Backbone Beach (Dundee, Delaware County, IA) Beed's Lake Beach (Hampton, Franklin County, IA) Denison Beach (Black Hawk Lake, Lake View, Sac County, IA) Emerson Bay Beach (West Okoboji Lake, Milford, Dickinson County, IA) George Wyth Beach (Waterloo, Black Hawk County, IA) Lake Darling Beach (Brighton, Washington County, IA) Lower Pine Lake Beach (Eldora, Hardin County, IA) McIntosh Woods Beach (Clear Lake, Ventura, Cerro Gordo County, IA) Rock Creek Beach (Kellogg, Jasper County, IA)
3 Beaches with a Microcystin Advisory:
George Wyth Beach (Waterloo, Black Hawk County, IA) Lake of Three Fires Beach (Bedford, Taylor County, IA) Union Grove Beach (Gladbrook, Tama County, IA)
In late May, the Iowa Utilities Board issued its final ruling approving construction of the Cardinal Hickory Creek electric transmission line in Iowa. The project would carry power generated in Iowa from outside of Dubuque to the outskirts of Madison, Wisconsin, supplying communities there with clean energy.
IEC learned about the transmission line project in about 2011. At that time we were aware that the line needed to cross the Mississippi River and that one of the river crossing options being considered went through the Upper Mississippi Wildlife and Fish Refuge. The Refuge includes 261 river miles, from near Wabasha, Minnesota, to Rock Island, Illinois. The area includes 240,000 acres of wetlands and numerous canoe trails. It provides habitat for fish, wildlife, and migratory birds.
The line cannot avoid the Mississippi because the point of the line is to remedy a lack of transmission across the River. As then-IEC Energy Program Specialist Nathaniel Baer detailed in his testimony to the Iowa Utilities Board, IEC collaborated with member and partner organizations including Iowa Audubon, The Nature Conservancy, and others to provide input on avoiding environmentally sensitive areas. Nathaniel visited potential crossing points in person, seeing whether it made sense to support the project.
Transmission lines require clearing tall vegetation in the right-of-way of the line, so a new crossing would mean the loss of trees and wildlife habitat. To minimize this impact, IEC and those involved concluded the best option was to site nearly all of the new line on an existing right-of-way for an existing line.