Channel Chat January 2021

Hello River Lovers,

Happy 2021! First let me say thank you all so much for your continued support in 2020. It was a very unique year with many challenges. We learned a lot and are now stronger and more resolute in making sure we are leading Iowans to protect, restore, and enjoy our rivers.

January is not only the start of a new year, it is the start of the 2021 Legislative Session. The first day of session will be January 11, with Governor Reynolds giving her Condition of the State address on January 12. As you probably are aware, we are nonpartisan organization working to protect and restore Iowa’s great natural resources – our rivers and streams. 

Every session we bring a list of focused priorities to lawmakers. This list incudes increased funding for dam mitigation and water trails, aquatic habitat conservation, suggestions on policy changes and more. No matter the priority, it will always have our waterways in mind.

However, the most important thing is for lawmakers to hear from constituents like you. Input from people they represent is a key factor when politicians are considering voting for or against legislation.We will send out targeted Action Alerts throughout session to inform you of what is happening at the capital. These alerts will notify you of the current bill or policy, whether IRR supports it or not, and ways to contact your specific legislator via email, phone, or even Twitter. 

Make sure to know who your representatives are at the Capital before session starts. Consider sending them a Happy New Year email or giving them a call so that they know your name. Whatever happens, it’s important your voice is heard throughout session and throughout 2021. Feel free to contact us if you have something to share or want us to focus on something specific during session. Thanks for reading.

Until next month, stay well

Sara Carmichael, Executive Director

Last Chance – Impaired Waters List Comments
The Iowa DNR has prepared the draft 2020 list of impaired waters and is seeking comments through end of today, January 1, 2021. Out of all tested waterbodies, the list contains 586 waterbodies and a total of 775 impairments – 602 of those are from Rivers and Streams. The main cause is indicator bacteria, which are used to detect and estimate the level of fecal contamination in the water. Submit your comments to the DNR by emailing IRcomment@dnr.iowa.gov

Featured River – Cedar River This month we focus on the 338 mile long Cedar River that starts in southern Minnesota and ends at the Iowa River in Columbus Junction. It gets its name from the Red Cedar trees and was originally called the Red Cedar River by the Meskwaki tribe. There are many places to paddle on this river including Palisades State Park near Cedar Rapids. Make sure to check out the IDNR Interactive Paddling Map for guidance and what to avoid.