Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Grant Helps Scale-Up Floyd River Water Quality Improvement Project

Additional conservation practices to be added around the West Branch of the Floyd River

DES MOINES, Iowa (Feb. 17, 2020) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that the Sioux County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) will receive state funding to expand the water quality improvement (WQI) projects happening in the Floyd River watershed. The District will receive a grant for $872,700 over the next three years to help implement additional conservation practices to protect the West Branch of the Floyd River.

Since the WQI project began in 2014, farmers and landowners in the Floyd River watershed have planted 13,259 acres of cover crops, added more than 168,000 feet of terraces to reduce erosion, and installed one bioreactor and two saturated buffers.

“Improving water quality is one of the most important issues we’re facing today,” said Secretary Naig. “These community-based projects are examples of the impact we can make when public and private partners and landowners work together to put conservation practices on the ground. Over the last three years, these projects have made measurable progress in the effort to improve water quality and soil health. The Department is proud to support their efforts to build on this success.”

This monetary grant is funded through the Iowa Water Quality Initiative (WQI) and supports collaborative, community-based projects in priority watersheds that help reduce the nutrient levels in Iowa’s water. WQI funds may be used to install priority conservation practices like wetlands, bioreactors, cover crops and saturated buffers. These practices are scientifically-proven to reduce nutrient loads and are critical to helping the state achieve the goals outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

Additional State-Funded WQI Projects

In addition to the WQI project happening in the Floyd River watershed, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will provide funding to expand ongoing water quality projects in central and eastern Iowa.

  • Benton Co. Soil & Water Conservation District will be awarded $803,975 over the next three years to add conservation practices around Hinkle, Mud, Opossum and Wildcat Creeks, parts of the Middle Cedar River watershed. This is an extension of the work already happening around Wolf, Rock and Pratt Creeks.
  • Black Hawk Co. Soil & Water Conservation District will receive $1.4 million in state funding over the next three years to expand its water quality improvement projects to include Rock Creek, which is adjacent to Miller Creek. Both creeks are part of the Middle Cedar River watershed.
  • Clayton Co. Soil & Water Conservation District will receive $603,500 over the next three years to broaden its water quality improvement projects to include Howard Creek. This increases the scope of the work happening around Upper Roberts and Silver Creeks, portions of the Turkey River watershed.
  • Washington Co. Soil & Water Conservation District will receive $779,500 over three years to scale-up its ongoing water quality efforts in the West Fork Crooked Creek to include Long Creek.
  • Winneshiek Co. Soil & Water Conservation District will receive $524,751 over the next three years to extend its water quality improvement projects to include Bohemian and Otter Creeks, located in the Turkey River watershed. This is in addition to the work being done around Brockamp, Burr Oak, Rogers and Wonder Creeks.
  • Wright Co. Soil & Water Conservation District will receive $786,267 to expand its conservation efforts happening in the Boone River watershed.

To learn more about the state’s Water Quality Initiative or read success stories, visit cleanwateriowa.org/water-quality-initiative.

About the Iowa Water Quality Initiative

The Water Quality Initiative (WQI) was established during the 2013 legislative session to help execute Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS). The NRS provides a roadmap to achieve a 45 percent reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus losses to our waters using an integrated approach that includes point and non-point sources working together.

The WQI harnesses the collective ability of both private and public resources and organizations to rally around the NRS and add proven conservation practices to reduce nutrient losses and improve water quality in a scientific, reasonable and cost-effective manner.

The Water Quality Initiative cost-share funds help farmers and landowners install nutrient-reducing conservation practices around the state. The funds can be used to off-set the cost of cover crops, no-till/strip-till or a nitrification inhibitor, which helps improve soil health, reduce erosion and improve water quality.

In 2019, more than 2,900 farmers participated in the program and invested an estimated $10.2 million in funding to match $6.1 million through the state’s WQI cost share fund. Participants included 1,200 farmers using a conservation practice for the first time and more than 1,700 farmers continuing their conservation practices.

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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 iowaagriculture.gov.

Media Contact:
Keely Coppess
Communications Director
(515) 326-1616           
Keely.Coppess@IowaAgriculture.gov