Cedar Rapids Today

Cedar Rapids Today

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Soil preservation critically important, Whitaker says

Local Government

By Angela Watson | Mar 10, 2020

Soil survey27  39041790482
USDA employee conducts soil survey. | Wikimedia Commons

A five-year Soil and Water Resource Conservation Plan is now a priority in Linn County. 

The plan can be used to boost awareness about Linn Soil and Water Conservation District’s push to improve water quality, soil preservation and flood control with the use of cover crops.

John Whitaker, executive director of the Conservation Districts of Iowa, told The Gazette it is critically important to preserve soil for future generations because Iowa is an agriculturally productive state. 

Cover crops are vital to lessening soil erosion which helps soil health and water quality.

Whitaker said improving soil health increases infiltration so water runs off more slowly and leaves more nutrients in the soil. That’s beneficial to producers and downstream water consumers, he said. 

He said once he learned the conservation districts did not have current plans in place, he made it a priority to ensure plans for all counties were laid out by the end of next year. 

The plans will include statistical information that shed light on topographical areas, including urban or rural, what type and the number of crops and how much of the area is grassland. 

Laura Krouse, Linn Soil and Water Conservation District commissioner, said the five-year plans lay out the state’s conservation needs.

The Water Conservation District Board recently held public meetings to garner feedback to help direct the board’s goals. 

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