Category Archives: 1000 Friends of Iowa News

2019 Best Development Award Winners announced

1000 Friends of Iowa announces 13 winners, 9 categories, 5 jurors

1000 Friends of Iowa is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 Best Development Awards. The awards program showcases projects that recognize connections between building and project development to quality of life. With a mission focused on responsible land use, 1000 Friends of Iowa promotes smart growth planning principles that help achieve socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable communities. Projects recognized this year are located in the following communities: Altoona, Belle Plaine, Coralville, Davenport, Dyersville, Fort Madison, Grinnell, Iowa City, Johnson County, Knoxville, Marshalltown, Readlyn, and Stanton.

Plaques will be presented to winning applicants at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, at the Iowa State Capitol Building, First Floor Rotunda, from 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend. Register here.

The hard work of the 2019 Best Development Award winners is acknowledged today ahead of the presentation ceremony. The category, project name, and city are listed here, followed by a short description and local contact.

New Civic: Unitarian Universalist Society Church, Coralville Over 200 friends and members of the Society informed a zero energy, accessible building that shares parking spaces with neighboring lots; planned the entire site for preservation of natural woodland and stormwater management; solar and geothermal energy; sustainable construction materials and conservation-minded finishes and fixtures. Contact: publicity@uusic.org

Renovated Civic: Grinnell Central Park, Grinnell Gifted to the City in the last 1800’s, generations of citizens experienced Central Park. By modernizing and updating the park, the adjacent downtown has also seen new energy. With a healthy mix of funding sources, the history and culture of Grinnell are honored. Simultaneously, the site’s greenspace, stormwater management, and safety are also enhancing the park to be an asset that its citizens love to use. Contact: rbehrens@grinnelliowa.gov

Renovated Commercial: Textile Brewing Company, Dyersville Dyersville Industries took a vacant, blighted downtown “Sewing Factory” building, restored it, and converted it into a place for community. Using contents inside the building and preserving the original structure, history is acknowledged in the walls, decor, and furnishings. The business has caused a ripple effect in tourism, downtown traffic, and awareness of water quality. Contact: jrahe@dyersville.com

Innovative Leadership: Solarize Johnson County 2018 Many stakeholders executed an education and group-buy program for solar arrays in both urban and rural areas. Using mostly existing rooftops, the project adds 1.12 MW of solar energy to the County. Modeling after another city’s solar group buy, Solarize Johnson County’s is “paying it forward” by presenting their work to other audiences. Contact: kandresen@co.johnson.ia.us

Mixed Use (tie): Lee County Bank and Cattermole Library, Fort Madison Fort Madison’s Downtown Commercial Historic District included the Lee County Bank, built in 1893, and Cattermole Library, built in 1894. Both sat vacant for many years. Barker Companies rehabilitated and renovated the exterior and interior of both buildings, leading to a renewed downtown area. The two upper floors of the Bank were transformed into 14 apartments while the lower floor was left mostly unchanged. The Cattermole Library was also converted to apartments on its upper floor while the lower floor is offices, with the original library circulation desk as the reception desk. Now fully occupied, the buildings are inspiring other activity in the historic district. Contact: kylegalloway@barkercompanies.com

Mixed Use (tie): Mason Building Renovation, Stanton With significant community buy-in, the Mason Building (also called the Tarkio Masonic Lodge), fits 1000 Friends of Iowa’s smart growth principles very well for high quality of life. Using private and public funds, reusing an existing structure built in 1878, the space now houses an apartment and two commercial tenants. Owners of an additional 13 downtown buildings are now looking at uplifting their facades. Contact: mickeyanderson01@gmail.com

Renewable Energy: Knoxville Community School District, Knoxville With 11 of its 12 facilities installing solar systems, 92% of the District’s electricity is now supplied by solar energy. Financed with a power purchase agreement (with Red Lion Renewables, a previous Innovative Leadership winner), the district expects to save $8500 annually and reduce carbon emissions by 1,235 tons per year over the 30 year lifetime of the arrays. Additionally, live data sharing is available between arrays, and a tool is under development to use this data for student lessons. Contact: craig.mobley@kcsd.k12.ia.us

New Residential , Owner-Occupied: Prairie Hill Cohousing, Iowa City Built on an 8-acre infill, the Prairie Hill development supports alternative transportation with its location near downtown, the university, a bus stop, and businesses. Duplexes and 4-plexes were designed to shared walls and roofs to reduce the use of sustainable construction materials, solar panels, and labor costs. The site was planted for low-irrigation and no-mow space, with stormwater management practices installed. The development also supports many price points to make housing accessible and affordable. Contact: delholland@aol.com

New Residential, Multi-family Rental: Altoona Towers, Altoona The Altoona Towers were built for energy efficiency and include charging stations for electric cars, a bus stop, proximity to bicycle trails. Thoughtful consideration of building and site successfully show that landlords can make capital investments to keep tenant utility bills at a minimum, even if the tenant is not conservation-minded. By using energy efficient construction materials, appliances, window dressings, and lighting in rental housing, energy consumption can affordably be reduced to the benefit of the tenant and the landlord. Contact: keith@ppm-inc.com

Renovated Residential: Naval Station, Davenport Built in 1904, our Renovated Residential winner has seen many uses as a grade school, a naval training station, and storage facility. Today, it is an excellent example of an adaptive reuse of an historic building with an integrated stormwater management system. After sitting in disrepair as a blighted lot, the Naval Station was renovated and rehabilitated for mixed income senior homes. By addressing the entire site, neighborhood got an uplift from a number of funding sources to the infrastructure and the lot, as well as launching a domino effect in an historic area. The use of salvaged and sustainable construction materials, inclusion of alternative transportation, thoughtful landscaping, and interior work contributes to its positive environmental impact. Contact: chris@alespc.com

Stormwater Management, Private: Gallery Garden, Marshalltown The land for this project was vacant because of a building fire. It was privately developed into a unique, urban park space that addresses multiple stormwater issues for the area. The focal point is a gallery garden wall, which is irrigated by the stormwater. The resources on the site stay on the site, with the irrigation system, lighting, and cameras all powered by solar panels. With its shelter and seating, the Gallery Garden is a popular public location for viewing artwork and the garden features, events, photography, and more. Its signage educates users about the sustainable practices. Contact: bkh91753@gmail.com

Stormwater Management, Public: Readlyn Wetland, Readlyn Runoff from more than half of the City flows into this created wetland to reduce stormwater wetland, which benefits everyone downstream in the 95-acre watershed. The property for the wetland was purchased from a private landowner and future plans include a recreational walking trail. Moreover, a trailhead for the Rolling Prairie Trail is nearby and supports a high quality of life for residents. The Watershed Management Authority and the local school have been involved, including a grant awarded for students to install edgeland plants along the wetland in 2020. Contact: dcjblkw@yahoo.com

Urban Placemaking/Greenspace: Larry Schlue Memorial Sound Park, Belle Plaine After 5 years of collaboration across many sectors, the City of Belle Plaine converted an underused grassy lot with benches into a space that honors the railroad culture of the town, a man who was a champion for his community, and connects many users to downtown. The Sound Park builds off an earlier revitalization effort to support a thriving and walkable business district. Contact: director@bpcdc.net

Winners of the Best Development Awards are selected from a pool of applicants each year in up to twelve categories by a panel of jurors. This year’s jurors have a variety of backgrounds: Pat Boddy, Stewardship Director for RDG Planning and Design; Megan Down, Project Manager for Impact7G; Jeff Geerts, Special Projects Manager for Iowa Economic Development Authority; Jeff Hanson, Community Development Operations Manager for the City of Sioux City, and Ulrike Passe, Associate Professor of Architecture and Director of the Iowa State University Center for Building Energy Research.

1000 Friends of Iowa, founded in 1998, is a statewide nonprofit organization focused on land use education. Its mission is to unite Iowans in efforts to protect farmland and natural areas, revitalize neighborhoods, towns and cities, and improve the quality of life for future generations.

The Best Development Awards Program, founded in 2001, recognizes the organization’s mission in a tangible manner through awards in twelve categories.

2018 Best Development Award Winners and Ceremony

CONTACT: Julia McGuire, Best Development Award Coordinator, 515-988-1828, awards@1000friendsofiowa.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

1000 FRIENDS OF IOWA ANNOUNCES 2018 BEST DEVELOPMENT AWARD RECIPIENTS

Celebrating Iowa’s ‘development heroes’ and recognizing smart growth principles across the state

Dec. 11, 2018 (Des Moines, Iowa) – 1000 Friends of Iowa proudly announces eight recipients of its Best Development Award for 2018. These recipients were chosen because they implement the efficient use of resources to develop sustainable communities and provide a high quality of life.

“These are our state’s ‘development heroes,’” according to Julia McGuire, Program Coordinator. The 2018 Best Development Award winners are listed below (category, recipient, project, city):

  • In the Innovative Leadership category, the City of Storm Lake for building a sustainable community through food, youth service and education, flood control, and stormwater management in Storm Lake
  • In the Placemaking/Greenspace category, Primary Health Care’s East Side Clinic for its Healing Garden in Des Moines
  • In the Renewable Energy category, Stuff Etc. for its unique “solar plus storage” technology in Coralville
  • In the Renovated Civic – Small Community category, the Bricker-Price Block for the restoration of the Bricker-Price Block in Earlham
  • In the Renovated Civic – Large Community, the Davenport Community School District for its J.B. Young Opportunity Center in Davenport
  • In the Renovated Residential category, Professional Property Management for Sun Prairie Apartments in West Des Moines
  • In the Stormwater Management category, the City of Algona for its Downtown Green Parking Lot Infrastructure Renewal in Algona
  • In the Transportation/Complete Streets category, the City of Manning for its Trails Network in Manning

“The nominations for 2018 were very diverse. The jurors really appreciated the number of renovations that were nominated. There are so many great developments occurring in our state,” stated Kari Carney, Executive Director of 1000 Friends of Iowa. “Iowa should celebrate the communities where thoughtful planning is happening. Hopefully other communities can replicate the successes of our 2018 category winners.”

The Best Development Awards winners are selected from a pool of nominations each year by an independent group of jurors. This year’s jurors were Pat Boddy, Senior Partner Emeritus at RDG Planning & Design; Jeff Geerts, Special Projects Manager with the Community Development Division of the Iowa Economic Development Authority; Jeff Hanson, Community Development Operations Manager of the City of Sioux City; Ulrike Passe, Associate Professor of Architecture at Iowa State University and Director of the Center for Building Energy Research, and Ryan Peterson, President of Impact7G.

An Award Ceremony will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 2019, at 12 noon at the Capitol Rotunda. It is free and open to the public.

The Best Development Awards Program recognizes projects in up to 12 different categories as a way for 1000 Friends of Iowa to express the fact that smart land use and sustainable communities are more than constructed buildings. All of the award recipients help advance sustainability across our state by considering site design, outdoor and indoor environmental impact, public use, and long-term benefits.

Founded in 1998, 1000 Friends of Iowa is the only organization in the state focused solely on promoting responsible land use in community, state, and federal development decisions. Its mission is to unite Iowans in efforts to protect farmland and natural areas, revitalize neighborhoods, towns and cities, and improve quality of life for future generations.

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For more information about the Best Development Awards Program, please contact Julia McGuire at 515-988-1828 or email awards@1000friendsofiowa.org.

Help Save Energy Efficiency.

Updated:

Right  now, making it’s way through the Iowa State House is a horrible bill  – Senate File (SF) 2311 (formerly SSB 3093). The bill has passed out of committees in both houses and was passed out of the full senate.  The bill is now awaiting debate in the full house. This bill has sweeping changes that decimates energy efficiency programs, potentially losing over 80% of the current funds, it essentially deregulates utilities in Iowa, leaving all utility customers vulnerable to soaring prices and the whims of the utility companies, and it makes it easier for gas pipelines to be built in Iowa.

If enacted, Senate File (SF) 2311 (formerly SSB 3093), which is being championed by Iowa’s investor owned utilities, would:
  • Effectively deregulate Iowa’s energy utilities;
  • Slash energy efficiency programs, potentially by up to 80% or more;
  • Make it easier for gas pipelines to build in Iowa.
  • And though the bad solar provisions were removed, there is still an effort to put them back into the bill which if added back in, could essentially kill rooftop and community solar by allowing utility companies to discriminate against solar customers.
So what does that mean for you? It means:
This bill is bad for Iowans. Energy efficiency is a key factor that keeps utility rates low in Iowa. If passed,  utility rates will go up. Low income people will lose out on energy efficiency and weatherization programs  programs and utility companies can build unnecessary fossils fuel generation plants and charge all of their customers to foot the bill.
We could see a potential loss of over 20,000 jobs in the energy efficiency sectors and and a loss of over $200,000,000 that would have been savings for utility customers.
If you are asking what we can do about it, keep reading!

Talking points for the overall bill:  Click here.

Energy Efficiency Fact Sheet: Click here.

Another bad bill that is now making it’s way through the senate is SSB 3078. This bill proposes to eliminate all energy efficiency programs. It is on the Ways and Means subcommittee schedule for Monday, March 19 at 3:00 p.m. The subcommittee is made up of Senator Fenestra, Senator Hogg, and Senator R.Schmidt. Please contact all three of them and ask them to oppose SSB 3078.  Click here to find their contact info.

2017 Best Development Award Winners

1000 Friends of Iowa proudly announces eleven recipients as its Best Development Award winners of 2017. Five independent jurors from across the state selected projects that implement the efficient use of our resources to develop sustainable communities that provide a high quality of life.

The 2017 Best Development Award winners are listed below (category, winner, project, city, link). For more information about each project, click the link.

  • In the Innovative Leadership category, the City of Clive for the Walnut Creek and Clive Greenbelt initiatives in Clive <link>
  • In the Mixed Use category, Blackbird Investments for the Wilkins Building in Des Moines <link>
  • In the New Residential category, KCL Engineering for the Parkside Residential Development in Charles City <link>
  • In the Placemaking/Greenspace category, the City of Glidden for the Albert Kruger, Sr. Shelter in Glidden <link>
  • In the Renewable Energy category, St. John the Apostle Catholic Church and Red Lion Renewables for the Solar Array in Norwalk <link>
  • In the Renovated Civic category, the City of Sioux City for the Sioux City Promenade in Sioux City <link>
  • In the Renovated Commercial category, SingleSpeed Brewing Co. for the Wonder Bread Building in Waterloo <link>
  • Renovated Residential category, Downtown Leases and Lofts for the Kibbey Building in Marshalltown <link>
  • In the Stormwater Management category, City of Denison for the 14th Street Parking Lot in Denison <link>
  • In the Transportation/Complete Streets category, the City of Muscatine for the Kent Stein Park to Deep Lakes Park Trail in Muscatine <link>
  • In a special Jurors’ Choice category, the City of Dubuque for its long-term, big-vision cross-cutting activities. <link>

The press and public are invited to celebrate these “development heroes” at an Award Ceremony, to be held at the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, at 11:45 a.m.

Become a Sponsor for the 2018 BDA!

1000 Friends of Iowa’s Best Development Awards – Become a sponsor!

Iowa communities are facing turning points; how they move forward impacts Iowa for generations to come.

Showcasing Iowa’s very best works raises the bar, encouraging and inspiring tomorrow’s efforts to higher levels of sustainability.

With 15 years of project winners and more to come, the Best Development Awards create a platform of sustainable growth models that are innovative, economically viable, and serve their communities well.

The Best Development Awards recognizes projects in 12 categories:

  •   Residential – New, Renovated
  •   Commercial – New, Renovated
  •   Civic – New, Renovated
  •   Mixed Use Space
  •   Innovative Leadership
  •   Storm Water Management
  •   Transportation/Complete Streets
  •   Renewable Energy
  •   Urban Placemaking/Green Space

Timeline: Award nominations open September 1, 2018. Nominees are judged by independent jurors in December and the awards ceremony is January 22,  2019.

Your generous, tax-deductible sponsorship gift will enable us to amplify awareness of innovative development works and further inspire residents, cities, businesses, and organizations to do well by Iowa’s resources. 
Won’t you become a sponsor today?

To download the full sponsorship packet, click here.

To make a sponsorship gift, click here.

Sponsorship Benefits:

To see and read more about winners, check out The Iowan Magazine feature on 2015 winners: http://bit.ly/29SV8Xh and go to http://1000friendsofiowa.org/our- programs/best-development-awards/

People’s Climate Movement Des Moines

People’s Climate Movement Des Moines, IA Event

Saturday April 29, 2017

On Saturday April 29, Iowans from across the state will join together at the People’s Climate Rally in Des Moines, IA to stand up for good jobs, environmental justice and clean energy. At the same time Iowa will take a stand to oppose the dismantling of the Clean Power Plan, the expansion of fossil fuels, and the weakening of provisions that support renewable energy, equity and creation of good jobs.

Though the focus of the event is serious, there will be fun for the entire family. The day will be interspersed with music, great speakers and activities for young and old!

Who: The People’s Climate Movement Rally Des Moines, IA

When: Saturday, April 29 from1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Where: West Terrace on the Iowa State Capitol Grounds

What: Music, great speakers and kids activities

RSVP: People’s Climate Movement DSM

David Osterberg from the Iowa Policy Project will be the emcee for the event. There will be music featuring well know singer and songwriter Dartanyan Brown and Native American drummers. Numerous organizations from around the state will have booths and there will be kids activities including kite making and kite flying, art areas and games for kids as well.

The People’s Climate Movement Des Moines is a coalition of thirty organizations, Churches, scientists and more, who are joining together to find real solutions to the climate crisis while supporting good jobs, social justice and clean energy. Organizations include 1000 Friends of Iowa, Central Iowa Sierra Club, and the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition. Please RSVP at: People’s Climate Movement DSM

 

1000 Friends of Iowa Announces 2016 Best Development Award Winners

BDA2016FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Julia McGuire, Best Development Award Coordinator, 515-988-1828, awards@1000friendsofiowa.org

1000 Friends of Iowa Announces 2016 Best Development Award Winners

Dec. 27, 2016 (Des Moines, Iowa)

1000 Friends of Iowa proudly announces ten recipients as its Best Development Award winners of 2016. Five independent jurors from across the state selected projects that implement the efficient use of our resources to develop sustainable communities that provide a high quality of life.

The 2016 Best Development Award winners are listed below (category, winner, project, city):

  • In the Renovated Residential category, Todd Schneider for the School House Apartments in Fort Madison
  • In the New Commercial category, Hope Haven Area Development Center Corporation for the Hopefully Yours Thrift and Gift Shop in Burlington
  • In the Renovated Commercial category, Blackbird Investments for the Market One Building in Des Moines
  • In the Mixed Use category, Indigo Dawn for the Green & Main project in Des Moines
  • In the Innovative Leadership category, Johnson County for its Solar Array and Soil Quality Restoration at Johnson County Administration Building in Iowa City
  • In the Renewable Energy category, Steffensmeier Welding and Manufacturing for its Solar Field in Pilot Grove
  • In the Stormwater: Civic category, the City of Storm Lake for its North Central Stormwater Project in Storm Lake
  • In the Stormwater: Private category, Cherry Glen Learning Farm, for its Designed Watershed Mitigation in Polk City
  • In the Urban Placemaking category, The Alley KADTS for The Alley in Oskaloosa

“Having such inspirational nominations from all over the state brought a great close to the 2016 calendar year,” stated Kari Carney, Executive Director of 1000 Friends of Iowa. “Publicly recognizing significant projects to a wide audience is critical to our mission of educating citizens about responsible land use. I hope our Best Development Award winners will be seen as models for other community projects in 2017.”

This year’s award categories expanded to include Renewable Energy, Transportation/Complete Streets, and Placemaking/Green Space as a way for 1000 Friends of Iowa to express the fact that smart land use and sustainable communities are more than buildings. All of the nominated projects help advance sustainability across our state by considering site placement, design, water efficiency, energy management, materials and resources used, indoor environmental quality, public use, and long-term benefits.

The Best Development Award winners are selected from a pool of applicants each year and judged by an independent group of jurors. This year’s jurors were Ryan Peterson, President of Impact7G; Liz Christiansen, Director of the Office of Sustainability at the University of Iowa; Jeff Geerts, Special Projects Manager with the Community Development Division of the Iowa Economic Development Authority; Maureen Collins-Williams, an Iowa public sector professional who trains, speaks and consults with 21st century entrepreneurs and innovators; and Jeff Hanson, Community Development Operations Manager of the City of Sioux City.

Founded in 1998, 1000 Friends of Iowa is the only organization in the state focused solely on promoting responsible land use in community, state, and federal development decisions. Its mission is to unite Iowans in efforts to protect farmland and natural areas, revitalize neighborhoods, towns and cities, and improve quality of life for future generations.

Additional details about each winning project will be forthcoming.

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Best Development Awards – Become a Sponsor!

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Celebrating 16 Years of Recognizing Smart Growth & Sustainable Development Across Iowa

The Best Development Awards program recognizes cities, companies, nonprofit organizations, and individuals who demonstrate how responsible development and planning practices provide benefits to the community, the environment, and quality of life for future generations. Nominated projects help advance sustainability across our state by considering site placement, design, water efficiency, energy management, materials and resources used, indoor environmental quality, public use, and long-term benefits.

Our Best Development Awards Program is made possible because of the generous donations of our sponsors. Please consider becoming a sponsor this year.  For more information on sponsorships, click here.

Click here to make a sponsorship gift.

Nominations for the 2017 Awards will open on September 1, 2017.
Download the Best Development Awards informational brochure here.
HOW TO APPLY:

STEP 1: Download the category application (see links below)

STEP 2: Review the awards program and category criteria

STEP 3: Submit your nomination by the Nov. 15th deadline

Entry Fee: $50 

Pay entry fee online by clicking here or make checks payable to: 1000 Friends of Iowa 3850 Merle Hay Road, Suite 605 Des Moines, IA 50310 (Please note Best Development Awards entry fee)

2017 Categories (Click the specific category for its application) 

Questions? Contact: Awards@1000friendsofiowa.org

Now more than ever we must raise awareness of people doing great things in our communities. We are facing a critical time when our water, land, air, and climate are so threatened by the impacts of poor land use decisions — it is imperative that we work to promote efforts that are doing it right. Because we know that smart land use and sustainable communities are more that just buildings, we’ve added three new categories this year:

  • Renewable Energy, including solar and wind for commercial and residential properties
  • Transportation/Complete Streets, including walkability and bicycle-friendly measures that cut the dependency on fossil fuels and decrease sprawl
  • Placemaking/Green Space, which turn blight and poor planning into a living vision
Want to sponsor the 2017 Best Development Awards?
Get information here, including sponsorship benefits.

1000 Friends of Iowa established the Best Development Awards in 2001 to showcase development projects and programs in Iowa that best reflect the principles of smart growth, sustainability, and uphold the mission of 1000 Friends of Iowa. We also recognize the efforts of businesses, developers, cities, organizations, and individuals responsible for these projects. The Best Development Awards are selected from a pool of applicants each year and judged by an independent group of jurors. Become a sponsor today!

Stay up to date on awards announcements and happenings on Facebook and Twitter![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Comments Needed on Transportation Plan

The Metropolitan Planning Area for Polk, Warren, and Dallas Counties is seeking comments on the proposed Transportation Improvement Program plan. This plan covers spending and transportation projects for the next four years within these counties.

The transportation decisions we make today will have long lasting impacts on our quality of life and our climate; and are a prime driver for the type of development and the type of communities we have.

1000 Friends of Iowa supports transportation projects that focus on repairing and rebuilding existing infrastructure, expanding and improving biking and pedestrian trails, and improving and expanding walkability in our urban areas.

We oppose transportation projects to build new roads designed to encourage urban sprawl – such as the proposed Grand Prairie Parkway. This road is proposed to connect Mills Civic Parkway with the Raccoon River Road and ultimately continue on to county highway G-14 in Warren County. This West Des Moines road proposal would lead to the development of hundreds of acres of farmland and woodland and takes us in the wrong direction.

To download the entire proposed plan, please click here.

Please submit comments on the proposal by July 15, 2016.

To submit comments, call or email: 

Andrew Collings at 515-334-0075 or acollings@dmampo.org

Take Action to Proct Topsoil

Protecting topsoil is one of 1000 Friends of Iowa’s highest priorities. In 2015, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Commission gutted the requirement to maintain at least 4 inches of topsoil on residential construction sites. Because topsoil is so crucial for flood mitigation, carbon sequestering, filtering out pollutants to keep our water clean and for growing the pants and food we depend on;  we are turning to local communities to take action to protect our topsoil.

To help communities and Iowa residents take action to adopt topsoil restoration and protection ordinances, 1000 Friends of Iowa has created a handy toolkit with how to’s, talking points and sample ordinances that we like. Get our toolkit here.

Take action! — Communities within the Greater Des Moines Metro Area have been talking about adopting a region-wide topsoil ordinance for a couple of years, but have been dragging their heels. The time to act is now!

Please do two things:

  1. Write a letter to the editor to the Des Moines Register calling on metro cities to adopt the topsoil ordinance. Submit your letters here.
  2. Contact your council members and mayor. Go to you cities home page and click on city council for contact information.

2017-2018 Topsoil ordinances

Congratulations to both the cities of Clive and Cedar Rapids for being the most recent communities to adopt topsoil restoration ordinances!

In 2017, we will reach out to additional communities around the state to adopt similar ordinances. Our soil is too precious not to.

Click here to download the toolkit

Click here to to see the Topsoil Restoration Guide from King County, WA

Click here to view the preliminary ordinance for the city of Clive

Let us know if you take this ordinance to your community by emailing us at kfoi@1000friendsofiowa.org 

Why it matters:

* Topsoil retention is very important to urban landscapes — growing plants need healthy soil. New homeowners with no topsoil left in place are often faced with very expensive soil remediation to even begin to establish healthy lawns, trees, and gardens. The savings to the building and construction industry (numbers that keep changing and are unsubstantiated) comes at a great cost to the homeowner and to the watershed.

* Rain events quickly wash fertilizers, also called nutrients, off lots that have been stripped of topsoil. This pollutes our rivers, lakes, and streams. Furthermore, it is costly for the landowner who must spend extra money for repeat fertilizer applications. Keeping soil in place contributes to natural storm water management solutions and helps build healthy, green, and more sustainable neighborhoods for future generations.

Stay updated on our topsoil protection actions at www.1000friendsofiowa.org.