With rising commodity prices and increasing recognition of land as a stable investment, agricultural land values have experienced unprecedented increases as evidenced by Iowa recently documenting a $20,000 per acre agricultural land sale. Rising land values and high commodity prices have many implications ranging from limiting opportunities for beginning farmers to devaluing the implementation of conservation practices; potential income losses associated with either real or perceived reduced commodity production drive the conservation practice devaluation. In selected situations, conversations suggest practices are removed simply for operator convenience. From a myopic economic perspective conservation is a cost to the producer or land owner and not an investment in the property.Continue reading
Ask a Scientist – Mapping Data and Soil Erosion
We ask Brian Gelder, Scientist II and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Iowa State University, the question: How do you use map data to estimate soil erosion?Continue reading
Ask a Scientist – Geographic Information Systems
Iowa Water Center Visit Up North
Post written by Melissa Miller, Associate Director for the Iowa Water Center
One of the greatest benefits of being part of the National Institutes for Water Resources is the connection to the other 53 Water Resources Research Institutes across the country – including those in surrounding states. Last week, Iowa Water Center staff took a day trip up to the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota to visit the Minnesota Water Resources Center (MWRC) staff.
We had a full agenda for the day, well-planned by Iowa State University alum Adam Wilke, who serves as the MWRC Research and Outreach Coordinator.
After a quick tour of the campus with our colleagues MWRC Director Jeff Peterson and Associate Director Joel Larson, we visited with MWRC’s Ann Lewandowski and Matt Drewitz from the Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources on the best outreach and communication methods for the Daily Erosion Project (coverage for the entire state of Minnesota coming very soon!).
Next, Leif Olmanson from UMN’s Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis Laboratory and Ben Page from MWRC introduced us to remotely sensed water quality monitoring in Minnesota lakes with their tool, LakeBrowser. This technology is helping Minnesotans keep an eye on water clarity, chlorophyll, suspended solids, and colored dissolved organic matter on all lakes in the state over 10 acres. LakeBrowser covers some lakes in Iowa and can be expanded outside the borders of Minnesota.
We enjoyed lunch with the entire MWRC crew. Afterward, we joined in a planning call for the University Council of Water Resources annual conference, to be held in Minneapolis June 9-11. The theme for the 2020 UCOWR Annual Conference is “Water. Place. People.” The call for special sessions is now open – this is a great conference for university researchers and students, and we encourage you to submit a session idea.
To round out the day, we headed over to the banks of the Mississippi River to chat with Pat Nunnally from UMN’s River Life program. We talked about the history of the Mississippi and River Life’s interdisciplinary journal Open Rivers, which features fascinating pieces that explore topics on water, place, and community. We also got to witness Pat in action, as a mudslide on the banks that morning brought television news crews to the scene, wondering how and why these things occur (Pat makes an appearance around 1:35). Thankfully, we managed to avoid any cameos in the news story!
We want to sincerely thank the entire UMN staff for their hospitality. We came away with actionable items to increase our collaboration between the two centers and throughout the region, as well as some great ideas we might borrow from UMN to incorporate here in Iowa and at IWC. We look forward to their visit to Iowa next spring!
Melissa Miller is the associate director of the Iowa Water Center. She holds a BS in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Community and Public Health and MS degree in Community Development with an emphasis in Natural Resource Management, both from Iowa State University.
Ask a Scientist – Daily Erosion Project
Save Our Soil, Save Our Planet
Rick Cruse, Professor in the Agronomy Department at Iowa State University and Director of the Iowa Water Center, has a deep appreciation for a resilient outdoor world that energizes his soils research and graduate teaching activities.Continue reading
Get to know the Daily Erosion Project
Answering a speaking request from the Nebraska Natural Resource Districts, I delivered a talk last week in Central Nebraska. Kearney, Nebraska to be more exact. Kearney is located deep into the irrigated area of the Great Plains, and so I wondered a little – actually more than a little – why this group would be interested in my focus area of soil erosion. More specifically, why they would be interested in hearing about our Iowa State University project called, The Daily Erosion Project.Continue reading