The League believes improved ecosystem function along the Missouri River will lead to improved water quality, increased fish and wildlife populations, increased recreational opportunities with increased related spending, and increased human health and safety. We greatly appreciate this opportunity to provide comment. Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Paul Lepisto Regional Conservation Coordinator Izaak Walton League of America 1115 South Cleveland Avenue Pierre, SD 57501-4456 firstname.lastname@example.org
2013-12-10 gentlemen; please support the iowa river restoration plan. thank you for your consideration. best regards, wally miller
2013-12-10 Provide economic resources REAP and Iowa Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Fund. Doing this will allow means to implement reductions in chemical run-off, clear water ways, improve our economy, create jobs, encourage people to vacation at our rivers and lakes. Develop methods farming community to put more land back into conservation, marsh lands, plant trees, manage chemical run-off. We need clear numeric goals and time lines. Much like we are developing for the polluted lakes
2013-12-10 The only way our waterways, creeks, streams and rivers are ever going to be restored is to bring back our wetlands and curb farm runoff. With the loss of wetlands and increased tiling, along with farming marginal low lying ground, we continue to destroy our river systems because they have become nothing but drainage ditches for farm runoff.
2013-12-09 It is a great embarrassment and health hazard that Iowa's rivers and streams serve as a conduit for eroding soils, excess nutrients and chemicals. This terribly degraded state of our waterways threatens not only our drinking water but also wildlife, recreation and much more. While agricultural row crop lands are the primary source, urban/suburban lawns, industries and other sources share a percentage of the blame. It is now time to set precise goals, deadlines and meaningful penalties in order to reduce to reduce pollution levels. Iowa's successful lake restoration program could serve as a good starting place and model program for cleaner water in our important streams and rivers. Establishing cleaner water will promote better health, increase outdoor recreation, in turn serving to draw more people and businesses to Iowa as a great place to live and work. There are existing conservation programs that might result in such benefits, provided they are fully funded and forcefully applied Cost-shared state and federal soil and water conservation practices already in place can do much if sufficiently funded. Iowa's wonderful Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program is another avenue which can do much more for our river and stream resources. Full funding of this program, however, is an absolute requirement, and the pattern of only partially funding REAP annually for more than two decades mist be corrected by responsible legislative action. Finally, three years ago Iowa voters strongly endorsed (by 63%) a constitutional amendment to provide 3/8 of 1% sales tax for funding of natural resource conservation programs and practices. A large percentage of resulting revenue was to be directed at improving our waters. As you are well aware, no action has yet been given any serious consideration by the legislature. It is now time to determine how to best raise that 3/8% sales tax so that conservation work may begin. There are many ways to consider doing this without actually increasing the overall tax burden upon our citizens, as suggested by the Iowa Water and Land Legacy Coalition and its numerous conservation group members. Iowa Audubon, its members, chapters and affiliated organizations scattered across the state, urge all elected officials to undertake concerted efforts for improving the condition of our badly deteriorated waterways. We sincerely thank your for considering this very important concern and for requesting input from the public.
2013-12-09 My family has enjoyed the DesMoines river here in Humboldt county since my grandfather moved here as a boy from Germany, In the late 1800s. We fished it, swam in it, hunted on it, trapped it,canoed and boated on it, cleaned it (PROJECT AWARE) and generally spent a lot of spare time on it.We still do. We've seen many changes, and few were good. 12 ag wells, draining nearly 2,000 acres will soon be closed in Humboldt county. This is good. My biggest concern is where will the water go? Right into the DesMoines river. I'm afraid this will cause additional flooding. This Drainage project(DD #125) partially funded by the state. $1.5 million, needs to be monitored. This needs to done right, so flooding of the river,doesn't occur. Sincerely James Dodd.
2013-12-09 We must first learn to recognize the potential of our streams as recreational and economic resources, and also to recognize and appreciate the many ecological services that they can provide. Our rivers directly reflect how we manage our land, and it is time that we move away from the idea that there is some sort of right to pollute. If we can spend millions of tax dollars propping up business and industry, and corporate agriculture, (tax incentives, subsidies, insurance, etc, etc, etc) then certainly we can invest in the future of our state by requiring that the recipients of those dollars be good stewards of the land. Our elected leaders must make clean water a top priority. If they don't, they'll soon come to realize that fixing the problems they've helped to create is a much more expensive proposition. We're there now.
2013-12-09 Honorable Committee Members, It is good news for all Iowans that your committee is moving forward to address restoring and improving our rivers and streams. River restoration is the missing link in our watershed work. We now know that keeping riverbanks in place significantly reduces N and P in our waters -- and keeps precious land in place. The state is doing an excellent job on lakes restoration with a well-managed program that sets clear criteria for deciding which lakes are the best candidates for restoration. Now, the Legislature can have an impressive, positive impact by creating a similar program for river restoration. River restoration is win-win all around. Land stays in place, N and P are reduced, flooding is reduced, road infrastructure is protected, habitat is improved, and killer dams are modified for safe passage. Farmers and other landowners want more stable rivers, engineers want less erosion near bridges, anglers want better fishing, utilities want cleaner source water, and communities want more economic assets and opportunities. Iowans, rural and urban, also want safe, healthy rivers for their beauty, life, and vital role in our natural world. As legislators, you can change the future of Iowa by moving forward with a plan for river restoration. Fortunately, we have an excellent model in the respected lakes restoration program. Thank you.
2013-12-09 Hi, provide more financial assistance to landowners to plant a winter cover crop within watershed lands,and require buffer strips along waterways in all counties.
2013-12-09 Please support the Iowa Rivers Restoration plan. Our rivers are vitally important to our environment, to our farms, to our people, and to our future. Thank you.
2013-12-09 Most important is restoring the health of Iowa's rivers for our future generations. They once were teaming with fish, clear enough to see the bottom, and supported all kinds of wildlife including ducks, geese, furbearers, and native song birds. It is our responsibility to accept.
2013-12-09 I regularly fish and kayak Iowa's streams and rivers. I have been a 6 year participant on Project Aware cleaning up Iowa's rivers. When paddling and fishing Iowa's rivers I often think that parts of these rivers are as they were when the pioneers settled here. Then I see areas where corn and soybeans are planted right up to the river bank. Rows of these crops are eroding away and falling into the river. Des Moines has the largest nitrate removal plant in the world at waterworks. We have to do more to clean up these rivers and streams. I live in the city and I want the farmers to keep their soil, fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides on their land and not have it float away polluting our streams and rivers. Conservation efforts need to be stepped up with cover crops on fallow land. Buffer strips should be put in place next to all streams and rivers. Wet land basins need to be restored. There is conservation money available to farmers to do these things, but very few will do it voluntarily. More and more people are paddling on our rivers enjoying this great resource. Iowa needs to do more to clean up, restore and protect these rivers and waterways. Thanks for listening. Mike Schrader
2013-12-09 Thanks for your time and consideration. We started paddling Iowa's rivers in 1976. After we were married we continued paddling and eventually introduced it to our 3 children and are now starting to introduce it to our grandchildren. It remains our favorite family activity. We had the opportunity to take part in the Master River Stewards program this spring (2013). Our original intent was to get involved in river restoration with paddling in mind; but, after completing this program, we see that there are many more reasons for restoration with water quality for our environment at the top of the list. Our suggestions would be to continue to make educational programs for the public possible as most people don't have any idea of the impact their personal behaviors can have on our water ways. We would also like to see more funding for dam mitigation, improvements to riparian buffers for natural filtration, and bank stabilization projects. Another suggestion would be to figure out a way to help private farmers to remain profitable while taking a conservationist approach to farming as most of them care deeply about the land and waterways (it is their life after all). A White water park in Des Moines, about where the center street dam is located now, to help enhance and draw more people and businesses to the River Walk and East Village areas would be nice also.
2013-12-09 We are writing to voice our support for conservation programs, policies, and regulations designed to ameliorate the damage done to our lakes, rivers, streams, and other water ways. Time is of the essence in enacting water quality laws and funding conservation programs. Iowa's recent experience of flood and drought cycle has significantly degraded not only our waters, but our farmland as well. Dr. Rick Cruse, Iowa State University, reports 6 million acres of crop land eroded at 10 tons per acre. He indicated that this data is a conservative estimates as it does not include stream and gulley losses. Without action this degradation will continue at an increasing rate, which will will limit ag technology's ability to elevate yields. This soil loss results in significant pollution from chemicals and sediments. Widely circulated reports show that Des Moines alone spent $900,000 on de-nitrification of water in 2013. We strongly encourage our elected committee members to support legislation and administrative rules related to these activities in the 2014 legislative session: 1. Support accountability for clean water results. We ask that you encourage and enact legislation that sets mandatory numeric water quality standards and measures. By taking such action, the committee will follow the spirit of Iowa's Accountable Government Act, which allows Iowans to track the progress or measure any decline in state agency performance. We want to be able to easily determine whether the Department of Natural Resources programs and mandated activities are improving water quality. Without clear goals, timetables and accountability measures, existing conservation programs will not fix Iowa’s waterways. 2. Full funding of Iowa’s Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program and Iowa’s Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund that 63% of Iowans voted to approve in 2010. We have been recipients of REAP funding to pay for native grasses and forbs seeds we used to restore prairie on five acres near Winterset and the North River. We have witnessed in our lifetime the positive impact good conservation programs have had on wildlife. You have the power to significantly improve the quality of Iowa's waterways. We ask that action be delayed no longer. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of our requests.
2013-12-09 The Iowa Environmental Council appreciates the opportunity to submit these comments to the Iowa Rivers and Waterways Legislative Study Committee. Iowa’s rivers and waterways are a critical part of Iowa’s natural resources that have been neglected for too long and we applaud the legislature's interest in developing recommendations to prioritize river and stream projects for restoration and improvement. This committee can take a leadership role in directing Iowa administrative agencies to take a big step forward toward permanent, sustainable restoration. The biggest source of impairment to Iowa rivers and streams is sediment and nutrient pollution, the majority of which comes from nonpoint source runoff from agricultural land. To be successful, rivers and stream restoration work must be coordinated with watershed projects designed to keep the soil and nutrients on farmland where they are needed and out of our rivers and lakes. Providing cleanup goals for local watershed projects by setting numeric nutrient goals for Iowa rivers and lakes would help define what is needed for a healthy river or lake and provide a mechanism for accountability for reduction of all sources contributing to water pollution problems. The Council has long been a supporter of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ successful Lake Restoration Program established by the legislature in 2006 and supported with annual funding dedicated to restoration of priority lakes based on selection criteria and utilizing a science based approach. We recommend the legislature utilize a similar approach to establishing a river and stream restoration program by providing funding to the Iowa DNR to develop criteria and the best scientific approach to target river restoration funding to critical projects that will restore our rivers and streams to a cleaner, healthier, more natural state. Restored rivers will support diverse aquatic life and serve other important ecosystem functions as well as providing many benefits to Iowans including support for fishing, boating, swimming and other recreational activities. Some of the benefits of healthy streams include: • Cleaner, healthier water for drinking and swimming uses. • Improved filtering and uptake of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus that will contribute to the state Nutrient Reduction Strategy. • Protect important public infrastructure and landowner interests by stabilizing eroding stream banks. • Reconnecting rivers to their floodplains will slow water and provide more water storage resulting in reduced flooding and flood impacts. • Enhanced community attractions related to river trails and recreation that is an important economic development opportunity in rural areas of the state. Susan Heathcote Water Program Director Iowa Environmental Council
2013-12-09 To restore waterways we should do the following Plant barriers Eliminate the use of pesticides Prohibit the use of motorized watercraft in the waters
2013-12-09 Protect Iowa's waterways make buffer mandatory. I'm tired of seeing farmers farming right to the edge of creeks & rivers & no they don't need to be payed to do the right thing.
2013-12-09 The legislature needs to supplement the Nutrient Reduction Strategy with some rules that work. The problems are obvious: considerable loss of top soil, degradation of waterways, impairment of drinking water supplies, etc. The technical solutions and science are available. What has been missing is the political will to do anything about these problems. The supplements should include: Systematic monitoring of waterways. Waterways cannot be cleaned up if the sources of pollution can't be found. A flexible system of guidelines and steps that helps landowners retain more of their top soil and keeps most of it one their land instead of running into waterways. This could include some technical assistance and financial help. Some punitive consequences for landowners who completely refuse to cooperate in treating their land if treatment is needed. A 2011 survey indicated that 30% of farmers would refuse to participate in any land treatments to mitigate erosion and soil loss. This is a significant number of farms, and without change, will probably guarantee that none of the programs will successfully clean up the waterways. In a competitive economic environment, to allow 30% of landowners the "free" "be" to opt out guarantees failure. They will ruin what everyone else is trying to fix. Everybody needs to play by the same rules, and without some minimal rules, nothing will happen anyway. Some civilizations declined because they ruined their water supplies or other aspects of their environment. The once lush Easter island in the Pacific now looks like a moonscape because the natives eventually cut down all the trees which held the soil in place. They had complete "freedom" and no "rules." One wonders what it must have been like to cut down the last tree on Easter island. Societies cannot exist without smart, effective rules. That is the job of the legislature. I sincerely hope that the legislature is up to the task. The clock is ticking.
2013-12-09 Our water resources are badly in need of protection form fertilizer and chemical runoff. I suggest maintaining existing conservation programs, and even increasing them. Cost sharing for filter strips along creeks and rivers is extremely important. Terracing on hill farms is also of great value. These programs and others will help not only farmers, but also all other Iowans by providing cleaner, safer water plus helping all the down stream population. This is the right thing to do. I seriously hope you will consider, and implement these suggestions. We do appreciate new partnerships of DNR, INHF, and others to start beating the drum for cleaner water.
2013-12-09 Our water resources are badly in need of protection form fertilizer and chemical runoff. I suggest maintaining existing conservation programs, and even increasing them. Cost sharing for filter strips along creeks and rivers is extremely important. Terracing on hill farms is also of great value. These programs and others will help not only farmers, but also all other Iowans by providing cleaner, safer water plus helping all the down stream population. This is the right thing to do. I seriously hope you will consider, and implement these suggestions. We do appreciate new partnerships of DNR, INHF, and others to start beating the drum for cleaner water.
2013-12-09 Our family owns some land along the North Raccoon River and another tract along Carnarvon Creek which runs directly into Black Hawk Lake in Lake View. I'm a trained IOWATER volunteer. Last year Carnarvon Creek tested at over 50 for Nitrates for several weeks during the spring. Fortunately there is a wetland between Carnarvon Creek and Black Hawk Lake. Recent improvements to the wetland (drawing it down, killing off invasive carp, etc) resulted in the wetland being restored to the point where it could better filter the water from Carnarvon Creek and the nitrates were not present at the high levels in Black Hawk Lake. This tells me that one of the best solutions to our water quality issues is to restore wetlands. We also must increase buffer strips along our waterways, reduce tiling to help slow the flow of the water, reduce fall tillage, use cover crops, eliminate spreading manure on frozen land and require and enforce having all manure knifed in. Most of these things have been encouraged and implemented along the Carnarvon Creek in an effort to improve Black Hawk Lake. The Black Hawk Lake Protective Association used a combination of many cost share programs to fund these improvements. I think that if these steps were taken for our river watersheds we would make great strides in improving our rivers. Thank you for your time and consideration.
2013-12-09 As an active river user and organizer of river events I feel that a river restoration program is GREATLY needed. I work with many landowners that would like help but just don't know where to go and don't know what to do so they do nothing. This is the future of Iowa as a healthy state. Rivers are where the majority of our drinking water comes from to supply our communities. Have clean water is a necessity and to help do that we need to restore our rivers for not only our health but for our well being. Without rivers there would be no life. Our children need to grow up with an understanding of what rivers do, not just what they flood and managing ways to get over and around them. I am in STRONG support for a river restoration program in Iowa.
2013-12-09 Dear Representatives and Senators, I am 94 years old and have swam in, ice skated, and canoed on Iowa's rivers most of my life. I spent much of my boyhood and youth exploring them. Today's rivers are shadows of their former selves when we could find all kinds of turtles, fish, and clams in the Des Moines, Boone, and Raccoon Rivers. The water was clear in these rivers then and we could see to the bottom up until about 1960. As I understand, you are considering a program to restore our rivers to some of their former health. A lot could be done and I don't feel it is too late. If we could farm more carefully, be better citizens with our chemicals in the city, and restore rivers with less steep, exposed banks and less dirt in the water it would be a good start. Thank you for the opportunity to speak. River restoration makes good sense to me.
2013-12-09 Water quality in Iowa rivers and streams suffers primarily from two things: silt and excess nutrients. We increase the rates that these polutants enter our waterways any time we increase the rate of runoff through "improved" drainage in cities and farm fields. Tile and storm sewer drainage accelerates the rate that precipitation enters streams compared to the slower and more natural rate of ground water infiltration. Although field tile water carries less silt, it is often saturated with nitrates and other nutrients that degrade water quality. Rapid stream rises also accelerate bank erosion that also contributes to siltation. Farming as we know it would be impossible without tile drainage, but we should encourage more wetland development or restoration where it's possible as a means of capturing excess nutrients before they enter streams and lakes. We should also do more to encourage permanent buffers planted to perennial grasses and trees next to all waterways and keep any form of development as far away from waterways as possible. Many grassed waterways have been plowed out to make room for bigger farm equipment. Well engineered grass waterways should be restored wherever possible. Much highly erosive land has come back into row crop production in recent years in response to high commodity prices. Iowa should do everything in its power to encourage farmers to return highly erosive land to permanent cover.
2013-12-09 The forum on Iowa's rivers and waterways held last week in Dubuque and hosted by the Dubuque League of Women Voters drew some 50 people on an evening when the area was cloaked in heavy fog that make driving most difficult. Not only was the attendance impressive for the poor weather conditions, it was also impressive because of the thoughtful, insightful comments offered by those attending. Instead of bashing the farming industry, nearly all those who spoke volunteered that they belonged to environmental or sports-affiliated groups and then proceeded to offer intelligent, common sense perspectives on what they obviously care about greatly: clean water for Iowans and those states to whom we pass on our water. Education, science-based statistics, economic impact, and civil responsibility to the greater good were common themes. There was support for programs in which steakholders representing agriculture, natural resourses, tourism, families and community leaders form groups to share and discuss their concerns and views, with the goal of finding common ground and ways to achieve a cleaner, healthier environment for all. If the state is going to enhance requirements impacting waterways quality, I believe it should start by requiring all farmers to join one of those groups, so they can explain their situations and show their willingness to be partners with others who care about our state's waterways. Education about the status of our water quality, problems and solutions must be a major component of what the legislative committee will recommend. And I would strongly recommend requiring all landowners who have waterways running through or along their property to monitor the quality at the point where the water comes onto their land and where it leaves, at times deemed appropriate by the Department of Natural Resources or local water quality groups. If landowners can see first hand what their land contributes to water polution I believe all right-minded individuals will want to do what they can to provide solutions. Lastly, do all the Rivers and Waterways Committee members know their "watershed address?" If they don't they should, because that's a basic piece of information that everysone -- especially those charged with protecting our waterways -- should know.
2013-12-09 I retired from the Iowa DNR as Trails Coordinator after thirty years of service. I traveled the state extensively, seriously studied ecology and established the Water Trails Program through grants from federal, state and AmeriCorps sources. I am extremely proud of encouraging Nate Hoogeveen to join the DNR and for his development of the Rivers Program. It is clear to me that living in “the most biologically altered state in North America” and having paddled Iowa’s streams for over 50 years that we must understand the ecology and what is going on here. The basic foundation of ecology is that all life is directly related and mutually dependent. This means the more species diversity the healthier the ecosystem and the healthier the individual. Simply said, we are all in this together. Our health and happiness is directly dependent on the health of the place we live. Don’t foul your own nest. One way to illustrate this is by using a folded DOT transportation map of Iowa. Lay it open flat on a table. It is roughly two and half feet by one and a half and represents 36 million acres. Imagine the map is your home and it is. Rip off two-thirds of the map and put it behind you. This is the amount of acres planted each year in just two annual species – corn and soybeans – requiring petroleum, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides and soil washing away to the sea. Now remove three-fourths of what’s left of your map on the table. This represents the 26 percent of Iowa used for other agricultural purposes such as hay, pasture, ponds and farmsteads. In a matter of a few generations over 93 percent of our state has been transformed for agricultural purposes. The loss of species diversity is incomprehensible to us today. From the portion left on the table remove a piece the size of a CD case or a letter envelope. This represents 6 percent of Iowa or around 2 million acres which are covered in cities and roads. The size of the piece left on the table is smaller than the size of a check. It represents all public land – city parks, county, state and federal – or less than 3 percent of Iowa. Looking closer at the remaining piece we find it covered in thousands of parking lots, hundreds of miles of interior roads, artificial lakes, campgrounds, ball fields, toilets, playgrounds, sewage lagoons, golf courses and picnic areas. Hundreds of thousands of acres contain non-native species. A majority of our public land was also plowed, mined and heavily grazed before being protected and allowed to heal. Easily, less than half of the public land, the size of a credit card has little original biological integrity left. Cut the credit card into hundreds of small pieces and scatter them over the area of the original, uncut map. Not one of these pieces of public land can maintain their existing species as they are isolated and disconnected from the whole, much like we are. In relationship to the health of our homeland it matters little whether the land is private or public. It does matter how it is used and for what. The rivers of Iowa represent the blood flowing through this landscape and are indicative of the health of the land. Iowa has the worst surface water quality in the nation. We must follow the agreement of the Clean Water Act and address this either by immediate state governmental action or by the federal government forcing us to comply. Voluntary compliance is a joke. Even if all the recommendations were followed exactly we would still find ourselves in state where species diversity cannot be maintained and our water will take decades to improve. My grandson is facing a future without frogs, fish and birds in addition to increasing health risks. This is sad, shameful and now criminal. If we do not take the other path and work for the common good and strongly limit our impacts to our water quality at every opportunity we will not be able to live with these other beings and ourselves. Mark S. Edwards 1610 Story St. Boone, IA 50036
2013-12-09 To protect the Iowa waterways and environment for all Iowans, there need to be numeric indicators with accountability for nutrient levels in our streams and rivers.
2013-12-09 If the health of Iowa was measured by our water quality our state would be virtually unused for the majority of the year. Improving Iowa's water quality isn't just an ag issue or an urban issue...It's an Iowa issue! We have studied and tested Iowa's water for plenty of years to know what the problems are. The problems are complicated and require expensive solutions. Clean rivers, streams, and lakes can exist with vibrant cities and ag production...other communities and countries have figured it out...learn from their lessons. Iowa has done a good job at studying their water quality. The next, and more important step is fixing the problems!
2013-12-09 To understand Iowa is to understand that our state no longer looks like it used to. As the MOST ALTERED state in the United States, our wild spaces are few and far between. Less than 1% of our original prairie habitat, less than 5 % of our original wetland habitat and sparse Oak Savanna remains for many of our endangered or threatened species. Our rivers remain, though they may not look like they once did. Participate in a river cleanup and you are likely to find any number of man-made objects floating by. Land management practices in farming and agriculture have made huge impacts on our stream banks and our water quality in the state. What goes into our rivers affects plants, animals, humans, health, states south of us, and the ocean that takes in water from the Gulf of Mexico. Rivers are dynamic and so should our river stewardship. We must take action to clean up our rivers, reduce nutrients, curb runoff, improve our banks, and retain topsoil after precipitation events. A River Restoration Program for Iowa would be good for everyone in our state. Just as the Lake Restoration Program helped Iowa implement projects in the high need areas, so to could a River Restoration Program bring our state back to its less altered state. The rivers bring us together and they are our responsibility to care for, just as they continue to provide for us. It is our moral responsibility to do a better job taking care of all of our natural resources for future generations as well as our own. Why not start with rivers?
2013-12-09 It's a sad commentary on Iowa that we even have to make a case for restoring the health of our streams. I live on the Shell Rock River and often fish or kayak on its waters. Fortunately, the river has good days when it clears, but there are too many days when it is clogged with topsoil and turbid from the farms upstream. Although we can't see them, it is also carrying a heavy load of chemicals, all headed for the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Because of the recent high prices of commodities, farmers work ground even closer to the stream and are pulling up trees, again. We still have feedlots where cattle waste is going directly into the river. With the state's leadership we could establish buffering areas along all of our streams to mitigate the instantaneous effects of heavy rain on exposed fields. Our soil is our only treasure. What are we going to do when it's all been eroded away?
2013-12-09 Make it illegal for farms to spread hundreds of thousands of gallons of manure on fields in the flood plain. These fields have flooded almost every year since 2008. In 2013 I witnessed them spreading Manure, planting crops, only to flood a week later. ANNNNND repeat. Yet they continue to farm these wetlands with no concern for the individuals downstream. Make it impossible for farms to claim crop insurance or farm subsides on wet land acres. IF A FIELD FLOODS NO TILL mandate and restrictions on manure usage!!! Don't allow farmers to plant row crops on every square inch of land. MAKE THEM use buffers, MAKE THEM maintain waterways not for looks but for function. Get serious about erosion! There are creeks in Iowa county where bare soil is exposed 10 feet high on the creek banks. Set up an incentive program where farmers can use the CRP framework to have habitat co-exist with production. Farmers that receive any funds from state or federal must be inspected. If they use poor farming practices the money they want can be spent for them to improve habitat/Conservation. My mother Mary Somerville spent a great deal of her life working to improve watershed awareness and responsible farming. The state of our natural resources (water) are a disgrace. Our state needs to take an aggressive stance to stop kicking the can down the river. PLEASE make this happen. Seth Somerville
2013-12-09 I am particularly concerned about the impacts of animal confinement operations on Iowa's waterways. I support animal agriculture, but do not believe it should be allowed to undermine water quality statewide. I believe the state should impose reasonable--by which I mean fairly tight--controls on the size and location of confinement operations and their polluting waste lagoons. In the long run, I think we should move away from confinement as a method of raising animals, for both environmental and animal-welfare reasons.
2013-12-09 Thank you for considering this EXTREMELY important issue. My husband and I purchased kayaks in 2005 and kayaked Iowa's waterways until 2007 when we kayaked in neighboring states and realized what a cesspool Iowa's waterways were in comparison to our agricultural neighbors. We now only kayak in states that work on improving their water quality and meeting federal standards. During our trips we wondered and asked why our neighboring states were so successful at improving their surface water quality and meeting federal standards while Iowa was not. The short 'simple' answer is our neighboring states were willing to assess and collect fines that covered the cost to remediate and fix the source of the problem. They also removed all other financial subsidies (including federal moneys) to repeat offenders. While these measures initially met with resistance because some repeat offenders will go out of business if they are unwilling to change their ways, in the long term they have resulted in improvements and cost savings for the entire state. Iowa's rivers and streams are threatened by polluted runoff and soil erosion, much of which comes from cropland as well as other sources. Clear numeric goals, timelines, and financial accountability measures are needed to reduce pollution levels. Iowa should aggressively pursue clean water restoration through a number of conservation programs and support accountability for clean water results in those programs. These include: Full funding of Iowa’s Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program, soil and water cost share programs, and, ultimately, Iowa’s Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund that 63% of Iowans voted to approve in 2010. Sincerely - Karen
2013-12-09 Thank you for addressing this critical issue. Issues and action steps: 1) Increase water quality monitoring to better identify the scope and extent of the problem. 2) Publicize results of monitoring programs to increase public awareness. 3) Quantify and prioritize problems directly attributable to agricultural practices. 4) Increase funding for remedial actions including Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. 5) Put some teeth in agricultural practices programs. Strictly voluntary compliance isn't enough. 6) Exhibit the political courage to take on the ag special interests and really get at the heart of the problem.
2013-12-09 We need to create buffers between crop ground and any rivers or streams. There needs to be a way to keep farmers and other land users from working ground right up to the river's edge. Iowa should aggressively pursue clean water restoration through a number of conservation programs and support accountability for clean water results in those programs. These programs include: Full Funding for Iowa's Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP)program, soil and water cost-share programs, and Iowa's Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, of which 63% of Iowans voted to approve in 2010. Thank you for taking the time to consider ways we can all help protect and improve the waters of Iowa.
2013-12-09 My family and I have paddled Eastern Iowa's rivers since the 70's. We have seen a steady deterioration of water quality and wildlife habitat. Iowa has very few natural areas for recreation, so its rivers are all the more precious. To me, it is obvious that the prime polluter of our rivers and streams is big industrialized agriculture. Although this is the life blood of our economy, it should also be the prime mover in preserving our natural world. Big Ag is reaping its considerable profits at the expense of the environment. Here are some ideas I feel will push agricultural industry in the right direction to do right by the natural world that all of us share. *fully fund REAP *create structures for watershed areas to work together *legislate mandatory, not voluntary (they are obviously not working), rules for agricultural and other run-off. *firm legislation to inspect and regulate CAFO operations *More marginal land and river green belt set aside for conservation. Thank you all for helping to maintain our beautiful land for future generations to cherish and enjoy.
2013-12-09 I think we need to find ways to build pride and enjoyment into our waterways as that will serve to make people more conscious of them and more concerned. We are blessed with water that much of the world would love to have - so blessed that we take it for granted.
2013-12-09 Remove all drain tile systems from Iowa Farm Fields. Incentivize re-establishment, maintenance, and protection of buffer/filter strips surrounding agricultural fields and along drainages/streams. Control over application of herbicides and fertilizer.
2013-12-09 As a former Minnesotan, and a present Iowan who loves the Iowa rivers and waterways, I thank you for looking into upgrading their quality. I have the impression they would be vastly improved if EPA regulations for water quality were followed, so I would ask first, that we in Iowa make sure those regulations are followed. My understanding is that it would be helpful to reducing pollution runoff into our waterways from cropland and other pollutants by setting up clear numeric goals, timelines and accountability measures. Full funding of REAP, and funding of the Trust Fund that we voted to support in 2010 would help pay for measures to clean up our waterways. In the end, we'd have healthier, cleaner, more beautiful water, and former Minnesotans would be less inclined to move back to our roots.
2013-12-09 Iowa needs to manage Agricultural run-off it is to restore Iowa's rivers to a condition that supports wildlife. CAFO's need to be either banned or strictly regulated. More support of organic farming would also reduce the use of chemicals that poison our waters.
2013-12-08 Iowa's rivers and streams are threatened by polluted runoff and soil erosion, much of which comes from cropland as well as other sources. Clear numeric goals, timelines, and accountability measures are needed to reduce pollution levels. Iowa depends on agriculture and that is threatened by soil erosion as well. Taking steps to clean up our waters can lead to a better future for agriculture as well. Our livelihood and the health of our state demand that quick and thorough action. Thank you for taking comments on this very important issue.
2013-12-08 My grandfather was a northern Iowa cowboy who went to college in New England and became a U.S. Congressman from Massachusetts in the late 1920's. I was born and raised in New England, but have lived in Iowa since the early 1980's, and before that in Fairbanks, Alaska. My exposure to pure, clean waterways outside of Iowa drove me to become a clean water advocate for Iowa. I have been an Iowater volunteer for the past several years. The contrast between clean waterways in other places I've lived and Iowa's waterways was shocking to me at first, but I grew more accepting of it because of this state's farming status. By associating with local farmers, I became educated about the importance of wetlands, soil health and conservation, the value of perennial crops, and organic farming. Taking land out of CRP to plant corn for ethanol has eliminated helpful buffer zones that retain water, increasing soil erosion. Over-applied fertilizer, along with pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals, runs right off the soil--especially during floods, which seem more frequent with climate change. Through attending workshops with Iowa's urban storm water expert, Wayne Peterson, and others, I have come to understand that Iowa CAN protect and clean up its waterways with better farmland management, by creating more permeable surfaces in urban developments, and implementing innovative storm water/sewer infrastructure. It is my hope that legislators can join the efforts of clean water advocates and conservationists to improve water quality across the state. One way legislators can have a significant impact is by refusing to approve companies that negatively impact our water supply and quality. For example, the new fertilizer plant just approved for Wever, Iowa will pump 6 million gallons of fresh water from the Mississippian aquifer and waste 3 million gallons into some waterway every day. That is a lot of fresh water, and this is only one company of many in the state using fresh water. Why not insist on recycling that 3 million gallons to at least reduce the amount needed from the aquifer? We need collectively--as a bi-partisan initiative--to be better stewards of the precious natural resources on which we all depend. We are foregoing long-term health and prosperity in order to have immediate economic gratification. If we don't take quick and careful action, we will soon lack basic survival resources. It is no longer an option to promote consumerism and economic prosperity at the cost of the essential ecosystems that sustain us.
2013-12-08 Use the best available science to identify pollution hotspots in the watershed and establish a minimum distance between cropland and river bank, allow French tile inlets as is practiced in Minnesota, support wetland restorations,... just off the top of my head these are ideas. Thanks for asking for input.
2013-12-08 Iowa has the worst water in the U.S. This is largely due to agricultural pollution from row crops and livestock operations. Iowa has virtually no regulation of its agricultural pollution. Rather, it has a voluntary program of personal restraint. This can never be effective. An effective water clean-up program would start with monitoring output from agricultural drainage from both row crops and livestock operations. Then it requires government funded, sponsored, and enforced regulation of those outputs. That is, effective monitoring and enforcement at the source of the pollution. Iowa could have an effective citizen monitoring network via IOWATER if the DNR were properly funded and staffed; as it is, some of its leadership is working against these goals rather than to achieve them. This should be corrected immediately before DNR itself becomes complicit in causing the problems it was created to remedy. Thanks, EPD
2013-12-07 Go to the sources of nutrient runoff and storm water runoff and strictly enforce measures to curb the practices which perpetuate the problem. Voluntary control is not seeming to work.
2013-12-07 To the Committee: Thank you for inviting public feedback on how to restore Iowa's rivers and waterways. I urge you to support a variety of conservation programs, especially with regard to preventing agricultural runoff. For starters, please require farmers to use conservation techniques like buffer strips and cover crops. I regularly see farmers planting right up to a creek bed when I drive down Iowa's highways. When I have canoed Iowa's rivers, without fail I see land that has fallen off into the water with a few corn plants in it. No doubt all of the chemicals used on those crops are in the water, too, polluting our water and creating dead zones in the Delta region. Also, please fully fund Iowa's Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program. It is designed to protect our lands and waters for generations, and must be funded. Likewise, please implement soil and water cost share programs, and support Iowa’s Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund that 63% of Iowans voted to approve in 2010. Furthermore, please consider implementing programs similar to Iowa's lakes restoration programs, which can help a community economically and protect public health. Finally, why not consider offering grants each year to teams of high school students that design water conservation/run-off mitigation projects as part of their high school coursework? There is so much "lawn" around nearly every high school in the state, with all the related chemicals and mowing costs. What about buffer strips of native, run-off absorbing plants at the edge of school parking lots, etc.? Thanks for considering my suggestions, and I hope you will commit state dollars towards protecting our natural heritage. I hope future generations have healthy water to drink, fish in and swim and canoe in for years to come. Sincerely, C. Schmitt
2013-12-07 Shocked--shocked--shocked at how bad our waters have gotten recently; no idea they had gotten THIS BAD!! Worse than third world waters -- get out and see it folks, you will not believe this is Iowa!
2013-12-07 Dear Iowa Legislators, Thank you for your care and attention to the rivers and streams of our state. I have heard it said that water is the next gold. Our waterways must be treasured and given every chance to be clean of agricultural chemicals and other pollutants. Iowa should aggressively pursue clean water restoration through a number of conservation programs and support accountability for clean water results in those programs. These include: Full funding of Iowa’s Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program, soil and water cost share programs, and, ultimately, Iowa’s Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund that 63% of Iowans voted to approve in 2010.
2013-12-07 Please fund and activate the existing conservation programs to their maximum. Also evaluate and establish new methods and policies to keep the rivers clean and healthy!! Establish incentives for those who implement actions to reduce the polluting elements and/or penalties for those who are known polluters. Thank you
2013-12-07 Switch small towns over to wind turbines and solar panels. Build methane plants to serve urban areas, providing treatment for human waste as well as allow farmers to sell manure at a very cheap price, reducing carbon emissions and preventing slurry from escaping to our drinking water sources. Build retention ponds and trenches along waterways and edge of fields for fertilizer and other run off using duckweed to decontaminate the water and allow Iowa another biomass product for energy that will allow farmers to profit from. Reference: http://www.folkecenter.net/gb/rd/biogas/technologies/water-for-life/duckweed/
2013-12-07 I am an IOWATER Volunteer and a member of the Board of the Squaw Creek Watershed Coalition that has been monitoring water quality in this watershed for more than 10 years. Our monitoring data can be found on the IOWATER web site. My own monitoring stations are located in the city limits of Ames. I can tell you that if this stream were a swimming beach it would be closed to swimming most of the time because of the high levels of E. coli bacteria. E. coli is known to have virulent strains that are a threat to human health. More importantly, E. coli is an indicator that other more dangerous bacteria may be present such as Salmonella and Crytosporidia and even viruses and protozoa. Squaw Creek is a HUC 12 level watershed and drains into the South Skunk River. Squaw Creek is not on the state's impaired list because the state does not have an ambient sampling station on this stream. If they did, I am certain it would be added to the list of impaired streams. Squaw Creek flows through Ames, a city of more than 50,000 people and children and adults use the stream in various places for recreation, fishing, and wading. In addition, Squaw Creek and the Skunk River have been the scene of significant flooding and property damage in recent years. Mitigation of property loss from flooding has been high on the city's priority list for some time. Iowa should place high priority on both water quality and quantity and restoration of our streams can only occur through better soil and water conservation in our watersheds. We need a holistic approach to the improvement of soil health, increases in organic matter, reduction in nutrient loss and more stringent regulations on animal manure and human septic systems.
2013-12-07 Greetings. Thank you for your efforts to improve surface water quality in Iowa. The Nutrient Reduction Strategy documents that no till farming practices significantly reduce soil erosion and the transport of sediments and phosphorus to surface waters. Just as importantly no till practices provide economic returns that are on average equal to the returns from more traditional tillage practices. In short no till farming can significantly reduce surface water pollution, preserve soil resources and in many cases produce higher profits. I encourage you to develop educational, regulatory and financial incentives to achieve a goal of no till farming practices being in place on all Iowa row crop land. The Nutrient strategy also makes it clear that fall application of nitrogen fertilizer contributes to the nutrient loading in surface waters. This practice costs both the operator as lost nutrients and the public as surface water contamination. I urge you to develop educational regulator and financial incentives to discourage with the goal of eliminating the fall application of nitrogen fertilizer. Pat McAdams
2013-12-07 We need full funding of the REAP program to keep Iowa's rivers and waterways clean, please take action to protect all Iowans. Thank you, Rosemarie Ward
2013-12-07 Iowa's rivers and waterways must be a focus of renewed focus by the government. We must improve the water quality because our waterways are a great lever to improve our environment overall. Additionally, our riverways hold great potential as economic stimulus provided they are clean and connected. Sincerely, Dr. J. Lawrence Hanson
2013-12-07 I have worked for over 40 years now trying to improve land use issues. We know what will work and how to do it but we do not have the back bone to make it so. Conservation compliance would have worked. We fail to allow the professionals the ability to say how to farm to receive other government money. We must not farm right to the edge of the streams we need grass, trees. I believe everyone I talk to is in favor of clean water but how we get there is another story. we have the ability to farm without tillage. Crops grow well and compete we have been doing it for over 40 years yet folks till. why This one thing would save fuel and keep soil on the land and it is easy to tell when someone is tilling and can pay for his tillage with higher taxes. See grass or trees within so many feet of stream is harder to maintain but anyone can see if it is there or not and then pay more tax. The public can report and the conservation folks check it lots of conservation folks make them all the bad guys but really it would be the public say we will not allow tilling and farm right to the banks of streams with water. Let the abuser pay for the conservation by higher taxes if they want to till tax them accordingly. free choice to pollute just pay for it. Now the people pay to clean up the mess of many as just farm and wait to be caught with rules that are impossible to enforce. I am partially retired I would walk drive and willing to help police the land s with my plat book and help us get cleaner water. it can be solved we know what is causing it let not make it hard just let those who want to till and farm right up to edge of streams pay the bill. Even playing field. Even tile can be monitored. I have so many ideas but the biggest is lets do this we know how to control erosion runoff lets just make it happen! Most professional conservationist know the solutions lets just get the back to do the work!
2013-12-07 Please work to clean up the Iowa waterways. Work to make this the responsibility of farmers, industry, and homeowners who put chemicals on their lawn. I was hoping farmers in this state would be planting cover crops to help alleviate the soil erosion and water pollution problem. Please help keep the environment clean for future generations.
2013-12-07 I find it interesting that all your published responses call for greater government regulation aimed at cleaner water, and that my earlier response calling for moderation and respect for the Fifth Amendment requirement that private land not be taken for public use without compensation was not published. While I too prefer clean water, I value freedom even more, and proposals such as banning building in a 500 year flood plain are examples of unjust public taking of private property rights, especially since these flood plain lines are constantly changing. Please restrict your efforts to enact more regulation, and emphasize public education, funding of voluntary initiatives (buffers, wetlands, etc), and utilization of existing regulations.
2013-12-07 Please remember that our waterways are essential to healthy living for all living things. There is no justification to pollute them. Ever.
2013-12-07 I'm very pleased to hear that this special Legislative committee is being convened. Thank you for your interest in ensuring that Iowa's rivers and waterways start getting the attention they deserve as a natural resource to be respected and protected for current and future generations. Iowa's rivers and streams are threatened by polluted runoff and soil erosion, much of which comes from cropland as well as other sources. This is Iowa's "elephant in the living room" and it is time that we address the issue and stop obfuscating about it. Clear numeric goals, timelines, and accountability measures are needed to reduce pollution levels. Iowa should consider a similar program to its popular and successful lake restoration program with annual funding to support clean water and economic development along priority river corridors. Without this, the committee will quickly become just another futile exercise in pretending to do something without accomplishing anything. Iowa should aggressively pursue clean water restoration through a number of conservation programs and support accountability for clean water results in those programs. These include: Full funding of Iowa’s Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program, soil and water cost share programs, and, ultimately, Iowa’s Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund that 63% of Iowans voted to approve in 2010. Good luck with this.
2013-12-06 This is where we live, keep our home clean. That shouldn't be up for discussion. If you don't know how to do it, ask a specialist in the appropriate field who does. Listen to scientists with our best interests in mind, not someone else's bottom line.
2013-12-06 Thank you for serving on this committee to help prevent soil loss along with pollution from the chemicals of our lakes and streams. I have noticed a disturbing trend in rural Iowa that I wish to bring to your attention. Time was when grass waterways were a common sight in Iowa fields and they helped keep the soil in the fields. Terraces seem to have replaced those waterways and have resulted in a different method of dealing with the consequences. I have seen many occurrences of farmers hiring dirt contractors to fill all the washed out gullies with topsoil. Those dirt-filled gullies will eventually meet the same fate as last year's fill. This seems like a quick way to remove all the topsoil from formerly fertile fields and requires more artificial nutrients to be added. I think this is a recipe for soil destruction and it is happening at an alarming rate. I hope that this committee can come up with a reasonable way to prevent such destruction of Iowa's most precious resource. Thank you for your work on this critical issue.
2013-12-06 What goals should define Iowa’s river investment program? - There needs for be well-defined goals for cleaner water and nutrient reduction. What kind of river and waterway projects should the state consider adopting? Increased buffer strips and stream bank stabilization. How should projects be prioritized? Not sure. What improvements related to Iowa’s rivers should be measured?- Pollution measurements including nitrogen and phosphorus measurements.
2013-12-06 I'm pleased that you are giving serious consideration to the issue of water quality in Iowa. I think that we need to curb pollution runoff and soil erosion, which threaten our streams. This requires some careful thought, though. You need to set out some specific, measureable goals and hold people accountable if they don't meet the benchmark by the desired target date. Iowa has a lake restoration program that seems to have gone well; maybe we should learn from that good example. Of course, you need steady, reliable funding to pull this off. How about fully funding the REAP grogram? Soil and water cost-share programs would be good. Or how about that Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund that 63% of Iowans (including me) voted for in 2010?
2013-12-06 we must have some cooperation from the Minnesota drainage where the Des moines River starts at Lake Shetek. First fix the dam in Humboldt and Fort Dodge to hold back the silt. This is very serious and no one wants to take responsiblity. Add a tax like and environmental or clean water tax so we all pay small amouts. Cities must filter street water that flows into the river. Salt from brine application, herbicides, gas and oil have free access to the rivers from storm sewer pipes. Farmers can help by more buffer strips around drainage ditches that flow into the river. When cleaning dredge ditches its a free conduit to the river also in which this was done in Humboldt and all it did was silt in the river by the dam. Muckity muck is what you see today. We can do better. Were so afraid to tax a small amout and then what do you have. Mucky river here in Humboldt town.
2013-12-06 Iowa rivers how a rich cultural history. I am in the process of documenting the Dakota "Sioux" sites in Iowa. I have only done a quick sampling, I have documented 60 sites already. Many of these sites if documented could be listed on the National Register, giving more protection to our rivers. Many native historical sites in Iowa could get funding if Iowa agencies would consult with traditional tribes of Iowa. There are millions of dollars in cultural grants to tribes or descendants or concerned citizen groups to identify, nominate or preserve these cultural historical locations. Iowa could take a huge leap into Native Cultural Preservation along its rivers, just have to consult with tribes. If you would like to hear more about my Dakota sites in Iowa or my ideas for ethnic cultural tourism in Iowa give me a call. email@example.com 1-605-268-2232
2013-12-06 Iowa badly needs a plan to improve water quality, for drinking as well as recreation, that includes standards, methods of accountability, and a time line, as well as sources of funding. As I understand it, money that has previously been made available went on a first come, first serve basis, rather than to areas that needed it the most. Likely the farmers who snapped it up first may have done something on their own; we need to prioritize aid. Also, proper supervision and follow-up has been difficult because of lack of personnel. I have read that nitrates and other nutrients taken out of the water in Des Moines were then put back into the river after drinking water was obtained. I'm sure there must be a technical reason for that, but there surely is another solution so that the next city down the river has better water. No doubt the reason involves money. We badly need to find ways to keep the nutrients out of the water in the first place, as well as better ways for water plants to remove them. It is important for all of Iowa to find a way to solve this problem, sooner rather than later. Thank you for your efforts!
2013-12-06 Sad to say that Iowa has some of the dirtiest waterways in the nation. Des Moines Water Works owns the largest nitrate removal facility in the world. Much of this water pollution comes from our monoculture crop land. Let's get serious about cleaning up this health hazard! Iowa should aggressively pursue clean water restoration through a number of conservation programs and support accountability for clean water results in those programs. These include: Full funding of Iowa’s Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program, soil and water cost share programs, and, ultimately, Iowa’s Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund that 63% of Iowans voted to approve in 2010. Let's get to work and get our waterways cleaned up.
2013-12-06 Iowa's rivers are very important to Iowans, their quality of life, and the quality of life for future generations so thank you for considering these important issues. I would like to point out that: • Iowa's rivers and streams are threatened by polluted runoff and soil erosion, much of which comes from cropland as well as other sources. Clear numeric goals, timelines, and accountability measures are needed to reduce pollution levels. • Iowa should consider a similar program to its popular and successful lake restoration program with annual funding to support clean water and economic development along priority river corridors. • Iowa should aggressively pursue clean water restoration through a number of conservation programs and support accountability for clean water results in those programs. These include: Full funding of Iowa’s Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program, soil and water cost share programs, and, ultimately, Iowa’s Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund that 63% of Iowans voted to approve in 2010. Thank you for your time and consideration.
2013-12-06 Listen to those who are concerned about this issue and protect this land and water
2013-12-06 I think that restoration should start with enforcing the laws that are already on the books that protect our rivers. Living in a farming community, I know that animal manure should not be spread if the ground is already frozen. This increases the chance of runoff. Most farmers follow this practice. Just, yesterday, December 5th, as I was driving to Sioux Center, I noticed a farmer dumping semi-truck loads of chicken manure on his field. His field was next to the Little Rock River. The piles I seen looked like at least 3 semi-loads have been dumped in large piles and more semi's were coming to the field. The field looked like it was only 40 acres. I don't believe that much manure is good for the soil With the soil now frozen the manure will either run off into the river or what has been happening lately, manure has been blowing all over the country side after it dries out. More enforcement of current laws would help alot. Restoring our rivers and lakes won't do any good if people are continuing the practices that are polluting our waters to begin with.
2013-12-06 Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) appreciates the opportunity to provide comments to the Iowa Rivers and Waterways Study Committee. Iowa’s rivers and waterways are important contributors to Iowa’s economic development and quality of life. Iowa’s investment in state of the art technology using LiDAR can provide landowners with the information and the tools needed to make our investments in river and floodplain restoration as effective and economically efficient as possible, while protecting their investments. The new floodplain maps that are currently being released by the Iowa Flood Center will provide landowners and communities the information they need to minimize or prevent property damage, prevent overcharges in the National Flood Insurance Program premiums and reduce flood insurance premiums through the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System. In the absence of the funding that could be provided through the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund for river and floodplain protection, INHF asks the study committee to seek $20 million of funding from the next Water Quality initiative appropriation to fund the Department of Natural Resources to accomplish the following: • To provide landowner education and professional training programs to assist landowners in interpreting the data available to them. • To provide landowner technical assistance to implement land use practices inspired by the flood mapping information. • To establish a pilot project to demonstrate how the new flood information can be used as a watershed planning tool to prioritize wetland restoration and river buffers. We recommend that over 90% of the appropriation be used for permanent protection of priority riparian wetlands and stream buffers. Background • Iowa has invested about $15 million in light detection and managing (LiDAR) technology for detail ground elevation data, and for modeling flood hazards statewide. By 2016, precise 100 year flood and 500 year flood maps (1% and .2% annual probability) will be on the internet for every county. • Unfortunately, at this time there are no plans to also make available to the public flood maps for storm run-off with a 0.5%, 2%, 4%, 10%, 20% and 50% annual probability of occurring. • State investment in education and training, and in making more data available for publication, would save Iowan’s millions of dollars by property damage prevention, by preventing overcharges in Natural Flood Insurance Program premiums, and by reducing flood insurance premium s through the NFIP Community Rating System. • The eight different flood zones could help farmers choose areas too risky for row crop plantings but more appropriate for grazing or forestry. • Areas needing permanent vegetation could be predicted and targeted with modeled maps that correlate floodwater depths, velocities and soil shear strength • Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy science assessment predicts an additional 400,000 to 800,000 acres of riparian buffers and nitrate treatment wetlands must be installed to meet national goals under the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Action Plan. The new flood probability maps can help locate the most economically marginal flood plain acres that may be suited to wetland construction or buffer plantings. • Farmer installed riparian buffers can be precisely planned based on flooding threats, and may leave more land for cropping than does Conservation Reserve Program riparian buffer contracts • Floodplain and stream restoration is seldom included in IDALS sponsored watershed projects. • Des Moines Water Works, in particular, and other communities as well, are vulnerable to exceeding the federal drinking water standard for nitrate. Should this occur, there could be a negative economic impact to the community if companies and workers consider locating elsewhere because the drinking water supply is not predictably safe. A pilot project with DMWW in the Raccoon River Watershed could help alleviate this potential and provide information for future projects utilizing the information that will be available through the Iowa Flood Center.
2013-12-06 Iowa should aggressively pursue clean water restoration through conservation programs and support accountability for clean water results in those programs. Fund Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program, soil and water cost share programs, and, ultimately, Iowa’s Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund that 63% of Iowans voted to approve in 2010.
2013-12-06 How about listening to scientists even when the answer is something you don't want to hear? Seems pretty obvious to me that the answer is exactly what they have been telling us for 20+ years, increase buffer strips, decrease fertilizer and manure use on fields, and do something about the leaky-assed hog confinement manure systems.
2013-12-06 The economy in Spirit Lake and Arnold''s Park depends on healthy lakes to keep tourists visiting and supporting businesses up there. If you have dirty polluted lakes, or invasive species like zebra mussels or flying carp -- that will have a huge impact on the economy and in turn make the property value of homes on the lake -- drop. Which in tern drops property taxes and lowers county property tax revenues.
2013-12-06 There are simple ways to improve water quality: 1) Forbid spraying sewage sludge (a.k.a. "biosolids") on the ground. 2) Eliminate (or severely limit) use of petroleum based fertilizers. 3) Filter out pharmaceuticals from sewage before dumping in the river. 4) CHANGE BUILDING CODES from curb & gutter to swales and rain gardens 5) Crack down on construction sites and eliminate sediment runoff. 6) Require no-till technology. 7) Monitor CAFO runoff and FINE the CAFOS for polluting the water. 8) Monitor streams to locate point sources from small and medium farms. The point is that there are many sources that combine. Hit them all!
2013-12-06 Iowa's rivers and streams are threatened by polluted runoff and soil erosion, much of which comes from cropland as well as other sources. Clear numeric goals, timelines, and accountability measures are needed to reduce pollution levels. Iowa should consider a similar program to its popular and successful lake restoration program with annual funding to support clean water and economic development along priority river corridors. Iowa should aggressively pursue clean water restoration through a number of conservation programs and support accountability for clean water results in those programs. These include: Full funding of Iowa’s Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program, soil and water cost share programs, and, ultimately, Iowa’s Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund that 63% of Iowans voted to approve in 2010.
2013-12-06 More filtering wetlands at the confluences of the tributaries to Iowa's rivers. More filter strips or stormwater retention areas at the outfall of every farm field waterway with size dependent on size and slope of farm land the drains into waterway.
2013-12-06 A website where all Iowans can see how much of every kind of pollution comes from which sources. For example, (4,000,000,000 gallons of treated municipal wastewaster from 3 million people) For example (88,000,000,000,000 gallons of untreated hog manure from 22 million hogs) For starters
2013-12-06 It is time for Iowa to enact legislation to require farmers to plant grass or other chemical absorbing crops around the fields where they use chemicals. Farmers should face substantial fines if creeks emanating from their property have chemical concentrations which exceed defined levels. This isn’t rocket science guys. Maybe, just maybe as a result we will also see a resurgence of wildlife such as pheasants. The farmers are just killing the rivers and streams with ammonia and other chemicals. I have a boat at Saylorville Lake and I won't go in the water because it is so damn polluted. The algae blooms are really quite disgusting.
2013-12-06 I concur with practically all the comments so far. 1. I think the response dated 12/04/2013 03:02 PM deserves special attention. It stresses that there should be a single point of contact for landowners who want help in rehabilitating a stream. I would like to add that the single point of contact should have authority to certify or approve contractors for stream restoration work. I'm a biologist with 14 years of experience designing, constructing, and monitoring stream restoration projects and wetland mitigation sites. In addition I have had formal training in stream rehabilitation and wetland mitigation site design from Portland State University. When the contractor follows my design specifications, things generally workout OK. When they don't, the result is usually an expensive mess. 2. The response from the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club mentions that every stream should have buffers. I concur. Research done at Iowa State University under Dr. Richard Schulz indicates that the optimal width for a stream buffer is 100-feet. I propose that all Iowa streams (including ephemeral streams) have 100-foot buffers. (Ephemeral streams are streams that have flowing water for less than 3 months during a normal year.) Requiring stream buffers is not unprecedented. The legal code for Lake County, Illinois mandates 50-foot buffers. A permit and mitigation plan is required of anyone in Lake County intending to move dirt within the buffer. I hope this information helps with your planning --Tre Wilson Prairie & Wetlands 1235 Davis Ave. Des Moines, IA 50315
2013-12-06 I've thought about this for a long, long time. Since regulation seems to be a far off fantasy, corporate farms own too much and have too much power in legislation for that to happen. My only suggestion is to instill appreciation for the rivers and waterways upon family farmers. My suggestion would be a series of canoeing/tubing trips with local farmers in their watersheds. For example, the Skunk River around Ames is a really nice place to do this. We could personally invite all the locals, the farmers and their families in the watershed on a day trip down the river. It would be fun and it would show them the areas they are impacting. This could be repeated over and over in other areas. I think the only way without regulation is to make the farmers care. The rivers are one of the most beautiful assets of Iowa. The power of seeing your child happy in a canoe or swimming in the river could create change.
2013-12-06 Voters will only protect something they are aware exists- in order to build a voting constituency that favors better protection of Iowa's rivers, the state must try and attract people to them with legislation designed to promote outdoor recreation. The first thing to do would be to change the laws regarding ownership of the riverbed- as it stands Iowa's laws about public use of rivers is incredibly archaic: only the water is public while the bed and all land below the water line is private. Other states that promote river recreation view it differently: all land below the water line (sand bars, mostly) are for public use. Allowing people to legally use the land below the water line would be a major step in the right direction. I'm an avid paddler and am frustrated with Iowa's archaic water laws. Farmers can ditch and drain all that excess water and chemical runoff into our state's rivers, but I am not allowed to pull off for lunch on a sandbar without fear of trespassing. Legislators must promote outdoor recreation on Iowa's rivers- they are our last bit of wilderness and have incredible potential as lengthy water trails. Increased access to them will cause more people to think about all the pollution that is dumped into them. Joseph W. Otto- PhD Student of Midwestern Environmental History, University of Oklahoma.
2013-12-06 In order to get top yields many farmers apply just a little extra nitrogen fertilizer, to make up for losses into the water, even as ISU research has shown timing of application to be important to decrease such losses. One step would be to ban fall application especially on soybeans for next years corn. Manure application already faces calendar restrictions and inorganic forms of nitrogen should also
2013-12-06 Having grown up on an organic, no-till farm when those terms were not part of our vernacular, I have practical, first hand experience with sustainable farming that feeds families while protecting our valuable soils. I feel very strongly that we must not waste any time in supporting and implementing practices to conserve our precious soils and clean up our state's waterways for Iowans, and for all life on Earth.. Those practices that support land stewardship, such as riparian buffers, no-till, unconventional rotation, crop diversification and others researched at the Leopold Center will also remedy other environmental and health dangers. Practices that conserve our life-giving soil will strike at the root of the rivers and waterways problems. IN fact, Iowa's rivers and waterways provide an excellent scorecard for measuring how well we are doing in taking care of Iowa. It is time to re-examine our government's many supports for no-diversity commodity production with high chemical input and high loss of topsoil. It is time to withdraw our support of those addictive practices, and provide a place where sustainable farming and the best land stewardship can support Iowa families, the Iowa economy, clean Iowa waterways, and a healthier planet. The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and other reputable institutions already have the blueprints for cleaning up our waterways and improving life quality for all Iowans. It is time to act on that knowledge base, to make the transitions to sustainable agriculture that will support a healthy agricultural economy, healthy people and a cleaner planet. Iowa's rivers and waterways must be cleaned up at the sources of their problems by creating support for a whole new, yet old, way to work on and with our land.
2013-12-06 I am disgusted by the poor quality of the water in our rivers and streams. Iowa's rivers and streams are threatened by polluted runoff and soil erosion, much of which comes from cropland or construction sites. Action is needed now to repair the numerous impaired waters of the state and I thank you for allowing this opportunity and for taking on the challenge of cleaning our rivers. Here are a few suggestions: * Clear numeric goals, timelines, and accountability measures are needed to reduce pollution levels. * A program similar to the popular and successful lake restoration program with annual funding to support clean water and economic development along priority river corridors. * Iowa should aggressively pursue a number of conservation programs and support accountability for clean water results in those programs. These include: Full funding of Iowa’s Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program, soil and water cost share programs, and, ultimately, Iowa’s Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund that 63% of Iowans voted to approve in 2010. The solutions seem clear enough if the will is present. Goals and benchmarks, best practices, accountability and funding are the most important.
2013-12-06 Iowa must do a better job protecting our rivers as well as all of our natural resources. Iowa ranks nearly last in the nation for amount of land that is publicly protected, and we are a major contributor to runoff from agricultural activities as a result. As a hunter, hiker, biker, fisher, and wildlife watcher, I know rivers are key to protecting the Iowa ecosystem and engaging citizens in the natural landscape of our state. I implore the Iowa legislator to enact the sales tax increase voters approved of in 2010 and use the funds to clean up our rivers, and purchase more public land especially along riparian corridors. Additionally, I would suggest the State of Iowa increase by at least double the required buffer planting along waterways, and recommend if not require farmers to plant deep rooted native prairie and wetland plant species that do a better job of filtering runoff, are harder to remove to plant cash crops later, and encourage better habitat regeneration than planting of monotonous invasive grasses like Reed Canary. Thank you for allowing this citizen input.
2013-12-06 We need to protect are lakes and rivers
2013-12-06 As a former resident of a small town in southeast Iowa, I watched as the rivers I once played and fished in as a child turn into oil slicked bogs and cesspools. I feel that a large percentage of the chemical runoff can be interrupted on its way to the waterways by the planting of buffer areas between fields and rivers. By using native plants that use high amounts of nitrogen, I believe that huge amounts of fertilizer would be diverted to small animal habitat. The size and shape of each buffer zone would be determined by the grade and soil consistency and the plant selection tailored to meet the ecological niche. I understand that farming is a struggling industry, and every square foot of land means the difference between making your bank payment or missing it. It would be possible to offset the loss of income by the state government subsidizing the program in ways similar to the CRP program. It would be possible to build similar areas, with modifications to the plant selection to include more vertical species, to form a natural screen against air borne pollutants and contaminates.
2013-12-06 I urge the Committee to push for constant monitoring of water quality in Iowa's rivers and creeks. The Governor and his department heads have cut the number of scientists actually involved in water monitoring. How are we going to know if we are successful at improving quality if we have insufficient monitoring? In fact there is no such thing as "non-point pollution." Any farm, any city or town can be a point but they may not be as easy to determine as a factory or power plant. So we need permanent water quality monitoring equipment all over the waterways of our state. Even if the nutrient strategy is voluntary, we should have public information about the points in a creek or river where the compromised runoff hit the waterway. I am a member of Iowa River Friends, a watershed association for the Iowa River and its tributaries. IRF has public involvement in protecting, improving and enjoying our waterways. Our rivers and waterways should be clear enough to see the bottom, safe enough for daily swimming and for pregnant mothers to eat their fill of fish.
2013-12-06 To Whom It May Concern: I believe Iowa,its' residents and elected representative, are in a season where decisions made in the next few years will irrevocably determine the future well being of where we live. By "well being" I not only mean an improved environment but also a strong resilient economy and healthy communities. Preventing soil erosion,keeping our most precious resource here in Iowa, is of the utmost importance. Policies must be instituted to stop (not just reduce) erosion but also to begin rebuilding the soil that has been the foundation of Iowa's economy for over 150 years. One wonderful result of stopping soil loss will be cleaner water in our rivers and streams. You, as my elected officials, need to BE THE LEADERS in the transition from industrial agriculture to a adaptive, practical, and sustainable agricultural system. The transition will be challenging but the long term benefits are essential for Iowa future. Respectfully, Kristin Simon
2013-12-06 Iowa's rivers and waterways are some of the dirtiest that I have seen in the US, an embarrassment to all Iowans. Runoff that carries soil, fertilizer, manure, and pesticides is the main culprit. Reducing runoff through conservation practices should be our primary emphasis.
2013-12-06 Get out of the office or wherever and spend some time on our rivers yourself and see what needs to be preserved and enjoyed. You can hardly replace first hand experience. Chemical and animal waste runoff needs to be put in check, as that, in my opinion, would be the first step in not only helping locally, but nationally, and worldwide. Thanks for listening. Tom Lewers
2013-12-06 Dear Elected Officials, Please consider your grandchildren, if not yourselves, or your children. We need to do a better job keeping our rivers and lakes clean. The cumulative effect of not taking responsibility now for enforcing current regulations/laws, and putting tighter controls on run-off from both ag and city, will run our children and grandchildren out of our state. If we continue business as usual, we will become one large CAFO from river to river, and border to border. RAGBRAI will soon not be able to take a ride through northwest Iowa due to the stench from the concentration of CAFOs. North central isn't any better. The threat to our waterways and our drinking water from both ag fertilizer run off and the concentration of CAFOs needs your attention. Thank you for your consideration. Kevin
2013-12-06 Stop big ag from continuing to treat our lakes and streams as toilets! The Iowa Farm Bureau has successfully stopped meaningful regulation of ag abuses, so I applaud your attempt to try to change things. Please support the Iowa Environmental Council's proposals, especially the establishment of benchmark readings of pollutants in our waterways so that they can be regularly tested and recorded so the citizens of Iowa have some way of knowing if new policies or supervising agencies are improving water quality. Rick Chapman
2013-12-06 I attended the Rivers and Waterways forum at Swiss Valley Nature Center on Tuesday, December 3 as President of the Dubuque Fly Fishers. The following input is based on my own beliefs, and is not meant to be presented as a member of the Fly Fishers. Topic: What goals should define Iowa's river investment program? *Iowa's rivers and waterways need to be safe and accessible to the public for a variety of recreational uses. These would include swimming, boating and canoeing, fishing, and hunting. *The citizens of Iowa, especially landowners along the rivers and waterways, should be educated on the importance and the benefits of keeping our waterways safe from pollution. *Habitat recovery and maintenance needs to be multi-faceted, focusing on all species that would inhabit the area, including fish, mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Topic: What kind of river and waterway projects should the state consider adopting? *Landowner partnerships need to be established that encourage stewardship of the environment, and also encourage support for public access to all waters. *Pollution standards need to be clearly stated for all citizens to understand, and violations need to be strictly enforced. The general public needs to be encouraged to aid in the enforcement of them, such as through the use of a TIPS line. *Usage regulations - fishing, hunting, and boating - need to be clearly stated for all citizens to understand, and violations need to be strictly enforced. The public again needs to be encouraged to assist with this. Topic: How should projects be prioritized? *Greatest need/greatest benefit should be considered in assigning priority to projects. Which waters are in greatest need of assistance? Which projects will provide the greatest overall benefits, environmentally, socially, and economically? *Local/regional watershed and environmental organizations should be encouraged to participate in developing and prioritizing projects. *Funding for projects should not be divided equally between counties/regions, but should be determined on a state-wide basis. Topic: What improvements related to Iowa's rivers should be measured? *Nutrient levels in all waterways should be monitored on a regular basis, and compared to the standards. Results should be reported to the public on a consistent basis. *Benefits from the projects, environmental, social, and economic, should be publicly reported on a consistent basis. Whatever is done, however it is done, should not be through unfunded mandates. That would only succeed in creating resentment for the projects and the environmental concerns that determine them. Encourage regular public input into the whole process through regular forms like the ones used to gather public input to start this whole process. Encourage participation from as many environmental and recreational groups throughout the state. They can provide immeasurable support, through educational programs, manpower, and sometimes even financial support. Thank you for the efforts that have been put into starting this entire process. I appreciate the consideration given to the input from the forums and from individuals like myself. CJ Klenske 1885 Floraview Drive Dubuque, IA 52001 563-588-0634
2013-12-06 Dear Committee Members: On behalf of our 5,000 members who live across the state, the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club offers the following comments about restoring the quality of Iowa’s rivers. Iowa’s 2012 Section 303(d) list of impaired waters contains 480 water bodies with a total of 642 impairments. The vast majority of impairments are caused by pollution from industries, wastewater treatment plants, and agriculture. Bringing Iowa’s water bodies into compliance with water quality standards will ensure that the waters are safe for swimming, provide safe drinking water, and that they provide habitat for wildlife. Over the last century, changes in agriculture have caused increased soil erosion with the soil entering Iowa’s rivers and waterways. Soil particles can carry pollutants. Also, soil silts the rivers and streams, destroys habitat for fish and other wildlife, and reduces water quality. Heavy applications of commercial fertilizer and manure have resulted in an over-abundance of nitrogen and phosphorus entering Iowa’s water bodies. This leads to poor water quality and a loss of fish habitat. Flooding has become a significant concern across the state. Changing weather patterns have resulted in heavy rains and significant flooding year after year. Wetlands, which act as a sponge to absorb floodwaters, have been filled and drained. Streams have been channelized, an action that speeds up the velocity of runoff, increases flooding, impacts water quality and neighbors downstream. What kind of river and waterway projects should the state consider supporting? The Iowa Chapter supports the following initiatives: •Funding for projects that implement the Water Improvement Plans by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, which are goals that have been developed for impaired waters. This includes planting and restoring buffer strips along streams, planting grass waterways in fields, and planting cover crops. •Funding needs to continue so that Water Improvement Plans can be written for all impaired waters. •Additional funding for wetland restoration. Most of Iowa's wetlands have disappeared due to agriculture or development. Iowa must protect, restore or mitigate these areas to replace what we have lost since the early 1900s. Wetlands help filter precipitation into the aquifers. Wetlands also slowly release water into rivers and streams which helps maintain the integrity of stream banks. Furthermore, when tile lines drain into a wetland, the wetland acts as a filter to remove agriculture pollutants from the water. This results in less pollution entering Iowa’s streams and rivers. •Requiring wetlands protection, banning filling and destruction of wetlands, expanding and restoring wetlands, and banning stream straightening (channelization). •Retaining Iowa’s current wetland laws. •Banning building on and filling the 100-year and 500-year floodplain. As low-lying buildings are damaged due to floods, the structures need to be removed along with any fill that was put on the building site. That property needs to remain as green space and stream buffer. Floodplains in their natural state should be protected to provide flood moderation, water quality and groundwater recharge benefits and provide numerous esthetic and other intangible attributes that add to Iowans’ quality of life. Effective floodplain management doesn’t cost the public money; it saves the public money while at the same time providing numerous other benefits such as tourism and attracting young people to the state who appreciate outdoor recreation opportunities. •Funding an aggressive water monitoring program to determine where pollution enters the water bodies in the state, accompanied by an aggressive enforcement action to encourage compliance with pollution discharge permits (NPDES permits) in the case of point-sources and aggressive education in the case of non-point sources. Each watershed should be assigned water quality standards that can be used to track progress to restoring water quality. •Passing legislation to require effective practices that reduce nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) in Iowa’s waters and eliminating any stringency clause in Iowa law that would prohibit such regulation. •Passing legislation to effectively regulate discharges from animal feeding operations to protect Iowa’s waters. •Funding for the testing of fish in Iowa’s waters for toxics. A number of water bodies in Iowa are currently under fish consumption advisories because the levels of toxins (such as PCBs and mercury) are so high that consumption of those fish poses a health risk. The Department of Natural Resources’ goal is to test fish in each lake in Iowa every 10 years and each river every five years. Funding levels need to be increased so that the DNR can meet that goal. Iowans need to know that the fish they catch and eat are not exposing them to toxins. How should projects be prioritized? The Iowa Chapter believes that the top priorities are: •Restoring and maintaining water quality; •Restoring and maintaining wetlands; •Funding an aggressive water monitoring program is key in establishing a baseline, monitoring loss in water quality so corrective actions can be taken, and assessing improvements in water quality as projects are undertaken; •Protecting flood plains from development. In reaching those priorities, the chapter believes that the following criteria need to be used in funding projects to meet these goals: •Water bodies that are so impaired that the public health is impacted should be given priority for funding projects. For example, the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers carried so much nitrate that the surface water did not meet EPA drinking water standards. The Des Moines Water Works was required to operate expensive nitrate-removal equipment, had to use water from other sources that were less contaminated by nitrate, and had to ask residents to reduce lawn watering. •Projects in watersheds with completed Water Improvement Plans should be given priority over projects where no Plan has been prepared. What goals should define Iowa’s river investment program? The Iowa Chapter supports the following goals: •No loss of existing wetlands in Iowa. •Wetlands will be restored along all rivers and streams in Iowa. •No further channelization of streams and rivers in Iowa. •Every stream and river will have a buffer. •All building will cease in the 500- and 100-year floodplains. •All impaired waters will have a Water Improvement Plan written by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and approved within 2 years of being placed on the Impaired Waters List. •All impaired waters will have projects initiated to implement the Water Improvement Plan within one year from the date the Plan was approved. •All impaired waters will be removed from the Impaired Waters List within five years of the date the Water Improvement Plan was approved. •Nitrate and phosphorus levels will be significantly reduced in all surface waters in Iowa throughout the year, with nitrates reaching levels below 10mg/L, by 2020. •A regulatory structure will be implemented to regulate discharges from animal feeding operations. •An enforceable regulatory non-point source program will be implemented to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus in the water. •The Department of Natural Resources will be funded to test fish in each lake in Iowa every 10 years and each river every five years with additional funding available for follow-up testing in those waters where the toxin levels are close to the thresholds. •Department of Natural Resources funding levels will allow for water quality testing, public education projects related to improving water quality, and enforcement of the laws. What improvements related to Iowa’s rivers should be measured? The Iowa Chapter supports tracking the following metrics: •Measure the increased number of wetland acres protected and the number of acres of wetlands that are restored each year. •Measure the number of miles of new buffers that are installed each year and the total miles of buffers installed. •Measure the number of increased acres of new grass waterways. •Measure the number of new acres of cover crops planted each year. •Monitor implementation of Iowa’s nutrient reduction strategy and measure its effectiveness by measuring the water quality of each watershed throughout the year. •Monitor the percentage of rivers tested each year for fish carrying high levels of toxins. •Measure the number of Impaired Waters, the number of Water Improvement Plans written, the number of plans that are past-due, the number of Plans that have projects that have been started, the number of plans that are past-due in initiating projects, the number of Impaired Waters that have been taken off the list, the number of Impaired Waters that have missed target dates for improved water quality and being removed from the list. Thank you in advance for considering the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club’s comments. Sincerely, Neila Seaman Chapter Director
2013-12-05 • What kind of river and waterway projects should the state consider supporting? I believe safety, water quality, and degraded riparian and stream bank issues should drive the legislature's consideration. The poor water quality and degraded stream banks in many of Iowa's rivers are a detriment to health, recreation, wildlife, and the value of Iowa's numerous rivers and streams as a destination for visitors and the economic contribution this would bring. Low head dams can put paddlers, anglers and those recreating in the river in great danger. • How should projects be prioritized? The enthusiasm and contributions of local communities and watersheds can be a big factor in a project's success. Regarding the projects addressing water quality and stream bank degradation of rivers, there are many factors to consider. Where is the need the greatest? Which water bodies, if improved, would attract many more users? Are the adjoining floodplains/greenbelts protected, and if not, what needs to be done to improve them? Which would improve drinking water sources the most? Which degraded waterways pose the greatest hazard to flooding and stream bank erosion. The DNR has a good handle on which low head dams pose the biggest hazard and they should be a big part of prioritizing. • What goals should define Iowa’s river investment program? . Healthy, natural-functioning riparian and river ecosystems. Improved water quality (decreased nutrient pollutants) in Iowa's rivers and streams. Adequate resources (staff time; financial resources; citizen, community, and corporate involvement; legislative understanding and support.) Reduction of low head dam hazards • What improvements related to Iowa’s rivers should be measured? Cleaner water More recreational use of our rivers. Local citizen "ownership" of their rivers and watersheds. More river "cleanups" both statewide and locally. Increased number of citizen-volunteer water quality monitors. Better water quality, with numeric benchmarks and more monitoring sites. Fewer low head dams. No deaths because of the dams. Thank you for your consideration. Virginia Soelberg Master River Steward Volunteer IOWATER water quality monitor Project AWARE volunteer; 10 years
2013-12-04 Our Iowa rivers and waterways are a tremendous and necessary resource in our quality of life. We should zealously protect and share their beneficial uses. We need to exercise our vast scientific and technical knowledge and political will to these ends. The Public Trust Doctrine would suggest that the primary responsibilty and power to achieve such ends is assigned to state government. Iowa's rivers and waterways have serious water quality issues causing negative impacts on state citizens. Des Moines Water Works customers are one documented example. These negative impacts are extended outside the state through our boundary rivers. A substantial cause of our poor river and waterway water quality seems related to human activities which suggests that things could be made better if we can all get headed in the same direction.
2013-12-04 Iowa needs to reduce nutrient pollution from non-point sources (agriculture), put more land into conservation (CRP), and restore wetlands.
2013-12-04 I enjoy and study Iowa's rivers in numerous ways. They are spots for great beauty that I love to wander and share with others. When time permits, I float my canoe on this or that stream to drink in the flow of water and the life around me. As a naturalist and ecological consultant, Iowa's rivers and waters are rich sources of new information and pieces in the larger puzzle of natural systems. The complexity of these systems and the diversity of their individual parts are worthwhile to analyze, but more than this they affect the quality of life for our state's residents. Our rivers offer the potential for natural flood control, the slowing of erosion, and the easing of downstream pollution (especially from nitrogen and phosphorus). They are the sources of drinking water for some of our towns and cities. So you can imagine that I urge the Iowa Assembly to similarly appreciate the direct economic and social benefits of our waterways, but also the qualities of water and waterways that cannot - should not - be reduced to dollars and cents: the beauty, the diversity of life, and our need to respect them. We desperately need the following measures to be taken to protect our rivers and streams: 1) Reduced pollution, especially nitrogen and phosphorus from agricultural land use. 2) Reduced erosion on the lands that funnel water into rivers, and slower water movement in stream channels. 3) A ban on all pending and future stream channelization that would speed water to our streams and increased downstream flood intensity. 4) Restoration of natural meanders in channelization portions, with state-leverage buyouts of private owners where practical. 5) Revegetation of bluffs, river terraces, and stream banks with deep-rooted, soil-holding plants and trees. (Most introduced species, especially annuals, lack the necessary root development.) 6) Introduction of the study of streams and related natural cycles into elementary, middle school, and high school curricula, as a means of teaching earth sciences. This would include content on Upper Midwestern bedrock geology, the form and development of rivers and watersheds, groundwater hydrology, and the ecology of life forms in our rivers. 7) Insistence on conservation best practices for all land owners, agricultural, commercial, and residential, in order to protect our built environment and natural resources from further degradation. 8) Education for business interests and economic developers concerning waterways that leads to practices that allow rivers to "act naturally," using their floodplains and terraces to store water during floods and provide habitat for aquatic life forms. These are just a few of many suggestions I have, but these cover the basics. The quality of our rivers is essential to the quality of life in Iowa, and the quality of our rivers is a measure of our accountability in the ways we conduct business, make a living from resources, and reside on our land.
2013-12-04 I think a stream restoration program is long overdue for the state of Iowa, but I believe we must learn from the successes and failures of other states and programs and have the proper administrative infrastructure in place first. States around the country with stream restoration programs have learned it is important to have a person or state agency provide information, trainings, and technical assistance, oversee cost share programs, develop standards and techniques, classify channel stability, and conduct reviews of proposed and completed projects. At this point, not only do many of these duties fall under both IDALS and DNR's jurisdiction but also within several different programs such as soil conservation, water resources, floodplain management, dam safety, fisheries, geologic and water survey, watershed improvement, and river programs. It would be very confusing and inefficient for entities looking to do stream restoration to have to deal with all of these offices. Of greater concern is that if a central administrative point person or agency is not identified, a stream restoration program could suffer from failures of completed projects. Stream restoration is not an easy thing to understand and often takes many years of experience to get good at. There are currently very few people in the state of Iowa who are familiar with, and even less who are trained, to do stream restoration work. Yet if you want to do a stream restoration project, all you have to do is hire an engineer to draw up some plans, submit the required paperwork, and start construction. However, there have been thousands of failed engineered stream restoration projects around the county because the processes causing the initial channel erosion where not adequately understood to begin with or the applied practice did not fit the existing stream dynamics. For example, the Hungry Canyons Alliance (HCA) program has been successfully doing a specific type of stream restoration work, grade control, in the loess soils of western Iowa for over twenty years. One of the main reasons for the success and longevity of this program has been that the HCA has served as the go-to agency for almost all aspects of a grade control project, from doing research on best structural practices to classifying channel stability for the entire region, from being in charge of prioritizing and approving proposed projects to reviewing completed ones. It’s obvious from the state of Iowa’s streams that a stream restoration program would be extremely popular and useful. However, I believe the true success of such a program will be determined largely by the state identifying a “go-to” person or agency to provide experience, quality control, and ease of use.
2013-12-04 Thank you for the opportunity to comment on Iowa's rivers and waterways. I respectfully suggest the following. 1)Collect statewide water quality baseline data on all flowing streams in Iowa . This will require funding to test samples and direction and coordination within DNR. Work with county Conservation staff, Soil and Water Conservation staff, schools, universities and volunteers to collect samples. Funding for the program should be put in place for a minimum of 10 years to provide quality data. We have some data but we lack comprehensive standardized data for many smaller streams. We can not measure results without a starting point. 2) Target upland watersheds to mitigate downstream flood control issues. This will require land acquisition, floodplain easements, restoration of wetlands and tax credits for private landowners willing to set aside land to permanent vegetative cover. Targeted projects are showing great potential for reduced impact. 3) Fully fund existing and potential programs that impact water quality. Fully fund REAP. Pass funding for IWILL. Provide funds within IDALS for permanent full-time state technician positions in every Soil and Water District in Iowa. The revolving door moving part-time people around the state is not cost effective and destroys partnerships and trust with local landowners. 4) Encourage business and industry to adopt streams with cleanup and restoration projects such as wetlands and stream bank stabilization projects. Sponsor signage and ID programs to raise awareness of streams and rivers. Offer business tax credits to off set expense. 5) Target watersheds projects based on how the watershed is used--drinking water--recreation contact--fisheries etc. but keep in mind upland practices, at the start of watersheds, can usually be the most cost effective. Take advantage of local SWCD staff and county conservation staff for input on priorities 6) Encourage more partnership with agriculture groups. The Iowa Soybean growers are doing some great work towards understanding ag impacts on water quality
2013-12-04 I am pleased to see that the Iowa Legislature is taking up the issue of water quality in our rivers and streams. Having grown up in southeast Iowa, left for 14 years, and then returned to Iowa in 1980, I have seen first-hand what has happened to our rivers and streams. While we have made a lot of progress on cleaning up many point sources, especially around towns and cities, we have slipped further behind on non-point sources. In particular, we need to continue efforts and funding to prevent soil from washing off the land and further degrading our stream and river bottoms and lakes through siltation. Just as important, I would urge you to set specific yearly goals for nutrient reduction over the next 10-20 years. Without specific targets, we will never know when we have achieved an acceptable level of nutrient reduction. To accomplish this, I would urge the creation of an Iowa River Restoration Program with both funding levels and authority to actually accomplish the standards for soil erosion and nutrient reduction. Iowa is extremely fortunate to be rich in rivers and streams, but we have taken them for granted for far too long. Ding Darling, the Pulitzer Prize winning Iowa editorial cartoonist, recognized this a century ago. It's high time we do something about it.
2013-12-03 I was hoping to attend the meeting regarding the rivers and waterways today, but a work commitment does not permit it, so instead I will write here my stance. I prefer that the rivers and waterways remain as close to their original state as possible, and I do not support any development of the rivers and waterways that would interfere with the normal course of nature and those who live in harmony with nature. I would like all threats to the waterways and rivers and the flora and fauna they contain to be eliminated, including those that are a result of agricultural use of adjacent lands. Thanks.
2013-12-03 Iowa is known around the country as the home of the Hawkeyes and Cyclones, as the birthplace of Herbert Hoover and Aldo Leopold, for the first in the nation caucuses, for livable cities, and as the country's largest producer of corn. Unfortunately it is also known for producing some of the worst water quality in the region. Three things must be done to prevent the latter impression from dominating our state's identity: 1) recognize and address the most egregious problems by creating and enforcing strong but reasonable numerical standards for nutrients and sediments in our lakes and streams; 2)incentivize permanent conservation measures in strategic positions in the urban and agricultural landscapes; and 3) restore and rehabilitate our streams so that they can not only provide the recreational and aesthetic values that we enjoy, but can also slowly meander through the landscape once again, access their floodplains without economic consequence, and interact with a healthy, sediment- and nutrient-buffering riparian ecosystem. The first two items are perhaps issues for a different discussion, but the third is relevant to the present conversation. As a step toward that goal, I strongly support the proposal from Iowa Rivers Revival to develop a statewide River Restoration Program. Such a program enabled with state support and landowner cooperation, and augmented with conservation right-of-ways in riparian corridors could be instrumental in achieving water quality goals. Iowa's reputation as a global leader in agricultural production and innovation is marred by the collateral damage done to the water resources of our state and those of our downstream neighbors. I believe we now have the intellectual capacity and public will to find ways to reduce or eliminate this collateral damage. With the political will and economic means available to this legislative body, you can ensure that this opportunity is not wasted. Thank you for addressing this important issue. Sincerely, Pete Moore, PhD Geomorphologist
2013-12-02 Many of our friends think we should pay farmers to permanently remove from production any at risk land. The present practice of cutting out trees, shrubs, native grass, and tiling only promotes excess water and chemicals being dumped into rivers. Basically there is immediate runoff that contributes to flooding and destroying our water quality. We will never solve the flooding problems if we continue to spend money on flood walls etc. We need to fix the problems at the source not after it dumps into our waterways. When I grew up in the 1950's there was plenty of pheasants, rabbits, turtles etc. Gradually these animals started to disappear and we wondered what was happening. I think now everyone knows humans are destroying the environment. We thought the use of chemicals and plowing every inch of land was fantastic but now we know the huge problems with the health of the environment and with human health.
2013-12-02 Create and maintain appropriate buffers between cropland and river that lessens the effects of run off. This must be monitored by an organization that can enforce citations if farmers do not cooperate with the policy. By making our rivers and waterways partially pesticide free, gives residents and tourists the ability to enter water without worrying about how harmful the water may be. By doing this, you are also creating a safe environment for all wild and aquatic life. Being outdoors has been a significant trend for youth right now and by creating a movement of restoring our waterways and inviting our youth to be involved creates sustainability for many years to come.
2013-11-27 Rivers symbolize connections, since they touch everyone and everybody who lives upstream or downstream. Investing in Iowa’s rivers is an investment in Iowa’s future. Every community’s: • Public health relies on safe drinking water and having source water that is reliable and protected. The Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers are source waters treated for drinking water for 500,000 central Iowans. Many Iowa communities use surface water sources for their drinking water. Restoring Iowa rivers helps protect public health by ensuring access to safe drinking water. • Economic development relies on the availability of water, and the aesthetics and recreational use of our rivers. Lakes are central to the economy of many Iowa communities. The business decision, whether expanding an existing business or locating a new business is many times based on the availability of water. The decision is also determined by locating in a place where employees can flourish and benefit from a good quality of life. River restoration can ensure access to healthy naturally functioning river systems that encourages people to get outside. Studies show that employees are healthier, happier, and more productive when connecting with nature. • Quality of life relies on safe water for drinking and recreating. Restoration of Iowa rivers will improve water quality and our physical connection with nature. Safe drinking water is imperative to the health of all Iowans. Iowa has many miles of rivers and streams for exploring, canoeing and fishing. Spending time outdoors impacts the health and wellbeing of all Iowans. • Safety relies on adequate flood protection. Iowa has experienced multiple milestone floods in the past 10 years. Each sustainable project that renews and restores healthy floodplain function, even to a portion of a stream, can reduce property damage and the negative impacts of flooding on people’s lives. Communities along rivers need to be the key targets for action to mitigate problems related to local river degradation and sources of pollution. Thank you for the opportunity to comment. Linda Kinman Public Policy Analyst/Watershed Advocate Des Moines Water Works
2013-11-26 Dan, Thanks for the opportunity to respond to the question about restoring Iowa's rivers and waterways. Unfortunately, it seems to me that possible solutions require us to focus in a place that we may not be willing as a state. That is solutions lie in retooling our farming practices away from monoculture cropping to reduce dependency on chemicals. I have included a link for an article that timely landed in my inbox today. I hope you or a staff member will make the time to read it. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/11/26/corn-based-ethanol.aspx Thank you for all of the advocacy you do to improve the quality of life of our citizens. To Your Best Always-Sheri Benson
2013-11-24 Thanks to the members of the Iowa Rivers and Waterways Study Committee for this opportunity to submit comments. As an active kayaker, I have been able to very closely observe the waterways of eastern Iowa, including the Iowa, Cedar, Des Moines, and Turkey Rivers, as well as Lake Macbride, Coralville Lake, the Hawkeye Wildlife Area, Wiese Slough, Lake Odessa, and Cone Marsh. In spite of the great natural beauty that surrounds all of these waters, I have often been appalled by the filth, silt, algae and other “stuff” in the water. And even, sometimes, the stink. The water is often virtually opaque. The actual biological and chemical assessment of the poor water quality of Iowa’s rivers and streams has been well documented. While numerous environmental activist groups have staged annual cleanups of physical debris in and along Iowa waterways, these groups cannot alone clean up the content of the water. We need to be very concerned – some of our waters are among the most polluted in the US. As you must know, the IDNR list of impaired waterways in Iowa for 2012 is 114 pages in length and the accompanying fact sheet for the report states: “Iowa’s 2012 … list of impaired waters contains 480 water bodies with a total of 642 Impairments.” We MUST do a better job of protecting and improving our waters and we can do so. I leave it to the policy-makers and water quality specialists to define the specific measures to remediate these issues, founded upon solid science-based practices. I strongly urge that this issue continue to be addressed immediately, and thoroughly. I certainly realize that remedies are not without cost, either to the state or to those currently contributing to the pollution of our waterways. But we cannot let financial concerns stop us from seeking and mandating ways to improve our water. Footnote: I would also like to note that I was lucky enough to participate in the Iowa DNR Water Trails programs’ planned paddle activities on the Iowa and Des Moines Rivers the past two summers. These are well-planned, outstanding activities. They display an excellent partnership between the Iowa DNR Water Trails program and local programs, specifically Johnson County Conservation, Louisa County Conservation and the Pathfinders RC and D. I have also been an email recipient of the excellent information of the IDNR Water Trails program. Expanding the IDNR Water Trails program will lead to a larger population of people who understand and support the Iowa legislature taking the leadership in working to improve our waterways. This is a top-notch program. While it may be outside the dictates of this group to initiate increased funding support in this area, I encourage your support in the General Assembly measures for that purpose. Promoting paddling promotes better waterways. What kind of river and waterway projects should the state consider supporting? Two areas relating to rivers and waterways projects for which there should be MUCH better financial and regulatory support are: 1. Water quality of rivers and lakes (MOST important, i.e., critical!). 2. Increased non-fishing recreational water activity support. How should projects be prioritized? Water quality is undoubtedly the HIGHEST priority, not only for rivers and waterways, but for overall environmental quality in Iowa. It ranks at the very top of all issues for Iowa – our waterways are in CRISIS in terms of water quality. They are filthy and full of run-off contaminants! In fact, water quality is perhaps the number one general issue of concern in the state right now in any area. What goals should define Iowa’s river investment program? What improvements related to Iowa’s rivers should be measured? KEY: • Legislation which finds ways to mandate a decrease in water contaminants, specifically levels of agricultural, golf and home lawn fertilizer and herbicide run-off by-products allowed to reach the water. Reducing the nutrient load of our waterways is critical. • Legislation which finds ways to regulate and support steps to improve overall water quality with attention to run-off and to decrease eroded soil washed into the streams and rivers. • Legislation to support more useful, specific research on effective remediation of water quality and run-off problems. ALSO important: • Increased financial support for Iowa Water Trails program. • Financial support for environmental education programs about water quality for school children and the adult community. • Financial support for education programs to accompany regulatory changes for the agricultural community, including crop farmers, agricultural land owners, and golf course administrators. • Financial support for education programs for the general community on viable alternatives to traditional turf grass lawns. Submitted by: Lois Albrecht, 413 Upland Ave., Iowa City, IA 52245
2013-11-24 Thank you for the opportunity to make a comment on line. Healthy rivers are a very valuable economic development resource for many reasons. 1. One of the most important and currently least valued economic benefits of healthy rivers is the tourism industry. Many communities in our state would create new jobs and attract more young workers if they would invest in riverfront recreational opportunities. Outdoor recreation including paddling, fishing, swimming and ice skating have historically been very popular in Iowa. 2. Flood protection is essential in Iowa. Leaving river ways and flood plains free of development, slowing the flow of rivers and streams and allowing grasses and trees to grow has the potential to save Billions of dollars for a relatively low cost investment. 3. In rural areas, where Iowa has lost population for the past century, tourism has potential to attract residents and new small businesses In rural areas tourism is complimentary to agriculture. Increasingly agriculture requires high capital investment and reduced labor but tourism is labor intensive with minimal capital investment. Investing in riverfront development and regulating development near rivers is a long term, low cost investment in Iowa's economy. Mike Tramontina Former Director, Iowa Dept of Economic Development
2013-11-24 GOAL Make all of Iowa's waterways run clear and be drinkable again. BACKGROUND Our waterways were drinkable for tens of thousands of years before European settlement less than 180 years ago. Every society that relied on annual crops for staple foods has collapsed. Major soil loss and polluted waterways are symptoms of a larger food system problem that is leading us to collapse. Let's wisely use our limited energy and resources to address the food system problem rather than band-aiding waterway symptoms. ACTIONS To make the greatest impact on our broken food system and our waterways, I invite you to strongly support farms, organizations, and people who practice: * Agroforestry * Permaculture * Keyline design Thanks for your time.
2013-11-23 RRWA Talking Points 1. The Raccoon River supplies Des Moines area residence with much of its drinking water 2. It is officially impaired for nitrogen and bacteria. Though we know that phosphorus is a problem as well. 3. It has a very good TMDL done by Shilling and Wolter in 2008 ?www.epa.gov/region07/water/pdf/ia_raccoon_river_basin_tmdl.pdf 4. It has a very good watershed plan done by Agren Inc. in 2011?www.agren-inc.com/raccoon/images/Binder%20RRWQMP%20Final.pdf 5. It has an independent citizens group of about 300 called the Raccoon River Watershed Association 6. The Water Resources Coordinating Council has selected the North Raccoon as a special project area for Nutrient Reduction. 7. The Des Moines Waterworks has significant data concerning water quality in the river. 8. Significant investments have been made to improve Storm Lake, Outlet Creek, Black Hawk Lake 9. However, last year nitrate and phosphorus levels were very high for many months. 10. The consumers of Raccoon River water are consuming too much nitrate. 11. Recreational users of the river are exposed to too much bacteria. 12. Algae resulting from high levels of phosphorous are impacting recreation use and aquatic life. 13. Significant investments by the counties in signs and accesses have been made to create over 200 miles of recreational water trails. 14. The state of Iowa and counties have invested in boat ramps and rock dams for anglers. 15. We applaud the attention to the nutrient problem. 16. We will cooperate with IDALS and the DNR by continuing to monitor the health of the river through water quality testing. 17. We will identify sources of pollution and report them to IDALS and the DNR. 18. We expect the state of Iowa to enforce the Clean Water Act after 40 years of assessment and planning to do so. Mike Delaney, RRWA Board member
2013-11-22 I think that our local sportsmen would enjoy seeing the BOONE RIVER dammed up at the rollover dam behind the old Electrolux plant. It's east of the bridge on Whitefox Rd. Every year hundreds of fish swim upstream in the spring floods and get trapped in the shallow waters every winter. That includes, catfish, northern pike, walleye, smallmouth bass. There was a dam there with three different slides years back that used to be thriving with fish. I would love to see this in this day and age. I'd be interested in signing petitions around town and throwing something together here. Thank you much.
2013-11-22 Eliminate the practice of land applied manure with limited treatment of livestock waste. You understand the disease associate with untreated sewage in 3rd world countries and that we treat human waste in our country, but we have large livestock producers we allow to put essentially untreated sewage across much of our countryside that can contaminate crops and runoff into our water sources. There are over 150 pathogens in livestock manure which pose a risk to humans including pathogens such as Campylobacter, E-coli, Salmonella, Leptospira, Listeria, Giardia, Cryptosporidium. Pathogens applied in manure are known to survive in soil a long time after application and can lead to crop contamination or contaminate waterways. When contaminants from animal waste seep into sources of drinking water, the amount of nitrate in the water supply can reach unhealthy levels. Manure, and wastewater containing manure, can severely harm river and stream ecosystems. Manure contains ammonia which is highly toxic to fish at low levels. Increased amounts of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus can cause algal blooms which block waterways and deplete oxygen as they decompose. This can kill fish and other aquatic organisms, devastating the entire aquatic food chain.
2013-11-21 Iowa Rivers Revival appreciates this opportunity to provide comments to the Iowa Rivers and Waterways Legislative Study Committee, and we applaud the Iowa legislature for establishing the study committee as an opportunity for sharing information and ideas about issues that impact Iowa’s waterways in positive and negative ways. IRR’s mission is to help Iowans restore, protect and enjoy our rivers. We envision clean, free-flowing Iowa rivers teeming with life, surrounded by diverse landscapes, and connecting vibrant communities. Our recommendation for consideration by the upcoming Iowa Rivers and Waterways Study Committee include the establishment of a planning process within the Iowa DNR to develop a proposal for an Iowa River Restoration Program. A River Restoration Program for Iowa should provide a framework for targeted restoration, preservation, enhancement and beneficial use of Iowa rivers. A program can be based, on existing models such as Iowa’s successful Lake Restoration program and examples from applied best practices in other states. • Rely on partnerships among other agencies, landowners, river users, the public and communities. • Incorporate up-to-date science to establish statewide criteria and regional targeting for meaningful river and stream restoration priorities. Thoughtful targeting of river-restoration efforts can also significantly decrease phosphorus and nitrogen pollution and sedimentation and should be integrated into and is a recommendation of Iowa’s Nutrient Management Strategy. • Provide education and training to assist landowners, engineers, contractors, communities and government agencies conducting river-related projects throughout Iowa that reflects up-to-date knowledge of river dynamics, biology and chemistry. • Set priorities for mitigation dollars (already being spent as part of federal regulatory requirements). • Research and monitor projects to continually improve restoration tools and program effectiveness. River restoration is a process of restoring rivers to healthier, naturally functioning ecosystems that maximize their potential to provide services. River restoration is complex, but river restoration programs and plans in neighboring states demonstrate that forming partnerships to address the physics and biology of rivers and their immediate corridors can bring many benefits, such as such as: • Help Iowa meet nutrient reduction goals for water quality. • Address landowner concern for stream bank, land, and infrastructure loss. • Address County and DOT concern for bridge/road infrastructure loss. • Reduce flooding and flood impacts. • Cultivate a healthier ecosystem for fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing. • Increase and improve economic development opportunities. Iowa’s rivers face tremendously complicated challenges, and developing a program run by professionals with appropriate training and experience is crucial to restoring river structure and function, and improving water quality. The most successful projects draw on engineering and hydrology, landscape ecology, fisheries and plant science, and involve communities, policy-makers and landowners. Decisions and actions that impact our waterways effect the economic, environmental, social and political environment of Iowa and in states downstream. Restoring Iowa’s rivers would benefit every citizen directly or indirectly, including: • Small businesses, corporations, and economic development professionals urging quality of life improvements vital to the state’s economy. • Agricultural and other landowners facing losses from flooding and stream bank erosion, and experiencing public pressure to reduce nutrient loading to waterways. • Downstream communities, businesses, landowners and other rivers users plagued by flooding, and runoff from sediment and nutrients. • Agencies charged with mitigation requirements needing guidance for cost-effective practices and projects. • Providers – and users - of community water supplies. • Businesses that need water for commercial, agricultural and industrial processes. • Paddlers, walkers and others who rely on rivers and riverside trails for healthy, active living, • Soil conservationists and watershed planners struggling to find practical solutions. • Anglers and others who desire better aquatic and riparian conditions for fish and wildlife.
2013-11-21 This is a long shot, but there are dams on the Cedar at Waverly, Cedar Falls, and Waterloo that serve no purpose but to let people run motorboats behind them. When they repaired the C.F. dam it was nothing but silt behind it. There would be a whole lot of screaming from boaters to suggest these dams be removed. But it wouldn't hurt a thing to do so.
2013-11-20 Remove Cedar Falls and Waterloo dams as they do nothing for the river.
2013-11-20 I've been an Iowater Volunteer for a number of years. Lynette Seigley Paul Sleeper and Mary Skopec have been very helpful and got me interested. Their input would be very important and something to listen to. Through the years the problems I've seen is mainly from storm water run off and it's impacts. From tiling of wetlands for production purposes. Voluntary programs and the flow of silt/Nitrates. No curb/gutter streets and the pushing of development water. As the president of the harbor assoc. we have bi-weekly clean ups around the harbor/Mohawk and Robins lake with annual clean ups in the water(Harbor) and the shore line from the Harbor to the 5 and 1 dam. We are lucky to have had great support from the City/DNR in the past couple of years and it does make a difference. We are all Stewards I hope.
2013-11-20 I am the chair of the Black Hawk County REAP Committee, chair of Cedar Prairie Sierra Group, an avid outdoors person, hiker, bicyclists and fisher and a volunteer water monitor for DNR. Fresh water is one of most precious resources. Fertile soil is another one. I am appalled by the deplorable condition of our lakes, streams and rivers. Siltation and the contaminants that come with the silt impair our natural waters. Iowa has far too many "impaired" streams and rivers. "No swimming" orders, fish kills, algae blooms, high nutrient levels, stream bank erosion and sedimentation are serious problems that impact the health and quality of life of the state's residents and visitors. The solution seems to be so obvious--stricter monitoring of and limits on the amount of erosion and nutrients released into the streams is essential. I recognize that there is opposition to soil and water conservation methods--that profits nearly always prevail over protection of the state's natural resources. But a new ethic and new techniques are required in order to first stop the contamination of our precious surface water and then gradually reverse the damage that has already been done. The Legislative Committee must begin the process now. Our state can not afford to ignore the harm and damage that has been and still is occurring. I find it offensive that property owners redeem all the profits, yet the taxpayers are expected to subsidize the remediation. It is essential that legislative recommendations consistent with protecting and restoring our surface water begin this year--this next legislative session. Failure to do is merely giving the green light to the careless practices that have allowed the pollution, contamination and degradation in the past. Thank you. Roger White
2013-11-02 Free fishing licenses or discounted boat registrations for anyone who completes Cedar Rapids' One Bag Challenge near the river and submits a photo. (Something similar could be done all over the state)
2013-10-25 We can't continue to farm the way we are. I have noticed many fields in my area with tiling equipment moving into the field almost immediately after the crops are removed. Water is supposed to be filtered through the soil and left in the soil for subsurface water. It is not supposed to land on the ground, enter a tube and be directed to the nearest waterway within a matter of minutes. A 1/2 inch rain should not raise the level of the Wapsipinicon River 12" by the net morning. Man is killing the earth and it is time for some change. Additional funding for wetland restoration, buffer strip planting, and other conservation programs would be a good place to start the reclamation of our rivers.
2013-10-23 Iowa lakes and rivers are severely polluted with farm chemical runoff. Agricultural drainage tiles are problem #1. They are sending the farm chemicals directly into our waterways. The farm tiling is also sending farm sediment directly into our waterways which is decreasing the carrying capacity of our rivers/streams and thereby increasing the risk of flooding in those rivers/streams. We must reduce agricultural runoff from crop lands by insisting on riparian buffer strips and detention ponds that can hold back water runoff. We have removed most of Iowa's Wetlands and turned these areas into agricultural crop lands. We must put these low land areas back into wetland areas in order to filter our water back into the ground instead of running it downstream. We also need more regulations on applying and limiting the application of pesticides and nitrates. We really don't need public comments on this. We have the science and the studies that have documented the source of our problems. Let's make new laws/regulations that will safeguard our rivers/streams and start enforcing good water management practices. If we don't our drinking water may be contaminated in the future.
2013-10-21 I fully support any effort to keep chemicals and soil/silt out of our waterways. I love to paddle streams, rivers, & lakes, but our poor water quality does keep me from going out as often. I grew up playing in streams and swimming in lakes & rivers, but am not sure I'd encourage this for today's children. We as a state need to put serious money & effort into cleanup up our water. I do travel to other states and am dismayed to note their better water clarity and the increased water recreation available to people there.
2013-10-19 The way I see it is we need to stop tiling low lands for production of crops and control our storm water run off in cities. We can't keep channeling water. Voluntary doesn't work. I'm an Iowater volunteer, the nitrate issue and the funneling of water issue is of concern.
2013-10-18 Fear and Loathing on the Upper Mississippi River In the last decade we folks here in the Upper Mississippi River Valley have witnessed an explosion of bass tournaments. To paraphrase another writer; I’m old enough to remember a different human culture on the river. In the 1950s & 60s of my youth, a summer morning may have seen a typical river user as an old bib overalled man rowing a wooden flat-bottomed boat out through an evaporating foggy mist to his favorite fishing hole, with cane poles and a can of worms. I can still see his back bending with each stroke and hear the creak of the oars. Now believe me, I’m not naïve enough to think that those nostalgic peaceful river days are going to return. However in 2013, a typical river weekend morning will see a swarm of sparkly sequined and gaily colored plastic “go-fast” obnoxiously loud boats with outboard motors the size of large refrigerators on their sterns. Huge corporate logos pasted to their hulls, towed to the river landings from far away cities by full size new shiny pick-up trucks. These obtrusive visuals are more reminiscent of NASCAR. However it’s not a super speedway at Talladega, Alabama. It’s the Upper Mississippi Fish & Wildlife Refuge, our public waters. These bass fishing tournaments are a frenzied activity to catch the five largest bass and return to the appointed area by a predetermined time. This industry, and make no mistake about, it is an industry, is fueled by one thing and one thing only! That is the great American cultural motivator, greed. The grand prize, MONEY! The tournaments are sponsored by multi-national corporate giants, like Wal-Mart, Cabalas, Chevy trucks, Mercury outboards and others. The vast majority of tournament participants are from distant metropolitan areas. Their urban mind set and competitive personalities do not recognize the local river traditions, safety, ethics or courtesy to other river users. I and most everyone else I know grew up learning by example, that when you are operating your boat through a backwater slough and you come upon a couple quietly fishing with their boat tied to a snag. You slow your craft to a crawl, give a small wave and perhaps are rewarded with a simple nod. The bass tournament crowd on the other hand practices what they freely call “running & gunning”. I have witnessed every type of violation of the Federal Rules of Navigation, common sense and simple courtesy as they roar down the main channel and thru backwaters traveling 70 or 80 mph. Some even wearing motorcycle helmets. They have absolutely no regard for other river users or the river’s natural and cultural resources. Their only selfish goal, the God almighty prize money. Our family has spent generations growing up on the river, I like many local folks have no memory that does not include the river. To this day I, my extended family members and friends spend great amounts of time on the river. I can honestly say the hatred of the bass tournament industry comes up in nearly every conversation, while out on the river. Kayakers & canoeists tell me they have been scared to death with the behavior of the bass boats’ operators. Over the years I have personally witnessed constant violations by these characters. I’ve have seen them throw handfuls of monofilament fishing line to the wind as well as cigar wrappers and other garbage. “No wake” violations, excessive speed are common. They cast their lures into, over, and through where you’re fishing. The fish kill from this industry has long been recognized by the regulatory agencies. However I have never once seen one of the blue light boys from the DNR chase down one of the bass tournament boats. If you want to witness total out of control behavior on a public body of water, be in position near the start of a Saturday morning tournament. However, be careful and stay out of their way, it is truly dangerous. The adjoining state DNR agencies say they have rules on the books to regulate these corporate tournaments. However after studying these documents I see fee collection rather then actual safe guarding of the resources & other river users safety. As far as the federal government goes their involvement is hilariously total non-involvement. Although F&WS Public Use Regulations” state clearly: Disturbing Behavior Unreasonably disturbing other visitors by the inconsiderate operation or use of any ….power equipment….or interfering with, disturbing, or molesting other visitors engaged in authorized activities on the refuge, is prohibited. I suggest river users have elected officials treat fishing tournaments for what they are--For profit, group events on our public waters that are out of control.
2013-10-17 I kayaked on the Raccoon and Iowa rivers for a number of years and finally quit because the water quality is so poor. I have also kayaked in a number of other states and have found the water quality in those states far superior to what we have in Iowa. This includes the state of Arkansas that used to have horrible water quality issues, but found the will and dollars to clean up their streams. I grew up on a farm and owned the farm up until ten years ago. I can tell you that much more needs to be done to control farm runoff and pollution and that voluntary compliance plans will not work.
2013-10-17 Move from voluntary wetlands protection/expansion to mandating adequate wetland to control pesticide and nitrate runoff. Monitor and enforce the meager laws already enacted that limit the amount of nitrates our streams can absorb. Pass additional measures that reduce the amounts of chemicals farmers can use - also make it illegal to spray pesticides on urban lawns. We need to take the poor quality of our water seriously NOW, not after it is contaminated to the point we must spend millions to be able to drink it. Let's be conservative with our resources!!! Thanks
2013-10-17 Dear Legislators: Iowa lakes and rivers are severely polluted with N and P that cause unsightly and dangerous algal blooms. Our rivers have been used as open sewers, receiving treated and sometimes untreated municipal and industrial wastes. My wife and three sons, now adults, have always considered canoeing small rivers to be our favorite recreational activity, yet, it is invariably adversely affected by polluted waters. What do I recommend to address this problem? Treat agricultural drainage tiles as point sources, which they are, just as discharges from municipal and industrial sites. Reduce overland flows from row crop land by insisting on riparian buffer strips and dry ponds that are proven to capture rapid runoff and reduce storm surge downstream. There are science-based solutions to problem of flooding and degredation of water quality if only the legislature would enact appropriate regulations. Sincerely, Robert Summerfelt