The director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says water quality is linked to economic vitality. Department of Natural Resources director Jeff Vonk says a healthy environment and a sound economy are not mutually exclusive, and quality of life issues in economic development will become even more important in the future. Vonk says in the 1800s, a simple log cabin constructed along a stream or lake was a necessity of life because access to water was essential. Vonk says today, a simple log cabin near water is the ultimate dream for many and proves clean water can be a fuel to drive the state’s economic development engine. Vonk cites property values along the state’s premier lake as proof.Vonk says lakefront property on West Lake Okoboji costs about one-thousand dollars an inch. He says you’d have to sell four acres of prime Iowa farmland to buy one foot of lakeshore property on West Okoboji. Vonk says a recent survey found more and more Iowans believe the water quality of the state’s lakes are crucial. Vonk says each year, about 60 percent of Iowans make at least one trip to an Iowa lake. An Iowans makes, on average, about eight trips per year to a lake, and Vonk says they fish, picnic, boat and swim. He says the quality of the water is the most important factor when Iowans decide which lake to visit. There are about 100 publicly-owned lakes in Iowa.
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