COMMUNITY NEWS: Public invited to comment on new plan to fund water quality projects

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has announced public meetings on a new source of funding for projects that will protect water quality in Iowa. Many different types of projects, including riparian buffers, conservation easements, wetland restoration, stream bank stabilization, habitat enhancements and dam removals may be eligible for funding under the new program, according to the Council’s water program director, Susan Heathcote.

The following is from DNR:

State Revolving Fund logo

Get more information about the State Revolving Fund at iowasrf.com

The public is attend a public meeting to discuss the guidelines for “Water Resource Restoration Sponsored Projects,” a new source of water quality funding through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

During the 2009 Iowa General Assembly session, legislation was passed to allow a new method for funding water quality protection. The Iowa Code was amended to add a new category of projects that can be financed with sewer revenues. This new category, called “water resource restoration sponsored projects,” includes locally directed, watershed-based projects to address water quality problems.

This program will be implemented through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF), a loan program for construction of water quality facilities and practices. On a typical CWSRF loan, the utility borrows principal and repays principal plus interest and fees. On a CWSRF loan with a sponsored project, the utility borrows for both the wastewater improvement project and the sponsored project. However, through an overall interest rate reduction, the utility’s ratepayers do not pay any more than they would have for just the wastewater improvements. Instead, two water quality projects are completed for the cost of one.

Three public meetings are scheduled:

Friday, November 16, 2012
9:30 a.m. 10:00 a.m.
DNR Water Supply Office 401 SW 7th Street
Des Moines, IA 50309

Thursday, December 6, 2012
Harlan Community Library
718 Court Street
Harlan, IA 51537

Monday, December 10, 2012
1:00 p.m.
Coralville Public Library
1401 5th Street
Coralville, IA 52241

The purpose of the public meetings is to gather input from program stakeholders on the proposed guidelines and procedures for sponsored projects.  The proposal will be presented to the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) for approval. Pending that approval, State Revolving Fund staff will develop application forms and send out a solicitation for sponsored projects.

Follow this link to view the “DRAFT 11/5/2012 Water Resource Restoration Sponsored Projects Application Process” which will be presented at the meetings for discussion. Oral comments will be recorded at the meetings for consideration in the final draft. Written comments will also be accepted through Monday, December 17, 2012.

Submit written comments (or questions about the public meetings or funding plan) to Patti Cale-Finnegan, Iowa DNR, 401 SW 7th Street, Suite M, Des Moines, IA 50309; e-mail patti.cale-finnegan@dnr.iowa.gov; fax 515-725-0348.

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One response to “COMMUNITY NEWS: Public invited to comment on new plan to fund water quality projects

  1. Hi

    My house was flooded in 2008 in Iowa City, so I asked what increased the risks for flooding and what decreased the risks for flooding. . . .with my camera and research.

    I discovered that the answer was really very simple: After much documentation and research, I discovered that lands that absorbed precipitation reduced the risks of flooding. . . . .and that lands that did not absorb precipitation increased the risks of flooding.

    Yet, our urban centers across the nation operate on the erroneous assumption that “progress” or “economics” means that urban centers need to keep reaching onto rural lands, installing impermeable surfaces that increase the risks of flooding.

    We need to count more than private cash as “economy” in a public nation with a public future. We need a logical economy that also counts the hidden genetic potentials in every seed and seedling that wants to grow upwards toward light .. . .impossible to count in private cash numbers.

    Research has shown that green riparian zones (native vegetation and trees) along waterways can reduce erosion of land into that waterway by as much as 80% (for wide grass buffer strips) and by as much as 90% for diverse native vegetation including native trees and roots.

    I hope that our urban planners and representatives at the local, state, national and global levels will recognize that simplistic quantitative counts of cash mean little if we don’t know what we’re counting. That is, our leaders need to understand that a healthy environment produces a healthy economy or logical economy, a more productive ecoeconomic system . . . .that they need to count more than private cashflow floods to represent a public at the local, state, national or global level.

    We need an economy that values the invaluable, that measures logic of public policy, logic impossible to count in simple, mechanical and artificial counts of cashflow floods that destroy fragile watersheds.

    Could we please develop an ecological economic model to balance the cashflow model of cash-driven “economics” with the critical flows of nature impossible to count in cash. . . . to balance earth’s budget? That is, we need to count more than private cashflow floods through private bank accounts in a public nation to protect our common future together.

    We need to balance earth’s budget to heal a broken world. Cash only counts the most private, obvious, immediate of only one obvious now. . . .and blinds us to the public and private costs and consequences of our public and private actions. We can’t afford to ignore the costs and consequences of our actions.

    We need to nurture the positiives to fill in voids of the negative.

    The word root, “eco -” as in “eco+nomic” and “eco+logic” means “house” or “oikos” in Greek. . . .but not every house nurtures those within. Houses, cell or self or home or globe need God’s nature, hidden genetic potentials to produce critical flows such as breathable oxygen, drinkable water and rich, productive topsoil to keep humans alive day to day and minute to minute.

    But our mechanical cash systems ironically value the most critical flows the least and the least critcial flows the most, the most deadly the most:

    Human cash systems count the most critical and hidden flow, breathable oxygen as O2 the least .. . . . .even though humans die within minutes without O2 (but only fragile, photosynthetic and double-bonded O2, not toxic CO2, not CO, not CO3, not O3, etc.)

    Human cash systems count the next most critical and hidden flow, drinkable water the next least. . . . . .even though humans die within days without H2O.

    Human cash systems count the next most critical and hidden flow, rich and productive topsoil production the next least, critical topsoil that grows green photosynthesis, food, shelter and laughter for humans . . . . .even though humans die within months without food.

    Some researchers have speculated that human civilization cannot survive if they destroy the soil under their feet. Can our nation survive harsh and insensitive cash-flow floods that destroy breathable air, drinkable water and the fragile soils and greens that produce riches of the earth that we need to hold the fragile web for all life intact?

    Let us to begin now to value the invaluable impossible to count in private cash. . . . .to count critical flows and producers of life that grow the future as well as we count private cash now.

    Let our nation include those procedures in our public budgets, local, state, national, globally to protect and nurture the world that we live in to enrich our lives. Thanks.