Posted May 30, 2013
More than 1,700 comments considered in comprehensive strategy targeting reducing nutrients to Iowa waters and the Gulf of Mexico
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Iowa State University yesterday announced the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy has been completed.
The complete strategy is available at www.nutrientstrategy.iastate.edu.
The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a science and technology-based approach to assess and reduce nutrients delivered to Iowa waterways and the Gulf of Mexico. The strategy is designed to direct efforts to reduce nutrients in surface water from both point sources, such as wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities, and nonpoint sources, including farm fields and urban areas, in a scientific, reasonable and cost-effective manner.
“A concerted, cooperative and sustained effort by both point and nonpoint sources will be needed to meet the ambitious goals defined in this strategy, since neither source can meet the goals on its own,” said DNR Director Chuck Gipp. “We must continue to recognize that both sources play critical roles in regards to nutrient loads on a seasonal and annual basis.”
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the DNR worked with Iowa State University over a two-year period to develop a draft strategy that was released for public comment on Nov. 19, 2012. Comments were accepted until Jan. 18. Four public meetings were held to educate the public about the draft strategy.
“We are appreciative of the huge interest in the draft strategy and we believe we have a stronger document due to the public comments we received,” said Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey. “The intent of this strategy is to provide a comprehensive and integrated approach addressing both point and nonpoint sources of nutrients in a practical and scientific way.”
The draft Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy prompted 1,700 written comments. Each comment was reviewed and revisions to the strategy were made as a result.
A summary of the comments and areas of the strategy that have been changed from the draft report can be found at www.nutrientstrategy.iastate.edu. The summary attempts to address major themes highlighted in the comments received, but each individual comment is not specifically listed.
“We are excited to have this strategy in place, but now the real work starts,” Northey said. “The governor and the Iowa Legislature have been extremely supportive of the strategy and as a result, our department will have additional resources available to move forward with implementing the strategy and get additional conservation practices on the ground.”
“Our confidence in the nutrient reduction strategy being successful is evidenced by the very valuable collaboration we have had with representatives of wastewater operations throughout the state in formulating this plan,” Gipp said. “Not only was their input invaluable to formulation of the final plan, it indicates an unprecedented commitment on their part to reduce nutrients from point sources in Iowa.”
“Iowa State University is ready to inform and educate farmers about practices to reduce the loss of nutrients and help them evaluate the options for their land. We look forward to partnering with IDALS and IDNR to implement the strategy,” said John Lawrence, associate dean for extension and outreach programs in ISU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of ISU Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension.
The Iowa strategy has been developed in response to the 2008 Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan that calls for the 12 states along the Mississippi River to develop strategies to reduce nutrient loading to the Gulf of Mexico. The strategy will be used to develop operational plans through the Water Resources Coordinating Council. It is designed to be a dynamic document that will evolve over time as new information, data and science is discovered and adopted.