Report says soil errosion has increased as more land is put into production
July 31, 2013 By Matt Kelley
A new report shows millions of wetlands and highly-erodible grassland and prairie are being plowed under and planted into row crops. It says that causes intense soil erosion especially in a wet spring like Iowa had this year.
The four-year, multi-state study was conducted by the Environmental Working Group and spokesman Craig Cox says Iowa is losing acreage at an alarming rate. “What we found in the most recent report is about 380,000 acres of Iowa’s highly-erodible, fragile land had been converted to cropland between 2008 and 2012,” Cox says, “and that conversion is really focused in the southern two tiers of counties.”
The report says Iowa’s land, combined with similar practices in nine other states, shows three-million acres converted since 2008. Cox says the report also discovered an interesting connection in Iowa. Cox says, “We looked at hotspots for crop insurance payout as well as hotspots for wetland conversion and conversion of highly-erodible land and when you lay those two sets of hotspots over each other, you see a remarkable correlation.”
The group’s report is in stark contrast to one released last week by Decision Innovation Solutions of Des Moines which showed farmers in 40 Iowa counties added new wildlife habitat in the past four years.