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Making connections with nature accessible to everyone

Zakariyah Hill is the Founder and Executive Director of The Supply Hive. In this guest blog piece, Zakariyah reflects on a camping and hiking trip co-hosted by The Supply Hive and Wander Women for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

On September 9th, 2022, 12 Black and Brown bodies gathered for a 2-night experience in the Mines of Spain. The weekend entailed lots of laughs, fellowship, and first-time experiences for quite a few folks. This trip was significant and unique because it was the first BIPOC-focused adventure organized by Wander Women. The Supply Hive saw this as the perfect opportunity to partner and connect our audience with this opportunity without them having to worry about the cost.  

As the founder and executive director of The Supply Hive, I have a lot of passion for the events and programming we offer those that work with us and are a part of our hive. I only want to provide them with the best and ensure joy is included. My interests and hobbies can also be at the forefront when things like Black Girls Camp are established. I recently discovered the magic of Iowa's forests and wildlife. I knew it needed to be shared with many others, especially those who may not have the accessibility or safety to experience it on their own.  

Black Girls Camp is an extension of an annual Black Girls Brunch The Supply Hive hosted starting the summer of 2020. The goal is to provide a space for other Black folks who identify as women, nonbinary, trans, etc., to network with each other and broaden their relationships while also enjoying a bit of luxury in being catered to at the same time. The extension kept the same fundamental idea but gave it a long period and a different location – the woods.  


Cedar River at Palisades Kepler Park

IEC submits comments objecting to DNR's intent to withdraw Cedar River TMDL

On Monday, November 7, the Iowa Environmental Council (IEC) submitted comments urging the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) not to follow through on its intent to withdraw the Cedar River TMDL for nitrate.

A TMDL, or Total Maximum Daily Load, is a pollution “budget" for an impaired water.  The Cedar River TMDL is intended to reduce nitrate in the river, which serves as a source of drinking water for the City of Cedar Rapids. The DNR uses the TMDL to limit nitrogen discharges from so-called point sources, such as factories and wastewater treatment plants, via a permitting system.

Withdrawal of the TMDL would be an unprecedented step by DNR. Although the Cedar River was removed from the Impaired Waters List in 2022, a TMDL is typically left in place for a delisted waterway as a protective measure. There is also evidence that the Cedar River continues to have a nitrate problem and could be relisted in the future.


It’s time to get serious about water quality

Last month, we marked the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. Unfortunately, here in Iowa, we continue to struggle with fertilizer and bacteria pollution in our waters from agricultural production, which is largely left out of the Clean Water Act.

To mark the anniversary and work left to do, Julie Kraft, the director of organizational development for Wings2Water, wrote a guest column that was published in the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Like many of our member organizations, Wings2Water supports funding the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund.

When we Fund the Trust, we support preventing water pollution, protecting sources of drinking water, and increasing opportunities for swimming and fishing.

Learn more about the new Color of Water Initiative

The Color of Water Initiative was created by the Water Hub to build voice and visibility for people of color in the water movement. Their goal is to connect reporters with a more diverse set of experts, and build capacity for these experts to elevate the stories of their communities, which have often been left out of conversations around water.

From water access and drought response in the West to lead pipes and PFAS pollution in the Great Lakes; to recurring flooding and water infrastructure failures in the South, Color of Water members have deep expertise and first-hand experience on water challenges and solutions all across the country.

Learn more about the launch of the Color of Water and the importance of equity and inclusion in the water world. 

IEC and coalition partners respond to DNR's draft CAFO rules

A coalition of more than a dozen environmental organizations joined IEC in drafting and submitting formal comments in response to the DNR's revised AFO rules draft in October to request stronger protections for water quality in Iowa. Details in those AFO siting rules can make all the difference in protecting water.

The comments include requests to lower the allowable rates of manure applied to crops, increase protections for karst terrain, close loopholes that evade regulatory oversight, and retain the ability to stop high-risk facilities. The comments respond to proposed revisions DNR released on August 12, 2022. 

Read the full details about the coalition's review of the draft rules.


What's new in Iowa's water news:

•  When destitute small towns mean dangerous tap water (The Quad-City Times)
•  Making room for the river: Communities look at nature-based solutions  (Iowa Public Radio)
•  Iowa DNR says Cedar River water quality plan isn't necessary, experts disagree   (The Gazette)
•  Featured Communities – Bloody Run Creek, Iowa (River Network)
•  What you need to know about the Cedar River TMDL  (The Gazette)
•  Iowa’s Impact on the Mississippi River  (KCRG)
•   Spirit Lake North project to become reality (Northwest Iowa Outdoors)
•  Water sits on the back burner in Iowa’s election campaign (The Gazette)
•  To stay or to go: Increased flooding forces towns to make hard choices  (Iowa Public Radio)
•  Analysis finds ‘stunning’ lack of compliance with coal ash rules, putting groundwater at risk (Energy News Network)

Upcoming water events:

• IGWA Fall 2022 Conference - DMACC Newton Campus - Nov. 9
Wings2Water Cheers to 3 years! - Cedar Rapids - Nov. 9
IEC's Green Gala & Art Auction - Mainframe Art Studios, Des Moines - Nov. 10
Headwaters of the South Skunk WMA Open House - Story City & Jewell - Nov. 10
• Kayaking Session at Bender Pool - Wickiup Hill Learning Center, Linn Co. - Nov. 13
Partners of Scott County Watersheds' 2022 in Review - Davenport - Nov. 15
Soul - Soil - Spark Conference: Talking Land, Water, Climate - Des Moines - Nov. 16
• Kayaking Session at Bender Pool - Wickiup Hill Learning Center, Linn Co. - Nov. 27
• Holiday Walk: “Motor Mill: Legends, Locals, & Limestone” - Motor Mill Historic Site, Clayton Co. - Dec. 1
• Indoor Kayaking - Trail Point Aquatic & Wellness, Ankeny - Dec. 10 & Dec. 11
Kayaking Session at Bender Pool - Wickiup Hill Learning Center, Linn Co. - Dec. 11


Follow Us

Iowa Environmental Council
505 Fifth Ave., Suite 850 
 Des Moines, Iowa 50309-2317
515-244-1194 | iecmail@iaenvironment.org

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