Eligible Groups Encouraged to Apply for Watershed Funds

State has $5 million in grants available for watershed improvement projects.

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 $5 million in grant funds are available to local watershed improvement committees, soil and water conservation districts, public water supply utilities, county conservation boards and city governments.

"Improving and protecting water quality is critical and central to what we do," says Northey. "These funds are available to projects designed to address agricultural runoff and drainage, erosion, municipal discharge, livestock runoff and a number of other problems that can impact water quality."

For the first time this year public water supply utilities, county conservation boards and cities are eligible to apply in addition to soil and water conservation districts and local watershed improvement committees. Individual projects can request up to $500,000.

Apply for these funds before August 1

Projects eligible for funding include, but are not limited to, those addressing stream bank erosion, communities that don't have a sewer system, agricultural runoff and drainage, municipal discharge, storm water runoff, industrial discharge and livestock runoff.

All applications are due on Wednesday, August 1, 2007 and will be reviewed by the state of Iowa's Watershed Improvement Review Board. The board is comprised of representatives from agriculture, drinking water and wastewater utilities, environmental organizations, agribusiness, the conservation community along with two state senators and two state representatives.

A funding announcement is expected by October 1, 2007 so projects can begin around the beginning of 2008. Application materials can be downloaded from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Web site at www.agriculture.state.ia.us/IWIRB.htm. To receive more information or to ask specific questions, contact Jerry Neppel at IDALS at 515-281-3599.

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