Looking forward to using stimulus funds for conservation

Rich Sims is grateful for federal stimulus money going into water conservation projects and he’s hopeful there will be more. Sims, the State Conservationist for the NaturalResources Conservation Service in Iowa, says three watersheds in the state’s southwest corner will benefit from part of $84.8 million going to 20 states.

“Right now this is a great opportunity to use this stimulus package to take these projects one step farther and beable to put conservation practices on the ground,” says Sims, “and that’s what the stimulus package is going to do.”

Sims says most of the funds going to the Mill Creek Watershed in Page County and the Hacklebarney Watershed in Montgomery and Adams Countieswill build terraces to slow erosion. But the more than $1.25 million going to East Fork of the Grand River Watershed in Ringgold and Union Counties will build as many as 220 small dams to aid in flood prevention. The structures will also boost water quantity and quality by restricting flow.

“And as that water is held back, if there’s any soil particles in that water, it gives it the opportunity to settle to the bottom and then from there the water will slowly be released through a pipe,” explained Sims.

Sims says the stimulus moneyannounced by the Obama Administration last week phase one. He anticipates the announcement of a second phase within weeks.

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