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Iowa enters next phase of funding to improve water quality

Photo courtesy of Clean Water Iowa

A statewide initiative will continue to fund four watershed-based projects, in efforts to improve water quality.

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) officials announced Monday plans to extend funding for the Cedar Creek Partnership Project (Wapello County), Deep Creek Quality Initiative Project (Plymouth County), Lower Skunk Water Quality and Soil Health Initiative (Henry County) and the Walnut Creek Watershed Initiative (Montgomery County).

 “To really get in and work with landowners, and really focus on getting practices installed in a geography, you need to be there for a while. We always intended for these projects to live on; they would go through different phases. We’re viewing this as, phase one is complete; they’ve put three years of work in. We think that they are doing tremendous work, so we’re going to fund them for a second phase, another three years,” Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said.

The projects will receive a total of $1.88 million in additional funding through the Iowa Water Quality Initiative. In addition, the projects will access approximately $4.1 million in matching funds to support water quality improvement efforts as well as other in-kind contributions. Naig said a key success factor to a good demonstration project is a lot of local engagement.

 “These four projects that are being extended had 37 existing partners involved,” Naig said. “They’re going to add 13 new partners, which means we’re bringing that total to 50. We see the continued engagement and building of additional partners. We really find that we need that engagement across the spectrum to be successful.”

The funding extension will allow the projects to demonstrate the different practices, outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, which could positively impact Iowa’s water quality.