Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig recently announced that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has received $8 million from USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service to help expand the habitat and water quality projects underway in priority watersheds, including around the North Raccoon, Boone, Middle Cedar and South Skunk rivers.
"I appreciate the continued financial support from USDA. When we leverage state, federal and private funding, we can add more conservation practices in targeted areas of the state where they have the greatest impact on habitat and water quality," Naig says. "The department is continuing to work alongside our public and private partners to build upon the progress and construction of wetlands and other proven water quality practices outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy."
This funding is made available through the NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
The Iowa Partners for Natural Infrastructure Project proposes to add 35 wetlands and 200 edge-of-field practices in priority watersheds in Iowa. Once they are installed, these practices will reduce an estimated 500,000 pounds of nitrogen per year. They also have the potential to sequester about 2 million pounds of carbon.
Many supporting partners
Key partners providing additional financial and technical support for the Iowa Partners for Natural Infrastructure Project will be provided by Ducks Unlimited Inc., Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D), the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Sand County Foundation, Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition and Agri Drain Corp.
IDALS is currently leading or participating in 13 RCPPs, including four RCPPs that received more than $40 million in federal funding in 2021. Working with its public and private partners, the department has made progress toward achieving the goals outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. IDALS recently celebrated the completion of the 100th Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program-funded wetland in Buena Vista County. To date, there are at least 110 known, completed wetlands in the state. The department and its partners have also helped add at least 41 saturated buffers and 15 bioreactors this year.
To learn more about Iowa’s ongoing soil health and water quality initiatives, visit cleanwateriowa.org.