Sheets said he planted 120,000 trees on his property to act as nutrient buffers.
Sheets said the biggest water pollution problem he’s aware of is the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico and efforts underway now to try and solve that problem.
Rozenboom talked about the Nutrient Reduction Strategy passed last year by the Legislature due in part to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico that addresses point and non-point sources of water pollution.
“It’s a very comprehensive strategy to reduce nutrients getting into the water,” Rozenboom said, which encourages the use of cover crops, nitrogen destabilizers and buffers. “It includes a lot of components.”
Rozenboom said municipalities could see increased regulation of its waterworks system.
“So, it’s going to involve everybody, I think,” Rozenboom said. “The spotlight has always been on agriculture and legitimately so. The spotlight is shining brighter on other sources of nutrient pollution as well.”
Rozenboom said the Nutrient Reduction Strategy last year was funded at $2.4 million and this year expects funding at $4.4 million.
One woman asked about water quality and what happens to people when there is a manure spill. Is anyone ever fined for a manure spill?
Rozenboom said fines have been given out by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for a lot of years.
“I’m not aware that they’ve quit fining people,” Rozenboom said. “And to pay for fish, if there is a fish kill.”
Rozenboom said manure spills are “a very tiny piece of this equation. They happen very infrequently.”
The woman said she contacted the DNR and was told when a manure spill happens they try to educate the farmer.
“They led me to believe that they educate and educate and educate,” she said. “At what point are they fined?”
“They are fined,” Rozenboom said, adding he has attended Environmental Protection Commission meetings where they consider if a fine is appropriate.