The state geologist warns that budget cuts are landing especially hard on a lesser-known division of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Funds may be nearly cut in half next year for the Iowa Geological and Water Survey, which monitors the quality and quantity of both surface and underground water.
Bob Libra, at the Geological Survey, hopes for more money by the time the legislature’s budget negotiations end.
“There’s not much hope of that in the current world, I guess,” Libra says. “If they land somewhere pretty close to the base figure that the DNR’s been operating under, then then plan that we’re describing here is how they are going to address it.”
The Geological Survey’s cuts are particularly difficult because the bureau relies more on the state’s general fund than some other divisions of the DNR, plus, it had fewer vacant positions to absorb the cuts.
Libra says they haven’t decided how to compensate for the loss of talent if the anticipated layoffs occur.
“Some of our expertise on dealing with the health and quality of lakes in this state will not be there,” he says. “We’re not sure quite how to overcome that yet.”
The DNR’s budget has been cut by nearly 40-percent since 2009. Libra’s hoping budget negotiators land closer to the Senate’s proposed funding for the DNR which is about half a million dollars higher than the House.