Prairie Rivers of Iowa has been awarded a Conservation Partners (CPP) Grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to provide one-on-one technical assistance to landowners and farmers working to improve water quality and wildlife habitat in Story County. The focus area includes three subwatersheds within the South Skunk River Watershed which contribute to excess nutrients into the Mississippi River (map below).

The primary objective of the grant is to engage farmers and agriculture in best practices, innovation, and stewardship. “We are excited to expand our work to two additional watersheds within the South Skunk River Watershed with this grant. This project will provide great opportunity to improve the acres and quality of conservation lands for soil health, water quality, and wildlife habitat,” said Prairie Rivers of Iowa Watershed and Waterways Program Coordinator Kayla Bergman.

Our watershed work has been focused on collaborating with local and statewide groups to improve water quality by educating citizens and stakeholders about vital practices that improve soil health and restoring a healthy water system. What’s new about the NFWF grant is that it increases assistance designed to improve habitat helping to protect endangered pollinators like the rusty patched bumble bee, once a common sight in Iowa, now the first endangered bumble bee in the United States. Improving this bee’s and other pollinators habitat has a greater effect on the health of the watershed.

Partners in this project, as well as many other projects that Prairie Rivers of Iowa implements, are: Story County Conservation, Story County Soil and Water Conservation District/Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority Board. Story County Conservation Natural Resource Specialist Amy Yoakum stated, “Story County Conservation is excited to continue our partnership with Prairie Rivers of Iowa to encourage better management of public and private lands in order to protect our vital native pollinator species and create healthier watersheds.”

To learn more about this grant program with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, please visit: https://www.nfwf.org/conservationpartners/Pages/home.aspx.