Loras College
Alumni Campus Center, Arizona Room
February 15th, 2017

The ‘Environmental Integrity Working Group’ took place on February 15th at Loras College. The purpose of the working group was to guide the development of the Environmental Integrity Workshop that was held at the University of Dubuque on February 21st.

The meeting started with an overview of the comprehensive plan process and an update on the project timeline. Mike Hoffman, lead consultant with Teska Associates, explained how this plan is community-driven.

Environmental topics for the workshop include:

  • Clean Air and Water
  • Natural Resources
  • Smart Energy
  • Plants & Animals
  • Land Resources
  • Ease of Mobility by Car, Bike, Walking Transit
  • Reuse of Buildings
  • Community Design

When participants were asked to add to this list, they offered:

  • Stewardship
  • People are the environment
  • Human-environment interaction

Word Cloud Polling

Smart phone polls were then conducted to gauge the greatest environmental assets and challenges facing Dubuque. The following results were recorded:


Explanations of why participants reported select assets and challenges were offered.


  • The Tri-State Area offers great recreational opportunities
  • Dubuque offers ready access to open space/nature/wild spaces (10 minutes from town)

Housing architecture:

  • Dubuque has aesthetically pleasing older neighborhoods that make you want to take a walk outside
  • Older neighborhoods have been taken care of

Agricultural runoff:

  • Feed lots are detrimental to surface water quality. Creeks become blocked with manure
  • This watershed problem is at the county-level

Cross-sector collaboration:

  • Create a cross-sector working group to increase resource management opportunities and collaborations in the community.

Poor green space:

  • Lack of maintenance
  • Swiss Valley Nature Center is a good example of what to do
  • Natural spaces on periphery are great, but poor in city
  • Midwestern mown lawn mentality is a lost educational opportunity for wetland and native planting programming
  • Bee Branch is game changer; connectivity and urban core location
  • Community gardening has been good – an example for schools
  • Mines of Spain connection needs to be better to the city

Environmental Outreach Highlights

A brief recap of environmental events, including Green Dubuque and Leadership Dubuque was shared with group.

Critical Environmental Issues

The group was asked to identify two environmental themes important to Dubuque’s future. Each participant was asked to respond, and some responses were duplicated by multiple participants (see voting tally). Elicited from this exercise:


  • Surface Water Quality (3 votes)
  • Reduce Consumption (3 votes).
    • Refers to personal, everyday choices.
    • You can target landfill reduction, but the source is public behavior.
    • Cities can regulate how retailers consume (i.e. Mississippi River Cities + Towns)
    • Law of big proportions: targeting the largest waste category will have the largest impact
  • Student Access to Nature (2 Votes)
    • Free museum programming, but how do you get the students to the programming?
    • Get children out experiencing nature
    • Travel to Mines of Spain? EB Lyons Nature Center? The River Museum would be willing to support.
  • Cross-sector Collaboration
  • Data Management
  • Re-use Building Materials
    • More reuse policies
  • Hydro-electric Dam
    • What are the ecological consequences of the dam?
  • Cultural Change/Dated Mentality
  • Regional Land Use Coordination
  • Practicing Empathy
    • North Side vs. South Side investment
    • Bee Branch help curb disparities
  • Comprehensive Energy Strategy
    • How do alternative energies fit together?
  • Stewardship (People-Land Relationship)
  • Relationships (People-People Relationships)

Workshop Outline Suggestions

A critique of the planned Feb. 21st Environmental Integrity Workshop included two suggestions:

  • Broaden Native Plants + Animals to parks and open space
  • Add Reduce Consumption category – more than a plastic bag ban

Next Up

RSVP: Social + Cultural Vibrancy Workshop – April 19th, 2017 @ The Smokestack