13 Urban Water Quality Demonstration Projects Selected to Receive Funding

DES MOINES -- Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced 13 urban conservation water quality initiative demonstration projects have been selected to receive $978,149 in funding. In addition to the state funds, the 13 projects will provide over $2.59 million in matching funds to support water quality improvement efforts as well as other in-kind contributions.  

The communities participating in the projects are: Amana, Ankeny, Arnolds Park, Bloomfield, Cedar Rapids (2 locations), Davenport, Des Moines (2 locations), Lake View, Sioux City, Storm Lake and West Des Moines. 

“We continue to be encouraged by the response we are seeing both in rural and urban areas to the Iowa Water Quality Initiative.  Iowans are very engaged and these 13 new urban projects, along with the 32 demonstration projects already in place, will allow us to continue to expand the effort and get new water quality practices installed,” Northey said.       

Projects will focus on conservation measures that capture and allow stormwater to be absorbed into the ground and reduce a property's contribution to water quality degradation, stream flows and flooding.  They also include strong partnerships and outreach/education components to disseminate information to promote increased awareness and adoption of available practices and technologies for achieving reductions in nutrient loads to surface waters.     

Practices which will be installed as part of these projects include bioretention cells, bioswales, native landscaping, permeable pavement, rain gardens, sedimentation basins, soil quality restoration, wetlands and other practices. A bioreactor and saturated buffer system will also be installed to demonstrate potential nutrient reduction benefits in an urban stormwater runoff environment.  More information about these and other urban water quality practices can be found at www.cleanwateriowa.org/residential-practices.aspx.    

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received 32 pre-applications for this funding after it was announced last fall and fifteen projects were invited to submit full proposals. Thirteen projects were selected to receive funding through the Water Quality Initiative.     

Northey created the Urban Conservation program in 2008 and has four urban conservationists that work with communities, businesses, developers and homeowners on practices that can be used in urban areas to reduce runoff.     

This is the second time that urban conservation projects have been funded through the Water Quality Initiative and there are currently nine urban demonstration projects in place. The state awarded these initial nine projects $655,194 in funding and partners and landowners participating in the projects are providing $2.43 million to support these urban conservation efforts.     

A short summary of each of the new projects follows here.    

Price Creek–Amana Colonies Urban Conservation and Water Quality Education – Amana Historical Sites Foundation Grant award: $92,000 Total project: $193,000 Description: The project represents the initial steps toward implementation of a large scale best management practice demonstration and education site in the Amana Colonies and within the Price Creek Watershed. This initial phase of the project includes installation of permeable pavement and bioretention cells to treat stormwater runoff at the Amana Colonies’ Visitor’s Center Complex parking lot.     

NE 36th Street Sedimentation Basin and Stormwater Wetland Project – City of Ankeny Grant award: $52,437 Total project: $104,875
Description: The project is located at an urban and rural boundary, which will provide benefits to residents throughout watershed. This project will utilize a pre-treatment sedimentation basin and a stormwater wetland to address sediment and nutrients in stormwater runoff that would otherwise flow untreated into Fourmile Creek.     

Monument Drive Pervious Paver System – City of Arnolds Park Grant award: $100,000 Total project: $300,000
Description: This project will capture and infiltrate stormwater runoff by converting an existing impervious road which currently drains to West Okoboji Lake to a permeable street. The lake is classified as high quality recreational water that also serves as the primary drinking water source for local communities. This project is located in a highly visible area and will provide a demonstration site for future community and water quality improvement efforts.     

Bloomfield Green Streets Water Quality Project – City of Bloomfield Grant award: $100,000 Total project: $1,105,000
Description: This project will build on existing partnerships to focus on revitalizing its historic downtown area utilizing sustainable infrastructure and practices including bio-retention areas and permeable pavers. The project is supported by a diverse coalition of stakeholders with the goal of positioning the City of Bloomfield as a leader in ecologically-based design by demonstrating the implementation of a wide range of innovative technologies.    

Pilot Projects to Assist Future Larger Scale Implementation of Best Management Practices across the City’s Public Infrastructure – City of Cedar Rapids Grant award: $99,237 Total project: $241,944
Description: This project utilizes area schools and local watershed improvement organizations to implement bio-swales and permeable pavers in four locations that will provide stormwater infiltration in highly visible areas. The project is designed to act as a catalyst for future incorporation of stormwater best management practices into infrastructure by demonstrating them as sustainable and cost-effective options.  

Permeable Parking Demonstration at Coe College – Coe College (City of Cedar Rapids) Grant award: $80,000 Total project: $221,000
Description: This project will incorporate permeable pavers as part of campus improvements to reduce runoff, which currently drains directly to adjacent Cedar Lake. This project builds on larger scale efforts and partnerships which are working towards incorporation of additional area stormwater best management practices in alignment with the goals of improving Cedar Lake water quality and restoration efforts in the Cedar Rapids area.  

Agriculture Practices in an Urban Landscape: Bioreactors and Saturated Buffers in Davenport – Scott County Soil and Water Conservation District Grant award: $31,875 Total project: $68,250
Description: Grant funds will be utilized to install a bioreactor and saturated buffer system to capture and treat runoff from an urban watershed which drains into Duck Creek. The City of Davenport and partners will be utilizing local resources to contribute to the design, construction and monitoring efforts to assess the effectiveness of these practices in an urban landscape. The goal of this demonstration project is provide the information needed to expand similar installations at the city, county and state level.

Easter Lake Watershed Project Sediment Forebay and Stormwater Wetland – Polk Soil and Water Conservation District (Des Moines) Grant award: $72,500 Total project: $145,000
Description: This project will coincide with the implementation of the Easter Lake Watershed Management Plan to improve water quality and includes two major components, a sediment basin forebay and a stormwater wetland. These practices will work together to reduce sediment and stormwater pollutants from entering Easter Lake, in the Des Moines River Watershed, where a primarily urban drainage area has contributed to lake sedimentation and nutrient levels.  

Black Hawk Lake Urban Watershed Project – City of Lake View Grant award: $72,100 Total project: $149,200
Description: This project targets stormwater runoff priority areas in two locations in the northern reaches of the Black Hawk Lake watershed.  Practices will include installation of a wetland, bioswale and rain garden, which were selected to address nutrient and other water quality concerns. This project and associated partnerships will build on existing water quality efforts targeted toward lake improvement and focus on the importance of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.     

Sustainable Iowa State Fair – Polk County Agricultural Extension District/Polk County Master Gardeners Grant award: $32,500 Total project: $69,412
Description: This project will support a tremendous local partnership which is leading the renovation efforts of the Iowa State Fair Discovery Garden by incorporation of urban conservation and educational components. This project will include installation of a permeable surface material along with education signage, outreach and demonstration components in a highly visible area to support local urban water quality improvement efforts.                               

Promenade Green Infrastructure Improvements – City of Sioux City Grant award: $80,000 Total project: $302,025
Description: This project will incorporate a bioretention cell, native turf, bioswale and tree trenches into the promenade public gathering space as a demonstration of incorporating water quality practices into the city’s infrastructure. This project and planned outreach events will help build community awareness of these practices and associated water quality benefits.       

Restoring Storm Lake Water – City of Storm Lake Grant award: $100,000 Total project: $450,000
Description: Two urban nutrient reduction projects will be implemented to demonstrate different technologies including a wetland detention area retrofit and pervious pavers, which will connect two existing stormwater management projects. Both projects are targeted in highly visible areas and are designed to complement existing efforts towards water quality improvement projects in both Storm Lake and the surrounding watershed.  

Woodland Hills Park Water Quality Improvements – City of West Des Moines Grant award: $65,500 Total project: $219,000
Description: This project will incorporate bioretention cells, soil quality restoration, permeable pavement and native seeding into the Woodland Hills Park area with the goal of enhancing water quality within the Sugar Creek Watershed.  The Park area will serve as a demonstration and education model for the surrounding Woodland Hills Greenway development project, which will continue to incorporate many of these practices as part of the development plan.     

Background on Iowa Water Quality Initiative    
The Iowa Water Quality Initiative was established in 2013 to help implement the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, which is a science and technology based approach to achieving a 45 percent reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus losses to our waters.  The strategy brings together both point sources, such as municipal wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities, and nonpoint sources, including farm fields and urban stormwater runoff, to address these issues.     

The initiative seeks to harness the collective ability of both private and public resources and organizations to deliver a clear and consistent message to stakeholders to reduce nutrient loss and improve water quality.      

In addition to these 13 new projects, 32 existing demonstration projects are currently located across the state to help implement and demonstrate water quality practices.  This includes 16 targeted watershed projects, 7 projects focused on expanding the use and innovative delivery of water quality practices and 9 existing urban water quality demonstration projects.  More than 100 organizations are participating in these projects.  These partners will provide $19.31 million dollars to go with over $12 million in state funding going to these projects.      

More than $325 million in state and federal funds have been directed to programs with water quality benefits in Iowa last year. This total does not include the cost share amount that farmers pay to match state and federal programs and funds spent to build practices built without government assistance.