Cornfield and waterway.

Cornfield and waterway.

The $97 million grant announced Friday for Iowa from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will go toward flood reduction, but it will also be used for water quality improvement.

Iowa Agriculture Secretary, Bill Northey, says the grant money will help expand on the work already being done.

“Incorporating water quality considerations into the flood protection is something we’ve all been part of. This addresses it very directly and it’s very important to be able to do that. And talk about disaster resiliency and being able to handle disasters while improving water quality with structures that help in the long-term water quality effort,” Northey says. He says this grant will help address many of the issues in the

Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy that is already underway.

“Four of the 9 priority areas of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy are within the areas that are the focus of this project — so it ties in very well with those,” according to Northey. The efforts already underway are building structures to improve water quality, and the federal grant will help continue that work.

“Part of these funds will be used to support installation of buffers, of wetlands, of bioreactors, terraces, and other good water quality practices,” Northey says. He says a lot has been invested in the program and this will help keep it funded.

“Those already have $3.3 million of state money, with an additional $4 million worth of matching money, local and other matching money in those project areas,” Northey says. “This will just leverage that ever farther.”

The nine watersheds involved in the grant are: Bee Branch Creek; Clear Creek; East Nishnabotna; English River; North Raccoon River; Middle Cedar River; Upper Iowa; Upper Wapsipinicon River and the West Nishnabotna River.