State continues push for improved water quality

State continues to advance water quality efforts

A fall cover crop

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship says it has new money available for additional demonstration projects focused on expanding the use of innovative water quality practices in the state.

Projects should emphasize installing practices, innovative methods of delivery and demonstrating results to farmers.

“We continue to see strong interest from a wide variety of groups and organizations looking to work collaboratively with farmers and landowners to protect water quality,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. “Currently, there are 29 collaborative, locally led projects from across that state bringing together over 100 individual partners, groups and businesses to advance water quality. This new funding will help continue the momentum and allow us to continue to engage farmers and encourage even greater adoption of practices focused on protecting water quality.”

Funds are available through the Iowa Water Quality Initiative for proposals focused on practices identified in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy that have the greatest impact on reducing nutrient loss, such as bioreactors, saturated buffers, wetlands, buffer strips and cover crops. Projects are not limited to the nine priority watersheds identified by the Water Resources Coordinating Council, but projects in those watersheds will receive preference in the application process.

Soil and Water Conservation Districts, watershed groups and other non-governmental organizations are eligible to submit applications.  Applicants will be able to seek up to three years of funding for a project, with the possibility of future extensions depending on funding availability and project performance.

The deadline to apply is Nov. 13 and application guidance can be found at under “Hot Topics” or can be requested by contacting IDALS’ Division of Soil Conservation and Water Quality at (515) 281-5851.

Earlier this year, four projects focused on expanding the use and innovative delivery of water quality practices beyond an individual watershed also were approved. These projects will receive $3.06 million in funding through the Iowa water quality initiative over the next three years and be matched by $2.59 million in funding from other sources. These projects will focus on expanding the use of cover crops, edge of field practices such as bioreactors and saturated buffers, and usage of water quality wetlands.

“Practices like bioreactors and saturated buffers have been documented to have been shown to have significant and long lasting impact on reducing nutrient loss, but are relatively new practices,” Northey said. “These projects will help build on efforts to scale up the delivery of these practices and others to broaden adoption and recognition of these important technologies.”

The announcement of projects selected to receive funding is anticipated for early December, with a Jan. 1 start date.  More information can be found in the project application guidance found at under “Hot Topics.”

More information about the initiative can be found at