A forum designed to establish a roadmap to eliminate polluted waters in Iowa opens today in Ames. The Governor’s Water Quality Summit runs through tomorrow. Rick Robinson, environmental affairs director for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, explains the goal of the gathering. The Governor set the goal of ending the impairment of waters and created a task force to work on outlining the steps needed to achieve that. Robinson says the panel has been working for months and will unveil its plan today. He says the forum will bring together a diverse group of politicians, environmentalists, farmers, scientists and academics. Robinson says “That’s really what it takes to come to consensus.” He says they won’t agree on everything but they can all agree on working to achieving the goal of eliminating impaired waters. While farmers often get the blame for water problems due to fertilizer or manure run-off, Robinson says Iowa’s growers and livestock producers -are- taking advantage of all sorts of programs designed to help curb runoff, erosion and pollution.Robinson says Iowa leads the nation in the use of conservation tillage practices that prevent soil loss and Iowa farmers rank first in the U-S in the installation of buffer strips. He says soil erosion in Iowa has declined by nearly 135-million tons a year, while nitrogen use by Iowa farmers has declined nearly 15-percent since 1985. Also, farmers statewide have installed 78-thousand miles of terraces and 150-thousand acres of grassed waterways.
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