WMA to develop comprehensive flood reduction plan

On January 31st, community leaders from twenty-three communities, seven Soil and Water Conservation Districts and five counties will gather for the kick-off planning meeting of the Turkey River Watershed Management Authority or TRWMA.  The Iowa Economic Development Authority recently selected the Turkey River Watershed as one of three watersheds in Iowa to develop a watershed flood reduction plan that could be used as a model for other Iowa watersheds and watersheds nationwide that are looking to reduce the economic and environmental impacts of flooding. The Turkey River Watershed is the largest of the three watersheds in Iowa selected for this honor.

TRWMA representatives from participating governmental bodies will explore opportunities and partnerships, and discuss how to effectively engage watershed residents to begin development of a watershed flood reduction plan that local residents will embrace. They will work closely with local Soil and Water Conservation Districts and the Turkey River Watershed Alliance, a collaborative of local, county, state and federal technicians that have been monitoring water quality over the past two years, as well as local producers, producer groups, landowners and community members. The TRWMA will coordinate their planning with a research and demonstration initiative being led by the IIHR – Hydroscience and Engineering Department at the University of Iowa and the Iowa Flood Center. The Iowa Flood Center recently selected the Turkey River Watershed as one of only four watersheds in the state for intense hydrologic evaluation and pilot flood reduction and demonstration.

Personnel from the Iowa Flood Center will present preliminary findings to the TRWMA at the January 31st meeting. Northeast Iowa RC&D was selected by the Clayton County Board of Supervisors and the TRWMA to assist the Turkey River Watershed Management Authority with the planning process for the next 18-20 months. Public meetings to introduce the project to local producers and residents and gather local ideas will begin early in March.

Lora Friest, Executive Director of the Northeast Iowa RC&D said “This in an opportunity for producers and community members from across the Turkey River Watershed to lead the nation. We have watched homes, valuable farmland, roads, bridges and even entire communities wash downstream in the Turkey River Watershed. It is time for us to show the nation that Iowans are forward thinking, dedicated, hardworking citizens who can tackle difficult issues. We can work together to address flooding before more devastation occurs rather than react to flooding after it causes millions of dollars in damage. I’m proud our organization has been selected to help with this ground-breaking initiative. I am especially looking forward to the public input and brainstorming sessions.”

Contact Information:  For more information about the Turkey River Watershed Management Authority, please call Turkey River Watershed Coordinator Brad Crawford or Lora Friest at the Northeast Iowa RC&D office located in Postville at (563) 864-7112 or visit www.turkeyriver.org to find out more. More information about the RC&D, which serves Allamakee, Buchanan, Clayton, Fayette, Howard, Winneshiek and Chickasaw Counties can be found at www.northeastiowarcd.org.

Posted in Watershed Management Authority