Watershed receives $484,000 grant
A Washington County watershed group has received a grant to pursue water quality and soil health initiatives.
According to a press release from Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, West Fork Crooked Creek Water Quality and Soil Health Initiative has been granted $484,250 toward the total cost of the project of $866,800.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received a total of 17 demonstration applications. A committee of representatives from Iowa State University, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), University of Northern Iowa, the University of Iowa, and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship reviewed the applications, the press release said. The committee made the recommendations for the projects.
The grant money will go toward cost share for cover crops and the installation of bioreactors, which help with soil and water quality, said NRCS District Conservationist Tony Maxwell.
“Cover crops do a couple of things,” Maxwell said. “They prevent erosion and stop phosphorus from leaving the field and getting into the nearby streams.”
Cover crops also help by using nitrates from the soil and transferring them into an organic matter that will help crops grow better, Maxwell said.
There are several different types of cover crops farmers can use, such as winter rye, oats, and radishes. Maxwell said he is seeing farmers use winter rye more because the winter rye survives through winter and grows in the spring.
Due to the location of Crooked Creek, Washington and Keokuk Soil and Water Conservation Districts will work together. Washington will be the project leader, the press release said.