Grants Go to Water-Quality Projects Across Iowa

Posted in: United States Water News, Water quality
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A stream in the Rock Creek, a focal point of one of the water-quality projects to which Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has funneled about $2.59 million in matching funds. (Photo Credit: Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier)

Article courtesy of Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier | July 13, 2015 | Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier | Shared as educational material

DES MOINES | Four projects focused on expanding the use and new delivery of water quality practices have been selected to receive $3.06 million in funding through the Iowa water quality initiative over the next three years, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship announced last week.

In addition to the state funds, the four projects will provide an additional $2.59 million in matching funds to support water quality improvement efforts as well as other in-kind contributions.

“Broad adoption of a variety of practices is necessary to reach the aggressive goals we all share for water quality. These four new projects are focused on helping us learn more about the best ways to get these practices on the land and creating demonstration opportunities so farmers can see how a new practice might work on their farm,” Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey said in a news release.

All the projects will focus on expanding the use of conservation practices identified in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy as positively impacting water quality. In addition, strong outreach components will help to share information on these practices and promote increased awareness and adoption of practices and technologies to reduce nutrient loads to surface waters.

The projects started on July 1. Thirteen partners from agriculture organizations, institutions of higher education, private industry, the local, state and federal government, and others, are working together on these projects.

“As part of the Iowa Water Quality Initiative we currently have 16 watershed demonstration projects, statewide cost share funds and nine urban conservation projects. These new projects are another opportunity to continue to engage farmers and encourage even greater adoption of practices focused on protecting water quality,” Northey said.

The projects:

  • Advancing Nutrient Reduction in the Rock Creek Watershed, a project costing $387,190, won a $275,190 grant. It will enhance existing collaborative efforts to improve water quality and reduce nutrient loss in the Rock Creek Watershed in the Upper Cedar River Watershed. Working from a watershed plan developed by farmers and stakeholders, the effort will deliver installation assistance for edge-of-field practices, specifically bioreactors and saturated buffers. Once complete, the watershed will have the largest concentration of these practices in Iowa. This effort will serve as a pilot site to expand implementation of these practices elsewhere in Iowa.
  • Don’t Farm Naked: Integration of Ruminant Livestock and Cover Crops to Meet Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Goals, costing $394,680, won a $282,680 grant. Practical Farmers of Iowa will work with livestock producers in the Floyd, North Raccoon, and Turkey River Watersheds to demonstrate the implementation and value of incorporating cover crops into row crop production in operations with ruminant livestock.
  • Driving Cover Crop Adoption through Education and Technical Assistance and Showing Environmental Benefits, costing $2.26 million, won a $1.01 million grant. The Conservation Technology Information Center will lead this effort to integrate cover crops into the operation of farmers recognized as leaders by their production methods for raising corn and soybeans. These farmers participate in the “Sustainable Soy” program led by Unilever and Archer Daniels Midland. Farmers will be able to integrate cover crops onto their farms as part of continuous improvement of their production practices.
  • Optimized Water Quality Wetlands Integrated with In-Field Nutrient Management Practices, costing $2.66 million, won a $1.5 million grant. Wetlands targeted for nutrient removal have a significant impact on improving water quality in Iowa. This project will develop methods for delivering this technology in the Cedar River Watershed.

For more information and a map of the demonstration projects, go to www.CleanWaterIowa.org.

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