DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa has won a $1.15 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to improve water quality. The money will go toward creating wetlands to help filter farm runoff in the Middle Cedar River watershed in eastern Iowa.
Wetlands naturally collect rain and floodwater, slow it down and hold it. Wetland plants then remove nitrates and phosphorus from the water as it’s slowly released into the air, creeks, and ground.
Most of Iowa’s natural wetlands were drained over the last two centuries to make room for more farm ground.
“Wetlands function like kidneys in terms of clearing out the water, in terms of purifying water, retaining it and holding it back,” said Clark Porter with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.