Six Iowa Watersheds Receive State Grants

Six Iowa Watersheds Receive State Grants

Iowa watersheds will use the money for soil conservation projects that will improve water quality in the state.

The state of Iowa's Watershed Improvement Review Board recently approved six applications totaling $1,406,178.58 in grants to support projects that will improve water quality in the state.

The grant funds will be matched by recipients who will provide $1,955,604 in funding from the local communities to support these projects. As a result, $3.36 million will be going to support conservation work in priority watersheds throughout the state.

STRONG START: Iowa's strategy to improve the state's water quality by reducing nutrient loss is off to a strong and very encouraging start, say top officials charged with carrying out the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

"These projects are a partnership between federal, state and local organizations that are committed to improving Iowa's water quality," says Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. "By supporting projects that address runoff and drainage, sedimentation, urban stormwater, livestock runoff, streambed and bank stabilization and a number of other issues, these projects are focused on issues that directly impact the state's waterways and water quality."

Projects focus on making specific water quality improvements
The approved projects have already completed watershed assessments that identified critical water resource areas and will focus on implementing specific water quality improvements. The projects will start after a grant agreement is signed between the applicant and the Watershed Improvement Review Board. Soil and water conservation districts, public water supply utilities, counties, county conservation boards, cities and local watershed improvement committees were eligible to apply. Individual projects could request up to $300,000.

WIRB received a total of $3 million for use this year from the state legislature, and at least half of the funds must be used to support voluntary, science-based water quality practices referenced in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

The Watershed Improvement Review Board is comprised of representatives from agriculture, drinking water and wastewater utilities, environmental organizations, agribusiness, and the conservation community along with two state senators and two state representatives. It is anticipated that another request for applications will be announced later this year.

Six watersheds get grants from Watershed Improvement Review Board
To receive more information or ask questions, contact Jerry Neppel at 515-281-3599 at the Iowa Department of Agriculture in Des Moines. The approved grants are:  

Watershed Name



Grant Amount

Hickory Grove Lake Watershed

Story County Conservation Board



Lake Miami Watershed

Monroe County Conservation Board



Little Lick Creek Watershed

Van Buren Soil and Water Conservation District

Van Buren


Miller Creek Watershed

Monroe Soil and Water Conservation District



Rapid Creek Watershed

Johnson Soil and Water Conservation District



Walnut Creek Watershed

Montgomery Soil and Water Conservation District

Montgomery. Pottawattame


The overall goal of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is to improve surface water quality in Iowa and help reduce nitrogen and phosphorus delivered to the Gulf of Mexico. Those nutrients have been linked to the hypoxia zone in the gulf.

In 2013 the Iowa Legislature allocated $2.4 million to implement the strategy and $10 million in one-time funding for special projects related to improving water quality in the state. In addition, lawmakers allocated $1.5 million to establish the Iowa Nutrient Research Center to continue research on methods and tools to reduce nutrient loss and improve water quality. Farm groups and state agencies are working to secure additional state funding to continue the momentum in conservation and water quality improvement.

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