Iowa’s science-based initiative to improve water quality and spur collaboration among rural and urban citizens is on track, gaining momentum and showing promise in reducing losses of nitrogen and phosphorus from farm fields and municipal water treatment plants, community leaders and state environmental and agriculture officials said last week.

"We are starting to see a real ramp-up in conservation practices and I really think farmers and communities are committed to making this work," said panelist Bruce Trautman, deputy director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), during a water quality roundtable discussion in Des Moines hosted by the Iowa Partnership for Clean Water (IPCW) "This is not something that you can flip a switch and expect immediate results, but we are definitely seeing progress."

Education phase

Mike Naig, Iowa deputy agriculture secretary, who also served as a panelist, said the state’s 2-year-old water quality...