Turning natural wet spots into water quality wetlands

by | Apr 21, 2023 | 5 Ag Stories, News

With Earth Day coming up tomorrow and next month marking the 10-year anniversary of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS), there?s no better time to talk about soil and water conservation in Iowa. We use several different conservation tactics across the state, the most prominent being water quality wetlands. Earlier this year, another wetland was completed at the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Dallas County Farm near Adel. The project was made possible through a very generous $140,000 donation from Prairie Meadows Casino and in partnership with Ducks Unlimited, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), Dallas and Polk counties, DMACC, the Dallas Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD), and the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA).

This wetland, like most, was developed around a naturally occurring wet spot in the field. Since that area of the field would have produced lower yields anyways, it?s only natural for it to be given a more beneficial function as a water quality wetland. Earlier this week, a tour was hosted at the wetland to educate producers about the benefits of water quality wetlands like this one. Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig attended the event and said that wetlands are an important part of the state?s denitrification strategy.

As we enter into the next decade of the Iowa NRS, Naig said the focus will be on scaling up conservation practices.

Conservation is a hot topic across the country, and, unfortunately, agriculture often receives the blame for any issues. But projects like this show that the ag industry is working hard to take care of the land.

Following another record-setting year of conservation efforts for the state, Naig said he?s proud of what they?ve accomplished and looks forward to pushing conservation even further.

For more information, visit iaagwater.org.