(Lenexa, Kan., Aug. 14, 2019) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the University of Iowa will receive a $1.07 million EPA Farmer to Farmer Cooperative Agreement to fund a project that improves water quality, habitat, and environmental education.
The University of Iowa will receive $1,064,926 for its project, “Connecting Rural and Peri-Urban Farmers to Demonstrate and Disseminate Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Practices.” The university will partner with rural farmers and urban consumers in Johnson and Iowa counties to demonstrate innovative nutrient and sediment reduction practices. To maximize the ability to demonstrate how practices perform through intensive water quality monitoring, this project will focus on oxbow lake restorations, alternative tile intakes, and nitrogen-removing wetlands and ponds. These practices also provide flood storage, which watershed residents have identified as a high priority.
“These Farmer to Farmer grants will promote innovative, market-based solutions for monitoring and improving water quality throughout the Gulf of Mexico watershed,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “These grants are an important part of our efforts to support America’s farmers in a manner that strengthens both American agriculture and the protection of our nation’s vital water resources.”
“Farmer to Farmer Cooperative Agreements directly support science and technology-based water quality initiatives needed to protect our watersheds, while also maintaining a vital agricultural economy,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “Here in Region 7, a combined $3.15 million in funding will support Iowa in the restoration and installation of wetlands, as well as the use of cover crops, to help provide measurable water quality improvement to waterways across Iowa and further downstream in the Gulf of Mexico.”
“The College of Engineering, Iowa Flood Center, and IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering at the University of Iowa are excited to partner with rural farmers and urban consumers in Johnson and Iowa counties to demonstrate innovative nutrient and sediment reduction practices in Iowa,” said University of Iowa Vice President for Research Marty Scholtz. “This grant recognizes the university’s national leadership in water research. The $1.07 million from EPA will leverage watershed restoration funds from the $97 million Iowa Watershed Approach project to create measurable water quality improvements in stream segments within the Lower Iowa River watershed.”
A ceremony honoring the Iowa recipients took place today at the Iowa State Fair and was led by EPA Region 7 Administrator Gulliford. EPA anticipates awarding seven Gulf of Mexico Division cooperative agreements totaling more than $7.5 million to fund projects that improve water quality, habitat, and environmental education in the Gulf watershed.
Since 2018, approximately $9.5 million has been awarded to support novel or innovative agricultural techniques, methods or approaches through EPA’s Farmer to Farmer Cooperative Agreements. These projects support farmer-led and/or farmer-focused organizations with experience implementing programs and demonstration projects through collaboration with farmers. The projects will center around innovative monitoring systems that will measure and report field-scale water and nutrient dynamics to farmers in support of informed crop management decisions. The program supports science and technology-based water quality initiatives needed to protect watersheds while also maintaining a vital agricultural economy.
The Clean Water Act provides authority and resources that are essential to protecting water quality in the Gulf of Mexico and larger Mississippi River Basin. EPA’s regional offices and the Gulf of Mexico Division work with states to continue to maximize the efficiency and utility of water quality monitoring efforts for local managers by coordinating and standardizing state and federal water quality data collection activities in the Gulf region. Enhanced monitoring and research are needed in the Gulf Coast region to make data more readily available.