In 2019, IEC released an analysis showing that the pace and scale of conservation practice implementation was not sufficient to tackle Iowa’s nutrient pollution problem. According to data from the most recent Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS) annual report, Iowa hasn’t managed to pick up the pace.
One promising program increasing the pace and scale of conservation practice implementation is happening in Polk and Dallas Counties, with a new “blitz” effort to install orders of magnitude more saturated buffers and bioreactors in target watersheds to reduce nitrate pollution. This is an exciting and positive step toward improving water quality at the local level, and there must be accelerated efforts toward curbing nutrient pollution across the state. However, this is just one piece of the puzzle to solving nutrient pollution in Iowa.
In our new report, we took a deep dive into the shortcomings of the NRS and proposed policy changes that would make significant improvements to Iowa’s water quality and natural resources. These policy changes are necessary to curb nutrient pollution, not just anecdotes that help Iowans feel good about supposed progress toward poorly-defined goals.