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A little help from other Iowans

  • Gianni
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    Posts: 2063

    Been meaning to post this for a while, but never think about it when I’ve got the time. I sent a letter to Chuck Grassley about four months ago now, and among other things I mentioned that if the feds are to control the navigation channel, they have a responsibility to manage and correct the detrimental effects caused by it’s maintenance.

    His response was promising, indicating that he agreed that commercial nav was a benefit to the entire midwest, and stated that he is fully committed (his exact words) to efforts that insure commercial use of the river does not have a detrimental effect on habitat.

    Now I need a little help in watchdogging, not just CG, but all of Iowa’s elected officials. Personally, I’m happy that the river is used for commercial navigation, but those in charge need to insure that their actions aren’t impacting ours.

    Posts: 103

    Could I e-mail you privately to update you on some of the funding for the river in the next fiscal year?

    Cedar Rapids, IA
    Posts: 2063

    Sure, I’ll PM you my email address. Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you yet, been sick as a dog for a couple days.

    Posts: 304

    Gianni and fishsqzr.If it’s not too much to ask,I,for one minnesota guy,would like to know what is being done on the river south of us to protect and enhance panfish habitat.Although I do not know who Mr.Grassley is,it seems by his statement to you Gianni,that he’s attempting to blow smoke where the sun does not shine,if you know what I mean.The mere fact that the river is managed and used commercially,has a very detrimental effect on fish habitat and all this for THE most heavily federally subsidized industry in the nation.As you may have read in one of my earlier posts…the panfish population here on pool 3 is almost nonexistent due to sedimentation over the years.This on a pool that produced the state record black crappie in 1949,I think it was.(5+ pounds or close to that)Anyway,please share your info if you can,as some of us would also find it interesting.Thanks,Mike

    Posts: 103

    OK – here goes – this might get a little long, but you asked! In 1986 Congress passed legislation that authorized the Environmental Management Program (EMP for short). This was part of the legislation that also replaced the old Lock and Dam 26 at Alton, Ill with a new structure. The EMP program was authorized at a level of 19.5 million dollars (remember that authorization and appropriation levels are not always the same – in fact, during the initial years, although 19.5 million was authorized, only 10-12 million was appropriated). The EMP program has 2 objectives, 1) the restortion and enhancement of fish and wildlife habitat along 1,300 miles of Upper Mississippi River (UMR) in five states (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri) and 2)the long-term monitoring on the environmental health of the River. In 1999, Congress reauthorized the EMP Program at a 33.5 million dollar funding level and also declared the UMR a “nationally significant ecosystem and a nationally significant commerical navigation system”.
    Since its inception, the EMP Program has resored, protected or enhanced roughtly 68,000 acres of fish and wildlife habitat on the UMR. There are 37 projects (costing about 67 million dollars) that have been completed (you need to contact your local DNR for a list in your area). There are currently 30 additional projects in the planning, design, or construction phase (with a projected cost of $100 million), with additional future needs still to be identified.
    The longt-term monitoring program supports 6 field stations (Lake City, MN (Pool 4); LaCrosse, WI (Pool 8); Bellevue, IA (Pool 13); Alton, IL (Pool 26), Jackson, MO (open river); and Havanna, IL (Il River, LaGrange Pool). These stations routinely collect standardized (this simply means they all collect data in the same way so it is comparable) data on water quality, sediment, fish, invertibrates, and vegetation. This data collection has been going on since 1989 and really has some good information to see how things change over time on the UMR.
    However – the program has really come under fire of late – with the current administration FY 2003 reducing funding to 12.2 million (A REDUCTION OF 40 PERCENT FROM FY 2002), and the 12.2 million represents only (1/3 OF THE AUTHORIZED FUNDING LEVEL OF $33.5 MILLION). I know this sounds like a lot of money, and it its, but it takes a lot of big equipment to dredge thousands of cubic yards of sediments out of a backwater and then place it somewhere with little or no enviromental damage or even environmental enhancement.
    About 2/3’s of the EMP funding is devoted to habitat restoration such as island creation, backwater lake dredging, side channel closure or opening, and water level control. The drastically reduced budget will dramatically affect these ongoing projects in the following manner: planning will be reduced in 8 projects: design work will be cut in 6 projects and completely abandoned in 6 projects: construction work will be halted in 7 projects and significantly reduced in 2 more projects: In short – there will be enough money to meet the construction schedule for only 5 projects.
    The long-term monitoring effort will also be severly affected. Either some of the sampling will have to be eliminated or 2 of the stations will have to be closed down, losing personnel and expertise.
    These Funding cutbacks could not have come at a worse time. The Corps of Engineers has recently restarted the Navigation Expansion Study on the UMR and ILL River with the expectation that the sudy will set the future course for improving both the river navigation infrastructure (locks and dams) and ecosystem. We need a strong EMP program to meet the rivers’ environmental needs.
    So – what can you do? I have attached a recent letter from a citizens group that needs support (letters, emails, telephone calls) to you federal representatives in support of this program – here it is.

    Cc: Proctor, Ben
    Subject: EMP update

    Just to keep you posted.
    Ben Proctor in our DC office has been meeting with appropriators on EMP…it
    doesn’t look good yet, but we’re still hopeful.

    A key piece of advice is the lack of info appropriators and people in DC aren’t hearing on EMP.
    Now is a crucial time to start letter-writing campaigns and alert these folks on the importance of EMP…grassroots started EMP and it’s important they hear the program still works.

    IN particular, provide facts on what will be lost without full EMP funding;reference recent news articles about importance of putting environmental needs even with navigation needs; include some of the support material/data
    the National Academy of Sciences has reported.

    Just some ideas…
    Contact folks you know in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

    River state Appropriators are (for a complete list of appropriators, please
    view website:

    David R. Obey – Wisconsin (7th Cong. District)
    2314 Rayburn House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515

    Martin Olav Sabo – Minnesota (5th Cong. District)
    2336 Rayburn House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515

    Jo Ann Emerson – Missouri (8th Cong. District)
    326 Cannon House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515

    Tom Latham
    WASHINGTON, DC 20515

    Jesse L. Jackson Jr. – Illinois (2nd Cong. District)
    313 Cannon House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515

    Ray Lahood – Illinois (18th Cong. District)
    1424 Longworth House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515


    karrie jackelen
    Robin A. Grawe, Secretary
    Mississippi River Citizen Commission
    678 Sioux St.
    Winona, MN 55987

    Posts: 103

    Gianni – doesn’t appear to be much interest in this subject when you look at the views and the posts. Maybe should have given it a different title as this subject relates to ALL of the river users (MN, WI, IA, IL, & MO), not just Iowa anglers.

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