First Phase of Boone County Water Quality Project Launched
Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will utilize the successful “batch and build”model with partners in Boone County to install proven edge-of-field water quality practices
DES MOINES, Iowa (Apr. 5, 2023) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is partnering with Boone County and the Boone County Soil and Water Conservation District to launch the state’s latest “batch and build” project. The first phase of the project includes a goal of installing more than 20 edge-of-field conservation practices, including bioreactors, saturated buffers and multi-purpose oxbows. These science-based practices, which are outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, are proven to improve water quality and reduce the loss of nutrients into Iowa’s waterways.
“Bioreactors, saturated buffers and oxbows are proven practices that improve water quality, and installing them with the help of our partners, farmers and landowners in Boone County moves us closer to achieving Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy goals,” said Secretary Naig. “We are grateful to partner with Boone County and the Boone County Soil and Water Conservation District to get the first phase of this important water quality project moving, and we want to replicate this effort with many more partners in other priority watersheds across the state.”
The project builds on the success of the similar “batch and build” model that has been highly successful in efficiently installing water quality practices in Polk, Dallas and Story Counties as well as in the Middle Cedar Watershed of Linn, Benton, Tama, Grundy, Black Hawk and Buchanan Counties. Instead of building projects separately for individual landowners as has traditionally been done in the past, the “batch and build” model modernizes the project management process by installing batches of conservation practices on multiple farms at once.
“We are happy to work with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to have the ‘batch and build’ model coming to Boone County for a more efficient installation of conservation projects,” said Jeremy Gustafson, a Boone County farmer and Chair of the Boone County Soil and Water Conservation District. “This project represents a new approach to water quality improvement through collaboration between local conservation agencies, Boone County, and local landowners.”
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Boone County, and Boone County Soil and Water Conservation are streamlining the project management process to make it easier for farmers and landowners to add conservation practices on their land. Boone County will act as the fiscal agent for the project. The duties of the fiscal agent will be to bid and enter into agreements with contractors to design and install the practices and manage the various funding sources for the project. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will reimburse Boone County for eligible project construction costs and provide technical and design support. The Boone County Soil and Water Conservation District will enter into agreements with eligible property owners to install edge of field practices on their land, provide technical assistance during the design and installation process as well as issue technical certification upon completion.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other partners are also providing additional financial and technical support to the project. The project agreement is in place through June 30, 2025, and the first phase of the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.