House File 581 - IntroducedA Bill ForAn Act 1requiring the establishment and maintenance of riparian
2protection measures, providing for financing, and providing
1   Section 1.  Section 161A.4, Code 2023, is amended by adding
2the following new subsection:
3   NEW SUBSECTION.  2A.  The division, in consultation with
4the state soil conservation and water quality committee, and
5in cooperation with the commissioners of the soil and water
6conservation districts and the department of natural resources,
7shall adopt rules pursuant to chapter 17A to implement,
8administer, and enforce chapter 466B, subchapter V.
9   Sec. 2.  Section 161A.42, subsection 4, Code 2023, is amended
10by adding the following new paragraph:
11   NEW PARAGRAPH.  d.  The establishment of riparian protection
12measures as provided in chapter 466B, subchapter V.
13   Sec. 3.  Section 161A.42, subsection 9, paragraph a, Code
142023, is amended to read as follows:
   15a.  (1)  “Permanent soil and water conservation practices”
16“Permanent soil and water conservation practice” means
17planting of perennial grasses, legumes, shrubs, or trees, the
18establishment of grassed waterways, and or the construction of
19terraces, or other permanent soil and water practices approved
20by the committee.
   21(2)  “Permanent soil and water conservation practice” includes
22riparian protection measures as provided in chapter 466B,
23subchapter V.
24   Sec. 4.  Section 161A.48, subsection 1, Code 2023, is amended
25to read as follows:
   261.  a.  An Except as provided in paragraph “b”, the owner
27or occupant of agricultural land in this state is not required
28to establish any new permanent or temporary soil and water
29conservation practice unless cost-share or other public
30moneys have been specifically approved for that land and made
31available to the owner or occupant pursuant to section 161A.74.
   32b.  Paragraph “a” does not apply to riparian protection
33measures as provided in chapter 466B, subchapter V.
34   Sec. 5.  Section 161A.49, Code 2023, is amended to read as
-1-   1161A.49  Petition for court order.
   21.  The Except as provided in subsection 2, the commissioners
3shall petition the district court for a court order requiring
4immediate compliance with an administrative order previously
5issued by the commissioners as provided in section 161A.47, if
 6all of the following apply:
   71.    a.  The work necessary to comply with the administrative
8order is not commenced on or before the date specified in such
9order, or in any supplementary order subsequently issued as
10provided in section 161A.48, unless in the judgment of the
11commissioners the failure to commence or complete the work
12as required by the administrative order is due to factors
13beyond the control of the person or persons to whom such order
14is directed and the person or persons can be relied upon to
15commence and complete the necessary work at the earliest
16possible time.
   172.    b.  Such work is not being performed with due diligence,
18or is not satisfactorily completed by the date specified in the
19administrative order, or when completed does not reduce soil
20erosion from such land below the limits established by the soil
21and water conservation district’s regulations.
   223.    c.  The person or persons to whom the administrative
23order is directed advise the commissioners that they do not
24intend to commence or complete such work.
   252.  Subsection 1 does not apply to the extent that the
26division proceeds against a landowner for violating a riparian
27protection measure as provided in chapter 466B, subchapter V.
28   Sec. 6.  Section 161A.72, Code 2023, is amended by adding the
29following new subsection:
30   NEW SUBSECTION.  1A.  The division shall provide a priority
31to financing the establishment of riparian protection measures
32as provided in chapter 466B, subchapter V.
33   Sec. 7.  Section 161C.2, subsection 1, paragraph a, Code
342023, is amended to read as follows:
   35a.  Each soil and water conservation district, alone and
-2-1whenever practical in conjunction with other districts,
2shall carry out district-wide and multiple-district projects
3to support water protection practices in the district
4or districts, including projects to protect this state’s
5groundwater and surface water from point and nonpoint sources
6of contamination, including but not limited to contamination
7by agricultural drainage wells, sinkholes, sedimentation, or
8chemical pollutants. A district acting alone or in conjunction
9with other districts shall provide priority to establishing
10riparian protection measures as provided in chapter 466B,
11subchapter V.

12   Sec. 8.  Section 455B.171, subsection 11, Code 2023, is
13amended to read as follows:
   1411.  “Iowa nutrient reduction strategy” means a water
15quality initiative developed and updated by the department of
16agriculture and land stewardship, the department of natural
17resources, and the college of agriculture and life sciences at
18Iowa state university of science and technology in order to
19assess do all of the following:
   20a.   Assessand reduce nutrients in this state’s watersheds
21that utilize a pragmatic, strategic, and coordinated approach
22with the goal of accomplishing reductions over time.
   23b.  Evaluate the progress of water quality initiatives
24including but not limited to the programs and riparian
25protection measures provided in chapter 466B, subchapter V.
26   Sec. 9.  Section 466B.5, Code 2023, is amended by adding the
27following new subsection:
28   NEW SUBSECTION.  2A.  Riparian protection.  The department
29of natural resources shall provide for the assessment of
30regional watersheds and subwatersheds that are identified in
31the riparian protection inventory and map.
32   Sec. 10.  Section 466B.6, Code 2023, is amended by adding the
33following new subsection:
34   NEW SUBSECTION.  3.  Riparian protection.  A community-based
35subwatershed improvement plan shall provide for methods to
-3-1increase compliance with riparian protection measures provided
2in subchapter V.
3   Sec. 11.  Section 466B.7, subsection 2, Code 2023, is amended
4to read as follows:
   52.  Data collection and use.  Local communities in which
6the department of natural resources conducts subwatershed
7monitoring shall use the information to support subwatershed
8planning activities, do local data collection, and identify
9priority areas needing additional resources. Local communities
10shall also collect data regarding the effect of riparian
11protection measures, and data collected
over time and use the
12data to evaluate
 for use in evaluating the impacts of their
13management efforts.
14   Sec. 12.  NEW SECTION.  466B.51  Definitions.
   15As used in this subchapter, unless the context otherwise
   171.  “Department” means the department of natural resources.
   182.  “District” means a soil and water conservation district
19established in section 161A.5.
   203.  “Division” means the division of soil conservation and
21water quality created within the department of agriculture and
22land stewardship pursuant to section 159.5.
   234.  “Landowner” means a person listed on the tax assessment
24rolls as responsible for the payment of real estate taxes
25imposed on the land adjacent to a public water source.
   265.  “Normal water level” means the level evidenced by the
27long-term presence of surface water as indicated directly by
28hydrophytic plants or hydric soils or indirectly determined via
29hydrological models or analysis.
   306.  “Public water source” means waters of the state having
31definite banks and a bed.
   327.  “Riparian protection measure” means a riparian protection
33buffer or an alternative riparian protection practice as
34provided in section 466B.55.
   358.  “Waters of the state” means any stream, lake, pond,
-4-1marsh, watercourse, waterway, well, spring, reservoir, aquifer,
2irrigation system, drainage system, and any other body or
3accumulation of water, surface or underground, natural or
4artificial, public or private, which is contained within, flows
5through, or borders upon the state or any portion of the state.
6   Sec. 13.  NEW SECTION.  466B.52  Purposes and goals.
   71.  The purpose of this subchapter is to establish riparian
8protection measures for public water sources that do all of the
   10a.  Provide protection from erosion and runoff pollution.
   11b.  Stabilize soils, shores, and banks.
   12c.  Protect or provide riparian corridors for public use.
   132.  In administering this subchapter, the division, in
14consultation with the department, shall advance all of the
15following goals:
   16a.  Reduce soil erosion and sediment loss, including by doing
17any of the following:
   18(1)  Stabilizing the soil or otherwise limiting sediment
19from being conveyed by surface water runoff.
   20(2)  Filtering sediment-laden water.
   21b.  Manage nutrients and reduce contributing contaminant
22loads to receiving public surface waters.
   23c.  Provide a setback distance from an input applied to
24adjacent land, including pesticides as defined in section
25206.2, nutrients as defined in section 455B.171, commercial
26fertilizers as defined in section 200.3, and manure as defined
27in section 459.102.
   28d.  Reduce the volume or velocity of precipitation-induced
29surface water.
   30e.  Improve stream or ditch bank stability with deep-rooted
   32f.  Provide an infiltration area for surface water.
   33g.  Provide an uptake and denitrification zone for shallow
34subsurface flow.
   35h.  Retire adjacent land from crop production in areas that
-5-1have low productivity or are inefficient to farm.
   2i.  Provide habitat for beneficial wildlife species if a
3corridor is sufficiently wide or the buffer connects larger
4habitat areas together.
5   Sec. 14.  NEW SECTION.  466B.53  Administration and
   71.  The division shall administer and enforce this chapter
8in consultation with the department. The division shall adopt
9all rules necessary or desirable to carry out this subchapter,
10including rules necessary or desirable to effectuate this
11subchapter’s purposes and goals as provided in section 466B.52.
   122.  The division shall assist the department and the water
13resources coordinating council established in section 466B.3,
14including in the completion of a statewide regional watershed
15assessment, prioritization, and planning process described in
16section 466B.5.
   173.  a.  The commissioners of a district shall consult with
18department field office staff in assisting the division in the
19administration and enforcement of this subchapter.
   20b.  The commissioners of a district shall assist landowners
21in establishing and maintaining riparian protection measures.
22The assistance may be in the form of planning, technical
23support, and tracking progress toward compliance with the
24requirements of this subchapter.
   254.  The division, acting on its own or on behalf of the
26commissioners of a district, may obtain an administrative
27search warrant to determine compliance with this subchapter as
28provided in section 808.14.
29   Sec. 15.  NEW SECTION.  466B.54  Riparian protection inventory
30and map.
   311.  The department shall prepare, revise, and publish a
32riparian protection inventory and map for each county which
33shall be used as the basis of designating public water sources
34that require riparian protection from nonpoint sources of
35pollution as provided in this subchapter.
   12.  In preparing and revising a riparian protection
2inventory and map, the department shall provide priority to a
3public water source classified as any of the following:
   4a.  Part of a subwatershed that drains into a water body or
5water segment placed on the department’s section 303(d) list
6as defined in section 455B.171, regardless of whether a total
7maximum daily load for that water body or water segment has
8been developed.
   9b.  A high-quality water resource as defined in section
   11c.  The Mississippi river basin as part of the Mississippi
12river basin initiative as provided in chapter 161G.
   133.  Each tract of land where each riparian protection measure
14is to be established shall be identified according to a system
15of parcels identified by a property identification number
16according to uniform criteria developed by the department.
   174.  The division, and a board governing a drainage or
18levee district as provided in chapter 468, shall provide all
19cooperation requested by the department in order to prepare and
20revise a riparian protection inventory and map.
21   Sec. 16.  NEW SECTION.  466B.55  Riparian protection measures.
   221.  A landowner shall establish and maintain riparian
23protection measures as provided in this section.
   242.  a.  A landowner of property adjacent to a public water
25source identified as part of a riparian protection inventory
26and map shall maintain a continuous riparian protection buffer
27as follows:
   28(1)  The riparian protection buffer must consist of
29perennial vegetation, excluding invasive plants and weeds
30declared noxious pursuant to section 317.1A, if the area is
31adjacent to a public water source.
   32(2)  (a)  Except as provided in subparagraph division (b),
33the riparian protection buffer shall have a fifty-foot average
34width and a thirty-foot minimum width.
   35(b)  A landowner shall comply with subparagraph division
-7-1(a) twelve months after the land is identified in a riparian
2protection inventory and map published under section 466B.54.
3The commissioners of a district may grant a landowner a
4one-time waiver of this requirement for not more than one year.
   5(3)  (a)  For a ditch, tile drain, watercourse, or settling
6basin established as part of a drainage or levee district
7governed under chapter 468, the buffer shall have a sixteen and
8one-half foot minimum width.
   9(b)  A landowner shall comply with subparagraph division (a)
10twenty-four months after the land is identified as part of a
11riparian protection inventory and map published under section
12466B.54. The commissioners of a district may grant a landowner
13a one-time waiver of this requirement for not more than one
   15b.  The width of a riparian protection buffer shall be
16measured from the crown of the bank. Where there is no defined
17bank, the measurement shall be from the edge of the normal
18water level. The division may provide a different measurement
19method for a ditch, tile drain, watercourse, or settling basin
20established as part of a drainage or levee district governed
21under chapter 468.
   223.  a.  A landowner of property adjacent to a public water
23source identified as part of a riparian protection inventory
24and map may meet the requirements described in subsection 1
25by adopting an alternative riparian protection practice alone
26or in combination with a modified riparian protection buffer.
27The alternative riparian protection practice as established
28alone or in combination with a riparian protection buffer shall
29provide water quality protection comparable to the riparian
30protection described in subsection 2.
   31b.  A landowner shall comply with paragraph “a” twelve
32months after the land is identified as part of a riparian
33protection inventory and map published under section 466B.54.
34The commissioners of a district may grant a one-time waiver of
35this requirement for not more than one year.
   14.  The terms and conditions of a riparian protection measure
2shall be set forth in a parcel-specific riparian protection
3compliance plan approved by the commissioners of the district
4where the land is located and filed by the commissioners
5with the division which shall be published on the division’s
6internet site. The riparian protection plan may be part of
7a financing agreement entered into by the landowner and the
8division or commissioners of a district as provided in chapter
   105.  The establishment and maintenance of a riparian
11protection measure shall at least comply with all requirements
12of soil and water conservation practices or erosion control
13practices as described in chapter 161A, unless otherwise
14provided by the division and agreed to by the commissioners.
15A riparian protection measure qualifies for water quality
16agriculture infrastructure programs created in section 466B.43
17and the water quality urban infrastructure program as provided
18in section 466B.44. A riparian protection measure shall be
19inspected and certified by the commissioners of the district
20where the land is located as required by the division.
   216.  This section does not prevent a landowner from using land
22established for riparian protection in any manner that does not
23interfere with the requirements of this subchapter, including a
24riparian protection compliance plan. The division shall upon
25request of a landowner issue a declaratory order regarding the
26use as provided in section 17A.9.
27   Sec. 17.  NEW SECTION.  466B.56  Exemptions.
   281.  A landowner is not required to comply with the
29requirements in section 466B.55 if any of the following apply:
   30a.  The public water source is located adjacent to land where
31only one landowner is riparian.
   32b.  A person’s contribution of a pollutant to a public
33water source is regulated by the department under chapter 455B
34or pursuant to a permit related to the administration of the
35national pollutant discharge elimination system permit program
-9-1pursuant to the federal Water Pollution Control Act, 33 U.S.C.
2ch.26, as amended, and 40 C.F.R. pt.124. However, this
3paragraph does not apply to the discharge or application of
4manure or other nutrients under chapter 459, 459A, or 459B.
   5c.  The land where riparian protection measures are otherwise
6required pursuant to section 466B.55 is any of the following:
   7(1)  Enrolled in the federal conservation reserve program as
8described in 7 C.F.R. pt.1410.
   9(2)  A wetland that could qualify under the conservation
10reserve enhancement program as provided in section 466.5.
   11(3)  Subject to a conservation easement as provided in
12chapter 457A.
   13(4)  Covered by a road, trail, building, or other structure.
   14(5)  Subject to a crop approved by the division, including
15alfalfa or other perennial crop or part of a water-inundation
16cropping system.
   17(6)  Part of a prairie, forest area, other biologically
18significant area, or that contains significant archaeological,
19historical, or cultural value.
   20(7)  Contains geological characteristics which are
21unsuitable for vegetation.
   22(8)  In a temporary nonvegetated condition due to drainage
23tile installation and maintenance, plant seeding, or the
24construction of a conservation project authorized by the
25federal government, the state, or a political subdivision
   272.  The division may excuse a landowner from complying with
28the requirements of section 466B.55 if the division determines
29that compliance would not significantly further the purposes
30and goals of this chapter as described in section 466B.52. The
31exemption may be based on but is not limited to any of the
   33a.  The normal water level, which may exclude periods of
34drought or flooding.
   35b.  The average water flow, which may exclude periods of
-10-1drought or flooding.
   2c.  The total drainage area, which may exclude periods of
3drought or flooding.
4   Sec. 18.  NEW SECTION.  466B.57  Corrective action —
5compliance order.
   61.  The division shall take enforcement action against
7a landowner who violates a term or condition of a riparian
8protection compliance plan as provided in section 466B.55. The
9division, in cooperation with the department and commissioners
10of a district where the land is located, shall issue a
11compliance order that includes a list of corrective actions
12that the landowner must correct. The compliance order shall
13include a practical period for the landowner to complete the
14corrective actions and for the commissioners to inspect the
15land and approve the corrective actions. A corrective action
16must be approved by the commissioners within one year after the
17division issues the compliance order, unless the commissioners
18grant an extension.
   192.  If the landowner is in violation of a protection
20compliance plan as provided in section 466B.55 and an
21administrative order is issued by the commissioners under
22chapter 161A, subchapter V, part 1, to the landowner, the
23division may waive its right to take an enforcement action
24under this chapter.
25   Sec. 19.  NEW SECTION.  466B.58  Removal or degradation.
   261.  A landowner shall not engage in any work to remove
27or degrade a riparian protection measure, in whole or in
28part, unless the person has obtained a signed statement from
29the commissioners of the district where the land is located
30granting authorization to engage in the work as required by the
   322.  A person other than a landowner shall not engage in
33any work to remove or degrade a riparian protection measure,
34in whole or in part, unless the person has obtained a signed
35statement from the landowner granting authorization to engage
-11-1in the work subject to the requirements in subsection 1.
2   Sec. 20.  NEW SECTION.  466B.59  Civil penalty.
   31.  Except as provided in subsection 2, a landowner who does
4not complete a corrective action within the period stated in
5the compliance order under section 466B.57 is subject to a
6civil penalty as follows:
   7a.  One hundred dollars per parcel as described in
8the riparian protection compliance plan which shall be
9assessed, imposed, and collected on a thirty-day basis for a
10one-hundred-eighty-day period.
   11b.  After the period described in paragraph “a”, five hundred
12dollars per parcel as described in the riparian protection
13compliance plan which shall be assessed, imposed, and collected
14on a thirty-day basis.
   152.  A person who is in violation of section 466B.56 is
16subject to a civil penalty of five hundred dollars per parcel
17as described in the riparian protection compliance plan which
18shall be assessed, imposed, and collected by the division on a
19thirty-day basis.
   203.  Civil penalties collected pursuant to this section shall
21be credited to the general fund of the state.
23The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with
24the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly.
   25GENERAL. This bill amends Code chapter 466B, which provides
26for a number of programs to protect surface water and provide
27for flood mitigation and watershed management. The bill
28creates a new Code subchapter which requires a landowner having
29an interest in property adjoining a public water source (e.g.,
30a watercourse such as a river, stream, or drainage ditch; or
31body of water such as a pond, lake, or reservoir) to establish
32and maintain a riparian protection measure (measure) in
33compliance with a riparian protection compliance plan (plan).
34The plan is derived from a riparian protection inventory and
35map developed by the department of natural resources (DNR).
   1ADMINISTRATION. The plan must be prepared by the landowner
2and approved by the division of soil conservation and water
3quality (division) created within the department of agriculture
4and land stewardship. The division must act in partnership
5with commissioners of soil and water conservation districts
6(commissioners), and in cooperation with a number of other
7government entities, including the state soil conservation
8and water quality committee, the water resources coordinating
9council, and DNR.
   10REQUIREMENTS. Under an approved plan, a landowner must
11establish and maintain a measure which is either a riparian
12protection buffer consisting of perennial vegetation, or an
13alternative riparian protection practice (e.g., erosion control
14practice or soil and water conservation practice) alone or in
15combination with a modified riparian protection buffer. The
16landowner must establish and maintain the measure after the
17division completes a riparian protection inventory and map
18which identifies the land subject to riparian protection. A
19landowner may apply for financial assistance to establish a
20measure under a number of programs, including cost-share moneys
21awarded under the authority of the division.
   22EXCEPTIONS. The bill creates a number of exceptions that
23excuse compliance, including if (1) there is only one riparian
24landowner; (2) other regulations apply, including storm water
25outlets regulated by DNR, or a conservation program regulated
26by the federal or state government; (3) the land is covered by
27another object or structure; (4) the land is used to produce
28a designated crop; (5) the land is part of an environmentally
29designated area (e.g., a forest); (6) the land contains unique
30geological characteristics; or (7) the land is subject to
31construction. The division may also create other exceptions
32if it determines that the exception would not interfere with
33the bill’s purposes.
   34ENFORCEMENT. The division is to take enforcement action
35against a landowner who violates a term or condition of a
-13-1plan, unless the division allows the commissioners to take an
2enforcement action in court for the landowner’s violation of
3the terms of an administrative order (e.g., for violating the
4terms of a cost-share agreement). If the division enforces the
5plan, if must first issue a compliance order listing items that
6the landowner must complete within a specified time but not
7more than one year after the compliance order has been issued.
8The bill also prohibits a landowner or another person from
9engaging in any work to remove or degrade a riparian protection
10measure, unless the person has obtained authorization. The
11bill provides a range of civil penalties based on the number of
12parcels included in the plan and the period that the violation
13continues after the compliance order was delivered. The
14amounts of the civil penalties range from $100 to $500 per