Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is encouraging eligible groups to apply for grants to support projects that will improve water quality or help prevent flooding in the state. The Iowa Legislature has provided $1 million to the Watershed Improvement Review Board to support qualifying projects.
Funds are available to local watershed improvement committees, soil and water conservation districts, public water supply utilities, county conservation boards, cities and counties. "These funds will support projects that address specific water quality problems or that can help reduce flooding in our state," Northey says. "Protecting and improving water quality is central to the work of our state ag department and these funds support projects that make documented improvements in our state's water quality or address potential flooding."
Each project can request up to $100,000 in funding over three years
Projects eligible for funding include, but are not limited to, those addressing agricultural runoff and drainage, flood prevention, streambank erosion, municipal discharge, storm water runoff, unsewered communities, industrial discharge and livestock runoff.
Each project can request up to $100,000 in funding over three years. Potential applicants should review the RFA in full at www.iowaagriculture.gov/IWIRB.asp to make sure their proposal qualifies.
All applications are due on Friday, July 27, 2012 and will be reviewed Friday, August 17, 2012 by the 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, announcing which projects are awarded the funding, is expected to be made in September.
Application materials can be downloaded from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship website at www.iowaagriculture.gov/IWIRB.asp. To receive more information or ask questions, contact Jerry Neppel at 515-281-3599.
Iowa Department of Ag hires Gretchen Paluch as new pesticide bureau chief
In other news, the Iowa Department of Agriculture announced recently that Dr. Gretchen Paluch has been hired as the new Pesticide Bureau Chief for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. She started in the job in April.
IDAL's Pesticide Bureau is responsible for the distribution and use of pesticides, responds to complaints of alleged misuse of pesticides, and providing education and certification for the safe use of pesticides by applicators. There are currently 22,000 certified private applicators and 13,000 certified commercial applicators in Iowa.
"Dr. Paluch will be a tremendous asset to our state ag department and we are excited to have her in this position," said Bill Northey, Iowa secretary of agriculture. "Her work experience along with her strong level of academic achievement makes her a natural fit and I'm confident she will provide strong leadership to our Pesticide Bureau."
Iowa is a national and international leader in ag products and biotechnology
"Iowa is positioned as a national and international leader in agricultural products and biotechnology across multiple markets," Paluch said. "This is built on a foundation of land conservation and ingenuity from within the community. I look forward to working with the expertise at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and will strive to fulfill the mission of providing leadership for agriculture, ensuring consumer protection, and promoting responsible use of the states' natural resources."
Paluch previously served as the Director of Basic Research for EcoSMART Technologies, Inc. EcoSMART is the world leader in safe pesticide solutions and is based in Roswell, Ga. As director of basic research for that company, Paluch worked in the area of biorational pesticide development, including technical and regulatory aspects related to pesticide use and registration.
Paluch received a Ph.D. from Iowa State University in entomology and toxicology (co-majors) and a minor in statistics. She also served as a graduate research assistant at Iowa State, conducting research on natural products for pest management, with an emphasis on arthropod repellents.