8 Beaches with an E. coli-related Advisory:
Backbone Beach (Dundee, Delaware County, IA)*
Beed’s Lake Beach (Hampton, Franklin County, IA)*
Geode Beach (Danville, Des Moines County, IA)*
Lake Darling Beach (Brighton, Washington County, IA)*
Lewis and Clark (Blue Lake) Beach (Onawa, Monona County, IA)*
McIntosh Woods Beach (Clear Lake, Ventura, Cerro Gordo County, IA)*
Prairie Rose Beach (Harlan, Shelby County, IA)*
Orleans Beach (Spirit Lake, Milford, Dickinson County, IA)*
*Data from the Iowa DNR State Park Beach Monitoring Program **Data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District
Queer Hikers Group Unites the LGBTQIA+ Community in Their Shared Love of Iowa's Outdoor Spaces
This issue, we share a story from Emily Martin (She/They), who is an environmental scientist, writer, and artist who co-founded Queer Hikers. She works as the conservation programs coordinator for Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Emily holds a B.S. and M.S. in Environmental Science from Iowa State University.
For many people, the outdoors serves as a refuge. Entire communities are built around loving the outdoors in different ways: hunting, hiking, camping, birding, fishing, photography, and much more. Iowa has a plethora of groups where nature lovers connect. As a lifelong Iowan, I noticed one group seemed to be missing from these spaces in Iowa – the LGBTQIA+ community.
In the summer of 2021, Queer Hikers was born out of a need to build an LGBTQIA+ community in Iowa that connects around our love for the outdoors. Queer Hikers explores Iowa’s outdoor spaces with members of the LGBTQIA+ community to build friendships, learn about nature, and be our full selves. We hold free events once a month around the state, from Walnut Woods State Park in Des Moines to F.W. Kent Park in Johnson County.
The importance of having a dedicated space for queer folks in Iowa’s outdoors spaces quickly became apparent after our first hike in 2021. It can be difficult to show up as your whole self when there is a fear of how you will be perceived and treated. When we hike as a group, there is safety. In turn, the more queer people we see in the outdoors, the more confident we feel. Our events are filled with joy and connection that has been missing for some queer Iowans.
Queer Hikers is part of a growing community across the country. Other groups and people based around getting the LGBTQIA+ community outdoors have existed for years – The Venture Out Project, Unlikely Hikers, Wild Diversity, Queer Nature, Pattie Gonia, OUT There Adventures, OutVentures, and many more. Smaller local groups have formed, too, from queer climbing groups in California to queer angling groups in Colorado. Now, Queer Hikers is queering the outdoors in Iowa, one hike at a time.
With the passing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) in late 2021, Iowa is set to receive $110 million annually between 2022-2026 to support clean water and drinking water infrastructure improvements across our state. This includes $45 million annually for lead service line replacement.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is beginning their process to determine how these funds will be spent. A crucial piece of the process is getting feedback on the implementation plans from Iowans.
The DNR will host two public webinar sessions on Monday, June 27. We encourage you to participate and share your thoughts on how Iowa should target these dollars to critical needs and communities. Registration is NOT required.
One session will focus on clean water and the other will focus on drinking water. DNR staff will discuss Iowa's BIL allocations, proposed project funding opportunities, a proposed new 'Disadvantaged Community' definition, and proposed loan forgiveness eligibility criteria and allocation formula. Each session will consist of a 20 minute presentation followed by a 40 minute question and answer session.
Monday, June 27, 10:00 AM – Clean Water Discussion:
Clean Water Webinar Information
Zoom meeting link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86190184139?pwd=VmpkVFhNb0RGUmZCTE5HZXRYYkREdz09
Meeting ID: 861 9018 4139
Monday, June 27, 1:00 PM – Drinking Water Discussion:
Drinking Water Webinar Information
Zoom meeting link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85243609007?pwd=NU5SeEMwaDU5UC9UYlVtS2RDeFRndz09
Meeting ID: 852 4360 9007
In addition to the public meetings, DNR will accept written public comments regarding the BIL implementation plan through Friday, July 8, 2022 at email@example.com. Please share your thoughts by attending the public meetings or sharing your feedback by July 8. Thank you!
Additional resource: https://www.epa.gov/system/files/documents/2022-03/bipartisan-infrastructure-law_water_infographic_march-2022.pdf
Attend Iowa Drought Preparedness Plan Stakeholder Input Meetings
Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD) in partnership with the Iowa DNR and IDALS, are preparing a statewide drought preparedness plan and are seeking input from stakeholders.
A series of stakeholder input meetings are scheduled around the state in Iowa Falls, Sioux City, Cedar Rapids, and Creston throughout July, with a virtual option to attend at 9 a.m. on August 3. An important part of drought planning efforts is hearing from Iowans, so make your voice heard and share your thoughts.
IEC's Water Matching Gift
We are very excited that an anonymous, generous donor has challenged the Iowa Environmental Council to come up with $25,000 in fundraising to support the important work of our Water and Land Program. Once we raise that amount, each gift will be matched dollar for dollar!
Will you make a gift today and help us meet this match? Your donation will go to support work like our Weekly Water Watch emails, beach advisory tracking, advocating to improve Iowa's water quality and land stewardship around the state, and more. We appreciate your generosity and every way you support our work.
EPA Watershed Academy's Clean Water Module
The Clean Water Act Module Part 1 is intended to increase your knowledge of the Clean Water Act (CWA); provide an overview of Water Quality Standards (WQS); and describe the role of states, territories, and authorized tribes, the public, and EPA in the WQS process.
A half century after the passage of the landmark federal CWA, and long after the law’s deadline for all waters across the U.S. to be “fishable and swimmable,” 50 percent of assessed river and stream miles are so polluted they are classified as “impaired.”
Celebrate summer at IEC's Lakeshore Party in Storm Lake!
Join us for our Lakeshore Party in Storm Lake at Sunrise Park Shelter from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 9 for games and camaraderie by the lake. We'll have bocce, giant Jenga, kid-friendly activities, and more! You'll learn more about our recreation-focused program, Iowa Water Watch, and how to join and support our community of recreation enthusiasts.
Registration is free but there is an option to partake in hosted food and beverages starting at 5 p.m. for a minimum $10 donation. All donations go to support the work of IEC's Clean Water and Land Stewardship program. You have the option to donate with your online registration or at the event. Please RSVP by July 7 here.
Share Your Summer with IEC on Instagram
Check out Iowa Water Watch on Instagram and give us a follow. Tag us on your photos using @iowawaterwatch and the #iowawaterwatch hashtag, so we can feature your photos throughout the summer with other readers.
Iowa Environmental Council
505 Fifth Ave., Suite 850
Des Moines, Iowa 50309-2317
515-244-1194 | firstname.lastname@example.org