Since 1981
Updated May 24, 2013

Welcome to the
official website of the
Cedar Wapsie Group
of the Iowa Chapter
of the Sierra Club.

Connie Lehman
(319) 533-5946

Mike Wyrick
(319) 393-8948

Conservation Co-Chair
Chapter Delegate
Helen Administrator
Pam Mackey Taylor
(319) 366-2428

Outing Chair
Michele O'Connor
(319) 365-3601

Secretary/Web Master
Chris Heald
(319) 899-8635

Political Chair
Robb Hogg
(319) 247-0223

Vince O'Connor
(319) 365-3601

Environmental Education Chair
Elwood Garlock
(319) 247-0223

Yes, we're updating your Cedar Wapsie Group web page. And we want to make it yours. Give us feedback. Send pictures, letters or links. We'll try and post what we can. We want to make it your web site and welcome your participation. Send what you've got to the Cedar Wapsie Webguy. Do it now.

Send us your favorite links, like the Indian Creek Nature Center, Iowa Prairie Network, or breathingearth.

Check out the Environment & Sustainability website

-- Issues of Concern --

No building in the flood plain

The proposed Cedar Rapids levee system should protect both sides of the river, should include upstream wetland restoration, and should protect the Cedar Rapids sewage treatment system

Highway 100, routed away from the Rock Island County and State Preserves

Outdoor wood boilers banned, in order to protect public health

Sensitive area ordinance, to protect the natural areas in Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids policies should promote infill, rather than building on the outskirts

Dismantling Sixth Street Coal plant should include removing the coal-ash ponds and cleaning up the pollutants

-- Highway 100 and Rock Island Preserve--

Position of Cedar-Wapsie Group of the Sierra Club

We are concerned about the Extension of Highway 100, since we believe that the purpose and need for the project has not been adequately justified in the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, nor in any public forum where this highway has been discussed. 

However if a highway is absolutely going to be built, the Sierra Club opposes the building of Highway 100 through the Rock Island County Preserve and the Rock Island State Preserve.

Given the large number of endangered, threatened, of special concern, and rare plants and animals in the Rock Island Preserves, we believe that the construction of a four-lane highway through this area will cause significant environmental damage.  Although in the past, we have indicated that we would consider building a parkway through the county preserve, the maps of the unique plant and animal species indicate that this idea would cause serious damage to those species.

We support the proposal presented by the Conservation Board at the 2004 joint meeting of the Linn County Conservation Board and the Linn County Board of Supervisors where Highway 100 would be routed north on Edgewood Road which would be extended to the north, then west on Tower Terrace Road which would be extended through the Chain Lakes Natural Area, then curving southwest to meet the proposed north-south route of Highway 100. This route would avoid Hanging Bog Preserve and the Rock Island Preserves. Although Chain Lakes Natural Area is also County Conservation property, this area is flood plain, is regularly scoured by floods, and is not the high quality natural area that the Rock Island County and State Preserves are. In exchange for the use of the Chain Lakes Natural Area, we support giving the aba ndoned railroad right-of-way bordering the Rock Island Preserves to the Conservation Board and developing it as a bike trail.

The Rock Island County Preserve is a unique area.  It has a large number of rare and endangered plant species. There are a significant number of species of butterflies on the property. The Blanding's turtle thrives on the property. The Blanding's turtle is on the state's threatened species list.

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-- Celebrating Thirty Years: --
1981 to 2011

Thirty years ago the Cedar Wapsie Group of the Sierra Club was formed. Originally part of the Iowa City Area Group, the number of members living in Cedar Rapids had grown large enough to support the founding of the Cedar Rapids Group.

From its early beginning the Group focused on outings and environmental protection.

Early environmental protection involved stopping a molybdenum-roasting plant. Developers were planning on shipping rocks laden with molybdenum to a processing plant in Cedar Rapids, where a chemical and heat process would extract the molybdenum. Cedar Rapids was picked because its air quality could handle the emissions from the plant. Residents were told that the emissions would not harm them, but instead would require them to replace their windshield wipers more frequently. The concept for the plant never moved beyond concept.

Another early project, which has become a soap opera, is the protection of the natural areas from Highway 100. At one point the Department of Transportation developed a misguided scheme to mitigate a native prairie that was going to be destroyed in one segment of Highway 100. The prairie soils were scooped up and replanted on the northwest corner of I-380 and Highway 100. That effort failed and the prairie did not thrive. Later the City of Cedar Rapids decided to put a storm water detention basin in that same spot. But the detention basin failed and could not retain the water. Any plants that did manage to survive the transplant process were under siege by the grading for the detention basin and its later demise.

All of our early organizing was done at a time before the internet, before personal computers, before Twitter, before cell phones. The tactics are so different. Yet the issues are so similar – protecting the environment from destructive economic forces.

In its early days the Group celebrated John Muir’s birthday every spring by trekking to Hanging Bog State Preserve. John Muir was the founder of the Sierra Club. The group also went on outings each year to Yellow River State Forest and Backbone State Park. These weekends were filled with camping, hiking, trout fishing, and great conversation around a campfire.

More recently the group has had an annual outing at Wildwood, a private campground northeast of Cedar Rapids.

The Group is collecting information from the Group’s early days. If you have memories, memorabilia, and information from the early days of the group, contact Pam Mackey Taylor (319-366-2428).

For those who have been involved over the years, thank you for your work. To those who are involved today, hang in there and keep up the good work. We’ve come a long way in the last 30 years.

(Contact Connnie Lehman for details on Calendar Events)

June 7, 2014
Summer Outing at Morgan Creek Park - Starts at 3:00 PM through evening or overnight camping

May 5, 2014
Roadside Cleanup
2:00 PM at North Center Point Road and County Home Road

July 19, 2014
Green Day at the Farmers' Market

Volunteers Needed

Fact: We need your help and participation.

The Sierra Club is a vibrant, active , and effective group of people like you. But our local groups cannot survive without your help.

Please help the Cedar-Wapsie Group continue by volunteering some of your time, energy, ideas, or skills.

Most of the Chair positions (left column) need help. Call any of these people to find out why they volunteer and how you can contribute.

Care about the local environment, have a special skill, and want to make a difference? Volunteer by contacting Group Chair, Connnie Lehman or any of the people listed on the left.