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lake Nicholas Tonelli, American Rivers
WATERSHEDS: Working together using a watershed approach will help protect our nation’s water resources. Watersheds supply drinking water, provide recreation and sustain life.

Series highlights watershed improvement practices

New publications help Iowans learn about the Iowa Watershed Approach.

A new series of publications highlighting a variety of practices that can be used to reduce flooding and improve water quality are available through the ISU Extension Store.

The series, “The Iowa Watershed Approach,” walks readers through the impact these practices have on flood reduction, water quality, watershed management, wildlife benefits and more.

“Our purpose was to create a set of publications that can be used in the education and outreach efforts by the Iowa Watershed Approach,” says Jamie Benning, water quality program manager with Iowa State University Extension. “All publications feature practices that have the ability to reduce runoff or to store water and improve water quality by reducing nitrogen or phosphorus loss.”

10-part series
The 10 publications in the series are written by Benning and Kristina TeBockhorst, with Iowa State University Extension:
• wetlands (WQ 0022)
• Farm ponds (WQ 0023)
• water and sediment control basins (WQ 0024)
• grade stabilization structures (WQ 0025)
• oxbow restoration (WQ 0026)
• channel stabilization (WQ 0027)
• terraces (WQ 0028)
• buffers (WQ 0029)
• floodplain restoration (WQ 0030)
• perennial cover (WQ 0031)

Additional publications are available from ISU Extension that provide more information on woodchip bioreactors (WQ 0004) and saturated buffers (WQ 0005). Both have been recently updated to reflect their impact in minimizing flooding.

The publications are designed to raise public awareness and provide information to landowners who may be interested in using one or more of the practices.

Explanation of practices
“We want the public to be aware of what they might see on the landscape and how a particular practice is positively impacting water quality and reducing downstream flooding,” Benning says. “We also want to be able to introduce these practices to landowners who might be considering implementing one or more of these practices. The publications give people a quick overview of the practice, its effectiveness, how it functions and other benefits it can provide.”

Many of the practices have cost share or other financial incentives available to landowners who install them on their property. The publications provide basic information about those programs and who landowners can contact to learn more.

The Iowa Watershed Approach is a program through which Iowans are working together to address factors that contribute to floods. IWA works in nine distinct watersheds in Iowa to reduce flooding and improve water quality.

Working together using a watershed approach will help protect water resources, as watersheds supply drinking water, provide recreation and sustain life, Benning says. A watershed approach is considered the most effective framework to address today's water quality challenges.

Source: Iowa State University

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