The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has released a new grant program to help cities, counties or other organizations cleanup lakes, rivers or streams. Steve Hopkins, with the D.N.R. Watershed Improvement Program, says Iowa groups can apply for a grant to help pay for plan development.
"The purpose of the plan is to eventually help secure watershed improvement implementation dollars," Hopkins said. "In other words, to start a watershed project that can then reduce pollutants in either lakes, rivers or streams around the state of Iowa."
A watershed is the land that drains to a body of water. Currently, Iowa has around 440 lakes, river segments or streams that are on an "impaired waters" list. "We’re really trying to attack the impaired waters list in the state of Iowa and cleanup lakes and streams in the state," Hopkins said.
The new grant program will award a total of $200,000 by November 15th. Applications for the grants are due September 1st. The maximum award is $50,000.
"We think $50,000 would go a long ways toward the development of a plan," Hopkins said. "The grant does require a 50% local match, of which 20% would have to be in hard dollars or cash." Funding for the D.N.R.’s Watershed Planning Grants comes from a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program.