Suite of Ag-Urban Conservation Practices Established at Northeast Iowa Community College and Iowa’s Dairy Center in Calmar, Iowa

Since 2011, Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) has actively pursued funding to enhance conservation practices on campus and at Iowa’s Dairy Center. The suite of practices is comprised of shelterbelts, oak savannas, native grass plantings, butterfly garden, wetlands, rain garden, bioswale, grassed waterways, water and sediment control basins, pond restoration, infiltration trench and permeable pavers. Numerous grants from a variety of organizations have been awarded to them to assist with the installation of most of these practices.

The area has become a demonstration site for the wide array of agricultural and urban conservation practices. For example, three urban practices (infiltration trench, rain garden and permeable pavers) at the dairy center are all treating stormwater runoff from livestock buildings. Different practices were installed to demonstrate various ways to treat the same resource concern.

In 2017, Iowa’s Dairy Center was given The Sustainability Award by Winneshiek County Development, Inc. These practices demonstrate an established commitment to conservation. Staff and students have diligently maintained the practices as they become established, which is crucial for their long-term success. The Winneshiek SWCD, IDALS and NRCS have provided ongoing support to the organizations as they continue to identify areas for improvement throughout campus. NICC and Iowa’s Dairy Center welcome the public to campus to learn about the practices.

Will Myers