Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 30, 2003
Publication Date: July 30, 2004
Citation: Hillmer, G., Tomer, M.D., Miller, D., Sweeney, D., Kadolph, A. 2004. Southfork watershed alliance - stakeholder involvement. Soil and Water Conservation Society. P. 8.
The watershed of the south fork of the Iowa River is located in Hardin, Hamilton, Franklin and Wright counties in Iowa. The watershed is about 200,000 acres and 90% is cropland farmed predominantly in corn and soybeans. The watershed's dominant soils are the Clarion, Nicollet, and Webster series. Their soil association contains large inclusions of hydric soils such as Okoboji and Harps. Virtually all of these wet soils have been drained and are highly productive when drained. Average yields routinely exceed 160 bushels per acre for corn and 50 bushels per acre for soybeans. The south fork watershed also contains a number of confinement hog feeding operations, mostly finishing operations. Commercial fertilizers are being replaced by organic nutrient sources (manure) relative to growth in the swine industry. The Alliance was formed through cooperation of local agribusiness, community leaders, conservation groups and producers in Hardin County. A board with representatives of these groups oversees Alliance activities and a strategic plan has been developed to guide and document Alliance activities. The Alliance was formed to develop best management practices to be implemented in the watershed and minimize the impact of intensive agricultural production on the environment. The stakeholders are working to encourage implementation of practices, NRCS is providing technical assistance and ARS is assessing land use and water quality. Monitoring data are documenting that significant amounts of NO3 - N, total P, and sediment occur in streams throughout the watershed. Analyses are underway to identify conservation practices and locations to improve water quality.