A group called the Iowa Soil and Water Future Task Force has released a list of recommendations for cleaning up the state’s waterways.
Des Moines real estate attorney Larry James served as co-chairman of the task force, which involved representatives from a host of environment, business, and agricultural interests.
“The surprising thing was, across the spectrum, we were able to reach consensus on a document that we think is really going to put us in the right direction to cleaning our water in the state,” James said. The task force is suggesting a public/private investment in the state’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
“We’re looking at this as a watershed approach, meaning that we are encouraging local communities to combine and form watershed management authorities that would receive funding from the state,” James said. That funding would be used to identify where the biggest problems are occurring and allow farmers to tap other resource to make improvements and reduce nitrate runoff.
“Like a revolving loan fund that folks could borrow from at a low interest rate, or grants, or a combination of both depending on the application of the conservation practice,” James said. The task force’s report outlines a number of potential funding sources for the water quality initiative, but James said that decision is ultimately in the hands of state legislators and the governor.
The task force suggests a deadline of 2030 for meeting the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy — which calls for reducing nutrients from rural and urban sources by 45 percent.