(Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 14, 2019) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the University of Iowa will receive a $1.07 million EPA Farmer to Farmer Cooperative Agreement to fund a project that improves water quality, habitat, and environmental education.
The University of Iowa will receive $1,064,926 for its project, “Connecting Rural and Peri-urban Farmers to Demonstrate and Disseminate Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Practices.” The University will partner with rural farmers and urban consumers in Johnson and Iowa counties to demonstrate innovative nutrient and sediment reduction practices. To maximize the ability to demonstrate practice performance through intensive water quality monitoring, this project will focus on oxbow restorations, alternative tile intakes, and on nitrogen-removing wetlands and ponds. These practices also provide flood storage which watershed residents have identified as a high priority.
“These Farmer to Farmer grants will promote innovative, market-based solutions for monitoring and improving water quality throughout the Gulf of Mexico watershed,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “These grants are an important part of our efforts to support America’s farmers in a manner that strengthens both American agriculture and the protection of our nation’s vital water resources.”
“Farmer to Farmer Cooperative Agreements directly support science and technology-based water quality initiatives needed to protect our watersheds while also maintaining a vital agricultural economy,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “Here in Region 7, a combined $3.15 million in funding will support Iowa in the restoration and installation of wetlands as well as the use of cover crops to help provide measurable water quality improvement to waterways across Iowa and further downstream in the Gulf of Mexico.”
“The College of Engineering, Iowa Flood Center, and IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering at the University of Iowa are excited to partner with rural farmers and urban consumers in Johnson and Iowa counties to demonstrate innovative nutrient and sediment reduction practices in Iowa,” said University of Iowa Vice President for Research Marty Scholtz. “This grant recognizes the university’s national leadership in water research. The $1.07 million from EPA will leverage watershed restoration funds from the $97 million Iowa Watershed Approach project to create measurable water quality improvements in stream segments within the Lower Iowa River watershed.”
A ceremony honoring the Iowa recipients took place today at the Iowa State Fair and was led by Jim Gulliford, regional administrator for EPA Region 7. EPA anticipates awarding seven Gulf of Mexico Division cooperative agreements totaling more than $7.5 million to fund projects that improve water quality, habitat, and environmental education in the Gulf of Mexico watershed.