Dubuque County Land and Water Legacy Bond

This November, Dubuque County voters will have the ability to vote for trail improvements, clean water,  habitat restoration, and more opportune ways to enjoy our natural areas and parks. Dubuque County's Land and Water Legacy, a potential $40 million bond, will be on the ballot to fund the Dubuque County Conservation Boards initiatives to protect drinking water sources, improve the water quality of rivers and streams such as the Little Maquoketa River, protect wildlife habitat, and provide more outdoor recreational opportunities for all of Dubuque County citizens.

What will this cost?

If the supervisors choose to use property tax revenue to pay back the bond the estimated impact was estimated in the following scenarios: 

  1. The cost for a Dubuque County resident with a home valued at $150,000 is $36/year across the span of 8-9 years. 
  2. Another scenario would be a Dubuque County resident with a home valued at $600,000 the impact would be $258/ year across 8-9 years.

 A relatively small price for connected trails, improved water quality, and a higher standard of living. 

How will the funds be regulated? 

If the bond referendum passes a second resolution will go into effect from the Dubuque County Board of Supervisors creating a public review board to monitor compliance. The referendum requires funds to be used only for the purpose written in the referendum and not for any other purpose. All expenditures will be audited as well as disclosed to the public to ensure public benefits are elevated. As funds are released to the conservation board the dollars will be leveraged with other agencies, communities, and partnerships to continue protecting the natural resources in Dubuque County.  

Potential Projects

  • Water Quality:

    • Conservation Department will make efforts with partners and landowners to obtain priority properties or easements to support restoring areas to promote higher functioning wetlands, that benefit wildlife, flood control, water quality, and outdoor recreation. 
      • Catfish Creek Greenway
      • Little Maquoketa Greenway
  • Stream Access:

    • Water trails serve as recreational corridors. They help re-connect Iowans to their water history, heritage, geology, fisheries, and wildlife. 
      • Little Maquoketa River
      • Lytle Creek
      • Whitewater Creek
  • Trail Improvements and Connections:

    • A well-connected and safe system of trails to run, walk, and bike on to drawl more people; residents, and visitors alike. 
      • Heritage trail improvements 
      • Paved off-street connecting loop to Mines of Spain
      • Connect South Fork and Main Fork of Catfish Creek 
  • Hunting and Fishing Access:

    • Land protection and acquisition of sensitive natural areas.
      • Whitewater Canyon
      • Swiss Valley
      • Little Maquoketa River Mounds
      • Proving Grounds. 
  • Park Improvements:

    • More than 500,000 visit the Dubuque County Conservation parks and trails annually. The demands on the facilities are immense. There are improvements that need to be made to existing facilities as well as new facilities constructed to serve our growing population. 
      • Remodeling Swiss Valley Nature Center
      • Upgrading electrical services at campgrounds including Swiss Valley Campground.
      • Development of cabins, water access points, restrooms, tent platforms, dog parks, rock climbing, etc.

For the Dubuque County Land and Water Legacy Bond to be enacted 60 % of the voters that attend the polls in November would need to vote yes.