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NONPOINT SOURCE NEEDS ASSESSMENT FOR IOWA PART II: THE COST OF IMPROVING IOWA'S WATER QUALITY
Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.orgCitation: Watershed Management to Meet Water Quality Standards and Emerging TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) Proceedings of the Third Conference 5-9 March 2005 (Atlanta, Georgia USA) Publication Date 5 March 2005 701P0105.(doi:10.13031/2013.18114)
Authors: Silvia Secchi, Hong-Li Feng, Lyubov A. Kurkalova, Catherine L. Kling, Philip W. Gassman, and Manoj K. Jha
This paper documents the methodology used to calculate the costs of adopting new conservation
practices or changing land use, in order to improve water quality in Iowa. We have identified a
wide ranging set of conservation practices to be put in place in a policy scenario designed to
improve the State's surface water quality. The practices include grassed waterways, terraces,
contouring, conservation tillage, land set-aside, and nutrient management strategies. The basis
for the positioning of practices on the landscape are the physical characteristics of the
agricultural land. The primary data source used is the latest available National Resource
Inventory dataset. A unique data source on the costs of conservation is not available, therefore
we have developed a methodology that allows us to combine economic models with available
costs data from several sources. Economic models on the cost of land retirement and
conservation tillage adoption are combined with data from the Environmental Quality Incentives
Program in Iowa, and with estimates of the direct profit loss due to the reduction of fertilizer.
Attributing a cost in terms of lost yield, and therefore lost profit, to a possible reduction in
fertilizer use on corn acres has proven quite challenging.