Secretary Naig Announces Expansion of Southeast Iowa Water Quality Project

Project in Wapello, Keokuk, Jefferson and Mahaska Counties will cover more territory and include more water quality practices

DES MOINES, Iowa (Dec. 6, 2023) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that a successful Water Quality Initiative (WQI) project in Wapello, Mahaska, Keokuk, and Jefferson Counties is expanding in territory while beginning a new phase that includes an added focus on edge-of-field conservation practices. 

Since the Cedar Creek Partnership Project started in 2014, nearly 45,000 acres of cover crops have been seeded in the project area and more than 367,000 feet of terraces have been built. The next stage of this project will continue to emphasize the use of these traditional conservation practices and expand to now include a larger focus on the installation of edge-of-field practices such as saturated buffers and bioreactors as well as nutrient reducing grade stabilization structures. These proven structural practices filter water as it leaves fields, helping to keep nutrients from entering our waterways. To date, five saturated buffers, three bioreactors, and two nutrient grade stabilization structures have been built in the project area and the goal is to greatly increase these numbers.

“We are able to accelerate our water quality work because of strong local partnerships and highly engaged farmers and landowners. By working together, we can install proven conservation practices that improve our water and soil all across Iowa,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “As the Cedar Creek Partnership Project expands into more territory with even more practices, we welcome all farmers, landowners and partners to join with us to keep the water quality momentum building.”

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, through the Water Quality Initiative, is allocating $417,490 for the next phase of this expanded project. Additional partners include the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRSC), Pathfinders Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), Kayser Soil Services, Son Risk Management, Wapello County Farm Bureau, Jefferson County Farm Bureau, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Wapello County Soil and Water Conservation District, Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District and Keokuk County Soil and Water Conservation District. 

About the Water Quality Initiative
The Iowa Water Quality Initiative was established in 2013 to help implement the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, which is a science and technology-based approach to protecting and improving our water quality. 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 Initiative 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 14 diverse bureaus, the Department ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land and enhance water quality for the next generation. Learn more at

Media Contact:
Don McDowell
Communications Director