• water quality;
  • best management practices;
  • State Revolving Fund Loans;
  • cost-share

Arbuckle, Jr., J. Gordon, 2012. Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loans and Landowner Investments in Agricultural Best Management Practices in Iowa. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 1-9. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-1688.2012.00688.x

Abstract:  Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) loan programs for water quality have traditionally funded infrastructure projects at the community, municipality, or state level. They are increasingly being used to support individual landowner adoption of agricultural best management practices (BMPs) for nonpoint source pollution abatement. In 2005, the Iowa CWSRF initiated the Local Water Protection Program (LWPP) to increase the scope, scale, and rate of agricultural BMP establishment. This research examines the effectiveness of that program through a comparison of survey data from LWPP participants and state cost-share recipients who were eligible for loans, but did not take them. Loan recipients’ assessments of the program were overwhelmingly positive, with near-universal satisfaction with both the loan product and process. Results of statistical analyses indicate that loan recipients invested substantially more in conservation than nonrecipients. Evidence suggests that by helping program participants to overcome financial constraints, loans are facilitating larger and accelerated investments in conservation. Although findings indicate that conservation loans can play an important role in funding conservation, loan recipients also still depend on cost-share. Loans are not necessarily a substitute for traditional forms of conservation funding, but rather another tool that landowners and conservation professionals can employ to facilitate investments in BMPs.