Due to concerns with COVID-19, the TRWMA meeting scheduled for March 26th, 2020 has been postponed to a date TBD. If you have questions, email ross@northeastiowarcd.org

Thank you


Thousands of private wells that Iowans use for drinking water are contaminated with unsafe levels of bacteria and nitrates, a study looking at 16 years of data shows.

The Environmental Working Group and the Iowa Environmental Council blame farmers’ use of fertilizer for the pollution.


The Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced funding for water quality projects across Iowa including a new project in the Turkey River Watershed. More details can be found here.


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Despite a rainy start to the day, nearly 60 people gathered for a bus tour of the Otter Creek Watershed in Northeast Iowa on June 8. Participants saw rural and urban conservation practices designed and installed to reduce flooding in the watershed.

The tour began and ended in West Union, Iowa, where downtown infrastructure has been upgraded to enhance stormwater management. This project includes more than four acres of permeable pavers for downtown streets and sidewalks placed over a bed of crushed stone. This system has the capacity to manage a hundred-year storm, with no discharge for rainfall events between 0.5–0.75 inches … read more

Watershed Scale, Not Field Scale

Watershed Management Authorities: Opening the Communication Line Between Cities and Farmers

The Daily Erosion Project (DEP) estimates precipitation, runoff, sheet and rill erosion, and hillslope delivery in near real time, on over 2000 watersheds in the Midwest (Figure 1). It does this by running the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model with a combination of remotely-sensed precipitation weather stations, remotely-sensed crop and residue cover, remotely-sensed topography, and soils databases.

It is an update and expansion to the Iowa Daily Erosion Project (Cruse et al., 2006) that is designed to further investigate large scale erosion dynamics while maintaining hillslope level input resolution. The DEP has a climate database extending from 2007  to the present day, enabling investigation of single event and single year runoff and soil erosion dynamics over a large time range and spatial extent.

In September 2016, the Iowa Watersheds Project ended with the completion of over 150 built structures including ponds, terraces, wetlands, water and sediment control basins, and on-road structures. The Iowa Flood Center received $4.5M from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the five-year project aimed at mitigating flood risk in select Iowa watersheds.

The specific goals of the project aimed to:

  •     Maximize soil water holding capacity from precipitation;
  •     Minimize severe soil erosion and sand deposition during floods;
  •     Manage water runoff in uplands under saturated soil moisture conditions;
  •     Reduce and mitigate structural and nonstructural flood damage

Phase I – Hydrologic Assessment

Hydrologic assessments were completed to further understand the hydrology, assess risk, and prepare a plan to minimize future losses in watershed participating in this study. The watersheds ranged in area from 500 to 1,500 square miles, representing Iowa’s varied topography, soils, and land use. The Iowa Flood Center developed HEC-HMS hydrologic models for each basin and ran simulations to understand the potential effectiveness of various hypothetical mitigation strategies.

The hydrologic assessments include a comparison of the water cycle across the watersheds and an analysis of hypothetical watershed scenarios that seek to reduce flood damages including changes to infiltration in the watershed and increased storage on the landscape.

Finalized Phase I Reports [pdf]

South Chequest Creek Hydrologic Assessment
Middle Raccoon River Hydrologic Assessment
Soap Creek Hydrologic Assessment
Turkey River Watershed Hydrologic Assessment
Upper Cedar River Watershed Hydrologic Assessment

Phase II – Construction of Projects

Watershed Management Authorities in each watershed selected pilot subwatersheds to construct and implement demonstration projects. Three HUC 12s were identified to receive funds for project construction.

The following subwatersheds were selected to receive $1.5M to fund the construction of small-scale flood mitigation projects:

A dense instrumentation network monitoring stream stage, precipitation, soil moisture, soil temperature, and water quality was deployed in each of the pilot watersheds to track watershed conditions.

Finalized Phase II Reports [pdf]

Beaver Creek Project Evaluation
South Chequest Creek Project Evaluation
Soap Creek Project Evaluation
Otter Creek Project Evaluation

As the Iowa Watersheds Project ended in the fall of 2016, the state of Iowa was awarded $96.9M for a new watershed project, The Iowa Watershed Approach. The IWA will work in nine new watersheds across the state and is built off the framework developed through the IWP. For more information, visit the IWA website here.