CHEROKEE, Iowa (KCAU)— Iowa has hundreds of rivers, creeks and streams, but many of them are too contaminated to be used as designated by the Iowa DNR. But a state initiative hopes to clean up those waterways.

Taylor County, in Southwest Iowa, was the first county to be a part of the water quality initiative. Now Ida, Cherokee, Woodbury, Carroll and Guthrie have joined as well.

“A big part of it is to try and reduce the nutrients entering our water bodies in our streams, rivers, and lakes in Iowa,” said Bob Waters, regional coordinator with the Iowa Department of Agriculture Water Resources Bureau.

“We’re gonna work with producers and several counties in western Iowa, to look at how can they work within their farms to perhaps seed down some acres to grass or use cover crops as a way to a feed. A gradient or a feed item for cattle,” said Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture.

Since 2016, Taylor County has paved the way for the Water Quality Initiative.

“It was successful. We’ve had over 5,000 acres seeded in Taylor and Page County, and we’ve touched over 300 fields of Taylor County, we’ve worked with over 200 hundred producers. And it’s really helped not only the livestock industry but the communities as well,” said Erin Ogle, project coordinator with Taylor County.

Mike Naig, the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture says improving Iowa’s waterways is a community effort.

“Farmers live, and work, and raise families in these communities as well, but we also that everybody this is a shared resource. We all benefit from work being done,” said Naig

Bob Waters, with the Iowa Department of Agriculture’s Water Resources Bureau said, it will take time before results will be seen in the new counties.

“We’re gonna work with basically one producer at a time and examine their operations and try to identify places where they can make environmental improvements, and also improve their bottom line,” said Waters.

Secretary Naig said that he hopes to expand the project to more counties in the coming years, but to do that, it will need more funding.