To the editor:
During the winter months I do more reading than the summer and fall. This winter the magazines "Iowa Outdoor" and "Iowa Fish & Game" had several articles regarding, not surprisingly, on ecology. At the hospital, I read an article in a medical journal about how 50 percent of our rivers were so polluted they could not support aquatic life or be made safe for humans to drink. So much for the Clean Water Act. Among the top 20 pollutants are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, hydrocarbons, pesticides, herbicides, a mix of prescription drugs and e-coli in some rivers.
The mix of farm chemical run off is to blame for the green slime at the Mississippi Delta that was once a highly productive fish area but is now dead most of the year. You need only to drive a short distance in the county to see why. There were once upon a time fence rows and hedge rows with grasses, trees, and bushes that absorbed the majority of these chemicals, but now farmed into the ditch. Thirty feet along ditches and drains would stop 90 percent of these run-offs. If there are any "Stewards of the Land" left how about a 30-foot, wild-grass barrier and a few trees and bushes. Clean the water and help wild birds and other wildlife. All the articles noted in short that during a drought you should not plow the land in the fall due to wind erosion and evaporation, noting the roots and stubble left in place held in moisture. So how about "Stewards of the Land" plant a 30-foot barrier of grasses and bushes and trees?
It's a win-win. Help the water and wildlife. Trees and bushes help clean the air and slow the snow and wind from blowing over the roads, too.