A new water quality initiative in the Raccoon River watershed was announced today to help farmers and landowners adopt conservation practices that reduce nitrates entering waterbodies.
The North Raccoon Farm to River Partnership is a three-year project supported by the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA), Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and managed by Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance (ACWA).
The three-year project, located in Sac, Calhoun, Carroll and Greene Counties, kicked off with a ceremony at the Mark Schleisman farm in Calhoun County. Schleisman, an ISA member and 2018 recipient of the American Soybean Association’s National Conservation Legacy Award, installed a bioreactor on his land in 2013.
Located east of Hwy 71 near Lake City, the site served as an ideal backdrop for the announcement led by Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Julie Kenney.
"We're [IDALS] proud of this work. It's a great opportunity to showcase the progress that's been made,” said Kenney. “As we celebrate Iowa Soil and Water Conservation Week, we'll be celebrating successes of 55 projects across the state, with the North Raccoon Farm to River Partnership being one. We are looking forward to continued momentum."
The Farm to River Partnership (formerly known as the Elk Run Watershed Project) has a proven track record of developing effective in-field and edge-of-field strategies for implementation of bioreactors and saturated buffers.
Because of the demonstrated success, this project is one of three in Iowa receiving sustained funding — a cumulative $1.43 million — through the Iowa Water Quality Initiative over the next three years. In addition to state funding, the projects can access more than $2.27 million in matching funds to support water quality improvements efforts.
The expanded water quality initiative now encompasses Drainage Ditch 25, Rainbow Bend County Park, Elk Run, Marrowbone Creek and Doe Brook. Specific goals of the Farm to River Partnership include the installation of 15 bioreactors, 15 saturated buffers, two wetlands and 11,500 acres of additional cover crops.
For more information about the project and ACWA, go to www.acwa-rrws.org.