The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) has been selected to receive federal funding for two conservation projects, totaling $13 million, which will help support water quality improvement projects in the state.

The grants are through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

Reducing nutrient losses

A $10 million grant from the RCPP program will help launch the Iowa Systems Approach to Conservation Drainage (ISACD) project in the Des Moines Lobe, which encompasses north central Iowa. 

IDALS, working with public and private partners, will work with farmers and landowners to demonstrate the benefits of pairing agronomic production systems with edge-of-field conservation and in-field management practices to improve soil health and water quality. The project is expected to reduce nitrogen losses by 1.185 million pounds per year and phosphorous losses by 40,000 pounds per year.

Another $3 million RCPP project will help IDALS and its Soil and Water Conservation District partners build upon water quality improvement projects already underway in the Turkey River Watershed in northeast Iowa.

“There’s tremendous value in federal, public and private partners working with farmers and landowners to test, measure and implement new approaches to conservation,” said Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig. “We’re working to deploy the most effective, cost-efficient conservation practices across the state to improve water quality locally and downstream.”