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Rural and Urban partnership to hold event for improved water health

Article cover photo
Members of Agriculture's Clean Water Alliance, Capital Crossroads and Heartland Co-op invite you an Exchange for Ag and City Leadership. Attendees at a previous meeting learned how upstream residents can affect those living downstream. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

By Carol Brown, ACWA communications specialist

Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance (ACWA) and Capital Crossroads are collaborating again in support of improved water quality in the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers.

The partners will co-host “An Exchange for Ag and City Leadership” to be held Friday, July 19, 7:30-11:00 a.m. at Heartland Co-op (1107 Sycamore, Dallas Center). The event is free and open to the public.  

Capital Crossroads Director Nikki Syverson says the event’s purpose is to transition from awareness to action when it comes to improving management of both rivers.

“This exchange between ag and city leaders will develop an understanding of what priorities are, actions being taken and potential opportunities for better coordination in the future,” Syverson says.

Guest presenters include Des Moines Public Works Director Jonathan Gano, Polk Soil and Water Conservation District Watershed Coordinator John Swanson, and Craig Orr and Thomas Fawcett of Heartland Co-op.

Attendees will also visit a wetland on the Tim Minton farm. The site is enrolled in the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). Established primarily for nutrient reduction, CREP wetlands can reduce nutrient movement by 50 percent.

Jake Hansen, IDALS Water Resources Bureau chief, will share at the site how CREP wetlands function and cost share opportunities available for installation.

The ACWA and Capital Crossroads are no strangers to partnering on issues important to rural and urban stakeholders.

Heartland Co-op CEO Tom Hauschel says ACWA and its members bring awareness to how Iowa communities are connected through the rivers that traverse farmland and Greater Des Moines.

“Water issues — including nutrient content, flood and stormwater management — affect the residents of the Des Moines metro area,” Hauschel says. “Ag retailers are helping farmers upstream with implementing practices to improve water quality and quantity downstream. And rural and urban constituents are poised to work together even more effectively to broaden the positive impact of these efforts.”

Roger Wolf, AWCA executive director, agrees. “We want to create better alignment to speed up the pace and scale of implementation of practices that reduce nutrients in the rivers and slow the flow of water for reduced flooding impacts downstream.”

RSVPs are recommended to ensure breakfast and tour accommodations to the wetland site.  Register the number of people in your party by July 17 via email to sderscheid@iasoybeans.com or 515-334-1063.

Partners for this event include ACWA, Heartland Coop, Polk Soil and Water Conservation District, Capital Crossroads and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance (ACWA) is an association consisting of 11 ag retailers and six associate members that support farmer customers in the Des Moines and Raccoon River basins. The ACWA mission is to help agriculture identify and implement solutions that reduce nutrient loss to Iowa waters. From 2001–2016, ACWA members and sponsors have invested more than $3.2 million in the Raccoon and Des Moines River watersheds, with over $1.9 million directly for projects and programs supporting water quality monitoring, edge-of-field practice demonstration and evaluation, and targeted watershed implementation efforts on farms. For more information about the ACWA, visit www.acwa-rrws.org/.

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 community volunteers to meet the challenges of the future while building on our past successes. It is in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Catch Des Moines, the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Polk County, Prairie Meadows and the United Way of Central Iowa.

Contact Carol Brown at: cbrown@iasoybeans.com

For media inquiries, please contact Katie Johnson, ISA Public Relations Manager at kjohnson@iasoybeans.com or Aaron Putze, ISA Communications Director at aputze@iasoybeans.com

For permission to republish articles or to request high-res photos contact Aaron Putze at aputze@iasoybeans.com. Iowa Soybean Association | 1255 SW Prairie Trail Pkwy | Ankeny | IA | 50023 | US

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