By Kate Giannini and Jamie Benning
In the last 30 years, damage from flooding has cost Iowans over $17 billion. Through the $97 million Iowa Watershed Approach project, qualifying landowners can receive up to 90% cost share on flood mitigation conservation practices. Iowa taxpayers can save an average of $6 for every $1 spent on flood mitigation before a disaster occurs.
IWA funding is available for select areas in each watershed to construct conservation practices to reduce downstream flood damage. Eligible practices include farm ponds, wetlands, terraces, saturated buffers, water and sediment control basins, and floodplain and oxbow restoration.
The 90% cost share is a recent increase from the original 75%. The landowner will cover the remaining 10%, or find additional funding through a local match. Conservation practices must meet all USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service specifications and guidelines.
Watersheds eligible for IWA cost-share
The IWA, which began in 2016, is a five-year project to minimize flood risk in Iowa. This approach builds upon other Iowa programs designed to reduce flooding and improve water quality, such as the Iowa Flood Mitigation Program and the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Nine distinct watersheds representing different Iowa landforms serve as sites for the IWA.
For more information, resources and upcoming events, visit IWA.
Giannini is communications specialist for the Iowa Watershed Approach. Benning is manager of the Water Quality Program for Iowa State University Extension.