CALMAR, Iowa — Winneshiek County Development Incorporated has awarded Iowa’s Dairy Center and Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) with the annual Sustainability Award. This award is presented to any business or organization that has gone above and beyond in employing good sustainability practices.
The award was jointly presented to the organizations on Jan. 23 to recognize the conservation efforts implemented by the college and the Iowa’s Dairy Center over the last several years.
NICC and Iowa’s Dairy Center has become a beacon of both urban and rural conservation practices through multiple projects initiated in partnership with area organizations, including the Winneshiek Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Iowa Living Roadways and Rockwell Collins grants. The partnership with SWCD enabled NICC and Iowa’s Dairy Center to incorporate multiple sustainable practices through the Turkey River Watershed Nutrient Reduction Demonstration Project and the Urban Demonstration Conservation project.
The recent Urban Conservation Project initiative addressed storm water runoff issues and consequent nutrient loss issues created by nearly four acres of dairy farm, livestock buildings and feed storage areas at the Iowa’s Dairy Center. The project improved storm water control practices to lessen the impact of water runoff. Improvements included a water and sediment basin, infiltration trench, permeable paver parking lot and a 900-square-foot rain garden to capture and manage water runoff. These practices have led to reducing overall runoff by nearly 30 percent at the Dairy Center.
In addition, Iowa’s Dairy Center serves as a best practice model of sustainable agriculture that utilizes 100 percent corn, 100 percent no-till and 100 percent cover crop strategies to reduce the operation’s environmental footprint and minimize soil erosion and pollution into waterways.
Other projects on the campus and farm grounds include the creation of water retention ponds, bioswale plantings, waterway upgrades, reconstruction of the campus pond and planting a 1.2 acre shelter belt on the south side of the Dairy Center. Grants through Iowa Living Roadways and Rockwell Collins enable the NICC campus to plant trees, native grasses and flowers to improve and sustain campus grounds.
These demonstration projects have played a vital role in the Dairy Center’s and the College’s sustainability goals.
— Northeast Iowa Community-Based Dairy Foundation
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