Urban Conservation Projects at Northeast Iowa Community College-Calmar Campus and the Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation



Grant award

Total project

This cooperative initiative combines both the urban and agricultural aspects of the nutrient reduction strategy. To alleviate the runoff from the Dairy Center and several parking lots, project organizers plan to construct an infiltration trench, a rain garden, a permeable pavement parking lot, and gutters to direct water to these installations.  

The focus of this project is to reduce the stormwater and consequent nutrient runoff at Iowa’s Dairy Center and Iowa’s Robotic Dairy Center in Calmar. The rooftops and parking lot comprise nearly four acres of impervious surfaces at the site. Stormwater controls are absent from the livestock buildings and parking lot, which account for nearly three acres or 75% of the site. As a result there are numerous areas where infrastructure concerns, such as erosion gullies, have formed. The site receives an average of 36 inches of rainfall annually, which amounts to more than 3.8 million gallons of runoff. The nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) sources connected to this runoff are from the operation of the 600-head dairy, including spillage of feed stocks (supplemental and silage) on site and fertilizer/manure application to a 21-acre crop field west of the facility. This is a model demonstration site to address both agricultural and urban runoff through Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS), which is already being successfully applied through an existing Water Quality Initiative (WQI) project administered by the Winneshiek SWCD.

The project is located in the Turkey River Watershed (07060004), a priority HUC 8 watershed. The enclosed maps depict a location within the watershed and detailed overview. This project will ultimately reduce nutrient loading to this river basin, which is a recreational resource to roughly 32,000 residents of the watershed.

First, an infiltration trench will be installed along the north side of the northernmost livestock building to initially capture runoff and direct it on a more suitable outlet. Second, one enhanced rain garden will be installed in the west alcove of the buildings to further allow for infiltration in this area while creating an aesthetic environment. Third, a small parking lot of permeable pavers  will be installed at the entrance to the robotic dairy center to address runoff in this area in an appealing manner. NICC and NIDF will be landscaping the entrance with native species and a dairy sculpture to welcome visitors and guide them to designated parking on the building’s south side. Fourth, roof gutters are proposed in three areas to convey water to the enhanced rain garden and permeable pavers. Infiltration trenches are not feasible in these areas. The fifth practice is underground tile, which will be used to convey water from these practices to the final practice of a sediment basin to the west of the site. The sediment basin would also capture surface water from a 14-acre drainage area, which would be the final point to filter runoff before discharge to surface water.


Conservation Practices