Apply Now for Cost-Share Funding to Support Urban Water Quality Improvement Projects

DES MOINES, Iowa (Sept. 29, 2020) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is now accepting pre-applications for cost-share funding to support conservation projects in urban areas. These conservation practices capture and treat rainwater to reduce sediment entering local waterways and flash-flooding events.

“Conservation projects are underway in rural areas across the state. Urban communities and residents can also play a role in our ongoing water quality improvement efforts,” said Secretary Naig. “There are a variety of conservation practices that municipalities can use to protect businesses, homes and local water sources during heavy rainfall events. Many residents walk or drive past these practices without even realizing it because they are designed to fit the surrounding landscape.”

Examples of eligible urban conservation projects include bioretention cells, bioswales, native landscaping, permeable pavement, rain gardens, tree trenches and wetlands.

The proposed urban water quality improvement projects should be spearheaded and implemented by local leaders, organizations and volunteers. Successful pre-applications should leverage existing partnerships with local stakeholders who can help contribute financial and technical resources to ensure their success. Cities, counties, county conservation boards, Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCDs), or other units of government, not-for-profit non-governmental organizations (NGOs), public water supply utilities or watershed management organizations are eligible to submit pre-applications. 

Projects should include a strong education and outreach component that helps raise awareness among homeowners, municipalities, businesses and other communities to encourage the adoption of urban water quality projects around the state of Iowa.

The pre-application must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. Pre-application guidance can be found on the Department’s website at or by contacting the Division of Soil Conservation and Water Quality at 515-281-5851. Stakeholders will be notified by Jan. 8, 2021, if they are invited to submit a full application. Full applications are due on Feb. 12, 2021, and selected projects will be announced in early March.  

This is the seventh year the Department has offered Urban Conservation Water Quality Initiative Demonstration Project funding. To date, the state has awarded over $5.2 million in funding to support 67 urban water quality projects. The state’s funding has spurred an additional $18 million in project contributions from private partners and landowners.

About the Iowa Water Quality Initiative

The Iowa Water Quality Initiative (WQI) was established in 2013 to help implement the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, which is a science and technology-based approach to achieving a 45 percent reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus losses to our 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.

The WQI seeks to harness the collective ability of both private and public resources and organizations to deliver a clear and consistent message to stakeholders to reduce nutrient loss and improve water quality.


About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Led by Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship serves the rural and urban residents that call Iowa home. Through its 12 diverse bureaus, the Department ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land for the next generation. Learn more at

Media Contact:
Keely Coppess
Communications Director
(515) 326-1616