The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) is expanding its existing partnership with Ducks Unlimited to build water quality wetlands across Iowa. IDALS and Ducks Unlimited have had a cooperative agreement in place since 2020. The new 5-year $7.1 million cooperative agreement includes the goal of constructing more than 60 water quality wetlands and installing other proven practices like multi-purpose oxbows, bioreactors and saturated buffers.

The initial agreement has led to the creation of an inventory of several hundred potential water quality wetland restoration locations, which will serve as the basis for landowner recruitment going forward. Ten water quality wetlands are set to be constructed within the next two years because of the previous work completed by the partnership. The new partnership also includes expanded emphasis on installing saturated buffers, bioreactors and multi-purpose oxbows, three additional practices that are part of Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

As part of the new five-year agreement, the Department will provide $5.3 million through the state’s Water Quality Initiative to cover some of the costs for Ducks Unlimited staff to provide technical assistance and direct landowner outreach. The Department will also provide a portion of the installation costs through separate agreements with landowners. Ducks Unlimited will provide $1.8 million and provide staff resources as well as outreach and technical assistance. In addition to the goal of constructing 60 wetlands, largely in the Prairie Pothole region of Iowa, Ducks Unlimited is expected to help design 10 multi-purpose oxbows and assist with the installation of 25 saturated buffers and/or bioreactors.