Iowa has some of the world’s most fertile soil, but each year much of it washes away.
This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.
Since the turn of the twentieth century, Iowa has lost about 9 of its 16 inches of topsoil. And the problem is getting worse. Consider these statistics:
Each year, Iowa loses about five tons of soil per acre. In 2008, about 10 percent of our cropland experienced severe erosion damage, according to Iowa State Professors Natalia Rogovska and Richard Cruse.
Some areas lost more than 50 tons of soil per acre.
Why is this happening?
For answers, look to our shifting climate.
More extreme weather – including heavy rainfall – speeds up erosion, and our soil washes and blows away. As these trends continue, the problem will likely get worse.
But there are ways to protect Iowa’s soil – like by planting perennial cover crops, terracing land or reducing stream bank erosion.
To learn more, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org
I’m Jerry Schnoor, from the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research.