Extension Publications

Applying Woodchip Bioreactors for Improved Water Quality
In the quest to manage nitrate levels in Iowa’s waters, researchers are developing new ways to keep both soil and water healthy. The use of woodchip bioreactors is just one tool Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialist recommend to help manage nitrates levels.
Buffer Strip Design, Establishment and Maintenance -- Stewards of Our Streams
This publication discusses how to design, plant, and maintain a multi-species buffer strip, which is an important part of river ecosystems.
Conservation Practices for Landlords
There is growing concern over the possible impact of rented land on soil conservation. Concerns regarding conservation practices are not new; however, the recent increase in concerns has come about for several reasons. More than half of Iowa’s farmland is rented and operated by someone other than the owner. In addition, landowners are aging and therefore are less likely to be actively engaged in farming. The general assumption people have is if a farmer does not own the land they farm, they are less likely to have an incentive to use conservation practices.
Conservation Practices in Lease Agreements
The purpose of this lease supplement is to encourage cooperation between tenants and landlords to obtain and maintain needed conservation practices on a rented farm. Rent charges should reflect cost and risk incurred by farming practices. Conservation practices and improvements will not be made unless agreed to in advance and the tenant has the necessary machinery and management ability.
Establishing and Managing Pollinator Habitat on Saturated Riparian Buffers
Conservation practices for water quality and pollinator habitat can be complementary - using some of the same land and resources can multiply ecological benefits for water and wildlife. This publication discusses the ways saturated riparian buffers can be used for planting pollinator habitat. It provides information on site selection, preparation and establishment, management and seed mixes.
Floodplain Connectivity
Floodplains enhance water quality and reduce downstream flooding.
Reducing Nutrient Loss: Science Shows What Works
Iowa has been working for decades to protect and improve water quality through best scientific management, land use, and edge-of-field practices to reduce nutrient loss from farmland. The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a science and technology-based framework to assess and reduce nutrients to Iowa waters and the Gulf of Mexico.
Streambank Alluvial Units
This publication reviews how streambank composition affects water quality.
What to Expect: Establishing Prairie Vegetation on Your Farm
This publication informs Iowa farmers and landowners about the process and benefits of establishing small areas of perennial prairie vegetation to benefit soil health, water quality, and wildlife. Establishment of prairie vegetation takes both time and active management—this publication aims to help farmers and landowners set reasonable expectations while sharing consensus best management practices for successful establishment and management.
Whole Farm Conservation Best Practices Manual
Improving water quality, soil health, and wildlife habitat while remaining productive and profitable is the focus of many conservation efforts in Iowa. Confidence in practice selection and management is essential for implementing conservation practices. This publication provides best management recommendations for farmers and landowners getting started with conservation and water quality practices by helping select and incorporate in-field and edge-of-field conservation practices most appropriate to the decision maker's land and preferences.