In 2015, HEI joined a large effort for Midwest Water Quality, funded by a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Led by the Iowa Agricultural Water Alliance (IAWA), this is a $9.5-million project collaboration between dozens of private and public entities focused on implementing practices in Iowa that will ultimately reduce nutrients affecting water quality in the Gulf of Mexico.
As part of a large partnership, HEI is providing technical support to the RCPP team, namely through the use of the Prioritize, Target, and Measure Application (PTMApp). PTMApp brings another level of watershed planning for the RCPP and its partners. It allows us to develop cost-effective targeted implementation plans, total maximum daily loads (TMDLs), and resource protection goals to improve water quality and meet nutrient reduction goals.
PTMApp links and bridges the gaps between the field, water resources of concern, and watershed planning.
PTMApp can also be used to create implementation plans at the 12-digit HUC scale for sample watersheds. This means watersheds can receive more detailed information for a large area using a lot less time and effort.
Community and private sector engagement has been a key tool throughout all projects completed by the partnership. Because of this engagement, edge-of-field practices and cover crops have been implemented smoothly and non-federal resources are leveraged more efficiently. This is leading to highly efficient and cost-effective practices statewide. The Midwest Water Quality Partnership demonstrates highly targeted conservation efforts that can be used as a model for other states and regions to follow. HEI is also contributing strategically as part of the RCPP’s Communications Core Outreach Team.
RCPP's Communications Core Outreach
As a teaming partner, HEI is working strategically as part of the RCPP’s Communications Core Outreach Team. The project features complex outreach efforts and a variety of challenges. As part of the efforts in Iowa, watershed coordinators have been placed on the front line of conservation and are educating and approaching farmers about conservation practices and demonstration projects.
As part of the RCPP project, IAWA hopes to give coordinators and other staff better resources to execute outreach efforts. To date, HEI has helped strategize and plan a resource library to provide key resources not readily available to watershed coordinators. Many needs were identified, including communications materials such as newsletters, social media content, and other educational and promotional templates that coordinators would not otherwise have resources to create. This additional communications support helps bolster efforts and build momentum to spread the word about key conservation efforts.