Conservation efforts get a boost

More funding announced for water quality projects

Protecting and enhancing the quality of the Hawkeye State’s water resources is vitally important. That’s why the Iowa Water Quality Initiative was created in 2013. According to a statement released this month by the governor’s office, the goal in part is to help bring about a “45 percent reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus losses to our waters.”

The approach taken by this program is especially commendable. It puts a priority on backing undertakings that are genuine collaborations between public and private sector entities. Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey have just announced that 12 new projects have been selected to receive grant funding. The latest efforts join 45 demonstration projects already underway or completed.

The communities participating in newly announced projects are Ankeny, Burlington, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Clive, Denison, Des Moines, Emmetsburg, Readlyn, Slater, Spencer, Urbandale, Windsor Heights and Waterloo.

“Water quality is a very important issue and today’s announcement is the next step for the Iowa Water Quality Initiative, which is continuing the effort to implement the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” said Branstad in a statement issued March 13. “Lt. Gov. Reynolds and I have already visited a couple of the demonstration projects in place and have seen firsthand the work being done by Iowans on their farms and in their communities.”

Federal and state monies are helping fund these projects. According to state officials, more than 150 organizations all across Iowa are participating. They have provided $25.28 million in financial support in addition to the governmental investments. Background information provided by Iowa officials indicates that combined state and federal funds for water quality efforts in Iowa amounted to $340 million in 2016.

The Messenger welcomes the expansion of the Iowa Water Quality Initiative. We have supported this vital program since its inception. It deserves strong support from all Iowans.

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