The Iowa DNR held its last public hearing on the proposed change to the 4″ topsoil rule last Friday. The existing rule requires builders to replace four inches of topsoil to development sites. Developers and homebuilders have lobbied hard to change the ruling. The change would remove the four inches or more topsoil requirement and replace it with language requiring topsoil to be replaced unless it is “infeasible”. The proposed change is vague, at best, and will 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.
Above: sod is placed directly on top of compacted clay, no topsoil
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 topsoil. We need every Iowan to submit comments to the Iowa DNR before this Wednesday, April 1. Tell them you support the existing Four Inch Topsoil requirement because it makes sense for Iowa.
ACTION #1: Submit your comments to the DNR
Comments may be submitted to the Storm Water Coordinator orally, by fax or by email by April 1, 2015. At the March 6 Administrative Rules Review Committee, the Topsoil Rule was on the agenda. The DNR was only allowed to answer questions and wasn’t requested to make a presentation except to briefly describe the rule. When writing comments to the DNR, it is worthwhile to ask basic questions the DNR can answer, so the information gets published in the public record. Ask those burning questions and offer your opinion on the importance of keeping the existing rule in place.
Storm Water Coordinator
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
502 E. 9th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
ACTION #2: Contact your legislator and members of the Administrative Rules Review Committee
Once the EPC holds hearings and makes their final rule, the rule will advance to the legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee. They will make the final ruling on the rule. Take the opportunity to contact your legislator – even if she/he is not on the Administrative Rules Review Committee. 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.
Legislative Administrative Rules Review Committee
- Wally E. Horn (D, District 35), Vice Chair – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mark Chelgren (R, District 41) – email@example.com
- Mark Costello (R, District 12) – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Thomas G. Courtney (D, District 44) – email@example.com
- Pam Jochum (D, District 50) – firstname.lastname@example.org