Iowa's water and land legacy
Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 03:57 PM
By The Nature Conservancy
In 2008 and 2009, more than 90 percent of Iowa’s state legislators overwhelmingly approved legislation that would establish a constitutionally protected Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. The Nature Conservancy is chairing Iowa's Water and Land Legacy, a coalition comprised of more than 80 diverse organizations working to pass this amendment.
Securing this funding for natural resources will provide benefits across Iowa, like clean water, soil conservation, increased tourism and enhanced outdoor recreation opportunities. In order to secure constitutional protection, legislation was required to pass the House and Senate in two consecutive legislatures.
The proposed constitutional amendment will now appear on the ballot to be voted by the citizens of Iowa in the November 2010 general election. If voters approve the proposal, funding for the trust fund would begin the next time the Iowa Legislature approves a sales tax increase
In 2006, the Governor of Iowa established a Sustainable Natural Resources Funding Advisory Committee to review and research funding needs and mechanisms. This committee concluded that an additional $150 million per year, strategically used at state and local levels, would meet current needs. The committee recommended a 3/8 of 1 percent increase in the state sales tax.
The following would receive proposed funding:
- Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP program)
- Local Conservation Partnership Program
- Watershed Protection
- Lakes restoration
- Natural Resources Management
- Agriculture and land stewardship
Protection and enhancement of Iowa’s natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities benefits current and future generations of Iowans by: increasing tourism and other economic benefits, attracting and retaining residents, businesses and workforce, improving water quality and protecting farm land.
Want more information about sustainable funding for natural resources? Visit the Iowa's Water and Land Legacy site.
MNN is working with The Nature Conservancy to bring you state-by-state environmental information.
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