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Water Quality Wetlands

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Iowa State University, along with a wide variety of federal, state and private partners, have been looking at ways to reduce nutrient loading into our state’s waterways for more than 20 years.

As a result of this long-term partnership, a new pilot project has been developed to further test the effectiveness of routing tile drainage water from our farm fields through wetlands that have been shown to reduce the nitrate level in the water by more than 50 percent.  You can read a guest Op-Ed by Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Wendy Wintersteen that has more information about the pilot program here.

This pilot program is based on work that has been done here in Iowa through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).  Through CREP 72 of these wetlands have been restored or are under construction or design.  Water Quality testing done by Iowa State University show that these wetlands effectively remove more than 50 percent of nitrates from tile drainage water.  In addition to reducing nitrate loads to surface waters, the wetlands provide wildlife habitat and increased recreational opportunities.

More information about the CREP program and the wetlands that have been built can be found here.






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