General Mills, ADM, Cargill, McDonalds, and The Nature Conservancy are among 10 companies and nonprofit organizations that are forming a national market by 2022 to incentivize the adoption of farming practices that build soil carbon and improve water conservation.
President Trump announced a plan to roll back Obama-era clean water regulations that aimed to protect rivers and streams from agricultural runoff and other pollutants. It will remove vast wetlands and thousands of miles of waterways from federal protection.
More than 200 of Iowa’s community water systems struggle with agricultural runoff, periodically issuing “Do Not Drink” orders because of high levels of nitrates. “The good news is that researchers have a pretty good handle on how to solve Iowa’s water problem,” reports Elizabeth Royte in FERN’s latest story, with National Geographic. (No paywall)
Lake pollution has largely remained unchanged since 1990, despite expanding agriculture, urban development and climate change, says a study of 3,000 lakes in the Midwest and eastern states. Seven percent of the lakes in the study saw increases in phosphorus — a common component of farm runoff that’s implicated in toxic green-algae blooms. Nine percent of those lakes saw improvements.
The EPA will provide clarity to the reach of the clean water law with its revisions of the so-called Waters of the United States that was proposed by the Obama administration and blocked by court challenges, said administrator Scott Pruitt in a Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette interview. Pruitt said the new rule would be “objectively measured and traditional in its view of how we should measure waters of the United States.”