Watershed demonstration project applications requested

Watershed demonstration project applications requested

Posted Aug. 12, 2013

Projects should focus on adoption of practices outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has issued a request for applications for targeted watershed demonstration projects focused on water quality.

“Watershed demonstration projects are a central piece of Iowa’s Water Quality Initiative and I strongly encourage all who are interested in working on a project to apply,” Northey said. “Working together on the small watershed level has been an extremely valuable characteristic of successful soil conservation projects and we want to repeat those successes as we focus on water quality.”

Projects must be within the nine large priority watersheds that have been identified by the Iowa Water Resources Coordinating Council (WRCC). The nine priority watersheds are the Floyd, West Nishnabotna, East Nishnabotna, North Raccoon, Boone, South Skunk, Skunk, Middle Cedar, and Turkey.

These nine large watersheds, also known as HUC8 watersheds, include 429 subwatersheds, or HUC12 watersheds. Applications will be accepted for projects focused on a single subwatershed within the priority watersheds or for projects that group multiple subwatersheds into a single application.

Projects will include concentrated efforts to demonstrate conservation practices paired with strong outreach/education components to disseminate information on these practices to promote increased awareness and adoption of available practices and technologies for achieving reductions in nutrient loads to surface waters. Successful projects will serve as local and regional hubs for demonstrating practices and providing practice information to farmers, peer networks and local communities.

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

The department will make available up to $5,550,000 to support demonstration projects over their initial duration period not to exceed three years.

Applications will be reviewed by a committee including representatives from the department, Iowa State University, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, University of Northern Iowa, and the University of Iowa. Recommendations from this committee will be utilized to advise the selections made by IDALS.

Project applications, which include a map of priority watersheds, can be found at www.IowaAgriculture.gov under “Hot Topics” or can be requested by contacting the department’s Division of Soil Conservation at (515) 281-5851.

Applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 30, 2013.