Iowa DNR dissolves Bureau of Forestry and other programs

Savanna, Overlooking Wet Prairie
The State Forest Nursery and urban foresters program will stay in tact amid multiple program eliminations. (Joshua Mayer/flickr)
Jenna Ladd | July 7, 2017

Iowa legislators approved a $1.2 million cut to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) this year, resulting in the elimination of the Bureau of Forestry and several other positions.

The department announced on Wednesday that it terminated the Forest Bureau Chief Paul Tauke. All other foresters were reassigned to other divisions within the DNR. Alex Murphy is a spokesperson for the department. In an interview with Iowa Public Radio, he said, “We’ve moved these employees under different areas and actually eliminated the bureau itself, although all the functions of the bureau exist, just in different bureaus or divisions.” The changes saved the department around $277,000.

The DNR Trail Crew program was abolished along with two full-time program DNR employees. The Trail Crew team was comprised of 15 Americorps members that traveled around the state with DNR employees to develop and improve Iowa’s 500 miles of nature trails. Other Americorps programs within the department were eliminated as well.

State Geologist Bob Libra also lost his job. The state plans to contract UI geologists to take over geological research projects. Among the other positions eliminated are the department safety officer, animal feeding operations coordinator and art director for the DNR’s magazine.

UI environmental science program graduate Megan Henry warned that the elimination of positions in environmental sciences may drive more young people out of Iowa. Her letter to the editor in the Des Moines Register reads,

“Now the university will likely also equip natural science students in geology with even more hands-on experience, because “without a state geologist, the DNR will contract with the University of Iowa for geological research and technical assistance.” The only problem: How do you attract students to this vital work, if the jobs only exist while they are paying tuition?”

On the Radio: AmeriCorps work in Iowa

This week’s On the Radio segment covers the environmentally-focused work that AmeriCorp members will be doing in southeast Iowa. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

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Volunteer to clean up Iowa’s parks!

Mines of Spain Recreation Area. Photo by jereandreagan, Flickr.

Help preserve Iowa’s parks! On April 27 and 28, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is looking for volunteers to help maintain 12 Iowa state parks.

Volunteers will work with Iowa DNR AmeriCorps members to clean-up trails, collect litter and clear vines.

The parks involved are Big Creek State Park, Backbone State Park, Lake Anita State Park, Lake Wapello State Park, Mines of Spain State Recreation Area, Union Grove State Park, McIntosh Woods State Park, Lake of Three Fires State Park, Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area, Rock Creek State park, Lake Ahquabi State Park and Stone State Park.

Follow this link to learn more and sign up.