State Legislators Tour Stormwater Infrastructure and Discuss Models of Innovative Conservation
June 14, 2023
Legislators learn the benefits of conservation efforts as they seek solutions for floodplain resilience and water quality
On Tuesday, June 13, nine state legislators from Iowa participated in a stormwater infrastructure walking tour to learn firsthand about how stormwater infrastructure contributes to floodplain resilience, soil health, water quality, and river health. The event convened at the University of Northern Iowa Center for Energy and Environmental Education and the walking tour was guided by specialists from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Key experts from the Mississippi River Legislative Caucus (MRLC), the Environmental Policy and Innovation Center, and the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund facilitated a discussion on innovative models of conservation that leverage federal infrastructure funds and private investor interest to speed up the speed and scale of conservation results, while also reducing risk.
As the Mississippi River watershed continues to experience historic rates of nutrient pollution and flooding, legislators understand the advantages of supporting natural infrastructure initiatives and innovative policy models to directly buy nutrient reduction and other environmental outcomes from private investors.
“We had a really great conversation today about local governments and what they’re doing in terms of stormwater mitigation in urban Iowa and then opportunities to try and take on some of the agricultural causes of water impediments here in Iowa,” said State Representative Adam Zabner, NCEL State Lead. “It was a really great bipartisan conversation and I really appreciated all the perspectives.”
“It was great to participate in this event where we toured the UNI campus to see the research-based stormwater practices they’ve implemented and to understand a little bit better how that works in the environment and improves water quality,” said State Representative Chad Ingles.
“This was a great opportunity for legislators to experience the importance of clean water, pollution reduction, and floodplain resilience firsthand,” said Dylan McDowell, Executive Director of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators. “It’s our hope that touring this stormwater infrastructure can serve as inspiration and give them firsthand knowledge for effective policymaking. We look forward to seeing new collaborations that are spurred from this event.”
The tour was organized by MRLC staff in partnership with the Iowa Environmental Council. The MRLC was established to better coordinate state legislators in the states bordering the Mississippi River around river health and sustainable infrastructure development.
The Mississippi River Legislative Caucus is a project of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL). Created by and for state legislators, NCEL is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that organizes over 1,200 environmentally-committed state legislators from all 50 states and both parties. NCEL provides venues and opportunities for lawmakers to share ideas and collaborate on environmental issues.