Watershed Project

Turkey River Watershed Project

The Turkey River Watershed project kicked off in 2010 as local, state and federal partners in the Turkey River Watershed (TRW) of Iowa collaborated with the purpose of completing a comprehensive, systematic analysis of the watershed. The project is about

  • coordinating and implementing research,
  • facilitating interagency and intergovernmental partnerships that maximize the use of the research, and
  • helping partners secure funding for implementation of sub-watershed projects that target technical assistance and funding to land within the watershed to maximize water quality improvements and reduce the impact of flooding.

Existing partnerships within the watershed fall roughly into two bodies, with heavy collaboration between the two:

  • Turkey River Watershed Alliance (body of technical and resource professionals, organizations, and volunteers)
  • Turkey River Watershed Management Authority (political, governing body made up of city, county, and SWCD representatives)

The project is modeled after the successful 640,000 acre Upper Iowa River Watershed (UIRW) Project, which was coordinated by Northeast Iowa RC&D, brought together dozens of partners and secured millions of dollars for private lands conservation in the UIRW.

Turkey River Watershed Alliance

The Turkey River Watershed Alliance is an informal partnership between local, state, and federal organizations, resource professionals, and volunteers who see the Turkey River Watershed as a valuable economic and natural resource and are working to improve water quality and reduce flood risk. The list of partners below is only the beginning:

  • Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D)
  • McKnight Foundation
  • Chickasaw County Board of Supervisors
  • Chickasaw County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD)
  • Clayton County Board of Supervisors
  • Clayton County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD)
  • Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD)
  • Fayette County Conservation
  • Fayette County Board of Supervisors
  • Fayette County Pheasants Forever
  • Fayette County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD)
  • County Engineers
  • Howard County Board of Supervisors
  • Howard County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD)
  • IIHR – Hydroscience and Engineering at the University of Iowa
  • Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
  • Iowa Economic Development Authority
  • Iowa Geologic and Water Survey
  • Iowa Flood Center
  • Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS)
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources – Fisheries
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources – Research Geologists
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources – Water Monitoring Section
  • IOWATER Volunteers
  • National Weather Service
  • Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • State Hygienic Lab at the University of Iowa
  • Turkey River Recreational Corridor
  • Turkey River Watershed Landowners
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • United States Geological Survey
  • United States Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Winneshiek County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD)
  • Winneshiek County Conservation

The Turkey River Watershed Alliance collects monthly water quality samples at 50 locations with the Turkey River Watershed, These monthly water samples serve as a baseline for comparing subwatersheds of the Turkey, and open up opportunities for future watershed projects . The water sampling data is available on the water quality monitoring page: https://turkeyriver.org/water-monitoring/

No matter where you are, you’re in a watershed.

We all live in a watershed—the geographical area that drains to a common waterway, such as a river, stream, or lake. Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes: the Turkey River watershed is over 1 million acres in size, the Dibble Creek Watershed that empties into the Turkey River near Clermont is about 12,000 acres, and the water that falls on your house and lawn becomes part of your watershed too.


Watersheds cross town, county, state, and national boundaries. The Turkey River watershed includes the communities of Arlington, Calmar, Castalia, Clayton Center, Clermont, Colesburg, Cresco, Douglass (Auburn), Edgewood, Eldorado, Elgin, Elkader, Elkport, Farmersburg, Fayette, Festina, Fort Atkinson, Garber, Garnavillo, Greeley, Gunder, Hawkeye, Jackson Junction, Lawler, Littleport, Luana, Luxemburg, Maynard, Millville, Monona, Motor, Osborn, Ossian, Osterdock, Postville, Protivin, Randalia, Ridgeway, Spillville, St. Lucas, St. Olaf, Strawberry Point, Volga, Wadena, Waucoma, and West Union.

As of the 2010 Census, approximately 32,100 people are living within the Turkey River Watershed.

Who you can contact:

For further information, or to get involved, please contact:

Ross Evelsizer
Turkey River Watershed Coordinator
Northeast Iowa RC&D (website)
[email protected]

Related Images: