Plan to tune into a free virtual wetland field day at 1 p.m. Central time Thursday. It will be hosted by Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), the Iowa Nutrient Research Center, and Conservation Learning Group. You’ll explore new wetland program opportunities and a wetland under construction with Susan Kozak, IDALS soil conservation and water quality division director. She will be joined by Shane Wulf, IDALS water resources bureau environmental specialist in this online presentation.
The Iowa Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is a state, federal, local and private partnership that provides incentives to landowners who voluntarily establish wetlands for water quality improvement. The goal is to reduce nitrogen loads from croplands to streams and rivers, while also providing wildlife habitat and increased recreational opportunities. Over the past 15 years, about 90 CREP sites have been constructed in a 37-county region in north central Iowa.
Cost-share funding available
To accelerate the installation of wetlands across the state to help meet the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy goals, the Iowa Water Quality Initiative offers flexible, cost-share funding to help install wetlands in areas that do not meet CREP program requirements. To date, more than 30 additional wetlands are set to be begin construction in the next two or three years.
“There are many conservation tools available to help farmers and landowners improve soil health and water quality,” Wulf notes. “Wetlands are a great way to turn regularly unproductive acres into nutrient reduction sites, and they provide wildlife habitat. We hope this virtual field day helps farmers and landowners understand where wetlands fit into the landscape, so they can determine if wetlands are right for their land.”
To participate in the live virtual field day at 1 p.m. Central time Thursday (Aug. 6), visit iowalearningfarms.org/page/events and click “Join Live Virtual Field Day.” Or, join from a dial-in phone line by dialing 312-626-6799 or 646-876-9923. The meeting ID is 914 1198 4892.
The field day will be recorded and archived on the ILF website so it can be watched any time. The archive will be available at iowalearningfarms.org/page/events.
Participants may be eligible for a certified crop adviser board-approved continuing education unit (CEU). Information about how to apply to receive the credit (if approved) will be provided at the end of the live field day.
Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a culture of conservation by encouraging adoption of conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best management practices that improve water quality and soil health while remaining profitable. Partners of ILF include the IDALS, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA section 319), and Growmark Inc.