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 Iowa. Between $743,000 and $1.2 million in grant funds are available to local watershed improvement committees, soil & water conservation districts, public water supply utilities, county conservation boards, cities and counties.
"These funds are available to support projects that address specific water quality problems or that can help reduce flooding in our state," he says. "Protecting and improving water quality is central to the work of the state ag department and these funds support projects that make documented improvements in our state's water quality or address potential flooding."
Projects eligible for funding include (but aren't limited to) addressing ag runoff and drainage, flood prevention, stream bank erosion, municipal discharge, storm water runoff, unsewered communities, industrial discharge and livestock runoff.
Each project can request up to $500,000 in funding over five years
Each project can request up to $500,000 in funding over a five year period. 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, August 5, 2011 and will be reviewed Friday, September 9, 2011 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 is expected to be made in September.
Application materials can be downloaded from the Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship website at www.iowaagriculture.gov/IWIRB.asp. To receive more information or ask questions, contact Jerry Neppel at 515-281-3599.
Several new Mississippi River Basin Projects selected for Iowa
It was also recently announced that Iowa is getting USDA-NRCS funding for new projects to help landowners and farmers in Mississippi River Basin put soil and water quality practices to work on their land.
Iowa will receive funding beginning this year for four new, large projects to help landowners and farmers within the Mississippi River Basin voluntarily put soil conservation and water quality management practices to work on their land. "These projects and practices, announced in June, will help prevent, control and trap nutrient runoff from ag land," says Dave Brommel, program coordinator with USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service office in Des Moines.
Three of Iowa's new Mississippi River Basin Initiative projects will be funded through USDA's Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative or CCPI which is administered through the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program or EQIP. Following are the CCPI funded projects in Iowa that begin this year.
* Prairie Creek Watershed Project: This watershed is located at the upper end of the Boone River Watershed, mostly in Kossuth and Humboldt Counties. The 3-year project will receive $486,510 this year.
* Cedar Creek Watershed Project: This watershed is at the upper end of the North Raccoon River Watershed, mostly in Pocahontas County. The 3-year project will receive nearly $1.3 million in fiscal year 2011.
* North Raccoon and Boone River Watershed Projects: Additional treatment in three existing 2010 projects will receive an additional $85,000 in 2011 to adopt nutrient management enhancements in targeted areas.
* Green Island Levee District Project: This one is funded through USDA's Wetland Restoration and Enhancement Program or WREP. The Green Island Levee District Project in Jackson County is a 2-year project that will receive more than $3.5 million this year to purchase permanent easements to place wetlands for habitat, and provide flood reduction and water quality improvements into permanent easements where property owners voluntarily enroll their land.
Under the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative or MRBI, USDA's NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance for these projects. Partner organizations will contribute additional financial resources as well.
The MRBI will help NRCS and its partners expand their capacity to improve water quality throughout the basin, says Brommel. CCPI will use a "conservation systems" approach to manage nitrogen and phosphorus, which will minimize runoff and reduce downstream nutrient loading. WREP will encourage strategic placement of wetland restoration projects. More information about Iowa's MRBI projects is available at www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/MRBI.html.