Letter to the Editor:
IWILL Vote Yes for Natural Resources
For a state whose lifeblood is our rich soils, Iowa’s natural resource record seems short-sighted. Iowa currently ranks 49 out of 50 states in public lands, and 47 out of 50 states in natural resource spending. The DNR cannot adequately maintain our state parks. Farmers, alone, cannot afford to fund voluntary conservation measures. Currently, our state is losing a staggering average of five tons of topsoil, per acre, per year. Half of Iowa’s topsoil has already washed away! We have 500 impaired waterways, and our excess nutrients are contributing to creating an enormous dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Major flood events are increasing, at great human and economic cost. Song-bird and other wild-life populations continue in decline as their habitat is degraded.
Fortunately, on November 2nd, every Iowan will have an unprecedented opportunity to weigh in on these concerns. On the back of the ballot is Question 1, known as Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy (IWILL), to create a constitutionally-protected Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. This will be financed through a small percentage of any future sales tax increase. In Missouri and other states, similar dedicated funds have worked well to increase the share of state funding going to natural resources.
IWILL represents a state-wide commitment to a sustainable future. It will help maintain Iowa’s legendary agricultural productivity, preserve habitat, and create jobs linked to outdoor recreation. A majority vote is needed to have this measure pass. I will turn over my ballot and vote YES for IWILL, and I hope you will, too.