The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) have announced that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) has awarded a $14,000 grant designed to aid local efforts in watershed planning in the Lyons Creek Watershed
Water quality monitoring will be used to determine surface water quality conditions and to establish a baseline of impairments throughout the watershed. The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District has asked the Iowa Soybean Association to help farmers measure, evaluate and investigate farming practices for potential impact on production, profitability and water quality.
The vision is for the two activities - in-field evaluation and adaptive management on the farm, and water quality monitoring - to converge in the Lyons Creek watershed. Toward that goal, ISA will implement a paired watershed design study in Lyons Creek watershed. The goal is to compare management in microwatersheds - areas of around 1,000 acres - to see what changes in management result in a water quality response.
Keegan Kult of the Iowa Soybean Association participates in a biological assessment of Lyons Creek near Webster City.
At right, in the check presentation from left; Marv Hoffmann, NRCS District Conservationist; Marty Johnson, Hamilton Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner, Mary Vaverich, Hamilton Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner; Chuck Gipp, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship — Division of Soil Conservation.
Ultimately, by conducting water quality monitoring alongside the ongoing work in farm fields and focusing on the microwatersheds, the goal is to find ways to keep farmers productive and profitable and find ways to protect and improve water quality.
Marv Hoffmann is a District Conservationist with the NRCS in Hamilton County. Hoffmann says the boost from IDALS is critical support from the State of Iowa.
"We are pleased to be given this important grant. It will help us tie things together, learn more about the watershed, and help producers provide food, fiber, and fuel while protecting natural resources."
Todd Sutphin is State Watershed Coordinator for the Iowa Soybean Association. Sutphin says the Iowa Soybean Association is developing a long-term relationship to farmers in the Lyons Creek Watershed. "We work for farmers, helping support and inform their leadership efforts in watersheds. Our approach is to develop projects focused on locally-led planning and economic and environmental improvement."
"For us, this project really began when we started working here with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in 2003. TNC at that time was conducting an ecological assessment and had identified Boone River as a key area for their Upper Mississippi River work. And TNC is just one of the partners here - there is a broad and committed partnership working throughout the Boone River watershed."
The Lyons Creek watershed is an 11,000 acre watershed in the Boone River watershed. Iowa's Soil and Water Conservation Districts were asked to submit proposals to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Division of Soil and Water Conservation. The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District was one of two counties selected statewide to receive the Watershed Development Grants.
The Iowa Soybean Association develops policies and programs that help farmers expand profit opportunities while promoting environmentally sensitive production using the soybean checkoff and other resources. The Association is governed by an elected volunteer board of 21 farmers.