Rick Robinson says the report’s two percent increase in impaired waters indicates long-term progress is taking place. And Robinson says it showed other positive trends as well.
“Nitrate levels are trending steady to lower at 18 of 22 sites across the state for the last decade,” Robinson says. “Total nitrogen was lower at 19 of 22 sites the last decade. And phosphorus levels trended steady to lower at 23 of 25 sites over the last decade.”
Robinson credits record conservation practices and collaborative water quality work for the progress. He points to a 2016 Iowa State University poll of farmers in the state.
“They found that farmers had invested 2.2 billion dollars in conservation the last 10 years. They found that there were modest to major increases in adopting precision ag, building conservation structure and fine-tuning nutrient management practices,” he says. “So all the things they’re doing are paying off in the long-run and trending the right direction.”
Robinson says it’s also worth noting that 75 percent of untreated water in Iowa streams meets or exceeds the EPA’s nitrate safety standard.
(Reporting by Ken Anderson, Brownfield Ag News)