Sen. Mary Jo Wilhelm Column: Efforts Continue To Boost Water Quality

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March 27th 2014 Column by Sen. Mary Jo Wilhelm: The Legislature voted last year to improve Iowa’s water, environment and recreational opportunities by investing in programs and partnerships with farmers, landowners and communities. It was a banner year for our state’s natural resources.

We continue to build on that success through initiatives to implement the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy the Legislature approved in 2013. For example, HF 2230 will help farmers more quickly and cost effectively put conservation practices on their land to improve water quality.

Many Iowa farmers have shown a great interest in improving our soil and water. The Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award is an opportunity to recognize farmers who take the lead on their land. Those nominated should make environmental stewardship a priority on their farm, adopting best management practices throughout their agricultural operation. As true stewards of the land, they recognize that improved water quality and soil sustainability reaps benefits that extend beyond their fields. Nominations are being accepted through June 15. For complete details, go to www.iowaagriculture.gov/EnvironmentalLeader.asp.

A one-stop shop for conservation practices we all can use, whether on the farm, at a business or in a home, is available at www.CleanWaterIowa.org. The site has Farm, Residential & Urban, and City & Industry sections and includes descriptions of water quality practices, their benefits and links to additional information.

There is also an opportunity coming up for conservation professionals interested in stream and watershed management. The 2014 Stream & Watershed Integrated Management workshop will be July 29 to 31 at Springbrook Conservation Education Center near Guthrie Center. Watershed and stream management professionals from Iowa State University, the Department of Natural Resources, Iowa’s Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide classroom and field instruction on understanding streams and watersheds, conservation practices and assessment tools. To register for the workshop or learn more, visit www.iowadnr.gov/swim.

FORUMS THIS WEEKEND

• Saturday, March 29, 9 a.m.: Chickasaw County Legislative Forum at the Farm Bureau Building in New Hampton

• Saturday, March 29, 11 a.m.: Floyd County Listening Post at Aromas Coffee, 105 N. Main Street, Charles City

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