Iowa’s ground-breaking strategy to improve the state’s water quality is off to a strong and very encouraging start, according to the top officials charged with implementing it.

Farmers, rural communities and cities in the state are working to reduce the amount of nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phos­phorus, that end up in Iowa’s lakes, streams and rivers.

“I’m absolutely encouraged about the progress in the nutrient reduction strategy, and I think that everyone else in the state should be,” said Chuck Gipp, director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Bill Northey, Iowa agriculture secretary, agrees. “We are seeing a culture change of looking at these conservation practices both for soil erosion control and increasing water quality. They are becoming a...