DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today requested $6.65 million for the Iowa water quality initiative and $1 million to support urban conservation in a public meeting with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds as part of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s fiscal 2015 budget request.
The Department received $2.4 million for the current fiscal year to support the initiative as well as $20 million in one-time appropriations to support conservation and water quality improvements in Iowa.
“I appreciate the strong support the Governor, Lt. Gov. and Legislature have shown for voluntary, science based conservation efforts and this request is designed to help us build on progress we have made to this point,” Northey said. “This level of funding would put the water quality initiative at the same level as the soil conservation cost share program we have operated for decades. And, the $1 million for an urban conservation program would help engage Iowans living in our towns and cities in conservation efforts.”
The Water Quality Initiative funding would allow the Department to continue and expand its work to address the quality of our streams and water resources in a scientific, reasonable and cost effective manner. Funds would prioritize cost share programs in targeted watersheds and allow flexibility to incentivize statewide practice implementation.
The urban conservation funding would support a robust effort to improve water quality through cost-sharing implementation of urban best practices and Low Impact Development (LID) strategies. The program would enhance urban education and outreach efforts by funding two Urban Conservation Coordinators through a fifteen-percent administration fee.
“I appreciate the opportunity to outline this proposal for the Governor and Lt. Governor and I look forward to working with them and the Legislature to keep moving Iowa’s water quality efforts forward,” Northey said.
Northey also requested $1.2 million to support the closure of eight additional agriculture drainage wells. Otherwise, the Department requested a status quo budget that covers required increases in personnel and benefit costs for employees.