Weekend Update – March 23, 2018

It is Weekend Update time!

  • We honored our River Town of the Year; Elgin, Iowa! We traveled to Elgin on Friday, March 16th for a reception, award ceremony and tour around the county to observe projects.  We hosted our friends from Elgin up at the State Capitol on Wednesday, March 21stCONGRATS!!!!!  Both Senator Breitbach and Representative Bergen were in attendance at both events.
  • IRR was proud to join MANY other members of the Iowa Environmental Council for Environmental Lobby Day up at the Capitol yesterday on Thursday, March 22. There were great speakers and good conversations with legislators about REAP funding, IWILL (the Natural Resource and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund), energy bills, the Leopold Center, the bottle bills and of course- funding for low-head dam safety mitigation and water trails!
    • It sounds like the bottle bills are halted for now and likely to be expanded next year
    • Energy tax credits are still in trouble


  • Funding for Low-Head Dam Safety Mitigation and Water Trails is in jeopardy. YOUR elected officials need to hear from YOU! 
  • ESPECIALLY Senator Craig Johnson from Independence (Buchanan County) and Representative Dan Huseman from Aurelia (Cherokee County)- If you live in those areas, please call them and talk to them about the importance of this program.
  • No matter WHO your elected officials are, they need to hear from you about this program!
  • Talking points below:
    • Dam modification eliminates problems while improving safety, reducing financial costs, enhancing fisheries, restoring river connectivity and habitat, and increasing recreational opportunities.
    • More recreational opportunities mean more economic development potential. Iowa’s three whitewater park communities- Charles City, Elkader, and Manchester- have been successful in showcasing their rivers to attract tourists, businesses, and new residents.
    • (According to Outdoor Industry Association, 2017) Outdoor recreation in Iowa generates:
      • $8.7 billion in consumer spending annually
      • 83,000 direct jobs
      • $2.7 billion in wages and salaries
      • $649 million in state and local tax revenue
    • There are $11.2 million in shovel-ready Water Trail projects across the state.
    • Future dam projects in Fort Dodge, Waterloo, Mason City, Central City, and Winterset have local support and are in the early phases of design and cost estimation. Partnering support remains critical for permitting and design assistance.
    • Iowa has 177 low-head dams in 57 of the 99 counties.
    • Deadly recirculating currents that form below these dams have killed many unsuspecting recreationists.
    • Often, these dams pose safety threats to people and communities, burden owners with costly repairs, and diminish stream health and the vitality of aquatic life.

Remember to tell YOUR story when you speak to your elected official and highlight how projects like these improve the quality of life for you, your family, your community, and Iowa as a whole.  Our elected officials need to hear from all of us if we are going to continue this important work to revive our rivers!

Senate switch board: 515-281-3371
House switch board: 515-281-3321

Mark your Calendar:

  • 100th calendar day of the session; legislators’ per diem expires- April 17th

Tips- check out the following websites that can be very helpful during the legislative session: