In recent decades, flood events have been increasing in both frequency and severity, and with those events, soil losses occur, and water quality is affected. Both residential and rural development impact the absorption of rainwater, and as a result, more of this “stormwater” is diverted directly into our local streams and rivers. In addition to exceeding the capacity of many creeks and rivers; this stormwater carries pollutants with it from our streets, lawns, and fields, impacting waterbodies as far as the Gulf Coast.
Recently, the state of Iowa has been tasked with development of a plan to help reduce nutrients that are entering the Mississippi River watershed from the corn-belt states. The resulting “Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” developed by scientists, soil and water professionals, and landowners, calls for a 45 percent reduction of nutrients entering local waterways from our urban and rural non-point sources.
Improving Iowa’s soil and water health is the primary goal of WMAs in Iowa, and we partner with stakeholders like you to make it happen: landowners, elected officials, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Natural Resources Conservation Services, the Iowa Flood Center, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa State University Extension, nonprofits, and academics. Together, we use a science-based approach to determine the unique issues affecting a watershed, and develop strategic plans to address them. These efforts are often funded through state and federal grants for hazard mitigation, nutrient reduction, and water quality initiatives. The voluntary conservation projects we promote involve are small-scale projects designed for use on urban and rural parcels such as farm ponds, riparian strips, cover crops, native vegetation, rain gardens, permeable pavers, and streambank stabilization. WMAs can help leverage the resources local landowners need to implement these practices, or try new ones.
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