An Iowa native who’s now a U-S-D-A leader in Washington D.C. was back in his home state today for Earth Day activities. Merlin Bartz, regional assistant chief of the U-S-D-A’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, visited Ada Haden Heritage Park, where the 130-acre lake is a potential water supply for 50-thousand central Iowans. Bartz says “What you have at Ames here is a public water supply that is owned by a governmental entity but the water that drains into that entity comes from acres and acres and acres of private lands, so it’s extremely important to coordinate those efforts on removing sedimentation, removing nutrient runoff.” As part of Earth Day events, some Ames fourth-graders stenciled storm drains, reminding residents that what goes into the drain will end up in the lake.He says it’s an example of the thousands of volunteers nationwide who provide millions of hours of effort to further conservation efforts while saving the taxpayers’ money. Many conservation practices are in use at the lake in Ames, including using wetlands to filter water entering the lake and by treating upland farmland to reduce soil erosion. Bartz is a former state senator from Grafton.