In January the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) heard citizen and expert input on the importance of leaving 4″ of topsoil on development sites. The EPC has given notice of intended action to amend Chapter 64, revising General Permit No. 2. The changes leave a loophole for developers that 1000 Friends of Iowa wants to see closed. The EPC will hold three public hearings in March to discuss the proposed changes to General Permit No. 2.
The proposed change to the topsoil rule requires builders to replace topsoil “unless infeasible”. The proposed change is vague and would leave it to builders to decide how much, if any, topsoil to replace. With the current discussion about impaired waters, run-off, erosion, a nutrient reduction strategy and nitrates in our drinking water – the EPC needs to hear Iowans expect better.
If this rule is rendered ineffective or the EPC gets rid of the 4″ rule, individual cities may need to adopt the 4″ rule as city code – as Ames, Coralville and others already have. But Iowa needs uniform laws across the state to ensure our environment and natural resources are protected.
Once the EPC holds hearings and makes their final rule, the rule will advance to the legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee. Take the opportunity to contact your legislator – even if she/he is not on the Administrative Rules Review Committee – now while the legislature is in session! Tell your legislator about the impending rule and what you want to see happen – a uniform rule across Iowa requiring developers to leave 4 inches of topsoil on development sites.
To establish healthy landscapes, improve on-site storm water retention, lessen runoff and soil erosion, and improve water quality – we need to retain four inches of healthy soil. The opposition is well-funded and vocal. Make your voice heard! We need every Iowan to contact the EPC and legislators and tell them you support the 4″ topsoil requirement.
The public hearings are scheduled as follows:
March 18, 2015 – 6 p.m.
City Services Center
Five Seasons Conference Room
500 15th Avenue SW
March 25, 2015 – 6 p.m.
Easter Ave. Branch Library
6000 Eastern Avenue
March 27, 2015 – 1 p.m.
Wallace Building Auditorium
502 E. 9th Street
If you are unable to attend one of the public hearings, comments may be submitted to the Storm Water Coordinator by mail, fax, orally or by email between March 10 & April 1, 2015.
Storm Water Coordinator
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
502 E. 9th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319