Water Quality Reviewed At Committee

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Leaders of the Iowa Water Quality Initiative were at the Capitol on Tuesday, talking to House and Senate Committees in the legislature about water quality efforts.

Highlighting the nearly 40 research collaborations over four years, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, Iowa DNR Director Chuck Gipp, and ISU Associate Dean Dr. John Lawrence, talked about the priorities of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy as well as the costs, science, and challenges of government funded projects.

Dr. John Lawrence also serves as the Interim Director of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center, which is a Regents center established by the legislature and administered through Iowa State University.

He says they allocate dollars that come out of the legislature to research projects, led by faculty members at the three Regent universities, many who collaborate on the same projects.

Of the $9.6 million from the legislature, 99 percent goes right to projects, Lawrence says, "We're not taking an administration fee, I don't get a salary for being the center director. The financial management, the book keeping, accounting that goes with that, the college of ag and life sciences is supporting is just part of our normal operations. So those dollars are going to the researchers to do the work."

Lawrence says it is a commitment of ISU, since they're already invested in water quality. They already have $2.3 million worth of annual faculty salary. He says the dollars from the legislature are doing more good in the hands of researchers because ISU covers the infrastructure.

Since last year, the Nutrient Reduction Strategy has seen measured reduction of 1.5 percent nitrogen and 2.2 percent phosphorus.