House File 406 - IntroducedA Bill ForAn Act 1relating to requiring water quality plans for persons
2receiving financial assistance for establishing soil and
3water conservation plans.
4BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:
1   Section 1.  Section 161A.42, subsection 3, Code 2019, is
2amended to read as follows:
   33.  “Cost-share” or “cost-sharing” means a contribution of
4money made by the state in order to pay a percentage of the
5costs related to the establishment of voluntary or mandatory
6practices as provided under this chapter, including but not
7limited to soil and water conservation practices, and erosion
8control practices, or water quality practices.
9   Sec. 2.  Section 161A.42, Code 2019, is amended by adding the
10following new subsections:
11   NEW SUBSECTION.  6A.  “Farming practice” includes but is
12not limited to a decision regarding crop production, including
13crop types and varieties to plant, cultivation and harvesting
14methods, and the application of materials including manure and
15commercial fertilizers, tillage, and crop rotation systems.
16   NEW SUBSECTION.  7A.  “Major water source” means the same as
17defined in section 459.102.
18   NEW SUBSECTION.  12.  “Water quality plan” means an
19instrument that requires a party to comply with water quality
20practices or farming practices as a condition to receiving
21financial assistance as provided in section 161A.77.
22   NEW SUBSECTION.  13.  a.  “Water quality practice” means
23a land use change or the establishment and maintenance of a
24measure that limits sediment or nutrients from being conveyed
25by surface water runoff or leaching.
   26b.  “Water quality practice” includes the establishment of
27any of the following:
   28(1)  A terrace.
   29(2)  A cover crop that is used as part of crop rotation
30cycle.
   31(3)  A bioreactor installed as part of or connected to a
32field drainage system.
   33(4)  A wetland established as part of or connected to a crop
34field.
   35(5)  A saturated buffer.
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   1(6)  Cropland integrated with a prairie grass strip.
   2(7)  A riparian buffer strip.
   3(8)  A grassed waterway.
   4(9)  An area maintained in permanent vegetation cover,
5including perennial vegetation cover consisting of grasses or
6legumes, including but not limited to grasslands or forages.
   7(10)  A wetland area if the area is mostly underwater or
8waterlogged during the growing season and is characterized by
9vegetation of hydric soils.
   10(11)  Any other measure recognized by the division that
11manages nutrients and reduces contributing contaminant loads to
12receiving surface waters, including by detaining sediment-laden
13water, reducing the volume or velocity of precipitation-induced
14surface water, filtering sediment-laden water, or reducing
15nutrient loss through tile drainage systems.
16   NEW SUBSECTION.  14.  “Water source” means the same as
17defined in section 459.102.
18   Sec. 3.  NEW SECTION.  161A.77  Financing conditional upon
19maintaining a water quality plan.
   201.  In order to receive financing under this chapter, the
21owner of agricultural land, or an operator managing the farming
22activities occurring on the agricultural land shall execute a
23water quality plan. The commissioners shall assist the owner
24or operator in developing the plan. The person executing the
25plan shall file the plan with the commissioners subject to
26their approval. A copy of the plan shall be delivered to the
27division. An updated plan must be filed and approved each
28three years in the same manner as the original plan.
   292.  a.  A person is not required to file a water quality plan
30until December 31, 2021.
   31b.  This subsection is repealed on January 1, 2022.
   323.  The water quality plan shall apply to the same farm unit
33as an applicable farm unit conservation plan or conservation
34agreement. The plan may be made part of the farm unit
35conservation plan or soil conservation agreement. However,
-2-1a plan may cover one or more farm units as specified in the
2plan so long as all farm units are located as part of the
3same district. The plan shall identify those water quality
4practices or farming practices that manage nutrients and
5reduces contributing contaminant loads to receiving surface
6waters as required under this section.
   74.  The water quality plan shall be completed on forms
8prepared by the division in consultation with the Iowa nutrient
9research center established pursuant to section 466B.47.
10The plan shall be based on an analysis of the nutrient loss
11potential of a farm’s farming practices and water quality
12practices by the water quality model established by the Iowa
13nutrient research center pursuant to section 466B.52. The plan
14must provide that the farm unit’s nutrient load contribution to
15surface water sources shall not exceed its assigned tolerance
16values for nitrogen or phosphorus. The plan shall account for
17all of the following:
   18a.  The location of each field and its size in acres.
   19b.  The proximity of the field to a water source, including
20any major water source.
   21c.  The amount and timing of nutrients or commercial
22fertilizers applied to each field.
   23d.  Whether the application occurs on snow-covered ground or
24frozen ground.
   25e.  If the farm unit includes an animal feeding operation,
26whether the animal feeding operation is a confinement feeding
27operation as defined in section 459.102 or an open feedlot
28operation as defined in section 459A.102. For each animal
29feeding operation, the plan shall state the type of animals
30confined, and the animal unit capacity of the operation.
   31f.  The maintenance of any water quality practice, soil and
32water conservation practice, or erosion control practice.
   33g.  The types of farming practices utilized.
   34h.  Whether the agricultural land has been subject to soil
35erosion in excess of the applicable soil loss limits.
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   1i.  The predicted loads of nitrogen and phosphorus
2respectively contributed to a surface water source, including
3a major water source, and the extent that such loads are less
4than the tolerance values assigned to that farm unit.
   5j.  The results of a test conducted according to a schedule
6adopted in the plan that indicates the average loads of
7nitrogen and phosphorus respectively being contributed to a
8surface water source, including a major water source. The test
9shall be conducted by the division, the commissioners, or a
10person approved by the division or the commissioners.
   115.  The commissioners shall ensure that a person receiving
12financial assistance under this chapter is complying with the
13terms and conditions of the water quality plan.
   146.  The commissioners shall inspect or cause to be inspected
15agricultural land covered by a water quality plan, if
16reasonable grounds exist to believe that a failure to comply
17with the plan is occurring. If the commissioners determine
18a failure is occurring, a notice of that finding shall be
19delivered to the person who filed the plan, to the landowner or
20landowners of record, and to each occupant of the agricultural
21land if known to the commissioners. The notice shall describe
22the agricultural land affected and shall describe the failure.
23The notice shall also describe the corrective action required
24and the time limit for commencing and accomplishing such
25action.
   267.  If corrective action has not been commenced or
27accomplished as described in the notice, the commissioners
28shall issue an administrative order to the person who filed the
29water quality plan. The administrative order shall address the
30same subjects provided in the notice. However, the corrective
31action must be commenced not more than six months after the
32date the order is issued and must be completed not more than
33one year after that date.
   348.  The commissioners shall petition the district court
35to issue an order requiring immediate compliance with an
-4-1administrative order if the commissioners have determined any
2of the following:
   3a.  The corrective action has not been commenced or completed
4by the date specified in the administrative order.
   5b.  The corrective action has been commenced but is not
6being performed with due diligence or in a manner that will
7reasonably result in compliance with the water quality plan.
8   Sec. 4.  Section 466B.41, Code 2019, is amended to read as
9follows:
   10466B.41  Definitions.
   11As used in this subchapter, unless the context otherwise
12requires:
   131.  “Center” means the Iowa nutrient research center
14established pursuant to section 466B.47.
   152.  “Committee” means the state soil conservation and water
16quality committee established in section 161A.4.
   172.    3.  “Council” means the Iowa nutrient research center
18advisory council established pursuant to section 466B.48.
   193.    4.  “Division” means the division of soil conservation
20and water quality created within the department of agriculture
21and land stewardship pursuant to section 159.5.
   225.  “Farming practice” means the same as defined in section
23161A.42.
   244.    6.  “Fund” means the water quality initiative fund
25created in section 466B.45.
   267.  “Iowa nutrient reduction strategy” means the same as
27defined in section 455B.171.
   288.  “Model” means the crop field water quality model as
29provided in section 466B.52.
   305.    9.  “Nutrient” includes nitrogen and phosphorus.
   3110.  “Water quality plan” or “plan” means the same as defined
32in section 161A.42.
   3311.  “Water quality practice” means the same as defined in
34section 161A.42.
35   Sec. 5.  NEW SECTION.  466B.51  Policy.
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   1It is the policy of this state that Iowa must reduce
2its contribution of nutrient loading to the Gulf of Mexico
3contributed from nonpoint sources occurring on agricultural
4land by the following percentages:
   51.  For nitrogen, forty-one percent.
   62.  For phosphorus, twenty-nine percent.
7   Sec. 6.  NEW SECTION.  466B.52  Iowa nutrient research center
8— crop field water quality model.
   91.  Not later than July 1, 2020, the center shall establish
10a crop field water quality model based on the policy objective
11described in section 466.51. The center shall establish the
12model in cooperation with other entities, including all of the
13following:
   14a.  Iowa state university of science and technology.
   15b.  The department.
   16c.  The division.
   17d.  The state soil conservation and water quality committee.
   182.  The model shall be based on findings and recommendations
19contained in the Iowa nutrient reduction strategy, and on other
20pertinent research data.
   213.  The model shall be used to predict contaminant loads to
22receiving surface waters caused by farming practices and the
23application of nutrients on agricultural land.
   244.  The model shall take into account all of the following:
   25a.  Water quality practices and farming practices. The
26model shall allow sufficient flexibility to allow a person
27required to file a water quality plan to select those farming
28practices and water quality practices that are compatible with
29the person’s business operations consistent with the policy
30described in section 466B.51.
   31b.  Special characteristics associated with various types
32of agricultural land, including field slopes, soil types,
33the presence of highly erodible land, the presence of tile
34drainage systems, and proximity of water sources, including
35any major water source as defined in section 459.102. The
-6-1model shall also take into account the effects of the special
2characteristics on the predicted loadings of nitrogen and
3phosphorus using farming practices described in the plan.
   4c.  Tolerance values for nitrogen and phosphorus loads from
5farm fields based on the goals of the center normalized to a
6crop field level basis.
7EXPLANATION
8The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with
9the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly.
   10This bill requires a water quality plan to be executed by
11a person as a condition to receiving financial assistance for
12establishing a soil and water conservation practice. The plan
13would cover water quality practices such as land use changes
14or the establishment and maintenance of a measure that limits
15sediment or nutrients from being conveyed by surface water
16runoff or leaching. It would also cover farming practices
17regarding crop production, including those associated with
18tillage. A water quality plan must be executed by the owner
19of agricultural land or an operator managing the farming
20activities occurring on the agricultural land. The plan is
21to develop in cooperation with the commissioners of the soil
22and water conservation district where the agricultural land is
23located. However, a plan is not required to be filed until
24December 31, 2021. The plan must be based on a crop field water
25quality model required to be developed by the Iowa nutrient
26research center with the objective that the contribution of
27nonpoint sources of nutrients occurring on agricultural land
28must be reduced by 41 percent for nitrogen and 29 percent for
29phosphorus. The commissioners must conduct inspections to
30ensure compliance with the plan and take administrative or
31judicial action to enforce its provisions.
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