Apply for State Watershed Improvement Funds

Eligible groups are encouraged to apply for $2.4 million in watershed improvement project grants from state of Iowa.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is encouraging eligible groups to apply for grants to support projects that will improve water quality in the state. The $2.4 million in grant funds are available to local watershed improvement committees, soil and water conservation districts, public water supply utilities, county conservation boards and cities.

"Protecting and improving water quality is vital to what we do," says Northey. "These funds are available to projects designed to address many issues that adversely impact water quality. The focus of these funds is to support those applications that have assessment and planning completed on a watershed basis and have the ability to document water quality results."

State watershed board will decide

The deadline to apply isn't until February, but now is the time to begin getting your proposal ready and to start on your application, he says. Projects eligible for funding include, but are not limited to, those addressing agricultural runoff and drainage, streambank erosion, municipal discharge, storm water runoff, unsewered communities, industrial discharge and livestock runoff. Individual projects can request up to $500,000 for up to three years.

All applications are due on Friday, Feb. 22, 2008 and will be reviewed by the Iowa Watershed Improvement Review Board. The board is comprised of representatives from agriculture, drinking water and wastewater utilities, environmental organizations, agribusiness, the conservation community and also two state senators and two state representatives.

An announcement by the board is expected by early April 2008 regarding the projects they decide to fund, so projects can begin later in the spring of 2008. Application materials can be downloaded from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship site at www.agriculture.state.ia.us/IWIRB.htm. To get more information or ask questions, call Jerry Neppel at 515-281-3599.

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