On the Home Stretch: Forming the Turkey River Watershed Management Authority

POSTVILLE, Iowa – June 7, 2012 – On May 31st, 40 community leaders met to discuss the final steps in forming the Turkey River Watershed Management Authority. This authority will seek to assess and reduce flood risk; assess and improve water quality; monitor federal flood risk planning and activities; educate residents of the watershed regarding flood risks and water quality; and allocate moneys made available to the authority for purposes of water quality and flood mitigation.

Many of those 40 attendees have been appointed as a representative to the TRWMA by their respective boards. Representatives thus far include, but are not limited to: SWCD commissioners, city council members, county engineers, county conservation board directors, and city administrators. Twenty cities, four counties and five SWCDs have already indicated their intent to participate in the Authority; others are still considering. The 28E agreement they sign will bring them one step closer to working together to improve water quality and prevent flooding in the Turkey River Watershed, which covers over one million acres and interacts with portions of seven counties and 37 cities in Northeast Iowa.

Lora Friest, Executive Director of the Northeast Iowa RC&D, began by reviewing what a Watershed Management Authority is and why the counties, cities, and SWCDs should participate. Brad Crawford, TRW Project Coordinator at Northeast Iowa RC&D, and Lora Friest then proceeded to answer and address questions and concerns about the 28E.  The meeting concluded with discussion about the timeline for those participating in the authority.  The 28E will need to be signed by the cities, counties and SWCDs that want to participant at June council and board meetings. It will be filed by June 30th.

The next meeting will take place Thursday, June 28th at 1:00pm at the Community Center in the YMCA. Municipalities, counties and SWCDs Boards that have signed the 28e agreement will meet in Postville to begin drafting their Bylaws.

The formation of the TRWMA is Phase I of a multiphase initiative. Phase II is development of a TRW Plan to reduce flooding and improve water quality. Phase III is implementation of the TRW Plan. The TRW was one of six watersheds selected for Phase I, which is to develop a formal partnership, the Watershed Management Authority. Participants will still have to compete for Phase II through a competitive process, which if awarded would include funding for three watersheds in the state to develop a formal plan that could be funded for implementation.

Contact Information:  For more information about the Turkey River Watershed Management Authority, please call Brad Crawford or Lora Friest at the Northeast Iowa RC&D office located in Postville at (563) 864-7112 or find out more on this website. The RC&D serves Allamakee, Buchanan, Clayton, Fayette, Howard, and Winneshiek Counties.

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