Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here Tour Continues in Story County

Campaign encourages all Iowans to take an active role in improving water quality

DES MOINES, Iowa (Aug. 19, 2020) – The Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here tour continues today at Bill Couser’s farm near Nevada, Iowa. The stop, hosted by the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA), kicks off the Iowa Systems Approach to Conservation Drainage (ISACD) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The conservation drainage project is co-led by IAWA and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, along with 15 other partners.

“I am very excited to kick off this conservation drainage demonstration project with IAWA. There’s tremendous value in public and private partners working with farmers and landowners to test, measure and implement new approaches to conservation,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “This demonstration project will showcase the value and efficiency of integrating various conservation tools to minimize costs and maximize soil health and water quality benefits.”

“This is a great day for Iowa farmers and Iowa’s water quality,” said Sean McMahon, Executive Director of IAWA. “Conservation drainage practices like saturated buffers and bioreactors were pioneered right here in Iowa. Thanks to this generous grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), IAWA and our partners are looking to install more of these water quality practices on Iowa farms.”

During this five-year demonstration project, IAWA, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and their partners will pair agricultural drainage systems with edge-of-field conservation drainage and in-field management practices. These projects will be focused in north-central and central Iowa, in particular within the Des Moines Lobe and Iowan Surface landforms. The goal of the project is to demonstrate the connection between in-field practices that improve agronomic, soil health and nutrient use efficiency, and edge-of-field practices that further improve water quality. The project is expected to reduce nitrogen losses by 1.185 million pounds per year and phosphorous losses by 40,000 pounds per year.

This project is funded by a $10 million grant from the USDA NRCS. “As part of NRCS’ ongoing mission to improve soil health and water quality, we are offering unique partner-driven programs to address nutrient reduction in our waterways,” said Scott Cagle, Assistant State Conservationist. “NRCS values the partnerships we have developed and maintained over the years with the Iowa Department of Agriculture, IAWA, and many others through various new and ongoing watershed projects to improve the water quality in Iowa. We are excited to witness the beneficial outcomes the ISACD project promises to deliver.”

IAWA and the Iowa Department of Agriculture are working with the following partners to execute the ISACD project: PepsiCo, Montag Manufacturing, Inc., ISG, Heartland Co-op, Des Moines Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation Authority, The Nature Conservancy, Hertz Farm Management, Inc., Iowa Drainage District Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association, WHKS & Co., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Iowa Soybean Association, Great Outdoors Foundation, Iowa State University and Nutrien Ag Solutions.

About the Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here Campaign

The Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here campaign, created by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) and Newsradio 1040 WHO, aims to raise awareness about the conservation work underway across Iowa, and encourages all Iowans to get personally involved in water quality activities.  

The Big Show will visit locations throughout Iowa showcasing the people and practices that are having a positive and measurable impact on water quality. Numerous topics will be highlighted, from conserving and recycling water and reducing nutrient loss to filtering excess rainwater and improving soil health in concert with agricultural productivity.

The conversations with farmers, landowners, business operators and conservation leaders will be broadcast Wednesdays on The Big Show airing 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on WHO and 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. on WMT.

The implementation of conservation practices isn’t limited to rural areas. Urban residents can do their part by keeping leaves, grass clippings and other yard debris out of the street and gutters and slowing runoff and recycling rainwater through rain barrels, rain gardens and swales. Cleaning up oil, anti-freeze and fertilizer spills to prevent them from running into the storm drains, seeding pollinator habitat and properly disposing of paints, solvents and metals also have a positive impact on water quality.

Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here campaign partners include Agri-Drain, Hagie Manufacturing, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Montag Manufacturing, and The Nature Conservancy. 

To learn more about the campaign and conservation practices that can be implemented, go to

Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here campaign encourages all Iowans to take an active role in improving 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