Iowans working together in their communities and backyards to improve soil and water quality, many with Department of Natural Resources (DNR) assistance and funding, are marking Soil and Water Conservation week April 29-May 5 to celebrate their achievements and inspire others to begin work on their own land.
Projects that focus on reducing stormwater runoff in three urban areas – Easter Lake in Des Moines, Dry Run Creek in Cedar Falls, and the Iowa Great Lakes region – have used conservation practices to help filter and soak in more than 32.1 million gallons of stormwater. That’s enough water to fill almost 49 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The projects also significantly reduce the amount of soil and nutrients washing off with stormwater into creeks, lakes, and rivers.
In urban areas, pavement and development prevents stormwater from naturally soaking into the soil and instead washes off pollutants from lawns and concrete into storm drains, which empty into Iowa’s waters untreated. The three projects all receive funding and assistance from the DNR’s Watershed Improvement Program through U.S. EPA’s Section 319 program.
In addition, the State of Iowa’s State Revolving Fund and its DNR-managed Water Resource Restoration Sponsored Projects program allocates $10 million annually toward water quality projects. Through FY18, the SRF program has committed $62 million for 82 projects in 67 Iowa communities and one state park. It also assisted eight communities with low-interest loans for their projects to address stormwater issues.
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