Iowa is one of seven states involved in a new, $32-million government-led effort to reduce soil erosion and improve water quality in the Mississippi River basin. The money comes from the U.S.D.A.’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says it means private landowners will get help restoring wetlands.
“We believe that over time it’s going to make a big difference in that river basin area,” Vilsack says. In Iowa, a more than six-million dollar federal grant will focus on efforts near the North Raccoon River which is part of the Mississippi River basin.
“We look to see improvements in about 1020 acres in the ‘Prairie Pothole’ region of Iowa,” Vilsack says. “We believe this will ultimately improve water quality and wildlife habitat. It should also assist flood-affected land owners by providing some flood relief opportunities in the Raccoon and Des Moines River watersheds.”
Restoring wetlands helps a ripple effect, according to Vilsack. “The opportunity for wildlife habitat to expand which, in turn, creates new opportunities for outdoor recreation which is one of our foundation cornerstones, if you will, for revitalizing the rural economy,” Vilsack says.
The North Raccoon River is nearly 200 miles long. It starts near Marathon in Buena Vista County and flows south toward Sac City, Jefferson, Perry and Adel.