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Water & Land Stewardship

Water and land stewardship

Iowa’s landscape supports astonishing agricultural productivity and serves as home to all the state’s people, plants and animals. But as people have managed the land to meet our needs, we have put severe pressure on natural resources like clean water, habitat for wildlife, and agricultural soils. As we learn more and more about our impact, Iowans are seeking ways to restore beneficial functions across the landscape so it can better support all life here now and in the future.

All Iowans benefit from good stewardship

  • Protecting the health of Iowa’s water and land improves Iowans’ health and quality of life. Iowa’s outdoors—open spaces, rivers, lakes and streams, support outdoor recreation that makes living in the state more enjoyable and provides economic opportunities. In addition, reducing the amount of toxic substances and other pollutants in our water directly and indirectly contributes to Iowans’ health.

  • Iowans value protecting the health of our water and land as a way of protecting our heritage. We have inherited this land from hard-working people who used natural systems to support themselves and their communities. Even as our state becomes more urban and our population grows, we value our commitment to protect this unique landscape for those who will follow us.

  • Iowa’s land provides ecosystem services people depend upon. Conservation-minded land management reduces the impact of floods, keeps the state’s drinking and recreational water cleaner, locks-up climate-altering carbon, and supports many other benefits people need.

The Council’s approach

Set goals for clean water: The Iowa Environmental Council supports using the best available research to set specific goals for reducing water pollution levels so Iowans can be confident the state’s water resources will support clean water for drinking, recreation and habitat. The Council works with industry, municipalities, regulators, and others to ensure established standards are enforced.

Reduce nonpoint source pollution: As water moves across farm fields and through cities, it picks up eroding soil, fertilizer, pesticides and other pollutants that flow into lakes, rivers and streams. This pollution threatens drinking water and human health, habitat for wildlife, and the quality of outdoor recreation. The Council supports adopting necessary practices on agricultural land and in cities to reduce these pollutants and their effects.

Support a healthy landscape: Iowa must make adequate investments in public policies and programs to obtain the results Iowans expect. This means providing adequate resources for conservation programs that protect natural resources, investing in natural areas, such as wetlands and river corridors, and ensuring state agencies can adequately implement and enforce pollution-control laws and rules.