Planning for Iowa's resilient future

By Joe McGovern on October 29, 2018 in Blog

Wallace and Bowers nature area in Spirit Lake

When I was driving my daughter to school recently, we stopped so I could take a few pictures along the way. We had received a heavy rainfall the night before, which has been pretty common this fall.

In one field, there was a river of brown water rushing through the harvested bean field, carrying precious topsoil along with it. Just downstream on a neighboring field the water was flowing just as heavy, but it was streaming through a wide grassed waterway, coming out clean and leaving the soil in the field. My daughter asked “Why aren’t all waterways like that?” Not wanting to bog our morning ride down, I said, “It’s complicated, but it mostly comes down to finances.” She wasn’t satisfied.

A little planning can go a long way toward making our landscape more resilient, saving our precious natural resources. But we have to make sure Iowa’s landowners and farmers have the technical services, funding and tools they need to make it happen.

The common thread between every INHF project is that they all start with people that want to protect and restore a natural piece of our state, making our shared home a better place. We are honored to work with landowners and partners to make this protection possible. But the truth is that these projects aren’t happening as fast or as often as they need to be. Iowans deserve more. And no one can do them alone.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of positive things happening on the landscape like watershed work, sustainable agriculture and natural land restoration, but Iowa lacks the necessary funding to deliver the progress at the scale needed.

The good news is that Iowa voters, in 2010, already created the first step of the solution, The Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. But the next step — funding — is up to the legislature and governor and remains unfulfilled, even with recent polling that seven out of 10 Iowans approve of raising the sales tax 3/8 of a cent to fund it. That action would dedicate over $180 million per year for natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation. It is up to our elected officials to make that happen.

So between now and Nov. 6, please ask your candidates and elected officials if they support saving our soil, cleaning our water, protecting wildlife habitat and getting people outdoors. Ask them to fund the Natural Resource and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. We have waited long enough. The time is now.

Thank you for your support,

Joe McGovern
INHF President