The Iowa Polk County Saturated Buffer Project is accepting construction bids

The Polk County Saturated Buffer Project formed a SWCD-County-IDALS-NRCS-ADMC partnership and created a new framework to remove barriers to adoption in order to install saturated buffers and bioreactors at a significant pace. The partnership is proud to announce that the project is moving to the next phase as the combined 51 saturated buffer and bioreactor sites are now out to bid for installation.

The combined 51 saturated buffers and bioreactors will be located within the three Polk County Watershed Management Authorities.

The bidding packages are open until April 1, 2021 with submittal instructions found in the bid documents. The bids can be submitted to John Swanson, Watershed Management Authority Coordinator, via email. The packages include:

  1. Eastern Polk County Group – 5 saturated buffers and 3 bioreactors
  2. Walnut Creek Group – 2 saturated buffers and 1 bioreactor
  3. Fourmile Creek Group – 33 saturated buffers, 7 bioreactors, and a 7 acre native riparian buffer planting

This will be the first time that such a concentrated effort of installations will occur and will nearly double the implementation of saturated buffers and bioreactors in the state. In order to accomplish this, the project team utilized a fiscal agent model similar to what the Iowa Watershed Approach utilized and what has been done with other public infrastructure improvements.

The fiscal agent model lessened burdens to landowners by removing the hassle of coordinating construction and allowing them to assign payment to the fiscal agent instead of incurring the cost of construction and then being reimbursed through financial assistance programs. Utilizing a fiscal agent also allowed for a bundling of projects to make them more attractive for drainage contractors to bid.

The project team is excited to be moving towards the next step of construction and to disseminating lessons learned from the unique approach.