The Central Turkey River Nutrient Reduction Demonstration Project is one of eight watershed demonstration projects throughout the state selected in the initial round of Water Quality Initiative funding.

The focus will be on the adoption of practices outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS).

The Winneshiek County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is the project leader. Michelle Elliott, nutrient reduction specialist with the Winneshiek SWCD, is the project coordinator. Other project partners include the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship-Division of Soil Conservation, Clean Water Iowa, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Iowa Flood Center, Northeast Iowa Community College, Department of Natural Resources, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and Turkey River Watershed Management Authority.

 

Grassroots effort

The Winneshiek SWCD will lead a grassroots effort to market water quality improvement practices in the Burr Oak, Brockamp, Roger and Wonder Creek Watersheds within the project area. Producers and community members will have the opportunity to invest in the lands and waters of the Turkey River basin to ensure its lasting economic, agricultural, environmental and recreational wealth.

This project focuses on the nutrient enrichment of the four-targeted watersheds. It will address the downstream nutrient loading by identifying and reducing sources of nutrient delivery within the watersheds. Implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs) will aid in reducing pollution yet maintaining farming productivity and environmental health.

This project will build upon current stewardship practices utilized by producers and encourage use of innovative technologies and marketing management practices to apply nutrients to crops in a manner that promotes the adoption of the 4 R’s: Right Time, Right Source, Right Place, and Right Rate.

Project goals are to 1) Assist landowners in the project area to implement effective BMPs to reduce nutrient delivery to the river, 2) Decrease nitrogen and phosphorus delivery to the project area by incorporating practices as specified in the Iowa NRS, and 3) Foster a culture of conservation among landowners in the project area.

Cost-share is available for several practices in conjunction with the Iowa NRS. Practices include cover crops, extended rotations, no-till, cropland to pasture, filter strips, nutrient timing application and livestock fencing from streams. Cost-share rates will be at a higher incentive than current rates and will be finalized soon. More practices are available through other cost-share programs.

Logo contest

There will be demonstration plots throughout the watershed so producers can observe conservation practices on the ground. Field days will be held this summer to allow landowners to observe and learn about various practices in the field.

A contest is being held to create a logo to be used for future marketing of this project. The winner will receive a $50 cash prize. Entries are due no later than Monday, March 31. Contact Michelle Elliott at 563-382-4352 Ext. 3 or michelle.elliott@ia.nacdnet.net for more information. The Winneshiek SWCD is looking forward to working with area landowners throughout this project.