Iowa's Skunk River has been described as "a green-wooded ribbon in a sea of agriculture." Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has included it among six new Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP) projects and four ongoing ones.

The program is designed to "enable conservation partners and producers to work together to return critical wetland functions to agricultural landscapes. Partners will contribute $2.82 million, bringing the total investments to $30.82 million," according to USDA.

The existing Skunk River projected initially targeted 1,800 acres for habitat restoration and permanent protection and now seeks to enroll and restore 700 to 1,000 additional acres of riverine (relating to or situated on a river or riverbank) and grassland habitats.

According to USDA:

"The project aims to restore important monarch habitats through floodplain wetland and grassland restoration, restore off-channel and wet meadow wetlands, and provide reduced sediment and nutrient delivery to the Skunk River system. First-year activities are fully funded by partner contributions."

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The Skunk begins in central Iowa as the North Skunk River and flows southeast, where it's eventually joined by its tributary, the South Skunk River. The combined river enters the Mississippi River about 7 miles south of Burlington.

More information on the $28 million in awards for the program.