Emily Nusz, EPA 319 Coordinator for Region 7, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources Nonpoint Source Coordinator, Steve Hopkins visited farms in the Rathbun Lake Watershed to tour projects constructed with 319 funding.
Velvet Buckingham, Environmental Specialist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Division of Soil Conservation conducted the tour of completed sites as well as potential future projects in the counties of Appanoose, Lucas, and Wayne and was assisted by Brian DeMoss, Environmental Specialist with the Lucas County SWCD. The two work with landowners in the Rathbun Lake Watershed and coordinate lake protection activities.
Buckingham says under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, territories, states, and tribes receive grant money that support a wide variety of conservation practices. “These include technical and financial assistance, education, training, technology transfer, demonstration projects,” she says.
Nusz, who operates from Lenexa, Kansas and oversees 319 project funding in Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and nine Tribal Nations) says she appreciated the tour. “Seeing the projects first-hand provides a much better understanding of the projects and the best management practices than simply reading reports,” she said.
DeMoss provided sediment and phosphorous reduction figures for each of 22 visited project sites consisting of grade stabilization structures, basins, and terraces as well as future cover crop grazing sites and uncontrolled gullies that have not yet been addressed.
Steve Hopkins, Nonpoint Source Coordinator with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources traveled with Nusz during her 319 tour which also included the viewing of projects in the watersheds of Price Creek in the Amana area and Badger Creek Lake.
The group also stopped at Honey Creek Resort where Iowa DNR District Engineer, Jason Kruse, provided a tour of urban best management practices, which included a bio-retention cell that collects rainwater from the resort’s rooftops.