Water: Nonpoint Source Success Stories
State Funding Programs Iowa's Water Quality Initiative
| Iowa's new Water Quality Initiative (2000) provides $11.2 million per year for a number of water quality improvement projects throughout the state. Highlights of the Initiative include financial incentives to install conservation buffers, conduct water quality monitoring, and support local watershed protection projects.
The Initiative provides $1.5 million to accelerate the implementation of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) through soil and water conservation district field offices. Through the CRP program, farmers receive payments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish riparian buffers, grassed waterways, contour buffer strips, field borders, and other buffers on private farmlands. The buffer initiative will provide funding for additional field office staff to prepare materials, contact prospective participants, and process applications. Local government and private, nonprofit organizations are being challenged to provide matching funds to further leverage the initiative. Funds are also being used to provide $100/acre sign-up bonus payments for eligible practices of contour buffer strips, shallow water areas for wildlife, and cross-wind trap strips. The first-year goal is to enroll an additional 100,000 acres in the continuous-sign-up Conservation Reserve Program.
The Initiative also provides $1.9 million to conduct an ongoing assessment of Iowa's rivers and streams, lakes, groundwater, beaches, wetlands, and precipitation. In addition, the program focuses on public education on water quality issues and encourages participation in volunteer water quality monitoring. Two years ago, only $120,000 from federal sources was being spent on water monitoring in Iowa.
The Initiative provides $2.7 million to develop and encourage integrated approaches to address multiobjective water quality protection, flood control, erosion control, recreation, wildlife habitat, and other resource protection issues. Funding is provided for watershed solutions to water quality and water management problems that affect local communities, the state, and the country. The first year goal is to financially support more than 20 local watershed protection projects that are providing improved flood protection and erosion control and are beginning to address the water quality problems of the state's impaired waters. Assistance will be provided to local communities and Soil and Water Conservation Districts for the development of water quality projects and funding applications. The Watershed Task Force will complete its study of Iowa watershed protection efforts and will report (with recommendations) on the status of watershed protection needs, program capacity, and local initiatives.
The Initiative provides financial incentives for many other programs, including $600,000 for septic system renovations (to match $2.4 million from the State Revolving Fund); $2 million in financial incentives to install soil conservation practices on private farmlands (with 5 percent directed to lands in the watersheds of high-priority, publicly owned lakes in the state); $372,000 to develop new or improved water quality standards and assessment techniques; $1.5 million to restore or construct wetlands to intercept tile runoff from agricultural lands; $153,000 to develop an efficient Total Maximum Daily Load program; $200,000 to educate local floodplain managers; $250,000 to review and issue National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits; $850,000 for demonstrations of integrated farm and livestock management; $70,000 to support the Department of Natural Resources' volunteer programs; and $195,000 to provide geographic information system data to local watershed groups.