Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy
Location: Roland, IA
Iowa farmers can have significant impacts on the quality of ocean life in the gulf of mexico simply by adapting more responsible farming practices.
Iowa thrives as an agricultural state, but current land management plans (including the use of tiles to quickly drain rainwater off fields) don’t do enough to keep harmful nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediments from flowing downstream into the Mississippi River and subsequently the Gulf of Mexico.
Nitrogen and phosphorus are natural parts of any aquatic ecosystem. They support the growth of algae and aquatic plants, which provide food and habitat for fish and smaller organisms. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus levels, however, can create algal blooms, increasing the potential harm to water quality, food resources and habitats, while creating “Dead Zones” that effectively suck all the oxygen out of the water, suffocating fish and killing shellfish.