Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced ten urban conservation water quality demonstration projects have been selected to receive $789,100 in funding.  In addition to the state funds, the 10 projects will provide over $3.2 million in matching funds and additional in-kind contributions to support water quality improvement efforts.

Participating communities include: Algona, Ames, Atlantic, Cherokee, Clive, Coralville, Garnavillo, Grimes, Muscatine, North Liberty and Sioux City.

“We continue to see growing interest by farmers, landowners, businesses, local communities and homeowners in learning more about what they can do to protect water quality.  These ten new urban projects will address issues from urban stormwater runoff and also help build awareness about tools that are available in our cities and towns to protect water quality,” Naig said.

Projects will focus on conservation measures that capture and allow stormwater to be absorbed into the ground and reduce the impact on water quality, stream flows and flooding. The projects also include strong partnerships and education components to promote increased awareness and adoption of practices and tools to reduce nutrient loads delivered to surface waters.

Practices to be installed as part of these projects include bioretention cells, bioswales, native plantings, permeable pavement, rain gardens, soil quality restoration, wetlands and others. More information about these and other urban water quality practices can be found at

A short summary of each of the new projects follows here:

East Fork Des Moines Water Quality Demonstration Project – Algona

Grant award: $100,000

Total project: $392,500

Description: This project will be the community’s first green stormwater infrastructure project. It will target stormwater quality improvements within the city that will benefit the East Fork Des Moines River. The practices to be installed are in three highly visible locations in the community, which will also provide education opportunities. This project will support the installation of a stormwater wetland, native prairie and pollinator habitat, bioretention cells and permeable pavers.


Grand Avenue Extension Urban Water Quality Project – Ames

Grant award: $100,000

Total project: $633,140

Description: This project will incorporate stormwater conservation practices to protect water quality into the Ames Grand Avenue Extension project. The project will build a stormwater wetland system that will capture and treat water from approximately 100 acres of the drainage area that leads to Squaw Creek. This project also incorporates aesthetic improvements and a strong outreach and education component with community businesses and organizations. 


Atlantic Urban Conservation and Education Project – Atlantic

Grant award: $41,000

Total project: $82,000

Description: This project will install bioretention cells, rain gardens, native landscaping and a bioswale within a community park and at the high school. In addition to the water quality improvements, the Atlantic High School will also integrate educational curriculum on the water quality benefits of these practices.


2018 Stormwater Improvements – Cherokee

Grant award: $100,000

Total project: $242,500

Description: Cherokee will install bioretention cells and native plantings near the community center as part of this project. There is strong local support and community involvement within a highly visible area. The goal is to use this project as a model for future urban and rural conservation practices as part of the Railroad Creek Watershed Project.


Angel Park Soil Quality Restoration Demonstration Project – Clive

Grant award: $8,100

Total project: $16,500

Description: The goal of this project is to demonstrate and educate developers, contractors and the community on the benefits of integrating soil quality restoration into suburban development. The City of Clive will partner with the Homebuilders Association of Des Moines to install a soil quality restoration demonstration site to be showcased at the 2018 Home Show. The site at Angel Park will show several installation methods, which will help residents understand the benefit of soil quality restoration in their yard as well as the impacts of healthy soils on water quality.


Coral Ridge Avenue (Ranshaw Way) Reconstruction Phase Two Improvement Project – Coralville and North Liberty

Grant award: $100,000

Total project: $1,415,500

Description: This project will support the addition of 29 new bioretention cells in highly visible areas along the highway corridor which serves as the main entrances to both communities. These new bioretention cells will be able to treat nearly 189,000 gallons of runoff in an average rain event and nearly 4.5 million gallons during the average year. When completed, this project will be the largest green infrastructure project ever installed in Iowa.


Stormwater Quality Improvement Project – Garnavillo

Grant award: $80,000

Total project: $337,000

Description: This project will support the goals of the Turkey River Watershed Management Authority to improve water quality through runoff improvements. Permeable pavers which will be installed in the downtown area and enhanced rain gardens will be built near the Garnavillo City Park as part of the project. These practices will help reduce sediment and stormwater pollutants from entering South Cedar Creek and provide education and outreach opportunities within the community.


Grimes Main Street Park Project – Grimes

Grant award: $100,000

Total project: $580,000

Description: This project will install a stormwater wetland adjacent to the Grimes Community Complex, a newly acquired and highly visible property in the community. This wetland will intercept and treat both urban and agriculture runoff which currently drains to a tributary of little Beaver Creek. This project will also support channel restoration in the stream, which will enhance water quality and aesthetics in the community.


Muscatine Parking Lot Runoff Solutions – Muscatine

Grant award: $60,000

Total project: $120,000

Description: This project will build a bioretention cell and permeable paver system into a city owned parking lot located downtown. The project will serve as a demonstration of the benefits and effectiveness of these water quality improvement practices to the city, local businesses, partners and residents. The city plans to incorporate these practices into future streetscape improvement projects in the community.  


Sioux City Expo Center Water Quality Improvement Project – Sioux City

Grant award: $100,000

Total project: $200,000

Description: This project is a collaborative effort between the city and several private and non-profit groups and will integrate water quality infrastructure as part of the redevelopment of the former Stockyards area and new Expo Center. Practices to be installed include bioretention cells, soil quality restoration and native plantings. This area is also a community trail connector and will offer a number of educational opportunities.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s Urban Conservation program was established in 2008. Five urban conservationists with the Department work with communities, businesses, developers and homeowners on practices that can be used in urban areas to reduce runoff and improve water quality.

Previously, the Department has supported 34 urban projects through the Water Quality Initiative. Partners, landowners and participating communities have invested more than $6.2 million to match the $2.4 million in state funding for these projects.