The Biggest Fish Story Of All: Iowa DNR Cares About Clean Water


RV and tent sites are available overlooking Bloody Run Trout Creek at Spook Cave Campground. (Mary Willie/independent)

Have you heard any good fish stories lately? Just throw your line in this week’s news.

Kayla Lyon, director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, was fined this month for fishing without a license. She forgot to update her credit card information, so her license was not automatically renewed.

Once informed, she insisted that the department’s chief law enforcement officer issue her a ticket for fishing without a license, at a cost of $135. The laws apply to everyone. Mistakes are made. It could happen to anyone.

In other news, the Lyons department suffered a legal setback in its effort to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Iowa chapter of the Sierra Club regarding the DNR’s approval of a manure management plan for a massive cattle feedlot in Clayton’s Bloody Run Creek watershed. County.

The Sierra Club says the Supreme Beef feedlot and the manure spread on nearby fields pose a threat to Bloody Run Creek, a trout stream on Iowa’s very short list of “exceptional waters.” Its watershed is on porous karst terrain, which increases the possibility of water contamination. The lawsuit also alleges that the DNR mismanaged the manure management plan approval process in violation of state law.

Polk County District Court Judge Michael Huppert ruled that the Sierra Club had standing to pursue the lawsuit. Four club members included in the costume use Bloody Run Creek for hiking, photography and fishing, activities that could be hampered by pollution.

“Sierra Club mentions in their petition that (manure) lagoons like those proposed by Supreme Beef can cause bedrock seepage and drainage, as ‘has happened in Iowa and geologically similar areas’ “, wrote Huppert. He ruled that the Sierra Club’s arguments warning of an imminent environmental threat to the creek are “real and not speculative.”

In a second ruling, Huppert rejected DNR efforts to block a group of trout anglers, Trout Unlimited, from joining the lawsuit. It turns out that trout need clean water to live. Who knew?

Not the recently fined fisherman who runs the DNR, apparently. Lyons denied several requests that the department halt the Supreme Beef project and re-evaluate its manure management plan, which the Sierra Club and others say was approved despite errors and faulty assumptions.

As I mentioned, the laws apply to everyone. Well, except the big breeders. Mistakes are made, but the DNR overlooks them. It could happen to any waterway in Iowa. Check out the state’s growing list of impaired waters, your local algae-choked lake, or the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico for more information.

We know how much a DNR fishing license costs. But when the department hands out pollution permits, the costs to Iowa and our environment are immeasurable. And yet the renewal is automatic.

It’s a shame that after hearing about the flaws in Supreme Beef’s plans and its obvious threat to a bumper trout stream from Iowa, Lyons didn’t call his environmental officials and insist that something be done. be done to protect Bloody Run Creek. Instead, she stuck with big farming interests and sent lawyers to court to roll back efforts to hold her department accountable.

Unlimited trout? How about Unlimited Pollution?

So Lyon paid his fine. Awesome. The rest of us are paying for his ministry’s inaction. And the biggest fishy story of all is the one about how MNR cares about drinking water.

(319) 398-8262; [email protected]

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