Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is now accepting applications for water quality implementation and demonstration projects. Selected projects will help deliver outreach and technical assistance to farmers and landowners to advance the implementation of conservation practices proven to protect and enhance water quality.

“We have set records for conservation implementation each of the last two years, we know these conservation practices are effective, and we have long-term dedicated funding to keep making progress. We are actively seeking more projects with more partners to get more practices in place, and we are asking Iowans from across the state to join with us to keep building the water quality momentum,” said Secretary Naig. “By working within targeted watersheds with the help of both urban and rural public and private partners, we can accelerate the adoption of water quality practices that will get us closer to achieving our Nutrient Reduction Strategy goals.”

Since the launch of the Water Quality Initiative in 2013, the Department has supported and led 79 different watershed projects. Currently, the Department has 29 active Water Quality Initiative watershed projects working within 56 different counties. These projects are in addition to the numerous other statewide programs, cost-share resources, more than 100 urban conservation projects, multiple “Batch and Build” agreements, wetlands partnerships with numerous conservation groups, and much more.

Implementation and demonstration projects should focus on outreach and technical assistance that will directly lead to the adoption of water quality focused conservation practices. Successful applicants will need to exhibit a proven track record of delivering the necessary planning, development, and design of projects and practices. Strong partnerships with stakeholders that have or will be contributing significant resources to the project are also critically important.

Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs), counties, county conservation boards, other units of government, not-for-profit non-governmental organizations, public water supply utilities or watershed management organizations are eligible to submit applications. Applicants are also encouraged to partner with additional stakeholders that can assist with outreach and technical assistance.

The applications must be received by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 24, 2024. Project application guidance can be found here or can be requested by contacting the Department’s Division of Soil Conservation and Water Quality at 515-281-5851.