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DES MOINES – Iowa State University, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today that the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy Annual Progress Report is now available to the public at http://www.nutrientstrategy.iastate.edu/documents.
“We are committed to robust measuring and reporting around each of the steps necessary to reach our water quality goals,” said Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. “This report shows progress in each of the areas measured. We are encouraged by the efforts of the public and private sectors to implement conservation practices across the state, and are working to build on this success going forward.”
“The Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a very important and critical effort working to enhance water quality, and to see positive changes and results is gratifying,” said Bruce Trautman, Acting Director of the Iowa DNR. “We are continually committed to improving and protecting water quality, and with partnerships developed through the strategy, we are making great strides, but we still have work to do to meet the goals.”
The annual report provides progress updates on point source and nonpoint source efforts to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus loads leaving the state. The report follows the “logic model” framework that identifies measurable indicators of desirable change that can be quantified, and represents a progression toward the goals of achieving a 45 percent reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus loads.
The framework recognizes that in order to affect change in water quality, there is a need for increased inputs, measured as funding, staff, and resources. Inputs affect change in outreach efforts and human behavior. With changes in human attitudes and behavior, changes on the land may occur, measured as conservation practice adoption and wastewater treatment facility upgrades. Finally, these physical changes on the land may affect change in water quality, which ultimately can be measured through both empirical water quality monitoring and through modeled estimates of nutrient loads in Iowa surface water.
“The report highlights the increase in activities in the five years since the release of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, which is encouraging,” said Matt Helmers, Director of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center at Iowa State University. “But, it is also important to recognize the scale of change required to meet nutrient reduction goals, and the need for increased levels of practice adoption and implementation throughout the state.”
Highlights from the report include:
Inputs - funding, staff and resources
Human - outreach efforts
Land - conservation practice adoption
Water quality monitoring and estimates
The annual report works towards evaluating progress using an updated baseline that is consistent with the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force and follows the direction of the Iowa Legislature. The baseline looks at the 1980-1996 time period. In future reports, the baseline period will be used to measure progress towards water quality goals identified by the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
The annual report was compiled by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University with support from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. A draft of the report was shared with the Iowa Water Resources Coordinating Council in November and their feedback was incorporated into the recently finalized report.