Water Quality Initiative Forms; McMahon to Head

Water Quality Initiative Forms; McMahon to Head

Sep 21, 2014

Will Iowa’s water quality get a boost from a new agriculture alliance? Or will it be enough to stem the flow of nutrients and soil into Iowa’s rivers; eventually leading to the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico?

Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy sets out a goal of cutting pollutants like phosphorus, caused by water runoff, by 45% The catch is; it is voluntary; with no deadline to reach the goal. Formation of the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance now offers to take steps to cut those pollutants.

One of the bright spots of the alliance could be having Sean McMahon at the helm. McMahon, who heads the North American agriculture program of The Nature Conservancy, may be the ticket to positive movement of the environmental stalemate over how to clean Iowa’s water.

McMahon, who is also on the board of the Iowa Wildlife Federation “could bring a different perspective” than past efforts that have led to “no substantive change”, according to Bill Stowe, head of the Des Moines Water Works…in an article in the Des Moines Register. McMahon is quoted in the article, saying the alliance can make “meaningful and substantial improvements to water quality in Iowa.”

The Iowa pork producers, corn growers and soybean growers associations are each kicking in $200,000 a year to drive the Alliance. Many environmental groups have called for regulations, forcing farm producers to conserve soil and reduce runoff of phosphorus and nitrogen, before it enters water supplies and rivers, eventually taking the long route to Gulf of Mexico.