116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Trout Unlimited, a conservation group that works to protect rivers and streams, wants to join a lawsuit against the Iowa Department of Natural Resources over an 11,600-head cattle feedlot near Bloody Run Creek in northeast Iowa.
The Iowa chapter of Trout Unlimited has filed a petition in Polk County District Court to intervene in a lawsuit the Sierra Club filed last fall against the DNR and Supreme Beef, which owns the feedlot.
Like the Sierra Club, Trout Unlimited believes Supreme Beef miscalculated the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus in the manure generated by cattle at the facility.
This led the DNR to approve a nutrient management plan in April that allows Supreme Beef to exceed state standards for applying manure on nearby farm fields, court filings state.
“The result is excessive nutrients will likely reach Bloody Run Creek through runoff, soil erosion, and groundwater, damaging the naturally reproducing population of brown trout, along with stocked brook and rainbow trout,” Trout Unlimited wrote in a news release.
The group in 2019 contributed to the purchase of a 165-acre addition to the Bloody Run Wildlife Management Area, expanding the public’s access to over a half-mile of the popular trout stream, Trout Unlimited reported.
“Throughout our history, we’ve worked hand in hand with farmers and the Iowa DNR and will continue to dedicate ourselves and our resources to beneficial projects along our coldwater streams, enhancing the quality of life for all Iowans,.” the news release states. “In this case, that means standing up for Bloody Run.”
Trout Unlimited hopes the lawsuit fill force the DNR to “diligently apply their existing regulations” to the Supreme Beef facility, the group said.
The DNR and Supreme Beef have asked a Polk County judge to dismiss the lawsuit. A hearing was held Jan. 6, but no ruling has been made. A hearing will be held Jan. 28 to determine if Trout Unlimited may intervene in the lawsuit.
Environmental groups have opposed the feedlot since 2017, when Walz Energy planned to raise thousands of cattle and put the manure and other waste into anaerobic digesters.
But the project has morphed over the years into an open feedlot with manure being applied to nearby farm fields.
Opponents fear manure from such a large feedlot in karst topography will contaminate Bloody Run Creek and groundwater. They have unsuccessfully sought reversals from Iowa DNR Director Kayla Lyon and the state Environmental Protection Commission.
Sen. Dan Zumbach, R-Ryan, whose son-in-law, Jared Walz, is one of the Supreme Beef owners, contacted Lyon about the project in early October. He told The Gazette last year he was not attempting to pressure the agency to approve the larger facility but to get the “right folks” at the DNR in contact with Walz.
Comments: (319) 339-3157; firstname.lastname@example.org