Since the Iowa Flood Center was founded 10 years ago, floods have devastated parts of Iowa nearly every year. The spring floods in 2019 reminded us that there is no “perfect storm” causing these events; rather, the intensification of rainfall and associated flooding is our new normal. In addition to flooding, the 2019 nitrate load leaving the state has now doubled since 2003. To address these issues, we as Iowans must strive for greater balance of agricultural, economic, natural, water, and human interests in a manner that will progressively improve our water quality and better manage flood events.
In 2020, we must accept the water-quantity and -quality challenges we face and work together — the Iowa way — to come up with meaningful, science-based solutions. Like most Iowans, I support the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, which would create permanent, substantial, and reliable funding to protect natural resources and increase recreation opportunities throughout Iowa. This funding would allow us to accelerate our conservation efforts to make meaningful improvements to address flooding and improve water quality.
Iowans share a profound, deep-rooted sense of justice — a sense of what is right. Certain policies that maximize private corporate wealth have a very public impact on all Iowans. We have a responsibility to stand strong for what is right and just. 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.
Larry Weber is a research engineer at the Iowa Flood Center.