Iowa Department of Natural Resources EcoNewsWire - January 26, 2023

Government and Politics

January 28, 2023

From: Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds

Black Hawk County receives funding for dozens of signs promoting creeks, watersheds

Black Hawk County will be implementing a few dozen new tools to promote conservation and awareness when staff install signs introducing Iowa’s creeks and watersheds later this year.

More than 60 signs will be placed throughout Black Hawk and Grundy Counties, which jointly received funding through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ new County Creek Sign Grant.

Josh Balk, an Iowa Department of Natural Resources watershed and source water coordinator for Black Hawk County, said he hopes that by seeing the signs, visitors will take steps to protect and conserve these natural areas.

“When people are aware of their streams and watersheds they have more of a connection to them and they recognize their value,” he said.

Black Hawk and Grundy are two of 33 counties that will install new signs through the grant program. Introduced in 2022, the program provides funds to conservation and natural resource groups to install creek and watershed signs on county roads or city streets within priority watersheds. 

In the first round of the County Creek Sign Grant Program, 24 projects spanning those 33 counties will receive a combined total of $240,000 to install creek signs, river signs and watershed boundary signs on county roads in priority watersheds. 

Black Hawk and Grundy Counties will place 38 primary stream signs and 27 secondary signs. The secondary signs will likely denote a watershed, while primary signs will name a river or creek. 

Locations include around Crane Creek, the Wapsipinicon River, Sink Creek and the Cedar River.

Local partnerships for the effort include the Black Hawk Soil and Water Conservation District, Black Hawk County Engineering, Black Hawk County Conservation, Black Hawk Creek Watershed Project, City of Cedar Falls, City of Waterloo, Dry Run Creek Watershed Improvement Project, Grundy SWCD and Grundy County Engineering.

These signs will join others installed through a separate project that works with the Iowa Department of Transportation to install creek signs in priority watersheds on state and federal highways in Iowa. Through the Stream Sign Initiative, which began in 2014, about 570 creek signs have been placed across Iowa. 

Both the County Creek Sign Grant and Stream Sign Initiative programs are funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Section 319 program and awarded by the Iowa DNR.

Air Quality permits under review

DES MOINES – The DNR Air Quality Bureau has the following draft permits up for review. The permits help protect Iowans’ health and air quality. DNR’s permitting staff review each permit application to ensure facilities comply with state and federal air quality requirements. We encourage public comments on draft permits, providing help on how to make effective comments. Submit written comments to the assigned permit writer before 4:30 p.m. on the last day of the comment period. DNR considers public comments before finalizing the permits.

Title V Operating Permits

Title V Operating permits are reviewed and re-issued every five years. Facilities with a Title V permit have the potential to emit large amounts of air pollutants compared to other facilities. The five-year reviews are a federal requirement and ensure adequate monitoring is included in the permit. The DNR plans to issue Title V Operating Permits for the following facilities.  Find permit details at www.iowadnr.gov/titlev-draft.

Des Moines County
IPL – Burlington Generating Station – 4282 Sullivan Slough Road, Burlington.
The application was submitted to operate their existing electric power generating facility. The public comment period ends Feb. 25.

Monroe County
Ajinomoto USA Inc. – 1 Ajinomoto Drive, Eddyville.
The application was submitted to operate their existing Industrial Organic Chemicals, NEC facility. The public comment period ends Feb. 25.