Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced yesterday that a successful Water Quality Initiative (WQI) project in Wapello, Mahaska, Keokuk, and Jefferson Counties is expanding in territory, further east into Jefferson County, while beginning a new phase that includes an added focus on edge-of-field conservation practices.
Since the Cedar Creek Partnership Project started in 2014, nearly 45,000 acres of cover crops have been seeded in the project area and more than 367,000 feet of terraces have been built. The next stage of this project will continue to emphasize the use of these traditional conservation practices and expand to now include a larger focus on the installation of edge-of-field practices such as saturated buffers and bioreactors as well as nutrient reducing grade stabilization structures. These proven structural practices filter water as it leaves fields, helping to keep nutrients from entering our waterways. To date, five saturated buffers, three bioreactors, and two nutrient grade stabilization structures have been built in the project area and the goal is to greatly increase these numbers.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, through the Water Quality Initiative, is allocating $417,490 for the next phase of this expanded project.