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Federal gov. shutdown affects some Iowa services

December 30, 2018
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

With the continuing shutdown of the U.S. government, some sites and services in Iowa are shut down or have reduced staffing and services.

The National Weather Service will continue to operate 24/7 during the shutdown to provide public forecasts and warnings, but social media updates may be limited, according to the Des Moines office's Facebook page.

National wildlife refuges across Iowa will have minimal staff on site to maintain basic operations, according to Chuck Traxler, assistant regional director with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

"There will be staff at every refuge, again just doing the essential requirements to ensure public equipment is safe and secure," Traxler said.

For those planning a family road trip around the state, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum and Library is closed to visitors and researchers "until further notice." Staff there apologized for the closure on the library's Facebook page, saying the museum would reopen as soon as possible.

Trails at Effigy Mounds National Monument will remain open as well, but staff warns on its Facebook page that access may change without notice and typical services will not be provided.

The federal conservation lands in Iowa will remain open to visitors and hunters if applicable.

Traxler said, "Most of our national wildlife refuges follow state hunting seasons, so if there is a legal hunting season going on and that refuge is open to that hunting, it's open to the public to use."

A statement from the Upper Mississippi Refuge Facebook page warned visitors to exercise caution if they visit federal lands during the shutdown.

"Refuge visitors are advised to use extreme caution if choosing to enter units of the National Wildlife Refuge System, as FWS personnel will not be able to provide guidance, assistance, maintenance, or emergency response on Refuge System property. Any entry onto Refuge System property during this period of federal government shutdown is at the visitor's sole risk," the statement reads.

Federal government funding appropriations ran out as President Trump and members of Congress disagree over building a wall over the U.S. southern border with Mexico.



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