As a leader of the Linn County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, an organization with nearly 6,000 members in Iowa and as an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys the many opportunities in Iowa, I am concerned over Iowa’s declining water quality.
We in Iowa are a major contributor to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Because of the nitrates and phosphorus runoff, which then flow down the Mississippi River, the dead zone surpassed an area the size of New Jersey in 2017. Closer to home, the state has between 600 and 700 impaired waters, and more than 60 communities are struggling to meet safe nitrate levels in their drinking water.
I commend the legislature for passing SF512 that will start to deal with this problem. But according to The Gazette, the bill does not appropriate nearly enough money and it provides no requirements for baseline measurements or monitoring. The bill only says it will work toward “reductions over time.” That’s not good policy.
Iowa is better than this. We all deserve healthy drinking water and rivers and streams fit to swim and fish. I urge Gov. Kim Reynolds and the legislature to do more. Fund the 2010-approved Natural Resource and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, a 3/8 cent sales tax that will allocate upward of $180 million per year to help correct this problem. Iowans want it and deserve it.
Izaak Walton League
Linn County Chapter