MORAVIA — Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey, on Monday toured portions of the Rathbun Lake and Fox River watersheds to view the conservations practices that have been installed to protect water quality in Rathbun Lake and the Fox River.
Tour participants included staff and board members from the Rathbun Land and Water Alliance’s Protect Rathbun Lake Project and Fox River Water Quality Project, area landowners, county supervisors, and representatives from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship – Division of Soil Conservation, Army Corp of Engineers, SIDCA, Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Natural Resources Conservation Services.
After a morning tour that began in Van Buren County, the group stopped at Island View Park at Rathbun Lake before viewing the best management practices installed in Wayne County, which occupies a large portion of the Rathbun Lake watershed. Wayne County farms included on the tour were those of Dale Spinlers, Jim Cory, Joe Dent, Grandpa Bob Brown, the late Jimmy Carpenter and Bills Enterprises.
The final tour stop was made at a newly constructed grade stabilization structure located two miles north of Corydon on Highway 14. The structure was built last fall on land jointly owned by Darrell and Wendy Coddington and Terry and Sharon Jost as part of the Protect Rathbun Lake Project and was partially funded by the Iowa Watershed Improvement Review Board.
While the Coddingtons and Josts aren’t related, Darrell says they have been very good friends for years. In addition to the structure creating a beautiful landscape to enjoy Coddington says they installed the large pond for a variety of reasons.
“Rathbun Lake is very important to us. We want to make sure the water is clean for people in the area who drink it and to leave the land as good as or better than when we had it. Plus there’s a lot of good wildlife here. Everyone wins,” said Coddington.
The structure benefits 421 acres and reduces sediment delivery to Rathbun Lake by 568 tons each year and reduces phosphorous delivery by 1,306 pounds.
Secretary Northey praised the efforts of those working on the water quality projects in both the Fox River and Rathbun Lake watersheds. “It has been encouraging to see everything that is being done in both of these watersheds to protect our drinking water and it’s beginning to grab the attention of the public,” said Northey. “We need to continue to do what we know how to do and that is protecting our soil and water,” he continued.
For more information, contact the Natural Resources Conservation Service office in Corydon (641) 872-1350 or in Chariton at (641) 774-2512.