Iowa DNR, environmental group disagree on manure efforts

(Mark Evans / Flickr) A farmer sprays liquid manure onto a field.
(Mark Evans / Flickr) A farmer sprays liquid manure onto a field.
KC McGinnis | October 27, 2015

After stating that it has met its goals to improve manure management at Iowa farms, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is facing criticism from an Iowa environmental group over its manure management efforts.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) says the DNR’s efforts since 2013 haven’t gone far enough in reducing nutrient pollution from manure spills in Iowa, where the number of impaired waterways listed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has increased 15% in two years. The group is calling for the EPA to step in to provide stricter enforcement of Clean Water Act standards at factory farms.

The DNR’s current work plan required it to increase oversight to 20% of Iowa’s livestock farms being inspected every year. The DNR met that goal over two years, managing a 41% inspection rate. CCI wants the DNR to require permits requiring farmers to maintain manure-related equipment and pay fines for spills. The DNR claims that issuing such permits is actually forbidden for states under EPA rules.

CCI and DNR members will meet November 3 to talk about Iowa’s manure management plan in more depth.

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