Good afternoon –
Low-Head Dam Mitigation/Water Trails Funding
The legislature is still working on appropriations and we are working to make sure funding is provided for the Low-Head Dam Mitigation and Water Trails program. We appreciate the leadership of both Committee Chairs, Senator Matt McCoy and Representative Dan Huseman, along with other supporters on the Transportation, Infrastructure, and Capitals Appropriations Subcommittee Please let them know we recognize and are thankful for their strong support of this appropriation. Be sure your legislators know you support State funding for river programs – ALL Iowa legislators need to hear about the importance of improving and protecting Iowa’s rivers.
Key contacts to help support this funding are House and Senate leadership and legislators on the joint Transportation, Infrastructure, and Capitals Appropriations Subcommittee:
- Senate Majority Leader Michael E. Gronstal and House Majority Leader Linda L. Upmeyer
- Senate Committee Members: Matt McCoy-Chair, Daryl Beall,-Vice Chair, Tim L. Kapucian-Ranking Member
- House Committee Members: Daniel A. Huseman-Chair, Dave Maxwell-Vice Chair, Dennis M. Cohoon-Ranking Member
River Restoration Resolution
We have presented the River Restoration Resolution to the Senate requesting a legislative interim committee to explore the need for a statewide program that improves and enhances water quality, reconnects rivers, restores fish habitats, provides natural streambank stabilization to hold sediment and nutrients out of the river, improves greenbelt flood mitigation, provides wildlife habitat in the greenbelt, improves public access, and sets priorities for federal mitigation funds. The resolution calls for the development of the components of a river restoration program. IRR could help direct the focus on the committee by providing vision, goals, expert testimony, stakeholder forums, and funding to help develop a program proposal. We will continue to keep informed as details develop.
Lake Delhi Update
IRR has worked diligently over the past two sessions to raise awareness about concerns related to rebuilding the Lake Delhi Dam and the impacts to the Maquoketa River.
- Waste Management: the DNR is satisfied with the plans presented by the Lake District to assess and address inadequate and faulty wastewater treatment systems.
- Public Access: the Lake District is not required to establish public accesses along the lake, but may seek additional State funding opportunities to provide the resources necessary to expand public access options.
- Fish Passage: the DNR has waived the requirement to allow for fish passage with dam reconstruction.
Cedar Rapids Legislative Forum – THIS Saturday, March 23
Sticks In the Water (SIW) paddlers will host “Meet Iowa Rivers Revival” at Wickiup Hill Learning Center on Saturday, March 23. Doors will open at 9:30 am for exhibits, coffee and socializing, and the program will begin at 10:00. This event is free, and the public is encouraged to attend. Wickiup Hill Learning Center is located NW of Cedar Rapids, off Blairs Ferry Rd., at 10260 Morris Hills Road, Toddville, IA.
“Meet IRR” is an opportunity for paddlers, river enthusiasts, and anyone concerned about our streams and watersheds to learn about the educational, recreational, and advocacy programs of the Iowa Rivers Revival organization. The program will include an overview of IRR history and goals by Executive Director Roz Lehman, explanation of the Master River Stewards program by IRR board member Robin Fortney, and a legislative issues update by IRR board Chairman Jerry Peckumn. Additional board members will be on hand to discuss the annual River Town of the Year Awards and the River Rascals youth program, and to participate in an informal Question and Answer session. If you plan to attend, please click on this link to complete the quick survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HPTL99Z.
Your DONATION Helps!
IRR is the statewide organization focusing exclusively on river advocacy, education and enjoyment. We need people like you all over Iowa to be sure Iowa Rivers Revival continues to be a strong voice and steward for Iowa’s rivers and streams. Together we are mobilizing Iowans, influencing policy-makers, and protecting the Iowa rivers we love. Your financial support is crucial to help us continue this work. Please consider an on-line gift today or send your contribution to PO Box 72, Des Moines, Iowa 50301. Thank you for your support!
LOBBYIST REPORT from Don Brazelton
GIPP CONFIRMED. The Senate voted to confirm Chuck Gipp as the Director of the DNR 46 – 0.
AG & NATURAL RESOURCES BUDGET - SENATE COMPARISION TO GOVERNOR’S FY ’14 BUDGET (the Senate’s FY ’15 Budget is 50% of the FY ’14 Budget as per their policy)
The ISU Diagnostic Lab is seeking a total of $4 M. They indicate that the full amount would enable them to purchase equipment to perform chronic wasting disease tests in deer AND for research to develop a CWD test for live animals. If funded they would be prepared to do testing on dead animals by the fall of this year. Amended & passed the S subcom on a 3-2 party-line vote. The amendment gives the Dept of Ag 3 years to expend the $10 M for Water Quality projects. The concern expressed by Republican members is the General Fund increase of the total budget proposed by the Senate Democrats. The bill will go to the SAC. If your Senator is on the SAC, now is a good time to support those programs that enhance Iowa’s quality of life and our environment. Also the subcom members that voted for the bill can be thanked – Senators Black, Dearden & Wilhelm. The H budget target for this budget is $24 M less than the Senate. As the session progresses, the bill is likely to go to a conference committee to reach a compromise.
HF 219, EMINENT DOMAIN. Among other items, prohibits the DNR from using condemnation for recreation projects. Amended & passed H. Goes to the S. Amendment allows cities to condemn outside corporate limits and broadens their ability to condemn ag land.
HF 457, BEGINNING FARMING LEASES ON DNR LAND. 1) "Agricultural land" was used rather than cropland (this allows grazing). 2) Lease payments are to be based on market factors, prior lease rates on the same or comparable land, the cost or maint of soil cons practices & criteria established by the DNR. 3) No more than 240 acres may be leased to one beginning farmer. 4) Leases may not exceed 7 years. 5) The DNR may require a cons system, crop rotation, cover crops, generally accepted farming or soil conservation practices if compatible to DNR's resource management & outdoor rec. 6) The DNR is not required to lease ag land that it would not otherwise lease for farming. Eligible for H debate.
HSB 201, SF 413 (formerly SSB 1232), LANDOWNER LIABILITY. Construes Iowa Code 461C (public use of private lands) broadly in favor of private landowners in order to encourage landowners to allow public use of lands for recreational and educational. The bill is in response to the recent Iowa Supreme Court decision in Salle v Stewart. Passed HAgC. Likely to be referred to HJC. Eligible for S debate.
SF 268, HF 92, NATURAL RESOURCES SALES TAX. Increases the state sales tax by 3/8 of a cent for the Natural Resources Trust Fund established in the Iowa Constitution. In SWMC & HWMC.
LAWMAKER CONTACT INFORMATION
Governor Terry Branstad: 515.281.5211 or http://www.governor.iowa.gov/contact/
Iowa General Assembly (find a bill): http://www.legis.iowa.gov/index.aspx
Iowa Senators and Representatives: Find your legislators (if you would like a spreadsheet of all the current legislators, please let me know)
Iowa Senate: 515.281.3371
Iowa House: 515.281.3221
IRR CALENDAR – keep informed about river-related activities, events and conferences: http://iowarivers.org/get-involved/calendar/.
Please share this legislative update with individuals, organizations or groups that would be interested in receiving this information.
Iowa Rivers Revival
PO Box 72, Des Moines, IA 50301
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.iowarivers.org