Iowa awarded $5M+ for water quality improvement projects



Nick Fetty | January 15, 2015

The federal government has awarded more than $5 million as part of a conservation project that aims to clean up waterways in the Hawkeye State.

The state of Iowa will receive $3.5 million for the project while the city of Cedar Rapids will get $2.1 million. The funding is part of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s $370 million Regional Conservation Partnership Program. An additional $400 million is expected to be leveraged by other groups participating in the program. The program aims to “cut down on fertilizer runoff, expand bird nesting areas, and restore native grasslands” in an effort to improve water quality across the country.

This project brings together a wide variety of partners from private companies to universities to local and tribal governments and gives these entities the opportunity to develop their own unique plans. In addition to the conservation efforts, this program is also expected to create jobs.

“This is an entirely new approach to conservation efforts,” Vilsack said in a press release. “These partnerships empower communities to set priorities and lead the way on conservation efforts important for their region. They also encourage private sector investment so we can make an impact that’s well beyond what the Federal government could accomplish on its own.”

This funding comes on the heels of announcement by Des Moines Water Works to pursue a lawsuit against three Iowa counties for failing to manage nitrate levels in the Raccoon River.

Vilsack wants ethanol production to remain the same

Tom Vilsack touring an Iowa farm. Photo by USDAgov, Flickr.

Despite the drought and consequent decline in corn production, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack does not want any changes to be made to the Renewable Fuel Standard.

This indicates that Vilsack hopes ethanol production will remain the same during the drought.

Livestock producers in particular are frustrated with the current high feed prices, and are pleading for a reduction in ethanol production.

Read about the livestock producers’ situation here.

Read Vilsack’s comments here.