Iowa’s “Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund” is a Model Initiative

In a changing climate, Iowa’s “Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund” is a model initiative that will reduce flood risk and protect water quality.

This summer, Iowa experienced one of the rainiest summer’s since the record floods in 1993.  From June through August an average of 23 inches of rain fell compared to over 26 inches during the same period in 1993.  Compare these levels to the record floods in 2008 when 6-10 inches of rainfall fell in just a 24 hour period. As the climate changes, bringing more frequent and intense storms and floods, communities living near streams and rivers are facing increasing threats. Lives and property are increasingly at risk, flood damages are straining taxpayer dollars, and clean water and wildlife habitat are suffering. 

Unfortunately, Iowa has lost much of its own natural defenses to buffer these storms and floods. Less than 10 percent of Iowa’s original wetlands remain. Iowa has lost over 5 million acres of wetlands that could mitigate and prevent damage from future flooding by storing flood waters.

However, this November Iowa will make bold steps towards reversing these threats.  Citizens involved in Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy are leading the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund 2010 ballot initiative that will give Iowans a chance to vote for permanent and dedicated funding to protect natural areas.  This is a model ballot initiative that will help to protect natural areas that are so critical to reducing the risk of flooding, protecting water quality, providing recreation and fish and wildlife habitat.

Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy campaign represents a coalition of over 60 organizations with more than 250,000 members in Iowa – a grassroots coalition of conservationists, sportsmen, environmentalists, community leaders, and businesses committed to creating an accountable and sustainable source of funding to protect Iowa’s natural defenses that buffer us from storms and floods in a changing climate.

This is an initiative that serves as a model for other states and is one that we can all get behind.