An Iowa initiative is bringing urban and rural stakeholders together to improve water quality.
The initiative is called One Water. Roger Wolf, director of Environmental Programs and Services with the Iowa Soybean Association says it’s bringing agriculture and Iowa cities together to find and fund water management and water quality solutions.
“We might be able to reduce a pound of nitrogen in the watershed for pennies on the dollars—and the cities are spending thousands of dollars per pound to remove a very small percentage of the nutrients,” Wolf says. “There might be an opportunity in that equation.”
AUDIO: Roger Wolf
One of the first projects in the One Water initiative is the Middle Cedar Partnership Project, which involves Iowa’s second largest city, Cedar Rapids, along with state and federal agencies and commodity and conservation groups. The purpose, according to Cedar Rapids utilities director Steve Hershner, is to educate and encourage upstream farmers to implement conservation practices.
“Cedar Rapids has some very vested interests,” Hershner says. “We use a lot of soybeans and a lot of corn in Cedar Rapids’ industries and we know that’s part of our future. So we want to do everything we can to make producers successful, but also help on those areas of water quantity and water quality.”
AUDIO: Steve Hershner
Wolf and Hershner were part of the Iowa Soybean Association’s Ag-Urban Partnership Symposium, a prelude to the ISA Research Conference.