Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced the funding of eight water quality planning and development and 11 urban conservation water quality projects, in conjunction with Earth Day. These monetary grants are funded through the Iowa Water Quality Initiative (WQI) and support innovative and collaborative community-based projects that help reduce the nutrient levels in Iowa’s water. The funds will be used for community planning, feasibility assessments and the implementation of conservation infrastructure, which are all critical parts of Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS).
“Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to acknowledge the work Iowans are doing to be good stewards of the land. Whether you live in the city or the country, we must all do our part to improve water quality in Iowa and downstream,” said Secretary Naig. “These projects are perfect examples of what we can accomplish when rural and urban citizens and public and private partners all work together to implement conservation practices.”
Water Quality Planning and Development Project Recipients
The following groups will receive water quality planning and development grants: Calhoun County Soil and Water Conservation District, Grundy County Soil and Water Conservation District, Howard County Soil and Water Conservation District, Iowa Nutrient Research and Education Council (INREC), Mahaska County Soil and Water Conservation District, City of Perry, Southfork Watershed Alliance and the Iowa Nature Conservancy (for the Middle Cedar watershed). The first phase of these projects will collectively receive over $618,000 in state funding through the Iowa Water Quality Initiative.
The funding will support assessment, planning, landowner contact, and design assistance at the local level. The projects will set the stage for future investments through local, state and federal sources to install priority practices such as wetlands, bioreactors, cover crops and saturated buffers.
• Lake Creek Water Quality Planning & Development Project – Calhoun Soil & Water Conservation District
Description: The conservation practices used in this project will be modeled after the nearby, successful Headwaters of the North Raccoon WQI project. Funding will help support technical assistance and one-on-one landowner contact to assess the viability of Nutrient Reduction Strategy practices.
• Planning Actionable Water Quality Projects in the Black Hawk Creek Watershed – Grundy Soil & Water Conservation District
Description: This project builds on the momentum generated by the local Black Hawk Creek Water and Soil Coalition, and other successful projects and partnerships in the Middle Cedar priority watershed. The funds will be used for conservation planning and feasibility assessments in the Black Hawk Creek watershed.
• Turkey River Headwaters & Chihak Creek Water Quality Project – Howard Soil & Water Conservation District
Description: The project will advance current watershed assessment efforts and create an implementation plan for the Turkey River Headwaters and Chihak Creek area. Funding will help work with landowners and engage partners to drive the adoption of conservation practices to improve water quality.
• Scaling-up Capacity for Implementation of Water Quality Wetlands – Iowa Nutrient Research and Education Council (INREC)
Description: INREC will work with local drainage district trustees and engineers in seven counties to plan and design water quality wetland sites. This project will focus on partner and landowner opportunities leading to scaled-up wetland implementation.
• Mahaska County South Skunk and Cedar Creek Watershed – Mahaska Soil & Water Conservation District
Description: This project will assess priority watershed areas within Mahaska County for the installation of edge-of-field and other practices that support the Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Project-leaders will engage local farmers and public and private partners to advance the planning and implementation of conservation practices.
• Evaluation & Preliminary Design of Stormwater Wetlands – City of Perry
Description: The funding will be used to develop water quality and stormwater management wetlands for the City of Perry. The project will create a model for other communities to build urban water quality projects into adjacent rural watersheds.
• Reducing Nutrient Loss in the South Fork Iowa River Watershed – Southfork Watershed Alliance
Description: Led by local farmers, residents and business leaders who have proven experience implementing water quality initiatives, the Alliance will work with watershed farmers and landowners to assess opportunities to adopt edge-of-field conservation practices.
• Edge of Field Outreach & Planning, Setting the Table for Success in the Morgan Creek Watershed – The Nature Conservancy
Description: This project will develop wetlands to address water quality and flooding concerns in an urban-rural transitional watershed. The west edge of the watershed is farmland and the city of Cedar Rapids is on the east side.
Urban Conservation Water Quality Project Recipients
The following communities will benefit from the urban water quality project funding: Amana Colonies, Ames, Avoca, Clear Lake, Clive, Des Moines, Glenwood, Malvern, Mapleton, Mount Pleasant, Oakland, Ogden, Ottumwa, Pleasant Hill, Red Oak and Sidney. These projects will receive over $900,000 in state funding. The communities will also generate $2 million in matching funds from public and private partnerships.
Urban conservation projects capture storm water and allow it to be better absorbed into the ground. This reduces the property’s contribution to water quality degradation, stream flows and flooding. Partnerships, outreach and education are also key components of urban water quality projects. They raise awareness about water conservation methods and encourage others to adopt permanent infrastructure that reduces the nutrient loads in surface waters.
Practices which may be installed as part of these urban projects include bioretention cells, bioswales, native plantings, permeable pavement, rain gardens, soil quality restoration and wetlands.
• Campus Town Water Quality Improvement Project – City of Ames
Description: This project incorporates stormwater quality practices as part of the Campustown Public Improvements program. Permeable pavers and bioretention systems will be installed to capture and treat runoff from the Campustown area just upstream from College Creek and Lake Laverne. The project includes an outreach and education component through Iowa State University and partnerships with community businesses and organizations.
• Clear Lake Enhancement and Restoration (Clear) Project – City of Clear Lake
Description: Permeable pavers and a bioretention system will be installed at three highly visible locations around Clear Lake to intercept and clean stormwater runoff before it enters the lake. These practices will compliment ongoing efforts from the CLEAR project — a rural-urban partnership to protect and enhance Clear Lake that spans more than two decades.
• Walnut Creek Stormwater Wetland Project – City of Clive
Description: The City of Clive will be collaborating with the Polk Soil and Water Conservation District, the Nature Conservancy and the Walnut Creek Watershed Management Authority to retrofit an existing dry basin into a stormwater wetland.
• Bringing Urban Practices to Rural Communities – Golden Hills Resource Conservation & Development (Avoca, Glenwood, Malvern, Oakland, Red Oak and Sidney)
Description: This multi-site project will add urban water quality practices to county courthouses, fairgrounds and research, conservation and development properties in six communities across four southwest Iowa counties. Bioretention cells or rain gardens will be installed in each of the project locations.
• Price Creek – Hotel Millwright Campus Urban Conservation Project – Iowa Valley Resource Conservation & Development (Amana Colonies)
Description: This project builds on the existing urban and rural water quality improvement efforts with the Amana Colonies and Price Creek watershed. Permeable pavers, bioretention areas, native landscaping and rainwater harvesting systems will treat 85 percent of stormwater from the project site, which is directly adjacent to the Mill Race and Price Creek streams.
• Tower Place Constructed Wetland Project – City of Mapleton
Description: The City of Mapleton will retrofit the installation of a stormwater wetland to intercept drainage from approximately 50 acres of agricultural and urban runoff. The project area will be used as an outdoor classroom by local schools to teach children about water quality and conservation practices.
• Upper Snipe Run Storm Water Quality Wetlands – City of Mount Pleasant
Description: This is a catalyst project to build momentum and capacity on a stormwater quality management program within the community. A multi-cell stormwater wetland and sediment forbay will be installed as part of a public park redevelopment project.
• Beaver Creek Watershed Improvements – City of Ogden
Description: The City of Ogden will install a stormwater wetland and grassed waterway to treat runoff from an upstream urban area. The project will enhance water quality and aesthetics in the community. This multi-agency project creates a model for other communities in the Beaver Creek Watershed Management Authority.
• Main Street Sustainable Infrastructure Project – City of Ottumwa
Description: This project incorporates bioretention cells and permeable pavers into the downtown area as part of an infrastructure improvement project. The city, local businesses, public and private partners and residents will benefit from the conservation practices, which improve both water quality and aesthetics.
• Hickory Park Detention Basin – City of Pleasant Hill
Description: The City of Pleasant Hill is building Hickory Glen Park, which will include recreational opportunities, outdoor education spaces, habitat restoration and a stormwater management system. A wet detention basin will incorporate an updated outlet structure that manages multiple rainfall events to improve water quality and provide channel protection downstream.
• Fourmile Creek Broadway Avenue Stormwater Wetland – Polk County Conservation
Description: This project builds on existing efforts and partnerships within the Fourmile Creek watershed to improve both urban and rural water quality. A stormwater wetland, which will intercept and treat approximately 22 acres, will be installed in a highly visible area along the Fourmile Creek Greenway.
Read more about these projects and conservation success stories at www.CleanWaterIowa.org.
About the Iowa Water Quality Initiative
The Iowa Water Quality Initiative was established in 2013 to help implement the Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS). The NRS is a science and technology based approach to achieving a 45 percent reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus losses to Iowa’s waters. The strategy brings together both point sources, such as municipal wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities, and nonpoint sources, including farm fields and urban stormwater runoff, to address these issues.
A total of 84 projects are located across the state to help implement and demonstrate water quality practices. This includes nine planning and development projects, 13 targeted watershed projects, 7 projects focused on expanding the use and innovative delivery of water quality practices and 55 urban water quality demonstration projects. More than 250 organizations are participating in these projects. The state awarded these 84 projects over $29.5 million in funding. Private partners and landowners invested more than $49 million to support these project efforts.