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Daily Newscasts

Iowa Cities Take the Lead in Improving Water Quality

July 27, 2007

Several Iowa development projects are being recognized this weekend for making good use of land while protecting the environment. The city of Okoboji will receive a Leadership Award from 1,000 Friends of Iowa, for its efforts to protect Iowa's Great Lakes. The city changed zoning ordinances in 2006 to promote what's known as Low Impact Development, or LID. City manager Dennis Daily says other communities are turning to Okoboji as a model.

"We think we are probably one of the first cities in the state that implemented full LID principles and practices within our zoning. and we have some other large cities across the state that actually have our ordinance, using it as a model to develop their own."

The idea of Low Impact Development is to use a site's existing landscape to filter, store, evaporate and detain storm water runoff which could include using wetlands and native plants as filters. Stephanie Weisenbach with 1000 Friends of Iowa explains that Okoboji and other award winners were chosen for their efforts toward smart growth and sustainability.

"We are incredibly impressed with the amended zoning ordinance that incorporates low impact development principles which will ensure that development minimizes the impact to water quality and natural resources of their city."

Other award winners include: Best New Commercial and New Residential Development: Silver Shores in Lake Park. Best Renovated Commercial: Staw Center for Culture and Commerce, Elkader. The Renovated Residential award: Davenport Lofts in Davenport. Mixed Use award: Crescent Community Health Center/Washington Court Apartments/Project Concern in Dubuque.
The awards will be handed out at the 1000 Friends of Iowa annual meeting in Mount Vernon on Saturday.

Dick Layman/Eric Mack, Public News Service - IA