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Iowa Water Trails Association   
April, 2013   
Apr 20 Catfish Creek Cleanup, Dubuque WT
Madison Co 2013 Middle River WT Events
Apr 23 Nature Photography Madison County
Apr 30 Boat Registrations Expire
May 4 Motor Mill Bridge Dedication, Turkey River WT Float
May 12 Mother's Day on the Marsh, Odessa WT
2013 IDNR C&K School Classes
IWTA Event & Planning Dates
Help Prevent Hypothermia
Thanks to Our Subscribers



Iowa Rivers Revival, Protector of Rivers, Streams & Watersheds
Report Kills & Spills Logo  
Volga Dam Tight GStark
Site of Volga City breached dam.
We're still seeking info on the history
and/or status of this structure.  
Photo by Dave Hillman

How do you "water trail?"  


No, the world doesn't need any more "created words," so we're not advocating "water trail" as a new verb. We're just trying to pique your interest in sharing what activities the warmer weather is bringing to your Water Trail.


Yes, in spite of warmer air temperatures, we still need to be cautious about paddling in cold water, but Water Trails are about a lot more than just paddling.  Are you planning hikes, access cleanups, Earth Day or Arbor Day activities, interpretive events, water quality monitoring, early wildflower identification, photography workshops, viewing migratory waterfowl, controlled burns, or invasive plant removals?


This issue of the IWTA Newsletter includes reminders for WT events scheduled for late April and early May. We look forward to hearing about your WT


The continued scattering of rainy days is doing the Iowa subsoil and most of our Iowa streams some good.  There are occasional instances of way too much of a good thing, so please be careful out there.  We hope that you and your WT are planning to make the most of your spring opportunities.

Apr 20 Catfish Creek Cleanup, Part of Dubuque WT
Catfish Creek WBucholtz
Catfish Creek Photo by Wayne Bucholtz.

Volunteers are invited to assist with a cleanup of trash on and along Dubuque's Catfish Creek on April 20 from 9:30 am - noon.  


Volunteers will gather for the cleanup in the Mines of Spain Recreation Area at the park's Canoe Launch.  Canoes are welcome to pick up on the creek.  Trash pickup will be conducted on the banks as well. 


Contact Park Ranger Wayne Bucholtz at 563-556-0620 or for further details.

Madison County 2013 Event Schedule, Middle River WT
Middle River WT Sign

Madison County has announced a schedule of a dozen events, most related to the Middle River WT, including WT maintenance, recreational floats, family hot dog roasts, WT cleanups, fishing, overnights, and full moon paddles.  Most events are free, but please register to assist planning.  Check it out at 



Apr 21 Middle River WT Float, Roseman to Pammel Ford.

April 25, Full-Moon Paddle, Location TBD.

May 4, Middle River WT Float, Pammel Ford to Middle River Co Pk.

May 25, Near Full Moon Paddle, Badger Creek Lake.


Apr 23 Nature Photography for Beginners, Pammel Park Nature Center, Madison County

Budding outdoor photographers may want to check out the April 23 "Nature Photography for Beginners" session, 6 pm at Pammel Park Nature Center. 


Apr 30 Current 3-Year Iowa Boat Registrations Expire; New System Implemented
Boy B&BWT Dedication
Photo by Gregg Stark


The Recorder's Offices of some counties have sent reminder notices, others have not, so be proactive.  The fee for a canoe or kayak without sail or motor is $16.90 for the 3-year registration. After April 30 you will incur an additional $5.00 penalty to renew your boat registration.


This is the first time that boats will be registered through the web-based Recreational Vehicle and Vessel Registration System (RVVRS), but that's web-based access for your County Recorder, not for you, the boat owner.  The new system may require information in addition to what you have previously supplied, so when you head to the court house, be sure that you have the following: 

  • Your boat's IA number or current registration.
  • Make, model, model year, and color.  Can indicate multiple colors, i.e. red/white.
  • Length and width of the boat.
  • Horsepower rating & capacity as indicated on the capacity plate.
  • Propulsion method & boat type.
  • Your date of birth.
  • Your driver's license number.
  • Your phone number.

See the April 1 IWTA Newsletter for more details on boat registration requirements, exceptions, and background on the registration changes.


May 4 Motor Mill New "Old" Bridge Dedication, Turkey River WT
Motor Mill Winter Larry Stone
Photo by Larry Stone.


The new single lane bridge at Motor Mill, styled to reflect the historic spans washed out by floods, was opened to traffic in December 2012.  The formal dedication will celebrate this iconic point along the Turkey River WT, with VIPs, tours, a canoe float and more.  Check for details at or contact Larry Stone, 


May 12 Mother's Day on the Marsh (MOM), Odessa WT, Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge
Pathfinders RC&D Logo

Celebrate Mother's Day with a leisurely paddle and opportunity to learn about the birds who choose Port Louisa Nationa Wildlife Refuge to raise their broods.  "Mother's Day on the Marsh" will be held on Sunday, May 12 from 9:00 am to 11:00 am on the Odessa Watyer Trail near Wapello, Iowa.


This annual trip has always provided glimpses of birds and other wildlife, but this year Biologist Alex Galt will be along to share his knowledge about some of the approximately 100 bird species which nest on the refuge.


Canoes and kayaks are available for participants who don't have their own.  The trip is open to everyone, but children under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult.  Registration is available at  or by calling 319-523-8381.  Registrants will receive a packet with detailed info and a map.


The Odessa Water Trail is one of 19 designated water trails in Iowa.  The Odessa Wildlife Complex, which includes Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge, is a floodplain wetland with a mix of ponds, backwaters and timbered chutes.


"Mother's Day on the Marsh" is cosponsored by Pathfinder RC&D, Louisa County Conservation, Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.


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Register Now for 2013 IDNR Canoe (& Kayak) School Classes

The 2013 IDNR Canoe School schedule and forms are now available on the IDNR website. Space in these very popular events is limited (the first session is already filled, others are getting close), so register ASAP.


Each two-day canoe class is targeted for specific groups, such as naturalists, trip leaders, outfitters, etc. and the cost is only $25.  Two certified American Canoe Association/IDN

Canoe School on Boone River
Canoe School on the Boone River

R instructors teach the skills to guide a group safely downriver, along with paddling  skills to share with

your participants.


Each class includes classroom learning, flat-water skills, and then moving-water skills on the final day. You will learn a lot and have a blast doing it.  Contact instructor Todd Robertson with any questions: or 515-979-9538.
Photo by Todd Robertson
Calendar of Coming Events and Planning Dates for 2013


Here is a preliminary calendar of 2013 WT-related events, programming opportunities, and holidays.  We will add more as we hear from you.


May 4; Motor Mill New "Old" Bridge Dedication on the Turkey River WT

The formal dedication of the new single lane bridge will celebrate this iconic point along the

Charles City Overview
Charles City Whitewater Park

Turkey River WT, with VIPs, tours, a canoe float and more.  Check for details at or contact Larry Stone,

May 12; Mothers Day.

May 12; "Mother's Day on the Marsh,"

Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge, Odessa Water Trail near Wapello, 9:00--11:00 am.  Register at  or call 319-523-8381. 
May 31-June 2; Charles City Challenge: WhiteWater Weekend.  Kayak & SUP competition, music, food, beverages, prizes; info at 

June 7-9; IDNR Free Fishing Days, many local fishing derbies for kids across the state 

June 8; 4th Annual Great Iowa River Canoe & Kayak Race, Iowa City on Iowa River WT. Registration begins April 1; Iowa Valley RC&D;, registration & rules at 

Jun 8; Post-AWARE Iowa River Cleanup on Des Moines River WTThe twice-rescheduled post-AWARE Iowa River Cleanup of the section of the Des Moines River between Eldora and Union has now been set for Saturday June 8th.   The Iowa River Greenbelt Resource Trust will be hosting the cleanup and is seeking sponsors and/or volunteers.  More info will be posted on the IRGRT website: 

June 14; Iowa Trails Summit, Cedar Falls/Waterloo, presentations re strategies, policies, & development opportunities vested in partnerships creating new trails.  Summit relates to all types of Iowa trails-water, hiking, biking, equestrian, snowmobile; 

June 15; Cedar River WT Poker Run, Cedar Falls/Waterloo, paddling fun, educational stations, fundraiser for terminally ill children; contact Pamela Wolter,   

June 15; Tree Town Adventure Race, Forest City on Winnebago River WT.  Paddling, cycling, running race with wide variety of individual and group classes.  Forest City Logo

June 16; Father's Day.

June 21; Summer Solstice, 1st Day of Summer.

July 4; Independence Day, Thursday.

July 6; Manchester River Fest; Maquoketa River Float/Hog Roast/Live Music, 1:00pm-9:00pm, $20 fee includes T-shirt.  More details soon.

July 6-13; DNR Project AWARE, annual week-long river cleanup, Des Moines River, Algona to Lehigh.  Info, schedules, and forms at     

July 21-27; RAGBRAI, 

August 8-18; Iowa State Fair, visit IDNR building, Rivers Program & Project Aware displays.

August 17; 3rd Annual Floatzilla in Quad Cities.  Floats, training sessions, food, live music, tee shirts, world record attempt for largest flotilla of kayaks & canoes;   

September 2; Labor Day.

September 21 tentative; 13th Annual Upper Iowa River Cleanup, Chimney Rock Campground,   

September ??; Annual Lower Wapsi WT Cleanup, route & dates tbd, Melisa Jacobsen 309-737-9016, 

October 6; Annual Jones County Conservation Dept "Fall Colors Float", route & times tbd. 

Spring is a Good Time to Promote Hypothermia Awareness


Our spring Water Trails visitors will be anxious to get out and enjoy angling, hiking, exploring, as well as paddling.  We encourage you to temper that enthusiasm with some awareness of the risk inherent in activities which expose them to cool water and cool air, which can lead to HYPOTHERMIA.  Reminders on your bulletin boards, in newsletters, and during any public gatherings would be very helpful.


Here's a link to the ACA (American Canoe Association) take on cold water paddling:

Iowa DNR Logo



These "Smart Start to Safe Paddling" flyers are available through the Iowa DNR. 


Thanks to Dick Howard and others for the spring safety reminder.

We Hope That You Are Enjoying the IWTA Newsletter

It's finally warming up.  Please take a minute to drop us an email and share how you plan to "water trail."

Honey Locust Trunk GStark
Honey locust with nary a ground sloth in sight.  Gregg Stark photo.


The mission of the IWTA is to facilitate the exchange of information, ideas and encouragement among Iowans working to create, enhance, or utilize our water trails.  Although we have grown to over 500 subscribers, the success of the IWTA Newsletter will be measured by how much we share, how much we learn, and how much we contribute to improving the Water Trails experience across the state.


We hope that you will continue to share your events, reports, ideas, and suggestions with us at  Thank you for your continuing support and encouragement. 

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.


Gregg Stark
Editor, Iowa Water Trails Association Newsletter