© 2023 Iowa Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Sierra Club Iowa Chapter Sues Iowa DNR Over Feedlot In Driftless Region

Bloody Run creek in Northeast Iowa's Clayton County
Clay Masters
Bloody Run Creek in northeast Iowa's Clayton County

Environmentalists, outdoor recreation enthusiasts and neighbors of a large feedlot in Clayton County have raised concerns in recent years about such a big CAFO in the driftless region.

The Sierra Club Iowa Chapter has filed a lawsuit against the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. It’s accusing the Iowa DNR of using bad information to approve a large-scale feeding operation in northeast Iowa's environmentally-sensitive driftless region. Supreme Beef LLC, near Monona, has built a large scale concentrated animal feeding operation, or CAFO, that can house 11,600 head of cattle. It's located near the headwaters of Bloody Run Creek.

The northeast part of the state is known for its karst topography where groundwater flows more easily. Environmentalists and neighbors are concerned the over-application of manure used as fertilizer on crops could be detrimental to the prized trout stream.

Bloody Run Creek is among 34 waterways designated as outstanding Iowa Waters by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“If we can't protect one of our outstanding Iowa waters, the very best that we have, then we all have to take a step back and say we really can't protect anything in Iowa if we can't protect Bloody Run,” Steve Veysey, a retired Iowa State University chemist, told Iowa Public Radio in June.

Veysey is also an organizer with The Committee to Save Bloody Run, an organization formed to raise funds for litigation, water testing and advocacy.

The lawsuit filed in Clayton County Court says the proposed CAFO used a skewed nutrient management plan riddled with incorrect information and miscalculations. A spokesperson for the Iowa DNR said the department did not have any comment at this time.

Members of The Committee to Save Bloody Run say they plan to start a water testing initiative for streams in the area so they can quickly identify when pollution occurs in the future.

Clay Masters is Iowa Public Radio’s Morning Edition host and lead political reporter.