Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig says the federal government will give Iowa a $1.5 million grant to install wetlands in targeted locations to improve water quality.
The Environmental Protection Agency grant will help install up to six wetlands in the Middle Cedar River watershed. The project is designed to reduce the nitrogen content in the river.
Naig says his department will work with Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls, Waterloo and agriculture groups to design and implement the wetland areas. The areas will be seeded with pollinator-friendly plants to attract bees, butterflies and other pollinator species in addition to providing a filtering mechanism for nitrogen that comes from fertilizer placed on cornfields.
Naig says his staff, city officials and industry associations are identifying potential project locations and are visiting with interested landowners. The first wetlands are expected to break ground next year.