Local soil and water conservation districts are hosting three public sessions in northwest Iowa on March 11 and 15 to gather input and share information on nitrate removal wetlands, the mitigation ratio for draining farmed wetlands and the impact on wildlife habitat.
The public input sessions are scheduled as follows:
March 11, 1 p.m. at Prairie Lakes AEA Building in Storm Lake
March 15, 2 p.m. at Pocahontas County Courthouse in Pocahontas
March 15, 7 p.m. at Iowa Lakes Community College Auditorium in Emmetsburg
Nitrate removal wetlands are strategically designed and located to remove nitrate from tile drainage water in cropland areas. These wetlands can be placed in many counties throughout the tile-drained region of north-central Iowa.
In addition to improving water quality and providing wildlife habitat, some producers and drainage districts perceive nitrate-removal wetlands as an opportunity to drain a farmed wetland through a mitigation or trade. This would assist producers increase the cropped acres in their operation.
Can you drain a farmed wetland and increase cropped acres?
As the agency responsible for wetland compliance issues, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is seeking public input for the mitigation ratio allowing the drainage of farmed wetlands when installing a nitrate removal wetland.
Representatives from NRCS and the Iowa Department of Agriculture's Division of Soil Conservation will attend the sessions to provide information and listen to public input. Oral comments are limited to five minutes. Written comments may be submitted to Richard Sims, state conservationist for Iowa NRCS, by sending them to [email protected] or 693 Federal Building, 210 Walnut Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50309. If you have questions, call Shelly DuBay at 515-284-6655.