Stream Buffer Rule = Cleaner Water, Little Cost
Iowa's Low Hanging Fruit: Converting a Tiny Fraction of Crop Acres Would Meet Standards
In all five counties, the number of acres that would have to be planted with grass to comply with a streamside buffer standard is a vanishingly small percentage of the acreage currently planted with corn and soybeans (Table 3). The percent of corn and soybean acres needed to meet the 35-foot standard ranges from 0.03 percent in Allamakee, Hamilton, Linn and Union counties to 0.08 percent in Plymouth County. That amounts to a miniscule 565 acres of row crops that would need to be planted with grass across all five counties – 0.05 percent of all corn and soybean acres. Remarkably, even a 50-foot buffer standard would require less than 1,500 acres in total across all five counties – 0.12 percent of the land planted with row crops.
Table 3: Very few acres of corn and soy would need to be planted with grass.
|County||2013 corn and soy acres||Acres Needed to Meet Standard||Percent of Total Corn and Soy Acres Needed to Meet Standard|
In Hamilton County, meeting even the 75-foot streamside buffer standard would require converting only 0.15 percent of corn and soybean acres to grass. Meeting that standard in Plymouth County – the county that lacks the most streamside buffers – would take out only 0.45 percent of row crop acres. Meeting the 75-foot standard in all five counties would require 3,522 acres – 0.29 percent of the total corn and soybean acreage.