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Iowa Water Trails Association 
October 2012  
Oct 14 & Nov 4 Skunk River WT Designation Project Events
Nov 3 Louisa Co Fall Colors on Mississippi River
Nov 11 History Along Des Moines WT, Eldon to Farmington
Oct 19 IDNR Dam Grant Application Deadline
Nov 1 IRR River Town of the Year Nominations Due
IWTA Needs Your Input



Report Kills & Spills Logo  

Yes, we're headed into the second half of October (already!), but the WT events and activities continue.
The Skunk River Designation Initiative will host an Oct 14 Skunk River Float, and then a Nov 4 look at the river's largest log jam.
Louisa County will host a Nov 3 Fall Color Paddle on the Mississippi section of the Odessa WT.
Pathfinders RC&D has just announced a Nov 11 public meeting to interpret the history of the corridor embracing the Des Moines River WT between Eldon and Farmington.
Oct 19 is the deadline for Dam Mitigation Grant Applications, and Nov 1 is the deadline for IRR River Town of the Year nominations.
Colder weather may reduce the public's interest in paddling, but your WT provides plenty of opportunities for educational, interpretive, and entertaining activities along its shores, at its accesses, or simply indoors.  If you have outdoor or indoor WT events coming up, we'd like to help share that info with supporters across Iowa.  
We look forward to hearing from you.
Fall Colors Alcock Pk Frederika
Canopy of fall colors against a clear blue sky, Alcock Park, Bremer County
Oct 14 & Nov 4 Skunk River WT Designation Project Fall 2012 Confirmed Public Events
Skunk River group claims to be first Iowa WT aspirants with a banner

From Mimi Wagner, Skunk River Water Trail Designation Project:

Attached is a list of events organized for the Designate the Skunk project. There are two more events that will likely be added, and I will forward those as soon as they are available.    


These seven events are opportunities for the people of the Story County community to (re)connect with the Skunk River. Each program or activity includes a topic of discussion that local residents and landowners mentioned in landowner listening sessions earlier this spring. Note that some are activities while others are purely listening. Fishing demonstrations and teaching is also included where possible. Participants at the events will also provide feedback and direction about use of the Skunk as a state designated water trail. 


Once this schedule of events is completed, in early November, a vision for the water trail in Story County will be finalized. These events are co-sponsored by Story County Conservation, Skunk River Navy, Skunk River Paddlers and Iowa DNR.

Thanks to everyone who's been active and helpful with this project. Also--thanks to Story County Conservation, we may be the first state designation effort with our own banner!! See the group photo from the event at Soper's Mill. 


Sunday, Oct 14, 2:00pm Float the Skunk: Skunk River Paddlers (SRP) organizing a public float trip between Sleepy Hollow Access and River Valley Park. Participants bring their own boats and life jackets. Meet at 2pm at Sleepy Hollow Access on Riverside Drive; plan on a 5pm end time.


Sunday, Nov 4, 2:00pm near Anderson Access: DNR State River Programs Director Nate Hoogeveen interprets the oversized log jam (the largest anyone can remember on the Skunk) on the Skunk and DNR's recent work to alleviate impacts of the jam. We will also transplant trees, prepare the site and seed native grass on the banks. Meet at 2pm at the parking area at the end of xxxx.


Photo by Marty Jacobs

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Nov 3 Louisa County Fall Colors Paddle on the Mississippi River

Invitation from Katie Hammond, Director, Louisa County Conservation Board:


Fall Colors Paddle on the Mississippi from 9am-3pm starting at the Port Louisa Access and going to the Toolesboro access.  View the splendor of the fall colors as we paddle down the Mississippi River Trail of the Odessa Water Trail.  We will stay near the Iowa shoreline and paddle mostly backwaters, away from the main channel.  There is a short portage around the spillway at Lock and Dam 17.  This beautiful stretch of the Mississippi River will offer great wildlife viewing and scenery as we pass behind several islands.  Bring a sack lunch and plenty of water to drink.  A shuttle will be provided, but you must register for shuttle service.  Registration available online at


When: Saturday, November 3, 2012, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm 
Where: Odessa Water Trail - Mississippi River Route, put in at Port Louisa NWR and take out at Toolesboro Landing 
Who: Experienced paddlers 
Cost: $20/kayak (solo) or $25/canoe (double) includes shuttle; no fee if you bring your own boat but donations are accepted 
To register : Registration required if you want to borrow a boat or need a shuttle. Register online beginning October 1 or call 319-523-8381     
Nov 11 Interpreting History Along the Des Moines River WT, Eldon to Farmington
Pathfinders RC&D Logo


The public is well-aware of the American Gothic House and the villages of Van Buren County, but far less-aware of the rich and deep natural and cultural history of the Des Moines River between Eldon and Farmington. 


Each twist and turn of this largest of Iowa's interior waterways reveals scenic views, abundant wildlife, and large and small historical dramas that played out over 12 millennia. This corridor sustained American Indians from the Ice Age through historic times.  Just prior to Iowa's statehood, it was the site of a large Ioway tribal village, and later, the home of Sauk warrior Black Hawk. The waterway played integral roles in the emerging lock-and-dam system, steamboat travel, and the stoneware industry.


Early Iowa River Map c1837
Early Map of Iowa Rivers, circa 1837

To begin understanding the natural and cultural history of the area for intepretation and conservation, the public is invited to a gathering, hosted by Pathfinders RC&D and the Iowa DNR, at 2:00  PM, Sunday, November 11, at the lodge at Lacey Keosauqua State Park near Keosauqua. 


Archaeologists Cindy Peterson and Lynn M. Alex, from the University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist, will highlight the corridor's long history. Detra Dettman of Pathfinders RC&D, and John Wenck of the Iowa DNR Water Trails Program, will be on hand to answer questions about the Des Moines River Water Trail. 


The session will help determine what local residents of the area would like to learn, and tell others, about the river, its history, and its culture, and begin to outline opportunities for interpretation and conservation.  Attendees are invited to bring local artifacts and other historical items, including documents, that may assist in the identification of important corridor resources. 


Preregistration is requested for this event.  Online registration info will be available in the next IWTA Newsletter.  For more info, visit the Pathfinders RC&D website at or call Detra Dettmann at 641-472-6177.


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Oct 19  Iowa DNR Dam Mitigation Grants Application Deadline


The Iowa Legislature appropriated funds for fiscal year 2013 for the development of dam mitigation and water trail projects. A portion the funds are available competitively for dam mitigation cost-share grants. Dam owners and other eligible entities are encouraged to apply for cost-share assistance for projects that reduce recreational hazards and enhance aquatic species connectivity. For guidance on how projects might be approached, please read "Solving Dam Problems: Iowa's 2010 Plan for Dam Mitigation" and/or "Developing Water Trails in Iowa."


Application form: Iowa Water Trails Program Grant Application

Application post-mark deadline: October 19, 2012

Total amount available: $380,000


Info and application forms at:


Nov 1  Nominations Due For The 2013 IRR "River Town of the Year"
Charles City Overview

Iowa Rivers Revival -- an organization committed to protecting Iowa's rivers and streams and watersheds -- invites you to nominate your city for IRR's River Town of the Year award.  The annual River Town of the Year award recognizes an Iowa town or city for outstanding efforts to reclaim river-fronts as anchors for economic development, recreation, and good ecological practices. Cities are invited to apply for the award, or citizens may nominate their town. 


Applications are due by November 1, 2012. The award will be presented in January 2013 at a reception hosted by Iowa Rivers Revival in the River Town of the Year community.


For a detailed application, go to www.iowarivers.orgThe web site has examples of towns' applications for the award, IRR news releases, and news coverage.  Previous "River Town" award recipients are Webster City, Elkader, Coon Rapids, Cedar Falls, and Charles City.


The River Town of the Year award recognizes a city's outstanding work to enhance connections to its river.  For example, Charles City was honored for responding to severe floods in 1999 and 2008 "by embracing the Cedar River with new ideas and bold projects," including transforming a low-head dam into Iowa's first whitewater kayak course and installing the state's largest permeable paving system.


Applicants must demonstrate commitment to protecting and maintaining river water quality, and promoting the river as an asset to the town.  Examples might include: dam-safety efforts, river-oriented tourism efforts, river clean-up projects, Water Trail designation projects, innovative storm water and river protection projects, walking trails along the river, education and advocacy by local river or watershed groups, and efforts for river use and appreciation (restaurants, bed & breakfasts, bait shops, boat rentals).


Photo by Charles City

We Hope That You Are Enjoying the IWTA Newsletter


The mission of the IWTA is to facilitate the exchange of information, ideas and encouragement among Iowans who are working to create, enhance, or utilize our water trails, and your input has provided a great start.  


It takes a while to grow a network of Water Trail supporters, but we're on our way. We especially value your submissions of events, reports, photos, and ideas, and we hope that you will continue to email them to us at  We look forward to hearing from you.


Outdoor Expo 2012 Group Kayaks
Volunteers prepare new paddlers for launch,    Iowa Outdoor Expo, Sep 2012
If you are not a subscriber, please click on the "Join Our Mailing List" button to become one.  And, we would appreciate your sharing the IWTA Newsletter with your friends via the "Forward this email" or "Share on Social Media" buttons.

Thank you for your support and encouragement.

Gregg Stark
Editor, Iowa Water Trails Association Newsletter


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