Category Archives: Latest News

New Farm-a-Save signs go up

For over 18 years, 1000 Friends of Iowa has been working to address land use issues in Iowa. One of the first tactics our early founders used to draw attention to land use issues across the state was by putting up Farm-a-Save signs along well traveled roads.

18 years later, the familiar signs are still letting motorists know that there is a better way! Recently, the signs that are on the south side of Interstate 80 near Earlham got an upgrade with new signs.

Co-founder LaVon Griffieon has recently re-painted and created fresh signs that are ready to go to their new homes!

If you are interested in hosting a set of Farm-a-Save signs, here is  what you need to know:

  1. Pick a strip of land along a well-traveled roadway, or empty store front windows.
  1. In order to ensure passerby’s can read the signs, the signs should be spaced 90 feet apart with a total length of 360 feet.
  1. Choose the set of signs you want, based on what is relevant for your area
    •  To the earth/make amends/park your car/bike with friends
    • These old buildings/Still got magic/their destruction/would be tragic
    • Urban sprawl/ain’t too pretty/save our farms/build in the city
    • Urban growth/on rural ground/how ‘bout raising/hogs downtown
    • Wal-marts and roads/Sprout up like weeds/and our tax dollars/are the seeds
    • Keep our mainstreets/strong and healthy/when we buy local/our towns stay wealthy
    • These lovely hills/unique beyond measure/time is a ticking/to save such a treasure
  1. You can pick up the signs or we can deliver to you.
  1. Once installed, keep the area mowed or free of weeds, shrubs, etc that will block the view of the signs.
  1. Take pictures and send them to us! We’ll let others know where they can see the signs at!

For more information or to get your get of signs contact us at kfoi@1000friendsofiowa.org or call 515-288-5364.

 

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

1000 Friends Offers Topsoil Protection Toolkit & Update

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.

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.

Iowa communities moving forward with topsoil rules.

Protecting topsoil is one of 1000 Friends of Iowa’s highest priorities. Last fall, 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, and we are turning to individual communities to take action.

The City of Clive is in the process of passing an 8-inch topsoil rule. While we strongly support this proposal, there are builders who would like to create a loophole allowing them to avoid maintaining topsoil if they implement other storm water management solutions. Though utilizing additional storm water management solutions is a great idea, it is still critically important that builders maintain topsoil on the property.

The City of Clive is asking for people to make comments on the proposed rule. Go to the link below to voice your opinion on the City’s open forum. Look for “Soil health for construction projects.” The forum is open until 6 p.m. on April 15: http://www.cityofclive.com/government/clive-open-forum#peak_democracy 

We are also encouraging people to email the Clive City Council directly to support the requirement that topsoil be maintained on the property, even with additional storm water management systems. Find their emails at: http://www.cityofclive.com/government/city-clerk/boards-and-commissions/council-members

Please plan to attend the Clive City Council meeting on Thursday, April 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Some talking points for the topsoil protection rule:

  • We strongly support requiring that builders maintain 8 inches of topsoil on properties after the build. This rule will not only help to manage stormwater runoff, but it will also reduce water pollution and add value to the property.
  • 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.
  • We understand that scraping soil is part of the site preparation process, but instead of hauling away the soil that has been scraped off, it can be stock piled and spread out after construction is completed. The extra cost to the building and construction industry for keeping the soil on site are nominal compared to the costs to the homeowners, the watershed and our drinking water if it is removed.
  • When the soil is stripped away, homeowners often turn to fertilizers and chemical amendments to encourage plant growth. Wit no soil to soak into, these chemicals find their way into our waterways after rain events, polluting  our rivers, lakes, and streams.
  • It is costly for homeowners 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.