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Iowa Legislative update - Jan. 28, 2020

The Iowa General Assembly has entered week three of the 2020 legislative session, this is the second year of the two-year assembly. Last Friday, Jan. 24, the deadline for individual representatives and senators to submit requests for bill and joint resolution drafts to the Legislative Services Agency passed. This means most bills this session have already been submitted. 

In our last update, we gave an overview of our priorities and expectations for the session. Fortunately, we’ve been able to achieve movement on a few top priorities. You will find updates on our key issues detailed below.

Native Vegetation and Solar Project

Across the U.S., the solar industry is booming. Solar project sites often occupy several acres of land and are projected to cover 3 million acres by 2030. To produce 10 percent of Iowa’s electricity from solar energy, 13,440 acres would need to be occupied by solar arrays—offering an opportunity for project owners to demonstrate their commitment to environmental stewardship.

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Leveraging Local Funds for Watershed Improvement

As stakeholders in Iowa’s 56 hydrologic unit code 8 (HUC-8) watersheds look to improve resiliency through conservation practice adoption, education and outreach, and long-term planning, securing funds for these activities is often a challenge. This fact sheet contains a list of local strategies Watershed Management Authorities (WMA) members can leverage to attain funding.

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Watershed Planning 101

As Iowa looks to address its water quality problem, enabling success through watershed-level planning and project implementation is a crucial step. Developing a watershed management plan is an early part of the water quality improvement process that enables local buy-in and jump starts action in a watershed.

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Watershed Management Authorities in Iowa

A Watershed Management Authority (WMA) is a chapter 28E cooperative agreement among cities, counties, and soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) that enables them to work collaboratively on watershed planning and management within a Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC)-8 watershed. Statewide, several WMAs are organized along the boundaries of smaller watersheds, such as the headwaters of the South Skunk River WMA (cluster of HUC-12s) and Squaw Creek WMA (HUC-10). 

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