Secretary Naig Announces Expanded Water Quality

Wetlands Partnership with Ducks Unlimited

Water quality wetlands help to improve Iowa’s water quality while providing habitat for wildlife

DES MOINES, Iowa (May 31, 2023) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is expanding its existing partnership with Ducks Unlimited to build water quality wetlands across Iowa. The Department and Ducks Unlimited have had a cooperative agreement in place since 2020. The new 5-year $7.1 million cooperative agreement includes the goal of constructing more than 60 water quality wetlands and installing other proven practices like multi-purpose oxbows, bioreactors and saturated buffers.

“Water quality wetlands not only do an excellent job of filtering water before it reaches our rivers, lakes, and streams, but these beautiful additions to our landscape also provide excellent habitat for wildlife,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “We are proud to continue our partnership with Ducks Unlimited because it has already produced impactful results. Our new agreement means we can accelerate the construction of even more wetlands as well as additional conservation practices that improve water quality and soil health in Iowa.”

“IDALS (Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship) provides farmers with the expertise and funding they need to help install practices that preserve highly productive soil, prevent erosion and protect critical waterways,” said Mike Shannon, Ducks Unlimited Regional Biologist. “They focus on making sure future residents of the state can experience the same quality of life that past generations have enjoyed. DU (Ducks Unlimited) is ready to support their conservation efforts in any way we can.”

The initial agreement has led to the creation of an inventory of several hundred potential water quality wetland restoration locations, which will serve as the basis for landowner recruitment going forward. Ten water quality wetlands are set to be constructed within the next two years because of the previous work completed by the partnership. The new partnership also includes expanded emphasis on installing saturated buffers, bioreactors and multi-purpose oxbows, three additional practices that are part of Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

As part of the new five-year agreement, the Department will provide $5.3 million through the state’s Water Quality Initiative to cover some of the costs for Ducks Unlimited staff to provide technical assistance and direct landowner outreach. The Department will also provide a portion of the installation costs through separate agreements with landowners. Ducks Unlimited will provide $1.8 million and provide staff resources as well as outreach and technical assistance. In addition to the goal of constructing 60 wetlands, largely in the Prairie Pothole region of Iowa, Ducks Unlimited is expected to help design 10 multi-purpose oxbows and assist with the installation of 25 saturated buffers and/or bioreactors.

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