Rural areas, like residential acreages and crop fields, make up a little over half of the landscape in Polk County. This has drastically changed from the past landscape of prairie and woodlands. Because of this, most of the rainfall does not infiltrate into the ground and instead quickly runs off into nearby water bodies. Fertilizers, chemicals, and other pollutants are often carried with this water causing degraded water quality. In some cases, exposed soil is also carried with the water leading to erosion. Current management practices are also leading to decreased amounts of organic matter, causing less productive soils. There are many conservation practices that can help solve some of these issues. Farmers and landowners are currently working with one another as well as local agencies to try and implement these solutions.

57% of all field assessed streams in Walnut Creek had moderate or severe erosion