Additionally, according to Des Moines Water Works website posted measurements, 80 percent of the daily nitrate values since 2006 are less than the drinking water standard of 10 parts per million (ppm).
“The fact that there’s been a steady decline in nitrates in the Raccoon River should not be interpreted that farmers are somehow shirking their responsibility for their share of the nitrate load. In fact, ag groups are stepping up to the plate, embracing the new Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and encouraging all farmers to do the same. Farmers are considering additional steps they can take to help make further reductions,” says IFBF president Craig Hill.
This trend analysis follows a recent study, featured in the Journal of Environmental Quality, 2012, which confirmed that for 1992-2008, rainfall and temperature contribute more to nitrate variations in the Raccoon River, than modern farming practices.
In the last 30 years, voluntary conservation measures have reduced soil erosion in the U.S. by 43 percent, according to the USDA’s National Resources Inventory report. Iowa’s erosion rate was down 33 percent, due in part to a combination of practices being put in place, such as buffer strips, terraces, no-till, cover crops, restoring wetlands, installing bio-filters and grassy waterways in fields.