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Agency praises effort, urges additional steps and pledges working partnership with state organizations
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 is providing comments on the draft Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy released Nov. 19, 2012. Karl Brooks, regional administrator, in a letter commends the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) for developing the strategy that embraces ambitious specific nutrient reduction targets.
“The EPA views the draft Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy as a great start to set in motion actions that will begin to yield measurable nutrient pollution reductions from point and nonpoint sources,” said Brooks. “EPA looks forward to working collaboratively with IDALS and IDNR on implementation of the strategy to achieve our mutual goals of water quality improvement in Iowa.”
Iowa based its draft strategy on EPA’s 2011 memorandum that dealt with how states should achieve long-term reductions in nitrogen and phosphorous pollution in water bodies.
Brooks’ letter notes that EPA supports states leading efforts to reduce nutrient loads from point and nonpoint sources but stresses that EPA is not mandating specific strategies or solutions. The draft strategy raised concerns about EPA’s ecoregional criteria published in 2000. Since then, EPA and some states have identified a range of options that can be appropriately used for development and implementation of numeric nutrient criteria.
EPA does offer recommendations to strengthen the policy considerations and point and nonpoint source sections of the document. And the agency makes a number of recommendations to be addressed during implementation of Iowa’s nutrient reduction efforts.
EPA’s letter provides a more detailed description of EPA’s comments. The letter is available at www.epa.gov/region7/water.