Iowa Rivers Revival responded to yesterday’s Des Moines Register article DNR hangs on to Lake Delhi funds: Agency wants firm public access plans before it doles out state cash with a Letter to the Editor found below. Links to the Lake Delhi Districts reconstruction plans and the DNR response letter can be found online at the end of the article. What do you think about Lake Delhi? Are these appropriate use of public funds? When and how should conditions be imposed on use of state funds in similar situations?
To the EditorDes Moines Register Regarding your story, “DNR Hangs On to Lake Delhi Funds,” Oct. 2: The Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources is right on track to insist that requirements of state law are met before $5 million in public funds are distributed to rebuild the Lake Delhi Dam. The DNR is simply taking common-sense steps to ensure that any State funds “are spent in a manner that protects the interests of all Iowa taxpayers and that [the DNR’s] $5 million is a sound investment,” as the DNR’s recent letter said to the Lake Delhi Recreational Facility and Water Quality District. It is completely sensible for the DNR to require serious plans by the Lake Delhi District to provide true public access if the lake is recreated, to address the apparent problem of inadequate wastewater treatment systems in perhaps hundreds of homes along the lake, and to take into account the dam’s effects on fish and wildlife. This only makes sense. The Register website does the public a great service by providing links to copies of the Lake Delhi District’s so-called “plans” for these and other key issues (submitted June 21, 2012, to the DNR), and also to the DNR’s measured, thoughtful response (Sept. 20, 2012.) What is most striking is that the Lake Delhi District’s plans are skimpy, vague, and disappointing. The plan to increase public access “is not adequate,” the DNR replied. And the plan to address wastewater treatment systems for homeowners also “is not adequate,” the DNR said. In fact, the plans presented by the Lake Delhi District to address these and other concerns fall woefully short. They don’t pass muster as reflecting the District being a serious partner with the DNR — and all Iowa taxpayers — in this project. The Legislature put basic conditions on its approval of spending $5 million of state taxpayer dollars on Delhi, and the DNR is completely correct to insist the conditions are met. Rosalyn LehmanExecutive DirectorIowa Rivers Revival 515-724-4093, firstname.lastname@example.org