(Buena Vista County, IA) -- An push to make Iowa water cleaner, has reached a big milestone. The 100th water quality wetland is now functional. It's in northern Iowa's Buena Vista County. Conservation groups and the state have been working to establish more rural wetlands. The goal is to double the current number.
The wetland 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,” Iowa Agriculture Secretary Naig said. “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 Iowa Department of Agriculture says the conservation practices are critical to help improve soil health and recreational water quality in Iowa and downstream. 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.