Iowans gather at Capitol to call for conservation funding
on Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Katy Heggen, Iowa Environmental Council
office: 515-244-1194x210, Heggen@iaenvironment.org
Iowans gather at the Capitol to call for conservation funding
February 18, 2015 (DES MOINES) – More than 250 conservation advocates gathered at the Capitol yesterday to speak with legislators about the importance of programs and policies that protect Iowa’s natural resources, and the need to commit long-term, sustainable funding to expand conservation and water quality initiatives in the state. The annual event was co-sponsored by the Iowa Environmental Council and the Iowa REAP Alliance.
Participants voiced concern about issues related to water quality, land stewardship and air quality. Topics of conversation included high nitrogen and phosphorus levels in our waterways, pollution in our lakes and rivers, and soil erosion among others; each highlighting the urgent need to better protect our water, soil and wildlife habitat.
“Many citizens and organizations traveled from across the state to speak to their elected officials about these issues because they care about a safe, healthy environment in Iowa, and they want sustainable and accountable funding,” said Iowa Environmental Council Executive Director Ralph Rosenberg. "They want to leave a legacy of clean water and renewable energy for future generations.”
IWILL, REAP and other water quality initiatives were focal points for discussion. Attendees spoke of the positive impacts – both realized and potential – of these programs in their communities and across the state. Speakers at the event also focused on the benefits of these initiatives, which protect, conserve and enhance Iowa’s natural areas, cultural and economic resources.
“REAP is a victim of its own success. Its successes have been taken for granted. We really need to talk about it in the community,” said Sen. Bob Dvorsky (D-Coralville). “REAP improves our quality of life, the quality of life that our natural resources bring.”
Advocates also asked legislators to fill Iowa’s Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, and called for improvements to Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy to ensure verifiable progress is being made. Currently the strategy lacks local reduction goals, a timeline with benchmarks, required consistent water quality testing and assessment, and sustainable, long-term funding.
“IWILL has 83% support by Iowa Voters, more than at any other time,” said Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation President Emeritus Mark Ackelson. “Please support our legacy.”
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The Iowa Environmental Council is an alliance of diverse organizations and individuals working together to protect Iowa's natural environment. Since 1995, the Council has worked toward creating a safe, healthy environment and sustainable future for Iowa, focusing on water and land stewardship, clean energy and air quality.