Mike Naig Ames

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig speaks at the Ames Fire Station on Welch Avenue on Earth Day 2019.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig addressed members of the Ames and Iowa State community Monday at the Ames Fire Station on Welch Avenue.

Naig visited Ames to discuss the approval of a grant for stormwater quality improvements along Welch Avenue. The project partners include Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority, Prairie Rivers of Iowa, Iowa State and Iowa Stormwater Education Partnership.

Ames Mayor John Haila opened the roughly 15 minute address on Earth Day, thanking Naig for coming to Ames.

Haila said Ames has reduced its carbon footprint by more than 40 percent after the power plant converted from coal to natural gas and that the city of Ames contracts with wind farms and gets about 20 percent of its energy from wind energy.

“I’m very excited to watch as the projects that we’ve looked at today come to fruition,” Naig said. “I’m really excited about what this Welch Avenue project can mean.”

Naig said they are looking at nutrient reduction strategy. Runoff from Welch Avenue discharges right into College Creek just upstream of Lake LaVerne, containing various particles that enter the water.

The strategy outlined calls for permeable pavers and curb openings along the curbline of the street to allow runoff to enter the soil system and street trees, with a filter layer below the pavers with a system to allow for tree roots to grow.

Anticipated benefits include a reduction of total suspended solids of between 85 and 95 percent, a reduction of total phosphorus of between 70 and 75 percent, reduction of total nitrogen of between 65 and 80 percent and reduction of heavy metals of between 75 and 95 percent.

“You’re going to have a storefront to storefront streetscaping project, so this project will look beautiful in addition to doing what it needs to do functionally, and we’re going to do something about the nutrients in the water as well,” Naig said. “So, a win-win-win, and we don’t always get to say that.”

Naig said 19 other water quality projects, including 11 urban projects were announced today. The state is investing around $900,000 in these urban projects, along with more than $2 million from the aforementioned partners.

“Iowa State University, just down the road here, is an absolutely critically important partner in everything that we’re doing on a nutrient reduction standpoint,” Naig said. “Great partners of ours to be able to again do this work that shows innovation and conversation in Iowa State’s hometown.”

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