Local watershed alliance secures major conservation funding

A map of the Black Hawk Creek Watershed, which covers over 217,000 acres mostly in central and eastern Grundy County. A coalition of water quality advocates is in the process of securing an $88,000 state grant to implement conservation practices in the area. (Photo courtesy of Clark Porter) 

Two years ago, Clark Porter started the Black Hawk Creek Water and Soil Coalition with a simple mission: to promote water quality in a collaborative, non-confrontational manner and bring stakeholders onboard for the journey. With the recent announcement of nearly $90,000 in grant funding being allocated for a local initiative, it’s safe to say his vision is coming to fruition.

           

“What’s significant about this grant is that it represents our first fully funded effort in the watershed… Secondly, it’s following three watershed plans, and those were funded as well,” Porter said. “Every one of these planning efforts involved community meetings within the watersheds.” 

           

The grant, which is administered through the Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship and is still subject to final approval, will provide direct assistance to landowners and operators in the Black Hawk Creek Watershed to identify water quality conservation practices. It will also allow for the creation of a new “watershed coordinator” position, and he or she will work directly with the aforementioned landowners. The watershed itself runs from just south of Wellsburg to the Black Hawk County line east of Reinbeck (eventually ending up in the Cedar River) and covers over 217,000 acres.

           

In addition to the $88,000 state grant over 18 months, the Grundy County SWCD will contribute $5,000, and the Iowa Ag Watershed Alliance will give $25,000 in the form of a watershed plan.

 

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