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Northey: $325 million invested in Iowa for water quality benefits

By Staff | Dec 16, 2015

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said Nov. 30 more than $325 million in state and federal funds were directed to programs with water quality benefits in Iowa last year.

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy annual report, provided last summer to the Water Resources Coordinating Council, highlighted $105 million was invested by state and federal agencies in programs with water quality benefits.

Additionally, $220 million was invested by U.S. Department of Agricuture, in Iowa, through the Conservation Reserve Program which also has broad water quality and conservation benefits.

“Significant investment in improving water quality continues to be made through state and federal programs, many of which require at least a farmer match,” Northey said. “Work is being done to better quantify private investments in water quality made by individual farmers, non-governmental organizations and others, but we know this additional investment to be in the tens of millions of dollars each year.

“It is encouraging to see the broad support and growing investment in the Iowa strategy as well as the significant progress that has that has been made as a result.”

The Iowa Nutrient Reductions Strategy report can be found at www.nutrientstrategy.iastate.edu under “Strategy documents.”

A wide variety of state and federal programs are identified in the report. They include:

  • $17.8 million through programs operated by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, including the Water Quality Initiative, Iowa Financial Incentives Program, Ag Drainage Well Closure program and the Watershed Protection fund.
  • $16 million through programs operated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources include EPA Section 319, Lakes Restoration and Water Quality Monitoring.
  • $34 million by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservations Service through programs such as Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Conservation Stewardship Program, Conservation Technical Assistance and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program.
  • $35.7 million through the Iowa State Revolving Loan Fund, which is a water, wastewater and water quality infrastructure low interest loan program jointly managed by the Iowa DNR and Iowa Finance Authority.

The report was compiled by IDALS, Iowa DNR and Iowa State University, with input from the WRCC and Watershed Planning Advisory Council.

The annual report provides progress updates on point source and nonpoint source efforts related to the action items listed in the elements of the strategy and updates on implementation activities to achieve reductions in nitrogen and phosphorus loads.

Iowans may review the full report and updated Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Iowa State University seek to continue to broaden the engagement of stakeholders and further advance the strategy.

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