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Iowa DNR: 30 Years, 30 Natural Resource Successes

DES MOINES — July 1 marks the 30th anniversary of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, established by the State Legislature when several state agencies consolidated in 1986. To help commemorate the 30th anniversary, the DNR is highlighting 30 success stories for Iowa’s natural resources during the last three decades.

The DNR oversees compliance with water, land and air quality regulations, as well as wildlife, fisheries, forests and state parks.

“We spend a lot of time working on, and talking about, how Iowa’s natural resources need to improve, and we will continue that hard work,” said DNR director Chuck Gipp. “Now is the perfect time to also reflect on some amazing accomplishments that have truly improved our state’s environment and outdoor opportunities.”

According to Gipp, the key to most of these accomplishments has been partnerships. “These are not just DNR success stories,” said Gipp. “Many citizens, businesses and communities have worked tirelessly to help improve natural resources and Iowa’s quality of life during the last three decades.”

Many of these successes have happened with leadership from organizations, companies and individuals outside of the DNR, and the agency salutes the efforts of thousands who have contributed their innovation and dedication to natural resource work in the state.

Examples of natural resource successes in the last 30 years include:

  • Iowa’s eagle population, on the brink of extinction in 1986, now has close to 400 nesting pairs in the state.
  • More than 1,200 miles of hiking and biking trails have been developed across Iowa, creating hugely popular outdoor opportunities.
  • Almost 30 percent of Iowa electricity now comes from wind energy, a number that was basically nonexistent in the mid-1980s.
  • Iowa’s streams that can support naturally reproducing trout have increased to 45 from just six in the mid-1980s through water quality efforts.
  • 2.2 million Iowans now participate in curbside recycling in 644 Iowa communities, a concept that was not widespread 30 years ago.

The complete list of the 30 accomplishments is highlighted in the July/August 2016 issue of Iowa Outdoors magazine, and can be found on the DNR’s website at www.iowadnr.gov/30th . The successes and anniversary will also be featured in a display at the DNR’s State Fair Building in August.

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