Government

Cedar Rapids wins award for work on Middle Cedar watershed

A saturated buffer of native prairie grasses borders a creek in April 2016 at the Weber farm north of Dysart. Then-Gov. Terry Branstad heard from farmers and members of several area watershed conservation initiatives, as well as representatives from the city of Cedar Rapids, about conservation practices in the large watershed area that encompasses Waterloo and Cedar Rapids, known as the Middle Cedar watershed. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
A saturated buffer of native prairie grasses borders a creek in April 2016 at the Weber farm north of Dysart. Then-Gov. Terry Branstad heard from farmers and members of several area watershed conservation initiatives, as well as representatives from the city of Cedar Rapids, about conservation practices in the large watershed area that encompasses Waterloo and Cedar Rapids, known as the Middle Cedar watershed. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A national water sustainability organization has awarded the city of Cedar Rapids the top prize for public sector leadership in changing how water is viewed, valued and managed through its work in the Middle Cedar Partnership.

“There is an urgent need to address increasing concentrations of nitrates and extreme flood events in the Cedar River,” Steve Hershner, Cedar Rapids utilities director, said in a news release. “We believe that MCPP has demonstrated a successful model for information outreach and conservation practice implementation.”

During a water summit in Texas on Tuesday, the U.S. Water Alliance awarded U.S. Water Prize winners in six categories: cross-sector partnership, public sector, private sector, nonprofit, outstanding journalism on the value of water, and outstanding public official.

Through the Middle Cedar project, Cedar Rapids works with public and private sector partners upstream and downstream in the Cedar River watershed, investing money and resources to improve water quality, quantity and soil health and mitigate flood risks.

Farmers, conservation entities and water users also are involved in the partnership.

“Water is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and the water challenges we face are complicated,” U.S. Water Alliance chief executive Radhika Fox said in a news release. “These innovative and inspiring leaders are demonstrating to the nation what is possible and how we can build a better water future for all.”

Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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