Roger Wolf
Executive Director, ACWA


Boone River Watershed named Water to Watch for 2012

May 2, 2012 (Ankeny, IA) — The Boone River has been named one of “Ten Waters to Watch” in 2012 by the National Fish Habitat Partnership ( This list includes water bodies most likely to benefit from locally driven, strategic conservation efforts. These waters are priorities of the regional Fish Habitat Partnerships formed throughout the country to implement the National Fish Habitat Action Plan. The objective is to conserve important habitats for fish and wildlife.

“This Waters to Watch designation is great news,” says Iowa Soybean Association Environmental Scientist Chris Jones. “It’s one dividend of the investment made five years ago by Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance (ACWA), when they committed to water monitoring here. Another dividend, to the tune of $8 million for area producers to implement conservation practices, has been USDA’s selection of the Boone River basin as a Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) watershed.”

ACWA is a group of leading Iowa ag retailers whose shared mission is to improve water quality while maintaining agricultural productivity. Their investment in monitoring water quality serves as the catalyst for many water quality improvement projects.
ACWA member John Van Diest says, “Our employees and their families live, work and recreate in the Boone River watershed. Projects like this help farmers and improve the quality of life for area residents and people downstream from us. It’s great to see ACWA make a difference.”

Fishers & Farmers Partnership is working to create landowner awareness of the partnership, provide technical assistance and educate landowners on the benefits of oxbows to their farm, fish and wildlife. Oxbows reconnect fragmented habitat, reduce sediment loads and process nutrients but do not take land out of agricultural production. Conservation and agricultural groups in the partnership see this project as a win-win for all, including wildlife.

The Boone River Watershed (BRW) Fishers & Farmers Partnership includes Hamilton and Wright Soil and Water Conservation Districts, IDNR, Iowa Soybean Association (ISA), Iowa State University, landowners, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Sand County Foundation and the US Fish and Wildlife service working together to improve oxbow habitat. Fishers & Farmers commits to long-term projects in order to show measurable success at both project and basin scales.

Oxbows are small river segments disconnected by natural processes from the main river channel. Many river species use them for spawning and refuge, and oxbows provide nesting habitat for waterfowl. An oxbow near Webster City was selected for the first restoration in 2010. Up to four more oxbows will be restored in 2012. The plan is to cluster restored oxbows to determine the cumulative fisheries and water quality benefits.

The lower section of the BRW has also been designated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) as a “Protected Water Area.” This is a legislatively authorized designation for areas with outstanding cultural and natural resource values. The lower Boone River is one of only five such designated waters in Iowa.

ACWA President Harry Ahrenholtz says ACWA is pleased to provide leadership on these issues that connect environmental performance with agricultural production as both are needed. “It really takes the courage of our members to provide the needed leadership that makes these projects work,” Ahrenholtz says. “With this project and others in the Raccoon and Des Moines River watersheds, we’re really starting to see the benefits of taking a leadership role.”

ACWA membership consists of leading ag retailers in the Raccoon River and Des Moines River watersheds. The group’s mission is to establish reasonable and practical guidelines for fall nitrogen fertilization to reduce nitrate loss from farm fields entering the Des Moines and Raccoon River and connecting tributaries.

To contact an ACWA member locally, call:
Albert City — Ag Partners, LLC — Troy Upah | 712-446-3307
Ames — Farmers Cooperative — Roger Koppen | 515-817-2100
Cherokee — First Co-op Association — Jim Carlson | 712-225-5400
Dedham — Dedham Cooperative Association — Roger Shaw | 712-683-5515
Fort Dodge — New Co-op, Inc. — Brent Bunte | 515-955-2040
Gilmore City — Pro Co-op — Jim Day | 515-373-6532
Goldfield — Gold-Eagle Cooperative — Stu Pannkuk | 515-825-3161
Ralston — West Central — Harry Ahrenholtz | 712-667-3200
Roland — KEY Cooperative — Boyd Brodie | 515-388-4341
Webster City — Van Diest Supply — John Van Diest | 800-779-2424
West Des Moines — Heartland Co-op — Dave Coppess | 515-577-2021
Wall Lake — CPS — Duane Petersen | 712-664-2222
West Des Moines — Helena Chemical Company — John McKinney | 515-309-3461

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