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:
- Write a letter to the editor to the Des Moines Register calling on metro cities to adopt the topsoil ordinance. Submit your letters here.
- 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 email@example.com
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.