Thomas Robinson | August 25th, 2020
The 2018-2019 Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy (INRS) report, released in late June, details that while phosphorus loads in Iowa’s waters has decreased, nitrogen loads have increased.
Within the past year, Iowa has seen phosphorus loads decrease by 18% because of land use change and conservation practices. Unfortunately, nitrogen loads increased by 5% over the same time period suggesting that Iowa is not doing enough to reach the goals established by the INRS. Additionally, the INRS reports that funding has increased by $48 million dollars for a total budget of $560 million. That budget is used to educate communities and farmers about how best to reduce nutrient pollution such as cover crops or riparian buffer strips.
The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, adopted in 2013, is a collaborative effort by state agencies to evaluate and decrease the amount of nutrients that pollute Iowa’s waterways. The overall goal established by the strategy was to reduce annual loads of nitrogen and phosphorus that leaves Iowa by 45%. Iowa’s nutrients are a concern because Iowa contributes a significant amount of nitrogen and phosphorus to the Mississippi river. These nutrients result in widespread hypoxia caused by algal growth spurred by the influx of nutrients.