Description of DNR Rules


These rules are contained in Chapters 1 to 11 and 14. These rules provide basic organizational information, as well as complaint and record handling procedures. The rules also define the DNR's rule-making process, including evaluation of waivers and variances and petitions for rule-making; contested cases proceedings; service contracting and public improvement contracting processes; and declaratory rulings. A few special rules manage the DNR's documentation of groundwater hazards, the Nature Store, and the DNR's concession contracts. The Director has the authority to adopt, modify or repeal these rules.


The Department has rules regarding energy resources. These are contained in Chapters 1 to 19.
Rules regarding the geological survey are contained in Chapters 50 and 51.
The Director has the authority to adopt, modify or repeal these rules.


General procedural rules are contained in Chapters 1 to 12. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 were updated in August 1999, in part, to include revisions required by amendments to the Administrative Procedures Act in 1998.

For the air quality area, the Department has rules regarding permits, emission standards, measurement of emissions, ambient air standards, and acceptance of local air pollution programs. These rules are contained in Chapters 20 through 31. Construction permit exemptions in Chapter 22 were revised with the assistance of a stakeholder advisory group in 1997.

The Department has rules regarding water supplies, water rights, wastewater permits, water quality standards, animal feeding operations, storm water permits, and flood plain management. These rules are included in 567—Chapters 38 to 49, 50 to 55, 60, 61, 62, 65, and 70 to 76.

For the solid waste area, the Department has rules regarding sanitary disposal projects, composting, recycling operations, reuse of waste, land application of sludge and solid waste, land recycling program, and beneficial use of waste tires. These are contained in 567—Chapters 100 to 104, 105, 106, 108, 109 to 111, 117 to 119, 120 to 121, 137, 140, 141, 150 to 152 and 219.

The Department also administers rules regarding hazardous conditions and underground storage tanks. These rules are contained in 567—Chapters 131 to 133 and 134 to 136.

The Department has rules for the waste management assistance program. These rules are contained in 567—Chapters 107, 144, 145 and 209 to 218.

The Environmental Protection Commission has the authority to adopt, modify, or repeal these rules.


The Natural Resources Commission was created to establish policies, approve budgets and adopt rules to provide for the effective administration of the DNR's activities, as they relate to the conservation and use of Iowa's natural resources. These rules govern many of the services and programs of the Conservation and Recreation Division, which is comprised of Fisheries, Forestry, Parks, and Wildlife bureaus, and the Policy and Coordination Services Section, and of the Management Services Division, including the Realty Service and Licensing sections and the Engineering Bureau. In some cases, the Natural Resources Commission, through these rules, has delegated some authorities and responsibilities directly to DNR staff.

The rules are broken into eight separate titles: General; Licenses, Permits and Concession Contracts; Assistance Programs; Recreational Vessel and Vehicle Registration and Safety; Management Areas and Practices; Parks and Recreation Areas; Forestry; and Seasons, Limits, Methods of Take.

The General title of the NRC rules provide organizational rules for meetings of the NRC; provide rules regarding the NRC's approval of contracts, hearing of contested cases, and handling of records; and define the NRC's rule making and declaratory judgment processes. Many of these rules adopt the DNR Director's rules by reference. Additional rules of this title delegate to the DNR the review of sovereign lands construction permits, define the process through which the DNR will consider granting requests for leases and easements for or on public property, and provide a mechanism to manage forfeited property. Importantly, the NRC also defines the educational programs provided by the DNR and its various stamp design contest rules in this title.

The Licenses, Permits and Concession Contracts title of the rules define processes by which the DNR evaluates permits and licenses the use or sale of publicly-owned lands and materials, and the fees the DNR may charge for such permits, leases and licenses. The Concession Contracts rules, Chapter 14, define the process by which the DNR may contract with an individual, firm or other recognized group to use state property to achieve public benefits but for private purposes, i.e., to operate a concession, and the criteria by which the DNR and the Natural Resources Commission should evaluate the applicants. The Dock and Other Structures on Public Waters rules, Chapter 16, manage dock permits on waters of the state, by classifying different dock types and assessing varying levels of fees based on size and use. The Natural Resources Commission has delegated much of this management and review of docks and related structures to the DNR. The Barge Fleeting Regulations, Chapter 17, define evaluation criteria and fees by which vessels shall be allowed to fleet on Iowa's rivers. The Rental Fee Schedule for State-owned Property, Riverbed, Lakebed and Waterfront Lands rule, Chapter 18, define the terms of leases of state property, limit and set fees of such leases. The Executive Council must also approve all leases of public property pursuant to Chapter 18. Through the Sand and Gravel Permits rules, Chapter 19, the Natural Resources Commission has delegated the review and approval of sand and gravel removal in Iowa's rivers and lakes to DNR staff. DNR staff evaluate the proposed dredge sites for biological impacts prior to issuing, and the permits are evaluated on an annual basis.

Many of the individual chapters under the Assistance Program title define the guidance for the DNR's various grant programs. These rules are developed with significant interaction between the DNR and its stakeholders. For example, Chapter 29 deals with the Recreation Infrastructure Grants Program. This program is the direct result of the statewide Recreation Summit conducted in November 1997. This summit involved legislative leaders and recreation and natural resource leaders from across the state and from across a wide spectrum of stakeholders. One of the key recommendations from that Summit was the need to provide urgently needed infrastructure repair assistance to Iowa's local political subdivisions (similar to that already being provided to the state through the Restore the Outdoors Program). The DNR receives special funding from the legislature for some of these assistance programs and utilizes other funds available to the DNR, such as Marine Fuel Tax and General Funds, to pay for many of these assistance programs. Other financial assistance programs include the Agricultural Lease Program, Chapter 21; Wildlife Habitat on Private Lands, Chapter 22; Wildlife Habitat Stamp Cost-Sharing, Chapter 23; Blufflands Protection Program and Revolving Loan Fund, Chapter 24; Wildlife Habitat Private Land Certification, Chapter 25; Lands and Waters Conservation Fund Program, Chapter 27; Snowmobile/ATV Grant Program, Chapter 28; Waters Cost-Share and Grants Programs, Chapter 30; Public Owned Lakes Watershed Protection Priorities, Chapter 31; Private Open Space Lands, Chapter 32; Resource Enhancement and Protection, Chapter 33; Community Forestry Challenge Grants, Chapter 34; and Fish Habitat Promotion for County Conservation Boards, Chapter 35. Relocation Assistance rules, Chapter 26, are available to provide assistance to affected individuals by imminent domain actions; however, the DNR has not utilized its imminent domain authority for over 25 years.

Several of the Natural Resources Commission's rules regulate recreational vehicle and vessel registration and use, with particular emphasis on powerboats on public waters. These rules include Boating Safety Equipment, Chapter 37; Boat Registration and Numbering, Chapter 38; Boating Passenger Capacity, Chapter 39; Boating Speed and Distance Zoning, Chapter 40; Boating Navigation Aids, Chapter 41; Boating Accident Reports, Chapter 42; Motorboat Noise, Chapter 43; Boating, Special Events, Chapter 44; Boat Motor Regulations, Chapter 45; Motor Vehicles in Meandered, Navigable, and Trout Streams, Chapter 49; Green Valley Lake Special Water Activity Rules, Chapter 36; and ATV and Snowmobile Accident Reports and Registration Display, Chapter 50.

The Management Areas and Practices title of the rules outline the DNR's management and protection of lands and areas in the state. These rules include Game Management Areas, Chapter 51; Wildlife Refuges, Chapter 52; Controlled Hunting Areas, Chapter 53; Restrictions on Removal of Plant Materials from State Areas, Chapter 54; and Non-permanent Structures (Ice houses), Chapter 55.

Another title of the NRC rules addresses public use regulations in parks, and other public properties under management by the DNR. These include State Parks and Recreation Areas, Chapter 61; State Forest Camping, Chapter 62; Keg Beer Rules, Chapter 63; Use of Metal Detectors, Chapter 64; Fireworks Displays in State Parks, Chapter 65; Saylorville Multi-Use Trail, Chapter 66; and Multi-Use Trails on State Lands, Chapter 67.

With assistance from the Forestry Bureau, the Natural Resources Commission has adopted rules to provide assistance and programs to Iowa, including Nursery Stock Sale to the Public, Chapter 71; Timber Buyers, Chapter 72; Forest and Fruit-Trees Reservations, Chapter 73; and Forest Land Enhancement Program, Chapter 74.

The final title of the rules set seasons and regulate methods of take for fish, game and other plants and animals in Iowa. The Fisheries and Wildlife bureaus of the DNR go to great lengths to secure inputs from affected sportsmen and other users of Iowa's plant and animal resources, including fish and game. Numerous public meetings, some of which utilize the Iowa Communication Network, or ICN, inform the public about the reasoning behind season recommendations and provide avenues for the public to respond to those recommendations and to offer their input. These rules include Unprotected Game Species, Chapter 76; Fishing Regulations, Chapter 81; Commercial Fishing Regulations, Chapter 82; Scuba and Skin Spearing of Rough Fish, Chapter83; Promiscuous Fishing Regulations, Chapter 84; Trotlines, Chapter 85; Turtles, 86; Mussel Regulations, Chapter 87; Fishing Tournaments, Chapter 88; Waterfowl/coot Seasons, Chapter 91; Migratory Game Birds, Chapter 92; Commercial Use-Captive Reared Waterfowl, Chapter 93; -Nonresident Deer Hunting, Chapter 95; Pheasant, Quail and Partridge Seasons, Chapter 96; Snipe, Rail, Sora, Woodcock, and Ruffed Grouse Seasons, Chapter 97; Wild Turkey-Spring Seasons, Chapter 98; Wild Turkey-Fall Season, Chapter 99; Crow and Pigeon Seasons, Chapter100; Falconry Regulations, Chapter 101; Falconry Regulations for Hunting, 102; Deer Population Management Areas, Chapter 105; Deer Hunting, Chapter 106; Rabbit and Squirrel Seasons, Chapter 107; Furbearer Seasons, Chapter 108; Ground Hog Season, Chapter 109; Trapping Limitations, Chapter 110; Salvage of Fish and Game, Chapter 80; and Hunting Preserves, Chapter 112. Additional special rules that govern the use, take and sale of plants and animals in Iowa include Threatened and Endangered Species List, Chapter 77; Ginseng Harvest and Sale, Chapter 78; Aquaculture, Chapter 89; and Scientific Collecting and Wildlife Rehabilitation Permits, Chapter 111. Many of these special programs require the DNR Director to provide written approval of proposed actions.

Persons wishing to learn more about the Natural Resources Commission may contact the DNR for more information.


General procedural rules are contained in Chapter 1. Management of state preserves is addressed in Chapter 2. The State Advisory Board for Preserves has the authority to adopt, modify, or repeal these rules.