Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds with Governor Branstad and Ag Secretary Bill Northey.

Governor Terry Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds  and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced today that 12 urban water quality demonstration projects have been selected to receive state funding.

“Obviously water quality is a very important issue in this state. And this announcement is the next step for the Iowa Water Quality Initiative, which is continuing the effort to improve the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” Branstad says. Reynolds says the communities of Ankeny, Burlington, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Clive, Denison, Des Moines, Emmetsburg, Readlyn, Slater, Spencer, Urbandale, Windsor Heights and Waterloo are participating.

“The projects will focus on conservation measures that capture storm water and allowed it to be absorbed into the ground. And reduce a property’s contribution to water quality degradation, stream flows and flooding,” Reynolds says. She says the projects will each get some money.

Display shows the 12 water quality projects.

She says the state will supply $820,840 dollars and $1.8 million will be supplied from other sources. Ag Secretary Northey says this is the third time that urban conservation projects have been funded through the Water Quality Initiative and there are currently 22 active or completed urban demonstration projects across the state. He says they add to what’s being done in rural areas.

“We provided more than 30 million dollars of support to demonstration projects and practice adoption in rural areas and nearly $2.5 million dollars in urban projects. Our approach in rural areas is to offer a statewide cost share to farmers interested in trying over crops, no till, strip till, nitrification inhibitors,” Northey says.

He says the demonstration projects play a key role in developing ways to improve water quality. “The demonstration projects have helped us to identify gaps in the current state and federal programs. And it has also allowed us to be able to be more effective in driving adoption of these practices,” Northey says. “It’s also allowed us — as the lieutenant governor mentioned — to work with lots and lots of partners across the state.”

Water quality has been a key issue in the state, with some groups saying these projects are taking too long. They also say the Iowa Water Quality Initiative that was established in 2013 hasn’t come close to achieving its goal of a 45 percent reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus released into state waters. Governor Branstad says they are making progress.

“First of all we know this is a long-term problem that we need to address. And by having a growing source of funding, we think that we can speed up the progress that is being made,” according to Branstad. “We’re pleased that there is progress being made — obviously we want to see more progress being made — and this long-term, reliable source of funding will make it possible for us to do that.” Northey says the demonstration projects have laid the groundwork for continued water quality improvement.

“What we’ve been doing is building the base, building the understanding ,the skills and now what we have this in place, is the understanding of where we would spend those next dollars as we make additional contributions. And how we would bring lots of other folks into this effort,” Northey says. The new projects were announced at the governof’s weekly news conference with reporters.

Here’s a short summary of each of the new projects:

Parkway Watershed in Prairie Trail – City of Ankeny
Grant award: $70,030 Total project: $140,062
Description: This project brings together local partners to build on stormwater management efforts within in the Prairie Trail area in Ankeny and will serve as a model for future installations of similar practices in community. Practices that will be installed as part of this project include a stormwater wetland, sediment forebay and native seeding in the Saylor Creek Watershed, which will be coupled with and education and outreach component to showcase the benefits of installation.

Implementing and Educating: Stormwater Management for Education Institutions in Black Hawk County (Cities of Waterloo and Cedar Falls) – Black Hawk Soil and Water Conservation District Grant award: $105,500 Total project: $493,500
Description: This project will partner with three local educational institutions including Cedar Falls Community School District, Hawkeye Community College and the University of Northern Iowa to install stormwater management practices at respective campus locations and in alignment with the goals of providing educational opportunities focused on demonstrating project water quality benefits. Practices that will be installed as part of the project efforts will include multiple bioretention cells, native planting, and permeable pavement.

Tama Building Permeable Alley – City of Burlington
Grant award: $75,000 Total project: $191,650
Description: The City of Burlington will be installing a permeable alley for this project as part of downtown historic redevelopment project in a highly visible area. This project will serve as a catalyst for stormwater management and water quality project in the community and will provide a model for future efforts.

Infiltration Practices along 6th Street SW Corridor – City of Cedar Rapids
Grant award: $100,000 Total project: $206,600
Description: The City of Cedar Rapids has brought together a team of local partners to build on current stormwater management efforts underway in the community with the goal of promoting benefits of water volume control along with improved water quality. The practices that will be installed as part of this project consists of two bioretention cell systems which will treat and reduce stormwater volumes along the 6th street corridor area.

Clay County Fair Centennial Plaza (City of Spencer) – Clay County Fair Association
Grant award: $50,000 Total project: $100,000
Description: This project will support a strong local partnership group brought together to lead efforts in the development of the new Clay County Fairgrounds Centennial Plaza project by incorporation of urban conservation and educational components. This project will include installation a permeable pavers and bioretention cells along with education signage, outreach and demonstration components in a highly visible area to support local urban water quality improvement efforts.

Downtown Denison Urban Conservation Project – City of Denison
Grant award: $73,560 Total project: $147,120
Description: The City of Denison will be installing four bioretention cells and one permeable paver system in the downtown area as part of this project. This retrofit demonstration project will offer multiple water quality benefits, along with strong local support and community involvement, in a highly visible area with the goal of using this project as an example for future community infrastructure projects.

Five Island Lake Campground Urban Watershed Project – City of Emmetsburg
Grant award: $49,250 Total project: $98,500
Description: Five Island Lake has recently undergone extensive lake restoration activities and is transitioning to protection of their investment by also protecting the surrounding land. Project grant funds will be utilized to install multiple bioretention cells and native seeding as part of a former dredge silt site which has been repurposed into a new campground. These practices will blend into the new campground and showcase benefits of these practices to campers and park guests.

Fourmile Creek Watershed Project Sediment Basin Forebay and Stormwater Wetland – City of Des Moines and Fourmile Watershed Management Authority (WMA)
Grant award: $75,000 Total project: $150,000
Description: This project will coincide with the implementation goals of the Fourmile Creek Watershed Management Plan to improve water quality and includes two major components, a sediment basin forebay and a stormwater wetland. These practices will work together to reduce sediment and stormwater pollutants from entering Fourmile Creek Watershed and provide education and outreach opportunities to promote future projects in Fourmile Creek.

Walnut Creek WMA Project Implementation: Urbandale and Clive Nutrient Treatment/Flood Storage Wetlands (Cities of Urbandale and Clive) – The Nature Conservancy
Grant award: $45,000 Total project: $90,000
Description: This project will implement several stormwater wetlands which have been identified in the Clive Greenbelt and Walnut Creek WMA Master Plans. The wetlands targeted for construction will be accomplished through restoration of stream oxbows and will provide multiple benefits including nutrient reduction, flood storage and riparian habitat. Educational opportunities will be incorporated into the project with the goal of providing expanded opportunities for future similar installations.

City of Readlyn Urban WQI: Initial Steps toward a Large Scale Effort- City of Readlyn
Grant award: $70,000 Total project: $167,500
Description: This catalyst project will support a strong local partnership brought together with the common goal of building a stormwater quality management program within the City of Readlyn. This project will partner with the SRF Sponsored Projects Program to install a series of bioretention cells in an area of town which has been historically subject to large stormwater runoff volumes.

City of Slater Permeable Paver Project – City of Slater
Grant award: $100,000 Total project: $200,805
Description: This project will incorporate a permeable paver system and enhanced raingarden into the existing municipal city pool parking lot within Earl Grimm Park. This highly visible project will manage runoff and improve water quality in the headwaters of Fourmile Creek, which is directly adjacent to the planned project site.

Colby Water Quality Demonstration Park – City of Windsor Heights
Grant award: $7,500 Total project: $17,000
Description: The goal of this project is to create a water quality themed demonstration park within the city owned Colby Park. The City of Windsor Heights will be installing three stormwater management practices as part of this project including a rain garden, soil quality restoration, and native landscaping, which will serve to provide education and demonstration for a variety of public events.

More information about the initiative can be found at