Weber pushes natural resource funding in letter

The Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund would help protect Iowa’s natural resources (via Creative Commons). 

Julia Poska | January 3, 2020

Iowa Flood Center co-creator and research engineer Larry Weber began the new year with a letter to the editor in the Cedar Rapids Gazette urging Iowans to permanently fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund in 2020.

In 2010, Iowans voted to create the fund, officially amending the state constitution to create a source of permanent funding for protecting and improving the state’s natural resources and their associated benefits . The proposed 3/8 sales tax increase to create revenue for the fund, though, has still not been implemented.

“This funding would allow us to accelerate our conservation efforts to make meaningful improvements to address flooding and improve water quality,” wrote Weber, who has dedicated his career to Iowa’s water quality and quantity challenges.

“Together, we can maintain a strong agricultural economy while protecting our water and natural resources, and at the same time creating an environment where people are drawn to live, work, and recreate,” he concluded.




Climate change – a divider of Iowa politics

Photo by Inspired in Des Moines; Flickr

Despite the strengthening consensus among scientists, climate change continues to be an issue that Iowan Democrats and Republicans disagree on. 

Democrats say that disagreement has impeded progress on measures that would encourage energy conservation and development of renewable energy.

They also say Republicans are dragging their feet on efforts to make Iowa less vulnerable to future floods.

To learn more, visit The Gazette. 

Cedar Rapids flood protection to take a decade

Photo by Dan Patternson; Flickr

The Cedar Rapids City Council’s Infrastructure Committee, the city’s engineering staff, and Sun Valley neighbors signed off on a final $1-million plan to construct a flood-protection berm along Cottage Grove Parkway SE to protect the Sun Valley neighborhood from Indian Creek.

To learn more, head over to The Gazette.

Drought could lead to forced water limits in Iowa

Photo by steelersfan8765, Flickr.
Photo by steelersfan8765, Flickr.

Drought conditions could lead to water conservation measures in some parts of Iowa.

Especially in Iowa’s northwest counties, there’s a chance that some areas will have to limit water usage. To avoid getting to this point, Iowans are encouraged to conserve water during their day-to-day activities.

Read more from The Gazette here.

UI uses dying Johnson County trees as biofuel

Garlic mustard is one of the invasive plants affecting the Johnson County trees. Photo by eLeSeA, Flickr.
Garlic mustard is one of the invasive plants affecting the Johnson County trees. Photo by eLeSeA, Flickr.

The University of Iowa will use 24 acres of dead and dying trees in Johnson County as biofuel.

The trees are dying because of invasive species like garlic mustard, exotic honeysuckles and Canada thistles.

Once the trees are removed and the invasive plants are cleared, the land will be converted into a prairie.

Read more from The Gazette here.

Possible changes on the way to water allocation law

Photo by amypalko, Flickr.
Photo by amypalko, Flickr.

Changes may be coming to a state law that allows the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to decide what water users get their water shut-off or restricted when water conservation is necessary.

The state law was originally put into place in 1985 when water usage was much different than it is today in Iowa.

The potential revision of the law is largely influenced by the drought. With the drought entering its third year, it has never looked more likely that the current law could be put into action.

Read more from The Gazette here.

Penned deer operations face criticism for CWD spread

Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Midwest Region, Flickr.

In the wake of seven deer testing positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Iowa, critics are condemning penned deer operations.

These penned deer operations are places where hunters can pay to hunt deer that are within a confined area. These areas must be at least 320 acres.

All seven cases of CWD in Iowa came from deer in confinement. It’s believed that the disease is more likely to spread in these confined areas, because the deer within the enclosure are more likely to come in contact with one another.

Read more from The Gazette here.

Iowa’s climate experts discuss climate change

East Indian Creek in Story County dried up because of this year’s drought. Photo by cwwycoff1, Flickr.

The Gazette has released an article where experts around the state address climate change and its affects on Iowa.

The experts include Iowa State University professor, and Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research member, Eugene Takle. According to Takle, both this year’s drought and the recent wet years Iowa has experienced are consistent with climate change. This is because climate change causes an increase in extreme weather events.

Other speakers in the article include ISU’s Christopher Anderson and Elywynn Taylor, state climatologist Harry Hillaker and state senator Rob Hogg.

Read the story here.