Members of a coalition promoting a constitutional amendment that eventually would direct more money to preserving Iowa’s natural resources have just completed a 59-stop tour through the state.
The chairman of “Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy Coalition” is Sean McMahon of The Natural Conservancy, and he’s heading up the campaign urging Iowans to flip their ballot over and vote yes on the constitutional amendment.
“A vote for Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy is a vote for clean water, for soil conservation, for restoring wetlands to protect against future flooding, you know, for current and future generations of Iowans to enjoy,” McMahon says.
Over 130 organizations are part of the coalition, including Pheasants Forever. Matt O’Connor of Hopkinton is a habitat specialist for Pheasants Forever.
“When I look my two boys, I can’t see any other way to vote than other than for this amendment,” O’Connor says. “I truly believe it’s the most important vote of my lifetime.”
Shanen Ebersole of Mount Ayr raises cattle in southwest Iowa and she’s part of the coalition, too. “I think that voting yes will help us preserve our land and our economy for the state and for future generations to come, so that we can have more to pass down to our sons and daughters,” Ebersole says.
Iowans will have a chance to vote yes or no on the proposed constitutional amendment to create the new fund. It won’t be filled with money, however, until the legislature and governor approve an increase in the state sales tax, as the amendment calls for placing three-eights of one percent of the NEXT increase in the state sales tax in the fund.
Anita O’Gara of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation says improving wetlands and pheasant habitat in rural areas will benefit cities, too, as it can help reduce flooding downstream.
“I think it will be one of the most exciting, broad-based, dynamic efforts that I’ve seen in more than 20 years of conservation,” O’Gara says. “And it’s really going to help change the face of Iowa for the better.”
O’Gara and the other three members of the “Water and Land Legacy Coalition” made their comments Sunday during a news conference in Des Moines.