Pat Boddy for Polk County Soil and Water Commission

Pat Boddy is a former executive director of Polk County Conservation and deputy director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. -promoted by desmoinedem

June 30, 2018 started out like a typical Saturday night. My husband and I attended a theatre performance in Indianola. We heard the thunderstorms rumble overhead, but didn’t think much about it.

On our way home, it soon became apparent this was no average storm.

Roads were closed and the power was out. We zigzagged our way home, dodging detours and power lines. We probably went through some water we shouldn’t have.

When we finally got to our turnoff from Hickman Road, we found abandoned cars from flooding on North Walnut Creek, just a block from our home. That was a first in our 20 years of living in our home.

Soon, we learned of a tragic death not far away, from street flooding in Des Moines.

Storm water runoff, soil erosion and climate change had all come together on that single summer night. It was not the first time, of course, and it won’t be the last.

My name is Pat Boddy. I am running for a four-year term on the Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Many voters are getting their absentee ballots this week as early voting is underway. Please turn the ballot over and vote in this and other important contests.

I am asking for your vote.

I am a licensed professional engineer with undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering from Iowa State University. I am a former executive director of Polk County Conservation and deputy director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. At the end of 2017, I retired as a senior partner and shareholder at RDG Planning and Design, an architectural, engineering, and planning firm. I continue to work part-time with the firm on special projects.

I am a former board member of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and serve on the Polk County Great Outdoors Foundation. We just opened the new Jester Park Nature Center after passing a bond issue and raising private donations.

As part of my work over the years, I have helped develop many of the watershed plans in Polk County, including Walnut Creek, Four Mile Creek, Spring/Mud/Camp Creek and more.

Climate change drives more frequent and intense storms on a landscape that has been plowed, paved, roofed and drained – compromising our flood plains and the ability of our landscape to hold the water where it lands.

We need to implement these watershed plans now.

The plans have been developed across political boundaries and false divides of rural versus urban. They have involved many partners and sound science. They use a diverse toolbox – mixing technical projects like saturated buffers, bioreactors, or multi-stage outlets, with more recognizable practices like wetlands, cover crops, rain gardens and so much more.

These plans guide us to put these practices where they do the most good, shifting away from expensive and often meaningless “random acts of conservation” of the past.

They offer sound policy (like adoption of the Iowa Stormwater Management Manual), push for addressing these issues on a regional basis, advocate for monitoring and information sharing, and identify funding strategies.

Polk County can lead the state in lessening flood impacts, restoring our soil, improving water quality and mitigating climate impacts.

I see our community at the center of collaboration, science, and solutions. I ask for your vote. We can do this.

  • Yes, some watershed plans that have been put together in Iowa are excellent...

    …but plans have only been developed for a few of Iowa’s many watersheds. And trying to implement those plans is a huge challenge because farm conservation in Iowa remains completely optional.

    The conservation option still being chosen by most Iowa farmers is to do nothing except the tiny minimum that is needed to qualify for those generous crop insurance subsidies. Only about 3% of Iowa’s rowcrop acres have cover crops, and of the thousands of new water-cleansing wetlands we need, we only have a few dozen. Iowa’s other farm conservation numbers are similarly pathetic.

    Pat Boddy is incredibly well qualified to serve as a Commissioner. But even the very best Iowa commissioners are stuck in a system that is grossly inadequate for solving the huge soil and water problems we face. (Get a few NRCS staffers alone, promise not to repeat what they say, and then ask what they really think of the system they work in.)

    Pat Boddy has always been eloquent as well as knowledgeable and experienced. If she is elected, I hope Polk County will also start leading the state in speaking loudly and frankly about what Iowa really needs to do, in terms of major policy changes, to protect our soil and water.

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