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August Recognizes Importance of Clean Water for Urban and Rural Communities

Posted: Monday, August 14th, 2017 at 6:28 am
Author: KCII News - Sam McIntosh

August is National Water Quality Month, and though it makes up about 60% of our bodies and 70% of the Earth, there is still harm that is being done to our water systems.

The City of Kalona is one of the members of the English River Watershed Management Authority (ERWMA). ERWMA works to reduce local flood impacts and improve soil and water quality in the watershed, which stretches across Poweshiek to Washington Counties. Project Manager Ben Curtis describes the importance of clean water, “Cleaner water in general adds to biodiversity. Biodiversity is key, in terms of just ecosystem services humans, and landowners, and farmers, and anyone living in urban areas, they benefit from a healthy ecosystem.”

ERWMA is working with farmers and landowners to educate and perform best management practices such as crop rotation, cover crops, and no-till. Much of the development of flood mitigation and water quality treatment is being done in Iowa and Poweshiek Counties, as Curtis explains, “The main idea is upstream practices are going to influence downstream communities, so the better you can do upstream the better downstream communities are going to be influenced from those practices.”

Curtis says the practices done on the upper part of the English River Watershed will have cumulative effects for northern Washington County. ERWMA’s goals include reducing phosphorus by 29% and nitrate by 41% from 2010 levels, and to reduce sediment by 30% from current levels. These goals mirror what is established in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.