(information last updated Fall 2017)

Ongoing Projects:

State Project:

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) runs a volunteer water quality monitoring program: IOWATER.  See Iowater, Ia. Dep’t of Nat. Resources, (last visited Apr. 10, 2017).  We have been unable to find statutory authority for this program, which DNR appears to have created it on its own initiative.

Collection of Information:

Ag-Gag Law:

“A person shall not, without the consent of the owner . . . c. (1) Enter onto or into an animal facility, or remain on or in an animal facility, if the person has notice that the facility is not open to the public, if the person has an intent to . . . (a) Disrupt operations conducted at the animal facility, if the operations directly relate to agricultural production [or] animal maintenance.”  Iowa Code § 717A.2.  Private parties can recover treble damages in a civil suit.  Id.


“A person is guilty of agricultural production facility fraud if the person willfully does any of the following:

    a. Obtains access to an agricultural production facility by false pretenses.

    b. Makes a false statement or representation as part of an application or agreement to be employed at an agricultural production facility, if the person knows the statement to be false, and makes the statement with an intent to commit an act not authorized by the owner of the agricultural production facility, knowing that the act is not authorized.”  Iowa Code § 717A.3A.


“‘Agricultural production facility’ means an animal facility as defined [below], or a crop operation property.”  “‘Animal facility’ means any of the following: a. A location where an agricultural animal is maintained for agricultural production purposes, including but not limited to a location dedicated to farming . . . , a livestock market, exhibition, or a vehicle used to transport the animal.”  Iowa Code § 717A.1.

Trespass Laws:

Criminal Liability for Trespass Despite Lack of Notice:

No.  An intruder must have been “notified or requested to abstain from entering” the property of another for such entry to constitute trespass. Iowa Code § 716.7(2)(a)(2).

Other Provisions:

Criminal trespass carries a heightened penalty if the trespasser entered the property “with the intent to . . . place . . . anything . . . inanimate” thereon.  Iowa Code § 716.7(2)(a)(1).


See supra “Ag-Gag Law.”


Stalking Laws:

Criminal Stalking

“A person commits stalking when all of the following occur:

    a. The person purposefully engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily injury to, or the death of, that specific person or a member of the specific person's immediate family.

    b. The person has knowledge or should have knowledge that the specific person will be placed in reasonable fear of bodily injury to or the death of, that specific person or a member of the specific person's immediate family by the course of conduct.

    c. The person's course of conduct induces fear in the specific person of bodily injury to, or the death of, the specific person or a member of the specific person's immediate family.”  Iowa Code § 708.11.

Use of Information:

Although our research is incomplete, these provisions could be construed to prohibit the use of information collected by citizens.

Prohibitive by Effect:

In order to submit water quality data, volunteer monitoring groups must first submit a “volunteer water quality monitoring plan” for department approval.  Iowa Admin. Code 567-61.11(455B).  The plan must include a “statement of intent[,]” the names of all participants, the duration of the monitoring effort, the “[l]ocation and frequency of sample collection[,]” the “[m]ethods of data collection and analysis[,]” and “[r]ecord keeping and data reporting procedures.”  Id.  In addition to this, citizen-submitted data must be approved before it considered credible.  Iowa Admin. Code 567-61.12(455B).  To be approved, data must be submitted by a “qualified volunteer” who must request that it be deemed credible at the time of submission.  Id.  “[Q]ualified volunteers must have the training and experience to ensure quality assurance and quality control for the data being produced, or be under direct supervision of a person having such qualifications.”  Iowa Admin. Code 567-60.2(455B).

Evidentiary Standards:

Pleading a Claim:

Requires certification that the claim “is well grounded in fact.”  Iowa R. Civ. P. 1.423.

Authentication or Chain of Custody:

“The requirement of authentication or identification as a condition precedent to admissibility is satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims.”  Iowa R. Civ. P. 5.901.

Expert Testimony:

Ad Hoc Hall test; Daubert is instructive.  See Ranes v. Adams Labs., Inc., 778 N.W.2d 677, 685-86 (Iowa 2010).


Please note that this discussion is not moderated by the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.