NEVADA, IOWA – An innovative new approach to conservation pioneered by leaders in central Iowa will be the topic of discussion during an upcoming webinar hosted by the Center for Rural Affairs.
“Leveraging Local Connections: The Batch and Build Method” is set for May 16 from noon to 12:45 p.m. It is free and open to the public.
The webinar will feature a presentation and question and answer session with John Swanson, water resources supervisor for Polk County. Swanson will discuss how the Batch and Build model originated, its successes to date, and best practices that can be replicated in other watersheds.
“The Batch and Build method is an Iowa success story,” said Kate Hansen, senior policy associate with the Center. “This is an approach that was developed by central Iowa Watershed Management Authorities, state agencies, local governments, and many other collaborators. It has grown to inspire projects in many more watersheds, and even other states.”
The Batch and Build method is unique in its approach to installing conservation practices. It focuses on a single or very small number of practices, and streamlines efforts to install as many as possible alongside farmers, landowners, and other stakeholders.
The idea started as a pilot program. In the summer of 2021, Swanson and collaborators installed 51 edge-of-field practices using the Batch and Build method in Polk and Dallas counties—more than doubling their original goal. In the time since that number has increased to more than 135 saturated buffers and bioreactors. Each installation plays a part in improving water quality.
“This event will be an opportunity to learn more about what has been accomplished with the Batch and Build model, and learn best practices for how other communities and watersheds can take a similar approach,” Hansen said.