Legislature seeks input on Iowa’s Rivers

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Legislature seeks input on Iowa’s Rivers

Postby feathhd » Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:36 pm

Legislature seeks input on Iowa’s Rivers

Here you go Iowa Sportsmen, Your Opportunity is before you to describe to legilsative members exactly what you wish to se done on your Rivers / river to improve Fishing, Hunting, Trapping and Wildlife Habitat in general. Tell them whats on your mind.

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

Here is the Committee Members folks

Iowa Rivers and Waterways Study Committee
General Assembly: 85 (01/14/2013 - 01/11/2015)Select
Consult with interested parties in considering options for restoring the quality of Iowa's rivers and waterways. Interested parties may include engineers, local watershed partnerships, persons who farm near rivers and waterways, anglers, boaters, and other interested parties. Develop recommendations for an initial plan to prioritize river and waterway projects and provide defined goals and measurable improvements.
Senate Members
**** L. Dearden (D, District 16), Co-Chair
William A. Dotzler, Jr. (D, District 31)
Hubert Houser (R, District 11)
David Johnson (R, District 1)
Brian Schoenjahn (D, District 32)
House Members
Lee Hein (R, District 96), Co-Chair
Charles Isenhart (D, District 100)
Jarad J. Klein (R, District 78)
Patti Ruff (D, District 56)
Jeff Smith (R, District 1)

To submit your comments:

- Go to the General Assembly’s home page at www.legis.iowa.gov, and under “Popular Links,” look for “Public Input: Iowa Rivers and Waterways Study Committee”

- Click “Submit Response” to submit comments
- To view others’ responses, click “View Moderated Responses”

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

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

Here is a little info on the Iowa River Restoration Program Int.

IRR champions a River Restoration Program for Iowa. We support creation of a statewide program that would create a framework for in-stream and stream-side improvements to improve water quality, protect aquatic habitats, stabilize streambanks and enhance riparian corridor aesthetics.

We envision a program that would bring together landowners, local communities and river resource professionals to identify and prioritize river assets. Through such a program, Iowans would invest in our waterways to capitalize on their natural ability to provide essential resources for our economy, citizens and environment.

What is river restoration?
At its most basic, river restoration is a process of restoring streams and rivers so they function more naturally to maximize potential to provide services, such as:

- Healthy habitat for fishing, recreation and aquatic life- Reduced water velocity to reduce bank erosion- Increased public safety- Enhanced capacity to capture, store, and in some cases, transform, nutrients and pollutants- Reduced water treatment costs- Groundwater recharge
Inform yourself
IRR is involved in planning opportunities for Iowans to learn more about river restoration. Watch for updates here and in IRR e-News and alerts.

Review IRR’s fact sheet Program to Restore Iowa’s Rivers, which briefly reviews some basics and benefits of river restoration. It outlines a vision for a statewide river restoration program modeled on Iowa’s successful lake restoration program and includes links to information about river restoration programs in nearby states.

Read how river restoration projects are already enhancing economic development in Iowa: A Call to Iowa to Revive Our Rivers, IRR op-ed, Des Moines Register, March 1, 2013.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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