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New water quality project starts for North Raccoon

By Staff | Nov 1, 2016

REMBRANDT (IDALS) Across Iowa, rural and urban partners continue working together toward improved water quality, watershed by watershed.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, plus multiple partners gathered Sept. 8 to celebrate and begin work on a new collaborative project in the headwaters of the North Raccoon.

“Iowa is leading the way in using a collaborative, research-based strategy to improve water quality,” said Bill Northey, Iowa secretary of agriculture. “We are bringing rural and urban partners together to help retain water in the landscape, protect vulnerable populations from flooding and keep nutrients in the soil, all the while helping feed and fuel the nation.”

Sean McMahon, IAWA executive director, said, “We’re all in this together. This is truly a team effort as we work toward a One Water Iowa solution.

Kurt Simon, NCRS state conservationist, added, “We celebrate the leadership in Iowa for forming one of the largest public-private partnerships in the nation to address water quality through conservation practices.”

The public-private partnerships are being coordinated through the USDA-NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program, with matching funds leveraging the $9.5M federal investment.

During the event, local farmer conservation leaders, Mike Ehlers, Troy Elbert, and Dick Lund and cover crop expert Sarah Carlson with Practical Farmers of Iowa, shared key learnings regarding practices used to manage nutrients in the Headwaters of the North Raccoon watershed.

Attendees also learned about opportunities for sharing the cost of implementing new conservation practices. Qualifying practices include strip-till/no-till, cover crops, denitrifying bioreactors, saturated buffers and others.

“These in-field and edge-of-field practices are scientifically demonstrated to reduce nutrient loss and improve water quality,” concludes McMahon.

Water quality practice demonstrations provided first-hand learning opportunities.

The launch party was hosted by IAWA, IDALS, USDA-NRCS, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Conservation Districts of Iowa, and Buena Vista and Pocahontas County Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Farm Nutrients hosted the event at their Rembrandt, Iowa headquarters.

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