Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig visited Buena Vista County today to observe an important milestone in the state’s ongoing soil health and water quality initiatives. Secretary Naig, joined by several public and private conservation partners, toured the site of the 100th water quality wetland that was funded through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), a joint effort between the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and USDA NRCS.
“This is an exciting milestone and a great springboard to get us to the next 100 wetlands. We couldn’t have done it without the public and private partners who are working alongside us,” Secretary Naig said at the event. “We know there’s still work to do to achieve the goals outlined in Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy, but we have more partners and funding to support our efforts than ever before. And we’re continuously researching and testing new science-based conservation practices to help us scale up projects more efficiently.”
Secretary Naig and representatives from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), the Buena Vista Soil and Water Conservation District and Iowa State University gathered on the Leidahl farm near Sioux Rapids. The site is home to a 6.1-acre wetland that will treat 952 acres of cropland. The wetland is expected to remove an estimated 8,370 pounds of nitrogen runoff per year and 628 tons of nitrogen over its life span.
The adoption of science-based conservation practices is a critical step to help improve soil health and recreational water quality in Iowa and downstream. Wetlands are one of the most effective conservation practices used to capture and treat nutrients, and they have a life span of several decades. There are 110 known conservation wetlands in Iowa and more than 40 state-funded wetlands are under construction, to date.
To learn more about the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s ongoing soil health and water quality efforts, visit cleanwateriowa.org.