CONTINUING COVERAGE: FLOODS OF 2016

Panorama Water Project Nearly Done

Three years ago, the Lake Panorama Association (LPA) teamed up with the Lake Panorama Rural Improvement Zone to create a nutrient reducing wetland project. Now, that project is almost done.

Governor Terry Branstad says, "Regardless of where people live in Iowa, whether you live on a farm, or you live in a small community or you live in a larger city, you want to have quality water. And we're encouraged about the progress that's been made here."

At Lake Panorama, Governor Branstad talks about two-pronged project geared to help out the lake and Iowa water quality.

Engineers are working on a Wetland Project and a Sediment Storage Basin, something the residents and farmers are excited about.

John Rutledge the General Manager of the LPA says, "We feel that more often than not, we're going to be received with welcome arms and we're going to be received with something that works for us in water quality, but makes that landowner whole as well."

The projects are in line with the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, which is based off of volunteer conservation. But even though it may not look exactly like a wetland yet, the Iowa Department of Agriculture says it will still do its job.

Brandon Dittman with the Iowa Department of Agriculture says that's because of research done on how to effectively remove nitrates from the water, "But the microbes are there and those are what's responsible for removing nitrate. So don't let the look of a wetland fool you. It has more to do with the amount of water that passes through it. The size of the wetland and how shallow the water is. The more shallow the better as far as that's concerned. So we've learned a lot."

They're building a six acre surface water wetland in the middle of a watershed, the nitrates it can take out is equal to a few hundred acres of farm ground.

And there's more benefits than just denitrifying the water, a wetland like this can diversify the landscape.

LPA Projects Manager Brad Halterman says, "There's wildlife benefits for projects like these too. You talk about everything from the micro organisms all the way to the things that you can see with certain amphibians, birds, shore birds, water fowl."

The LPA first talked about the concept in 2013 and they're looking forward to completing the project this year.

Rutledge says, "I think the opportunities are endless. We really want to invite anyone and everyone. Corporations and private entities. Anyone who wants to see a benefit of wetlands in Iowa and show them this is really an opportunity for us to cooperatively address an issue that keeps growing in the minds of Iowans."

Construction of the project cost about $300,000, after federal and state funds help out, the Lake Panorama Rural Improvement Zone will pay $152,000.