Posted May 5, 2014
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey thanked the Iowa Legislature for its continued support of a voluntary, science-based approach to improving water quality.
Lawmakers passed a total of $22.3 million to support water quality and conservation efforts.
“I appreciate the Legislature stepping up to continue funding voluntary, science-based water quality efforts in Iowa. This funding would help us continue our efforts in targeted watersheds as well as provide funds to help farmers try new water quality practices statewide,” Northey said. “The governor and lieutenant gov. have been strong supporters of the Water Quality Initiative from the beginning and I hope they will approve this funding.”
The Legislature approved $4.4 million in ongoing funding and $3.5 million in one-time funding specifically for the Iowa Water Quality Initiative. These funds will allow the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to continue to encourage the broad adoption of water quality practices through statewide cost-share assistance as well as more intensive work in targeted watersheds. The legislation also gave the department the authority to provide cost-share assistance for urban conservation projects.
Legislators also provided $5 million in one-time funding to help address the backlog of state soil conservation cost-share projects. This is in addition to the annual appropriation of $6.7 million. All funds are matched by the landowner to support construction.
Lawmakers provided $1.2 million to support the closure of eight additional agriculture drainage wells and $1.5 million to the Watershed Improvement Review Board.
Additionally, $1.3 million was appropriated to the nutrient management research center at Iowa State University to support ongoing research on practices farmers can use to reduce nutrient losses.