Celebrating Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here on Earth Day

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig joining in on the third broadcast of the second year of the Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here campaign on Earth Day during a stop hosted by the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance. The campaign, created by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) and Newsradio 1040 WHO, aims to raise awareness about the conservation work underway all across Iowa. It also highlights opportunities for both rural and urban residents to use soil health and water quality best practices, and play an active role in conservation projects happening in their communities.

“I am excited for the next phase of the Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here tour. There are so many great soil health and water quality projects underway across the state. This campaign gives us a chance to highlight some of them,” said Secretary Naig. “This campaign also gives us an opportunity to thank our public and private partners who are working alongside us to make an impact in Iowa and downstream.”

“We are looking forward to getting out and telling the Clean Water in Iowa story,” said Bob Quinn, co-host of The Big Show. “These are stories from Iowa farmers who are doing things that have a positive impact on Iowa's water resources. From planting cover crops to putting in edge-of-field practices, like bioreactors that filter water before it leaves the farm field. I love telling these stories about great Iowa farmers.”

During the Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here campaign, The Big Show will visit locations throughout the state showcasing the people and practices that are having a positive and measurable impact on water quality. The conversations with farmers, landowners, agribusinesses and community leaders will be broadcast on Wednesdays during The Big Show airing from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on WHO and 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. on WMT.

Today’s stop on the Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here tour showcases the state’s watershed coordinators.The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship currently has nine watershed coordinators working to expedite the implementation of soil conservation and water quality practices in priority watersheds. The watershed coordinators provide technical support to local farmers, landowners and communities who want to add conservation practices that reduce phosphorus and nitrogen losses.

One of the coordinators, Colton Meyer, is being honored as the 2021 Watershed Coordinator of the Year by the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance during the fourth annual Iowa Watershed Awards program.

Meyer served as the watershed coordinator role for the West Branch of the Floyd River Water Quality Initiative (WQI) Project from 2016 to early 2020. Last spring, he was hired by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship as an environmental specialist for the Sioux County Soil and Water Conservation District to expand his efforts and coordinate water quality improvement in the entire Floyd River Watershed.

“Colton has done a phenomenal job despite the global pandemic partnering with the ag retail sector, other agribusinesses, conservation organizations, local communities and farmers and landowners to drive adoption of conservation practices that improve water quality and advance implementation of the statewide Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” says Sean McMahon, IAWA Executive Director.

The Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here campaign is a collaborative effort between a dozen public and private partners, including Agri-Drain, Hagie Manufacturing, Hands on Excavating, Heartland Co-op, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Montag Manufacturing, The Nature Conservancy and TruTerra.