DECORAH, Iowa -- The Iowa Natural Resources Commission voted in May to change the name of the Decorah Fish Hatchery to the Chuck Gipp Decorah Fish Hatchery.
Gipp retired in May after six years as Director of the Iowa DNR and around a decade of working at the state agency. Prior to serving at the DNR, Gipp was elected to the Iowa House, where he served as majority leader. Prior to that, he was a dairy farmer in northeast Iowa.
“His dedication of the state of Iowa to preserve and protect our natural resources is amazing,” said Margo Underwood, who serves as chair of the Iowa Natural Resources Commission. “Those of you who have worked with him know that.
“Sometimes events like this is after somebody’s dead,” said Gipp. “I’m certainly not. It’s an extreme honor as a living human being to be honored like this, and have something named after you for the commitment you made to you community and the state of Iowa.”
Gipp first became interested in political service after an environmental issue near his farm.
“When I first started out, I was just a dairy farmer, to find out one day they were dumping industrial waste with higher than allowable levels of PCBs in the neighboring landfill,” said Gipp. “It's one of those things you realize that if you don’t get involved, who else will?”
Through the years, Gipp has seen a change in the way Iowa handles trash.
“Landfills, as a result of that, most of them were privately owned back in the 80s,” said Gipp. “Today they’re all most publicly owned, because solid waste facilities are a public service and should be treated like a utility, and so that’s the change that occurred over the years and I'm really happy to see that happen.”
"Chuck has been our director for six years and I’ve gotten to work with him the last couple years on issues up in northeast Iowa,” said Mike Steuck, Northeast Iowa Regional Fisheries Supervisor. “He’s been a big supporter of a trout program and our rivers programs, trying to make things better so we can make fishing better.”