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From the Ground Up: Johnston, Iowa’s Soil Health Revolution for a Resilient Future

With the start of the citywide Soil Quality Restoration (SQR) program, the City of Johnston in Iowa, is embarking on a remarkable journey towards creating a healthier environment and safeguarding the well-being of its citizens. This initiative, backed by a generous grant of $125,000, aims to compost and deep aerate yards, offering numerous benefits to the neighborhood and its residents.

One of the most significant advantages of the SQR program is the improved stormwater infiltration, which directly contributes to improving water quality in the area by reducing runoff. By enhancing the soil health, the program promotes the growth of lush, vibrant lawns, reducing the need for excessive fertilizers and irrigation water, leading to a substantial reduction in water usage throughout the community.

It's exciting to see the City of Johnston taking proactive steps towards environmental sustainability (or, as we see it, regenerative landscaping) which promise also to improve the well-being of its residents. The implementation of the SQR program serves as a great example for other cities, demonstrating how they too can make a positive impact on the environment while simultaneously supporting their community's overall health. This initiative therefore conserves valuable resources and reduces the environmental impact associated with maintaining healthy lawns through minimizing the demand for fertilizers and irrigation.

Residents who are eager to participate in the program can reach out to Clayton Ender, the City Planner, at 515-727-7763 to receive a cost estimate or to learn more about this neat initiative. Additionally, a free cost-estimating tool is available for residents to determine their interest in participating in the grant program. By utilizing this tool, residents can submit their information and express their support/enthusiasm for the program, with the city staff readily available to guide them through the next steps.

The City of Johnston's commitment to the SQR program is admirable, and we hope that it motivates other cities to follow suit and invest in the future of their communities. By adopting sustainable practices like the SQR program, cities, and their residents can cultivate an active sense of responsibility towards the environment and create a healthier, more vibrant living space for their residents.

For those seeking more information about the SQR program and other sustainable practices, a valuable resource can be found at

By exploring this website, residents can gain a better understanding of the program and discover additional ways to contribute to the preservation of our environment.


Visit these “Growing Resilience Through Our Soils” information pages:

1. Podcast page for drought planning fact sheets, Q&As, news, podcasts, and more.

2. Video page to watch videos of other ranchers’ journeys toward improved rangeland/pasture.

3. Follow Growing Resilience on social media:


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