The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

April 29, 2014

Soil, water stewardship celebrated

OTTUMWA — As a part of Wapello County for 63 years, the Soil and Water Conservation District reminds each of us that we have a connection to natural resources.

The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) is celebrating the 59th year of Stewardship Week April 27 to May 4. The 2014 Stewardship Week is themed, “DIG DEEPER: Mysteries in the soil.”

Don Swanson acts as the chairperson for the Wapello County Soil and Water Conservation District. The district was formed to assist people in Wapello County with funding, technical resources and education to conserve soil, improve water quality and retain wildlife habitat. As part of Stewardship Week, Wapello County SWCD will be participating in the Izaak Walton youth field day on May 10. In addition to learning about hunting and gun safety, Wapello County SWCD will be there to teach youth about water quality and how it is tied to the health of our wildlife.

The Wapello County SWCD has taken an active role in promoting conservation in our county by providing funding for conservation practices such as terraces, grade stabilization structures and cover crops. Within the city of Ottumwa, the district has provided technical assistance for projects in Harrows Branch and Memorial Park. They have funded a rain garden project and currently sponsor a plot in the local community garden. Over the last eight years, they have also secured funding to do specialized projects in the watersheds of Kettle, Buckeye and Competine Creek. These projects reduce sediment delivered to the streams as well as reducing flooding downstream.

“Soil is an essential natural resource that all of us depend on each and every day,“ says NACD President Earl Garber. “The Dust Bowl of the 1930s showed our nation the importance of conservation practices. Farmers and ranchers who have experienced recent droughts know that conservation practices are critical in helping their soil endure, even in the most challenging weather events. Your local conservation district is working with local landowners to assist in a variety of projects and outreach to improve soil health both now and in the long term."

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