Task Force Recommends Investment In Water Infrastructure
The State of Iowa has a unique opportunity to invest in Iowa’s soil and water infrastructure, which is critically important to the state’s wealth and prosperity. That is the finding of the Iowa Soil and Water Future Task Force, which today released its Strategic Direction, Implementation, Recommendations report to the state. The report recommends that the primary pathway to success is public/private investment in our state’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
The Iowa Soil and Water Future Task Force, originated by the Greater Des Moines Partnership and part of the work of the Capital Crossroads community vision plan, has captured dozens of voices from agriculture, businesses, academic institutions, conservation groups, environmental groups, and citizens through a series of stakeholder sessions, education opportunities and interactions across Iowa’s economic sectors to understand the needs and challenges of our soil and water health. With input from more than 75 advisory committee members, the Task Force has identified 10 recommendations for addressing the goals of Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy, by:
- Allocating sufficient, permanent and dedicated funding sources for detailed nutrient reduction implementation plans and practices. Options include: Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund (IWiLL), SAVE (a portion of growth from penny sales tax extension), tax credits, and water quality and nutrient trading. Other options may surface. The Iowa Soil and Water Future Task Force remains neutral on funding sources and will trust state lawmakers to determine the most appropriate funding mechanisms.
- Developing an implementation plan for the Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS).
- Using Watershed Management Authorities (WMAs) to implement the Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
- Growing an effective implementation infrastructure – from outreach staff and technical advisors to watershed coordinators and construction teams.
- Establishing an Iowa Soil and Water Health Revolving Loan Fund, modeled after the federal SRF to:
- Leverage public funding with private sector dollars by providing three year no-interest loan funds for testing, master planning and design of water quality improvements
- Provide sustainable, reliable and sufficient low-cost loan and other funding for WMA’s once they have developed effective implementation plans. Use WMA’s to implement the nutrient reduction strategy.
- Developing monitoring and measurement systems to allow for adaptive management strategies.
- Balancing resources to ensure watersheds of greatest need and watersheds ready-for-action receive resources.
- Incorporating transparency into the implementation of the NRS.
- Emphasize practices with multiple and/or significant benefits.
- Engaging the private sector to supplement public sector outreach and implementation including new innovations in precision agriculture, drainage water management, etc.
“The recommendations and strategies laid out in our report to the state are the result of many productive conversations between diverse stakeholders,” said Steve Bruere, Peoples Company President and co-chair of the Iowa Soil and Water Future Task Force. “This has been a total statewide effort that has helped us identify common ground solutions on how we can help the agriculture economy further prosper and ensure that we have quality water for generations to come.”
“Investing in our soil and water infrastructure will further set up our state for economic success, and we hope that elected officials and stakeholders from around the state take a close look at our recommendations and implementation strategies,” said Larry James, Attorney at Faegre Baker Daniels and co-chair of the Iowa Soil and Water Future Task Force. “Our task force has laid out a solid starting point for our state to work together toward solving our water quality challenges, and we believe this will open the door to even more discussion.”
To see the full report, click here.
About Capital Crossroads
Capital Crossroads is a bold but achievable vision pushing Central Iowans to dream big, not settle for good enough, think long term, and work together. Capital Crossroads brings together over 600 community volunteers to meet the challenges of the future while building on our past successes. It is in partnership with the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, the United Way of Central Iowa, and the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.
About the Greater Des Moines Partnership
The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 24 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,400 Regional Business Members and more than 340 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.