Iowa will receive funding for six new projects to help landowners and producers within the Mississippi River Basin voluntarily implement more soil conservation and water quality management practices on their land. These practices will help prevent, control and trap nutrient runoff from agricultural land. USDA made this announcement last week.
Five of Iowa's projects will be funded through the USDA's Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative, or CCPI, which receives funding from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, or EQIP. Following are the CCPI funded projects in Iowa that begin this year:
* Upper Cedar Watershed Project: This watershed is located in Floyd and Chickasaw counties in northeast Iowa. The project will receive more than $1.4 million over a four-year period.
* Lytle Creek Project: This watershed is located in Jackson and Dubuque counties in northeast Iowa. The four-year project will receive $1.25 million from a partnership between the Jackson and Dubuque Soil and Water Conservation Districts and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
* Lindsey-Honey Creek Watershed Project: This watershed is located in Delaware and Clayton counties in the Maquoketa River Basin in northeast Iowa. The project will receive nearly $3.5 million over a three-year period.
* Putnam County Headwaters Locust Creek and West Locust Creek: These watersheds are located in north-central Missouri and a portion of Wayne County in southern Iowa. The five-year project will use nearly $1.8 million through federal and nonfederal funding.
* North Raccoon River Partnership: This watershed is located in Buena Vista, Pocahontas and Clay counties in northwest Iowa. The project will receive $1.5 million over a four-year period.
North Raccoon River Wetland Initiative is the sixth project being funded
The sixth project is funded through the Wetlands Restoration and Enhancement Program or WREP. The North Raccoon River Wetland Initiative includes portions of eight west-central Iowa counties. Funds will be used to acquire and restore 1,020 acres of permanent and/or 30-year Wetlands Reserve Program easements.
Under the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative or MRBI, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service will provide financial and technical assistance for these projects. Partner organizations will contribute additional financial resources.
The MRBI will help NRCS and its partners expand their capacity to improve water quality throughout the basin. CCPI will use a conservation systems approach to manage nitrogen and phosphorus, which will minimize runoff and reduce downstream nutrient loading. WREP will encourage strategic placement of wetland restoration projects. More information about Iowa's MRBI projects is available at
Watersheds chosen based on potential for managing nitrogen, phosphorus
"We are building on our Mississippi River actions from previous years by continuing to target priority conservation practices in priority watersheds to improve water quality in the basin," USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said, in making the announcement. "USDA is committed to working cooperatively with farmers, partner organizations and state and local agencies to improve water quality and the quality of life for the millions of people who live in the Mississippi River Basin."
The MRBI was first announced in September 2009 and provides financial assistance for voluntary projects in priority watersheds in Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin. MRBI is helping producers implement conservation and management practices that prevent, control and trap nutrient runoff from agricultural land. Selections were based on the potential for managing nitrogen and phosphorus (nutrients associated with water quality problems in the Basin) while maintaining agricultural productivity and benefiting wildlife. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) manages the initiative.
The 23 selected projects are located in Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.