AGRIBUSINESS: USDA Protecting Iowa’s Pothole Region
The Prairie Pothole Region of the northern Great Plains formed from depressions left by ice that fell from an ancient glacier; 12,000 years later, USDA is laying out a roadmap to fix those potholes.
According to USDA, prairie potholes are home to almost two thirds of migratory waterfowl in the U.S. They also reduce regional flooding by storing water and could have positive effects on climate change by storing carbon in their soils.
To protect those sensitive areas, USDA has announced $35 million in funding over the next three years.
Part of the Prairie Pothole Region extends into north-central Iowa; much of the funding will land here through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program or EQIP. Landowners with expiring Conservation Reserve Program contracts will be able to maintain working grassland with practices like prescribed grazing.