Story County CREP Wetlands Tour Is July 10

AMES, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship are hosting a tour of Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) wetlands in Story County on Tuesday, July 10, beginning at 10 a.m.

The tour is free and is limited to 40 pre-registered participants. Register for the July 10 tour by phone (515-294-5429) or email (jlundval@iastate.edu). Registered attendees can park at Colo-NESCO High School, where the tour will depart and return. The high school parking lot is located at 919 West St., Colo; one mile west of highways 65 and 30 intersection, just north of the football field.

Tour participants are encouraged to bring their hiking boots or waders for an up-close look at the wetland structures. Matt Lechtenberg and Shawn Richmond, CREP specialists with IDALS, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach water quality engineer Matt Helmers will lead the tour and talk about the benefits, installation and financial incentives for these structures.

There are 37 counties in north-central Iowa eligible for enrollment in CREP. Iowa State University research has demonstrated that strategically sited and designed wetlands can remove 40-90 percent of nitrates and more than 70 percent of herbicides from cropland drainage waters. These areas are as beautiful as they are functional.

Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation, encouraging adoption of residue management and conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF staff are working together to encourage farmers to implement the best in-field management practices that increase water and soil quality while remaining profitable. Iowa Learning Farms is a partnership of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the USEPA (section 319); in cooperation with Conservation Districts of Iowa, the Iowa Farm Bureau and Iowa Water Center.

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