Soil and Water Conservation Week

April 28 - May 5, 2024

Iowa Soil and Water Conservation Week is an opportunity to recognize the important conservation work that has been placed on the Iowa landscape and bring attention to the ongoing work by farmers, landowners and urban residents to protect the state’s soil and water resources.

Iowa Soil and Water Conservation Week this year is being coordinated with national Stewardship Week, which is sponsored by the National Association of Conservation Districts.

But what is a watershed? A watershed is an area of land that channels rainfall and snowmelt to creeks, streams, and rivers,  eventually leading to outflow points such as reservoirs, bays, and the ocean. Those bodies of water are all connected, so every drop that falls becomes part of one water.

Watersheds can be any size and usually have some high points of land like hills, mountains, or ridges. When rain, sleet, or snow falls to the ground, the precipitation runs from those higher points to the lower points. Gravity pulls the water downhill until it reaches a body of water. If the land in the watershed is steep, the water usually runs off into rivers or streams. If the land in the watershed is level, the water will slowly flow into lakes or ponds, or seep into the soil and add to  groundwater. If the watershed  is close to the ocean, then tidal marshes, estuaries, and wetlands will be part of the watershed. From the top of the mountain all the way to the coast, it is all one water.

The severe erosion during the “Dust Bowl” years of the 1930s brought about the first efforts to prevent soil erosion, which also helped protect water resources. Iowa passed a law in 1939 to establishing a state agency and the means for soil and water conservation districts to organize. This legislation declared it the policy of the State of Iowa to: preserve soil and water; protect the state’s tax base; and promote health, safety and public welfare of people of Iowa.

Today, Iowa is a national leader in the implementation of water quality and watershed projects, soil conservation and buffer programs. Iowa currently leads the nation in the continuous conservation reserve program buffer initiative with more than 600,000 acres. Iowa also has more than 60 active watershed and water quality projects across the state.

Help spread the word!

1. Use the logo. On your e-mail signature, profile icon, etc.
2. Partner with another group for a larger celebration.
3. Call your community’s newspaper or radio station and talk about the soil and water conservation practices happening in your county.
4. Join the conversation on Facebook & Twitter.
5. Visit NACD for educational materials and more information.
6. Let us know about your activities. E-mail