Get in some outdoor time.
Our Sierra Club Groups in Iowa regularly plan outings and other
activities. Select a Local Group in the My backyard dropdown menu
and get details of the outings groups have planned.
Strategic Planning Retreat
of the Iowa Chapter Executive Committee met June 28-30, 2013, in Okoboji
to make decisions on the Chapter's activities for the next five
years. See some of the photographs
taken during the weekend.
Tappaan Lodge Outings
to get away? Check out the activities being offered at the Sierra
Club's Clair Tappaan Lodge at the Sierra Nevada of California mountains in
the middle of the Tahoe National Forest.
The Iowa Chapter developed a survey to find
out what our members and supporters are interested in. This will help us better
understand how to contact you when your issue arises. We'd love to hear
about what matters most to you, what issues you're involved in, if you have
time to work with us, and more!
take a few minutes to complete our survey.
about volunteer activities and upcoming projects. Click here
for more information.
Read recent Sierra Club news releases.
Information that has been moved off
the front page.
Are you interested in what is going on with our lawmakers in Des Moines? See the Legislation that is of interest to you, your environment, and your community.
Find out more and respond to our action alerts.
Manure Spills and Fish Kills
Find out where the latest
manure spill and/or fish kill occurred here...
The Department of Natural Resources has
posted fish consumption advisories for nine sites. Find out where
they are here...
rainwater or snow melt need somewhere to go. Often, the sewage
bypasses a treatment plant thus preventing sewage from backing up into
basements. Facilities are required to report bypasses
caused by mechanical failures to the DNR within 12 hours of onset or
discovery. Facilities do not have to immediately report bypasses from
precipitation events, but must include them in their monthly operating
report to the DNR. Click here
to see the most current information about your city's bypass history this
for living well and doing good.
Are Not People
Sierra Club has joined a coalition to advance the efforts to amend the
constitution so that corporations are not persons. Find
out more and sign the MoveToAmend
DONATE TO THE IOWA CHAPTER
The Iowa Chapter of Sierra Club
now accepts PayPal so you can help financially support Iowa Sierra
Club's objectives for clean air, clean water and a cleaner
a non-deductible donation to the Iowa Chapter.
can also make a tax deductible donation to the Iowa Chapter.
EPA Public Listening Sessions on Greenhouse Gas
EPA held public listening sessions across the country in October and November to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants.
The feedback from these sessions will play an important role in helping EPA develop smart, cost-effective guidelines that reflect the latest and best information available. The agency will seek additional public input during the notice and comment period once it issues a proposal by June 2014.
Sierra Club members from EPA’s Region VII states in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri gave their comments at the session held in Lenexa, Kansas, on November 4. Click here to see photos of that event.
Government Shutdown Impacts Environment
The government shutdown that resulted October 1 from the stalemate between the House of Representatives and the Senate on the Continuing Resolution to keep government open has generated a lot of publicity. In the days leading up to the shutdown and in the first days following it, all of Iowa’s Congressional representation have weighed in by releasing news releases or posting information on their websites.
Find a list of programs and services impacted by the shutdown here. Find a list of programs and services impacted by the shutdown here.Let your representation in Congress know how you feel about the shutdown. We’ll even provide their contact information. We’ll even provide their contact information.
Documents Reveal Banstad Interference is Undermining Prospects for Badly
Needed Clean Water Act Reforms
documents obtained by the Sierra Club Iowa Chapter, Iowa Citizens for
Community Improvement and the Environmental Integrity Project prove that Gov.
Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds are attempting the undermine
regulating of concentrated animal feeding operations.
obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), indicate that
"...the Branstad Administration’s top priorities is to shield a
polluting industry from strong and effective public oversight by undermining
what could be one of the most significant reforms in years to begin cracking
down on factory farm pollution and cleaning up Iowa’s 628 polluted rivers,
lakes, and streams."
MidAmerican Scraps Nuclear Plant
MidAmerican Energy announced on June 3,
2013, that it had decided against constructing a nuclear power plant in
Iowa. The energy company cited its reasoning as lack of an approved
design for the modular nuclear plant it envisioned and too many questions
about limits on carbon emissions from a natural gas plant.
Record-Breaking Nitrates Unacceptable
Des Moines, IA – Record-breaking
nitrates found in both the Raccoon and the Des Moines Rivers, the
drinking source for
hundreds of thousands of Central Iowans, should be a wake-up call for
legislators before they adjourn for the session.
Des Moines Water Works’ reports of 24
mg/l in the Raccoon River and 17.87 mg/l in the Des Moines River (previous
records were 22 mg/l and 14.2 mg/l respectively) represent totally
unacceptable levels of nitrates in our drinking water. Nitrates can cause
serious illness in humans.
“The responsibility for the nitrate
levels falls on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and
the Farm Bureau,” said Debbie Neustadt, Sierra Club Iowa Chapter chair. “We’ve
had this problem for 40 years and industry continues to resist any form of
regulation that would improve our water quality.”
In November 2012, the Iowa Department
of Land Stewardship and the Department of Natural Resources released the Iowa
Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
The strategy is intended to reduce the amount of Nitrogen and Phosphorus that
floats through the Mississippi River watershed (of which both the Raccoon and
Des Moines Rivers are a part) into the Gulf of Mexico and contributes to the
hypoxia (more commonly known as the “dead zone”) there. The Iowa “strategy”
calls for targeting “…voluntary conservation measures, in conjunction
with research, development and demonstration of new approaches.”
“The Iowa Nutrient Strategy is based
on the false premise that Iowa is making significant progress in reducing
water pollution and that no real changes need to be made in what thus far has
been a voluntary and ineffective approach to nonpoint sources of pollution,”
said Wally Taylor, Sierra Club Iowa Chapter Legal chair.
Legislation being considered during
this session includes allocating $7 million for implementing the nutrient
reduction strategy but requires no accountability to whoever receives the
“How much more evidence do
policymakers need to understand that voluntary conservation measures are
ineffective?” said Neila Seaman, Sierra Club Iowa Chapter director. “Agricultural
runoff is resulting in record nitrate levels of our drinking water.”
Leaders Still Not Protecting Water Quality
The historic nitrate levels in the Des
Moines and Raccoon Rivers, the proposed Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and
legislation appropriating funding for agriculture and natural resources
can be confusing. We've attempted to decipher how they all fit together
our water quality is still not being protected.
Your Photo Seen By Millions?
As part of the Wilderness
50 coalition, on May 6 the Sierra Club, the Smithsonian Institution and
Nature's Best Photography launched a "Wilderness Forever"
photography competition. Fifty winning photos illustrating the
magnificence of our nation's wilderness will be viewed by millions at the
Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. The
professionally juried photo contest will run through September 3, and the
winning photos will be included as part of a 2014 exhibition celebrating the
50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
Share your images, tell your story, and enter the contest here.
State Department Will
Make Keystone Public Comments Public After All
According to InsideClimate
News, the State Department has reversed itself and now says it will provide
online public access to comments on its controversial environmental
review. Under pressure, the department reverses itself and says it will
provide online public access to comments on its controversial environmental
the full article.
for more information about the public meeting and to see the documents.
Draft Recreation Plan
Comments Due April 15
The Iowa DNR held meetings
last fall to gather information to develop a new 5-year outdoor recreation
plan for Iowa. The draft plan has been available for public comment and
will be submitted to the National Park Service. See
the Sierra Club Iowa Chapter's comments.
You can also download the Outdoor
Recreation in Iowa Plan to see what DNR is recommending. Beware:
the document is 642 pages.
Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy
The Iowa Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural
Resources and Iowa State University has released its Iowa Nutrient
Reduction Strategy. The strategy is supposed to include plans for
reducing the amount of Nitrogen and Phosphorus that flow from the Mississippi
River watershed into the Gulf of Mexico, where the pollutants contribute to
the dead zone.
The strategy, however, addresses a reduction in Nitrogen and
Phosphorus resulting from non-point sources (primarily agriculture) by
voluntary compliance, more research and additional technology.
Read the strategy
document. Be advised that the Nutrient Reduction Strategy is 197
The Iowa Chapter submitted comments on the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy are being
the Iowa Chapter's comments. Read
EPA Representatives Meet
The EPA has posted its draft work plan agreement with the Iowa
Department of Natural Resources. The Iowa DNR has yet to sign it.
the draft agreement.
VII EPA representatives met with members of Sierra Club Iowa Chapter and Iowa Citizens
for Community Improvement in
Des Moines in
October. David Cozad, Regional Counsel, and Karen Flournoy, Water,
Wetlands and Pesticides Division director, heard from those affected by
CAFOs and answered questions.
meeting was part of an ongoing effort to keep communication lines open
between EPA and members of three organizations who filed a dedelegation
petition in September 2007 that would strip the Iowa DNR of its
authority to manage federally mandated water permitting
EPA Region 7 in Kansas City
also accepted comments on
regulation of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in Iowa.
Officials wanted to hear from members of the public about the problems with CAFOs and
how CAFOs can be better regulated to protect the public and the
Read the comments
submitted by Sierra Club Iowa Chapter, Iowa Citizens for Community
Improvement and the Environmental Integrity Project, the three
organizations that filed the dedelegation petition that prompted the
EPA has posted documents on
its website pertaining to the investigation. Read all
public comments submitted.
Go to our CAFOs
page to learn more.
Your Piece of America
Sierra Club launched My
Piece of America, where we encourage you to share your favorite
outdoor place and take action to protect special areas.
Many of our favorite wild places -- from the striking red rock deserts
of the Southwest to the cool, leafy city park where you take your kids
-- need your help to protect them from threats like oil drilling and
One way you can help right now is by urging President Obama to designate
some of America's best wild places as national monuments.
and share a photo of your favorite piece of America with your family
and friends, and inspire them to take action, too.
Water Report Card
See how Iowa's delegation in the U.S. House of
Representatives scored on Sierra Club's Clean
Water Report Card.
Terry Branstad launched his weekly video initiative in 2011 where he answers
questions submitted via Twitter, Facebook, email and via his
website. Watch the governor's videos or send in a question. See
The Iowa Chapter of Sierra Club's members are
approximately 5,000 of your friends and neighbors. Inspired by nature, we
work together to protect our communities and the planet. The Club is
America's oldest, largest and most influential grassroots environmental
Sierra Club® and
"Explore, enjoy and protect the planet"® are registered trademarks
of the Sierra Club. © 2008
Sierra Club. The Sierra Club Seal is a registered copyright, service
mark, and trademark of the Sierra Club.
Last updated 07.16.2013
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