AMES, Iowa -- A new fact sheet from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture highlights 11 conservation practices that landowners can adopt to protect and improve Iowa’s water quality.
Various land uses can diminish the quality of streams and rivers, from pollutants running off of urban streets to nitrates leaching from cropland. Researchers have developed a wide range of conservation practices for addressing these problems that offer flexible options to landowners.
The two-page color fact sheet gives a brief snapshot of proven conservation practices that recently have been studied with funds from the Leopold Center. Practices include adding deep-rooted vegetation to the landscape in prairie strips or riparian buffers, rerouting tile drainage water into woodchip bioreactors or saturated buffers, and installing rain gardens in urban areas.
Cover crops or diverse crop rotations give farmers the opportunity to keep profitable crops in their fields while improving soil quality and diminishing the negative impact on nearby waterways. Simply preserving an existing wetland or forest also can protect water quality.
“We always get questions from people who want to know what they can do to improve water quality,” said Jeri Neal, who leads the Leopold Center’s Ecology Initiative that supports most of the research cited in the new fact sheet. “Taking better care of our land and water requires more than one approach, more than a single conservation practice. We developed this guide to give people a glimpse of the possibilities.”
SOURCE: Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture