The City of Dubuque Partners With Farmers to Improve Water Quality

Maxwell Bernstein| April 10, 2020

The city of Dubuque, IA formed a partnership with the Department of Natural Resources to work with upstream farmers to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous levels in the water, according to the Des Moines Register

The agreement establishes the first use of Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Exchange, a strategy that relies on the cooperation and incentivization of farmers to reduce phosphorous and nitrate levels in the water. Farmers and the city of Dubuque will invest in cover crops, wetlands, and other conservation practices that improve water quality. 

The Register reported that the city of Dubuque, IA is faced with investing $11 million toward improving water quality through upgrading its wastewater treatment facility to meet new state water quality goals. The city hopes this agreement will reduce the cost of improving water quality by reducing the amount of nitrogen and phosphorous at the source; reducing the burden on cities in paying for and improving water quality.

This agreement is the first of its kind and could provide a blueprint for other Iowa municipalities to collaborate with farmers in their regions to reduce erosion and chemical runoffs. Four other Iowa cities and towns are interested in replicating Dubuque’s deal with their local farmers, according to the Register.  

Nominate your Town for River Town of the Year!

Photo by ellenmac11; Flickr

Iowa Rivers Revival — an organization committed to protecting Iowa’s rivers and streams and watersheds — invites you to nominate your city for IRR’s River Town of the Year award.

The annual River Town of the Year award recognizes an Iowa town or city for outstanding efforts to reclaim river-fronts as anchors for economic development, recreation, and good ecological practices. Cities are invited to apply for the award, or citizens may nominate their town.

Applications are due by November 1, 2013. The award will be presented in January 2014 at a reception hosted by Iowa Rivers Revival in the River Town of the Year community. Continue reading

On the Radio: EPA grants for brownfield cleanup

Example of a brownfield – Photo by Engineering at Cambridge; Flickr


This week’s On the Radio segment reports on EPA grants received by a few cities in Iowa. Read the transcript below, or listen to the audio here.

Five Iowa cities are cleaning up pollution thanks to an EPA Grant.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

The cities of Coralville, Council Bluffs, Dubuque, Fort Dodge, and Ottumwa have all received funding from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Cleanup Grants program.

The grant will clean up contaminated properties in economically-depressed neighborhoods and put them back to use. This creates jobs and improves the environment.

For more information about the EPA grant, visit

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Jerry Schnoor.

On The Radio: Living With Floods

Iowa Memorial Union
Iowa Memorial Union

Read this week’s radio transcript below, or listen to the audio here. This week draws focus to the upcoming Living With Floods events.

Continue reading

Five Cities in Iowa Receive EPA Grant

Dubuque, Iowa. JGKPhotos; Flickr


Coralville, Council Bluffs, Dubuque, Fort Dodge, and Ottumwa have all received monetary funds  from the EPA’s Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup (ARC) Grants program.

Continue reading

IISC connects University of Iowa to Iowa communities

Dubuque. Photo by SD Dirk, Flickr.
Dubuque. Photo by SD Dirk, Flickr.

The Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) continues to build partnerships between the University of Iowa and Iowa communities.

Over the past two years, the IISC has worked with Dubuque on a series of sustainability projects. Now the IISC is working on three new projects in Muscatine and Dubuque. The IISC also has plans for other projects during the 2013-14 school year in Muscatine, Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls and Washington.

Learn all about IISC’s plans here.