(Des Moines, Iowa) Crews are spreading tons of mature compost  on the grounds to the west of the Iowa Capitol Building in Des Moines.   Steve Konrady of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says they received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to pay for a demonstration project, to apply up to three-quarters of an inch of mulch to reduce storm run-off, and to improve the overall quality of the soil structure.  The project covers more than five acres, and is one the largest projects of its kind ever done in Iowa.

Konrady describes the odor as "earthy," like potting soil, but not overpowering.   The mulch that crews are spreading was once grass clippings and yard waste collected in Des Moines.  

He says the organic matter will integrate into the soil and disappear within a couple of weeks.  Crews will also remove any mulch that gets on sidewalks. 

Konrady suggests homeowners can try a similar method, to improve the health of their lawn.  He says it's a non-synthetic fertilizer that can be applied to break up the soil profile. 

Konrady says it may be especially helpful for homeowners who have to over-water, to keep new sod green.   He says in any lawn, the technique can result in a reduction in inputs.