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Rivers as Recreation (Full Program) (Episode 167)

posted on July 11, 2008 at 11:17 AM

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No doubt every Iowan is keenly aware of the impact the state's rivers can have when they flood. But many advocates and politicians have been working for years to create a different, more "fun," impact from the rivers. Before the floods and tornadoes hit Iowa the legislature passed and the governor signed a $12 million appropriation to help communities improve and reinvigorate their river fronts for economic development. The goal, in part, is to offer recreational opportunities that may help recruit a younger workforce to Iowa and provide safe access and opportunities for all Iowans, and other visitors, who want to canoe and kayak. The Iowa Journal visits Fraser, along the Des Moines river near Boone, where the Department of Natural Resources installed warning signs of a downstream dam and built a trail for paddlers to bypass a low-head dam. While costly improvements are underway, they occur at the same time as reports of pollution entering rivers and streams from sources that range from agricultural runoff to municipal sewage treatment overflows. In the studio to discuss the issues of river development, are Nate Hoogeveen, Rivers Programs Coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Senator Bill Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo who co-authored a $12 million appropriation, signed by governor Culver, for river enhancements. And, David Pitt of the Associated Press updates host Paul Yeager on the new estimates of the cost of flood clean-up in Cedar Rapids, which is $1 billion, and at the University of Iowa, expected to cost $231 million. Also discussed were new census figures that show Iowa's population has grown by 62,000 between 2000 and 2007 and that most of the growth has been in urban areas of the state. Out and About Correspondent Dan Kaercher travels to Adel and finds out how a small town defines itself in the shadow of a metro area. (27:46)

Tags: Adel disasters floods Iowa rivers storms tourism travel water quality