Linn County Soil Conservation Expands Soil Health Efforts
Meet Emery Davis, the new Soil Health Coordinator for the Indian Creek Soil Health Partnership Project. This project is possible through a $306,500 grant from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service – Iowa Partners for Conservation Program, along with local funds from the Indian Creek Watershed Management Authority and Linn County Conservation. The funding support allowed the Linn County Soil Conservation Department to create a new position providing technical support to increase adoption of soil health practices in the Indian Creek Watershed. “The key will be working with agricultural landowners and farmers to implement soil health building and soil sustaining practices on their own properties,” says Jon Gallagher, Linn County Soil Conservation Director. The Indian Creek Soil Health Partnership Project supports the locally adopted priorities developed through the Indian Creek Watershed Management Authority focused on improving water quality through better soil health.
How does better soil health improve water quality? A properly functioning soil profile not only grows better crops, it reduces soil erosion and fertilizer loss, infiltrates and holds more water after rainfall events, stabilizes soil temperatures and stores greenhouse gases within its profile. “Traditionally, soil conservation was focused on the prevention of erosion and sediment loss through conservation planning and installing practices on crop fields. Now the focus has expanded beyond erosion prevention to the rebuilding of our soil resource after decades of decay, an activity all landowners can do,” Gallagher says. Soil health building practices such as no-till cropping, seeding fall cover crops and installing perennial vegetation will result in better soil structure, higher organic matter content and increased soil biological activity benefiting the farming operation as well as improving water quality.
Emery grew up on a small family farm in Louisa County where he continues to farm with his dad. Prior to working for the Indian Creek Soil Health Partnership Project, he was a Biologist for Pheasants Forever and a Natural Resources Worker for the Iowa DNR. Emery is an avid deer and bird hunter. Most weekends in the fall he can be found bow-hunting or following his bird dog in pursuit of pheasants and quail.
Contact Linn County Soil Conservation Department to visit with Emery and learn how you can participate in the Indian Creek Soil Health Partnership!
UNI GeoTREE Center
The University of Northern Iowa GeoTREE Center is working on modeling a few stormwater sub-basins in the Lindale Mall area to determine runoff and pollutant loads. The results will be used to locate infiltration practices. For more information, visit www.geotree.uni.edu/en