DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is requesting pre-applications for projects located in urban areas focused on improving water quality.
“We continue to see strong interest from both rural and urban areas in water quality efforts and we are excited to be able to offer another round of funding for urban focused projects. These funds are available to help communities, watershed group or other organizations interested in trying water quality practices in an urban area and willing to share their results with others,” Northey said.
Municipalities, Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs), watershed groups, and other non-governmental organizations are eligible to submit applications. Projects should focus on conservation measures that reduce a property’s contribution to water quality degradation, runoff, and flooding by incorporating practices such bioretention cells, wetlands, native landscaping, and other approved nutrient reduction practice technologies.
In addition to demonstrating urban conservation practices, projects should include strong outreach/education components to disseminate information and 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 homeowners, municipalities, businesses, and local communities.
The maximum three-page pre-application must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, December 9, 2016. Pre-applications selected to submit a full application will be notified by January 13, 2017, and the full applications will be due on February 10, 2017. Projects selected to receive funding will be announced in early March.
Project pre-application guidance can be found on the Department’s website at www.IowaAgriculture.gov under “Hot Topics” or can be requested by contacting the Department’s Division of Soil Conservation and Water Quality at 515-281-5851.
Currently, 22 Urban Conservation Water Quality Initiative Demonstration Projects have been funded, nine in 2015 and thirteen in 2016. The state awarded over $1.6 million in funding and participating partners and landowners will provide $5.02 million to further support urban conservation efforts.
Northey created the Urban Conservation program in 2008, which includes urban conservationists to educate communities, businesses, developers, and homeowners about practices to reduce runoff and improve water quality in urban areas.