Contact your legislature boys and girls who sit on the Natural Resource Committees and tell them that you do not Support any action by the state of Iowa to removes or lessens protections on the last remaining wetlands in Iowa.
Mo. Valley Waterfowlers Association
Friends of wildlife:
I sat in on a subcommittee meeting concerning this issue last week. It seems that Iowa is poised to relax restrictions on protections of functional wetlands while arguing that federal regulations protect wetlands. If federal wetland protections change as they have in the past that would leave Iowa functional wetlands open to drainage and the plow. I don't see that as being in the interest of Iowa waterfowl, pheasants and other wildlife. I would appreciate hearing your feedback on this proposed change in legislation from the DNR.
Iowa IEC Remarks:
Yes, at this point we are still registered as monitoring. We don't object to Division I or II, and we don't object to Division III, section 4 and 5. Sections 4 and 5 of Division III have to do with updating the definition of protected wetlands to include palustrine wetlands and the eligibility for reduced property taxes on land areas with protected wetlands.
We continue to have concerns about section 6 of Division III that would repeal Sections 456.12, 456.13, and 456.14 and 654A.16 of the Iowa code.
The repealed sections (456.12, 456.13 and 456.14) relate to the DNR's designation of protected wetlands and the requirement that landowners must get a permit from DNR to drain a protected wetland, procedures by which a landowner can challenge the departments designation of a protected wetland, and specifying civil penalties for violation of the permit requirements. 654A.16 relates to mediation between the DNR and landowners affected by a preliminary wetland designation.
We are concerned that there are gaps in the federal protections under the CWA for these wetlands if they are isolated and not considered jurisdictional under the federal CWA. We are also concerned that Swampbuster under the federal farm bill may be weakened in the future and only applies to wetlands on cropland. So if wetlands are isolated and or not on cropland, they might not have any protections if the state wetland permit program is repealed.
Since the protected wetlands are important waterfowl habitat, we are also trying to contact DU representatives to see what their position is on the repeal of the state wetland permit program.