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Iowa Water Trails Association 
March, 2014  
Lots of "Stuff" to find "In the Eddy"
Eagles & Eagle Eggs
2014 IDNR Outfitter Training Sessions Filling
May-Sep IDNR Canoe & Kayak School Sessions
Iowa Paddling Shops Optimistic About Spring 2014
Enthusiasm for Expanded 2014 IDNR WT Education Programs
Pete Seeger RIP 1919-2014
Where Is It? Quiz Answer
What Is It? Quiz Answer
Thanks to Our Subscribers



Iowa Rivers Revival, Protector of Rivers, Streams & Watersheds

Report Kills & Spills Logo  

Keep It Clean Sticker IDNR
The same extra-tall snowman we featured
last month--still virtually unchanged  
since Christmas.   GStark Photo.


OK Mother Nature, it's time to send that wandering Polar Vortex back where it belongs. March 20 is the Vernal Equinox, the First Day of Spring--remember?


Our Water Trails have a relatively small, but growing impact on the Iowa economy, benefitting businesses providing food, refreshments, lodging, equipment rental, and gear for fishing, birding, photography, and paddling.  In this issue, we visit with three independent retailers of paddling gear.  We hope to run similar articles about other areas of the economy in future issues; we welcome your ideas and suggestions.


While researching for the paddling shop article, we came across an entertaining blog item, "Publisher To Retailer: The Origins of CanoeSport Outfitters" by Jeff Holmes, which might jog memories for some of you:   


We'll add our congratulations and thanks to Don Wall, recognized in the March/April Iowa Outdoors Magazine for many years of volunteer service to Project AWARE, IOWATER, Skunk River Paddlers, and even a couple more things they didn't mention.


We thoroughly enjoyed visiting with many of you at the IWTA display during the Feb 7-9 "Iowa Paddle and Pedal Sport Expo" in Indianola.  Your feedback is much-appreciated.  We also recruited a few new subscribers.


We hope you will stop by our IWTA display at the Mar 22 inaugural "Northeast Iowa Paddlefest" in Cedar Falls, to visit and share your thoughts on how IWTA can better serve the WT community.

Where Is It? Quiz
Volga R Mederville Bridges 2010 G.Stark Where Is It?

Make your best guess, then click on:

What Is It? Quiz
Frozen Foam 1 Middle R WT 2014 Jim Liechty

What Is It?

Make your best guess, then click on: 

In the Eddy:  (Short but important items that collect in the editor's inbox.)


Feb 28-Mar 1 "Life in the Raccoon River: The People of the Watershed" RRWA Meeting in Perry

Hosted by the Raccoon River Watershed Association, this Aldo Leopold Weekend Event will be held at the historic Hotel Pattee in Perry.  On Friday evening nature photographer Ty Smedes will discuss the "Eagles of Iowa," RRWA will announce its Photo Competition awards, followed by a wine and cheese reception for members.  Saturday sessions will include Dr. Mary Skopec on the Geology and Current Issues of the Raccoon River Watershed, Any Rupiper on Indicators of Biological Integrity in the North Raccoon River, Cherie Haury-Artz on the Culture History of the Middle Raccoon River, Steven Witmer on t

IOWATER Trng Marion GStark
IOWATER Monitor Training.

he Settlement of the Raccoon River Watershed, with an afternoon devoted to Aldo Leopold, discussing his teachings and the application of his land ethic to our times.

Contact Mike Delaney:

Hotel Pattee:


Mar 3-4 IOWATER Conference in Ames 

The Iowa Water Conference is an annual gathering of water professionals, researchers, educators and students from across Iowa and surrounding states. The theme for the 8th annual Iowa Water Conference is "Making Connections - Solving Problems: Water strategies for success in a changing world." The conference will be held at the Scheman Building in Ames.

Attendees can attend sessions in stormwater & floodplain management and the intersection of agriculture & the environment, with each track incorporating technical presentations, education and outreach information and problem-solving workshops. The conference will also offer sessions for poster and oral presentations from water professionals, as well as a poster competition for students.  For more information, visit:  


Registrations Still Open for Mar-Apr IDNR Volunteer Wildlife Monitoring Program (VWMP) Training Sessions

The VWMP is for enthusiastic and sharp-eyed, sharp-eared volunteers who have a passion for wildlife and its conservation.  Training sessions will be held in March and April for both the Bird Nest Monitoring Program, focused on raptors and waterbirds, and the Frog and Toad Call Survey workshop, to identify Iowa's frogs and toads by sight & sound.   A $10 fee covers materials, a meal, & more.  Find info, schedules, and registration forms at 


Last Call for Mar 27-30 Sandhill Crane & Prairie Chicken Tour

Linn CCB has extended the deadline to Mar 5 to register four more people for a bus trip to see the sandhill cranes along the Platte River and prairie chickens on their leks in the Sandhills of Central Nebraska.  We don't normally hype events outside Iowa, but we're making an exception for what could be a once in a life time experience for people interested in birds and other wildlife. Contact Gail Barels, Conservation Education Specialist, 319-892-6488


Mar 3-28 River of Words Iowa Student Environmental Art and Poetry 2013 Exhibit in Sioux City

River of Words® conducts an annual international environmental poetry and art competition for youth aged 5 to 19 in grades K-12, designed to help young people explore the natural environment and cultural history of the place they live and to express what they discover through poetry and art. Iowa entries not chosen as finalists or grand-prize winners in the international contest are returned to the Iowa DNR, where they are judged in a statewide competition. The current traveling exhibit includes 35 works of poetry and art by talented Iowa students.

Visit the exhibit from Mar 3-28 at the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center in Sioux City.  

Find more info about the Iowa competition, award recipients, and how to involve your area students on the DNR website: 


Mar 8 Free Photography Workshop in Quad Cities

River Action and the Figge Art Museum are co-sponsoring "Beyond a Snapshot: the Art of Building and Creating Fine Photographs," a 12:45-4:30 pm workshop for photographers of all skill levels who are interested in exploring ways to improve the quality of their photos. Organizer Brian Tugano has assembled several presenters to explore the concept that quality photographs combine light, composition, and an interesting story. The workshop is free, but reservations are required due to limited seating.  Email:  or call River Action at 563-322-2969.


Mar 11-12 LID Conference in Dubuque

The LID Conference is titled "Protecting Our Water Resources Today & Into the Future Through Watershed Planning," and is hosted by several partners in the Dubuque area.  Learn more about watershed planning, hear updates on several area watershed projects, and get the latest information on infiltration-based urban practices.

For more information, please see the program flyer: 


Mar 18 Environmental Lobby Day & REAP Day at the Iowa Statehouse

Plan to join fellow Iowans at the statehouse in support of clean water, wildlife habitat, and conservation

 progress, March 18 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm in the Iowa State Capitol rotunda.  Sponsored by the Iowa Environmental Council and the REAP Alliance, this event is open to all Iowans with a passion for protecting our state's natural resources.  Plan to wear blue to show your support for clean water. A training session for citizen advocates will be held at 8:30 (location TBA); and a press conference on the importance of conservation action will be held during the event.  

Commit to attend the lobby day by registering online at, and you will receive parking information, talking points, and other updates about the event directly in your inbox. 


Mar 22 Inaugural Northeast Iowa Paddlefest in Cedar Falls

This new event will be held from 10 am-5 pm at River Hills School, 2700 Grand Blvd, Cedar Falls, and will feature keynote speaker Ben Hoksch, discussing his solo trip paddling the length of the Mississippi River. Concurrent sessions will include skills & rescue clinics in the heated pool, planning a wilderness paddle trip on a budget, wilderness philosophy, Black Hawk Creek Paddlers Trail update, stand-up paddle-boarding, and more. Adults $10; Children $2; includes lunch.  Full schedule and online registration at: 


Apr 12 Linn Area Photo Club Outdoor Photography Seminar in Cedar Rapids

All-day Canon Explorers of Light Seminar will feature award-winning outdoor photographer Rick Sammon.  Sammon will share his people, wildlife, landscape and travel pictures from around the globe - illustrating the difference between taking pictures and making pictures.  For every image, he will share a photographic technique, digital darkroom tip, or a photo philosophy. Learn more about Rick Sammon's photography at  The seminar is free, but seating is limited and advance registration is highly-recommended.  Be aware that you need to register separately for the seminar and for the convenient lunch at 


Apr 24-Jun 19 Master River Stewards Program Coming to Johnson County

Iowa Rivers Revival will bring its highly-acclaimed Master River Stewards Program (MRSP) to the Iowa River watershed this spring, with classes beginning April 24, and a recruitment deadline April 15.  Contact Rosalyn Lehman, executive director,   515.724.4093

The IRR Master River Stewards Program is an eight week course that focused on developing skills to paddle and navigate rivers, restoring aquatic habitat, improving water quality, and understanding policies related to floodplains, river protection and restoration.  The program builds on a network of river experts in various partner agencies and organizations, helping adult learners collaborate to protect and improve Iowa's rivers, so that current and future generations can enjoy these resources. 

Participants will pay a fee of $50 which will include program materials.  Participants will be expected to attend each session and there will be "homework" assignments following each class - materials will be provided.  Classes will include indoor and outdoor segments at Johnson County's Kent Park and Clear Creek.  Full details on the program and schedule will be posted on the IRR website:


Jul 12-19 Project AWARE Registration Information Now Available

This year's 12th annual Project AWARE event will be held July 12-19, 2014, on the Big Sioux River in northwest Iowa/southeast South Dakota.  The registration deadline is June 20.  This year's event is unique in that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources' will be hosting the event in partnership with the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. 

Project AWARE isn't for the person who's afraid to get a little dirt under his or her fingernails. While most of your time is spent in a canoe or kayak, you are still fully immersed in the wilderness and eventually you're bound to get dirty. Prepare to find mud in awkward places and potentially stinky things in your canoe. Most people find this aspect appealing; remembering the days when they were just kids playing in the mud... Intrigued?  Visit the Project AWARE website, learn about changes for 2014, and download your registration form. or contact: Lynette Seigley (319)-335-1598    


New (Free) Iowa Clean Water Newsletter is a Joint Effort

"Clean Water Starts With Us" is a new quarterly email newsletter about improving watersheds & water quality, published by IDNR, IDALS, & USDA.  Read the current issue & subscribe: 


Decorah Eagles Struggle to Protect Eggs 
Lingering Winter Keeps Thousands of Bald Eagles in Iowa


The famous "Decorah Eagles," viewed on live webcam by people around the world, are challenged to keep their eggs from freezing as winter maintains its icy grip on Iowa. Their first egg arrived Feb 23, the second on Feb 26, and a third is expected this weekend.  Daytime temperatures have struggled to reach the teens, nighttime temperatures have been well below zero, with strong winds and occasional snow. We'll wish them the best, and keep checking on them via the webcam: 


Continuing cold weather will provide ongoing opportunities to observe and photograph this year's unusually high number of eagles in areas of open water where gizzard shad are plentiful, particularly below dams or where warmer water enters streams.  Here are the last two organized Eagle watch events of which we are aware: 


O'Brien County Bald Eagle Watch

March 1, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. 

Prairie Heritage Center, 4931 Yellow Ave., Peterson

There will be spotting scopes and binoculars available.

Ty Smedes will be presenting his book "The Return of Iowa's Bald Eagle" at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

For more information call Charlene Elyea 712-295-7200


Sioux Rapids Bald Eagle Watch

March 22

American Legion Building, 200 Main Street, Sioux Rapids

Registration from 8:30 to 10 a.m.

Speakers from 10 a.m. to Noon, morning refreshments, free will offering lunch at 12:15 p.m.

Outdoor viewing at selected sites.

For more information call: 712-296-4920 or 712-295-7200


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Mar 25 Iowa DNR Outfitter Training Session Is Filling
Iowa DNR Logo


Todd Robertson, Iowa DNR River Programs Outreach Coordinator, informs us that the response to the free Livery (Outfitter) Training Classes for 2014 has been excellent.  These one-day classes are facilitated by Todd and Nate Hoogeveen, addressing risk management plans, litter control strategies, safety, creating relationships, and the new "Keep It Clean, Keep It Fun" campaign. 

Outfitters are encouraged to sign up for the remaining class to be held on Tuesday, March 25th at the Osborne Nature Center near Strawberry Point and Elkader.


By attending training, the business will receive special recognition on the DNR website and in the Livery directory, as a preferred outfitter who focuses on safety and river and paddler etiquette.  

To get more info or register for a class, contact Iowa DNR River Programs Outreach Coordinator Todd Robertson: or 515-979-9538.


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May-Sep Five Iowa DNR Canoe & Kayak School Sessions Open for Registrations
Canoe School on Boone River
Two students developing skills during a Canoe School  
on the Boone River.  Photo by Todd Robertson.


Naturalists, youth group leaders and others who bring people out on the water in canoes or kayaks that want to learn how to teach others about paddling efficiently and safely are encouraged to attend one of the Iowa DNR's paddling schools scheduled May through September.


Each two-day course will cover skills, hazard and river feature identification, teaching to different learning styles, and risk management. The focus will be one-third classroom and two-thirds on-water in both lake and river environments, solo and tandem. Paddling schools are set up for either canoeing or kayaking instruction. Make sure you sign up for your preferred instruction.  All courses will be taught at Briggs Woods, along the Boone River in Hamilton County.


Each paddling school is limited to 10 students, and is taught by two American Canoe Association certified canoe instructors--Glenn Harmon, Todd Robertson, John Wenck or Nate Hoogeveen. Students have the options to camp, rent a cabin, or stay in Webster City at a motel while participating in the two-day school. Overnight accommodations are not included in the class fee.  Registration is required and the fee is $25. This is not considered a novice course; students should have previous paddling experience.


The schedule for the Iowa DNR's Canoe & Kayak School:

  • May 6, Flat-Water Essentials (lake only) Special One Day Class for Naturalists, Scout Leaders, & Youth Group Instructors
  • May 20-21, Canoe School
  • June 25-26, Canoe School
  • Aug. 20-21, Kayak School - FILLED!
  • Sept. 17-18 Canoe School

The DNR's Paddling Schools fill up fast, so get your registration in quickly.  Access a pdf info sheet at

To register or get more information, contact Todd Robertson, DNR River Programs, 515-979-9538 or email


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Iowa Paddling Specialty Shops Optimistic About Spring 2014
S2S Retail 2014 G.Stark
Iowa paddling shops are optimistic  
about 2014 activity--if the spring weather cooperates.

Following a less-than-spectacular 2013 sales season, some of Iowa's best-known independent paddling shops are expressing optimism for 2014.  The key to a good business year seems to be good weather and water levels in spring, when Iowans head out to cure their lingering cabin fever with some quality time on our rivers and other waterways. 


Canoesports Outfitters (CSO) in Indianola, whose store opened in 1992, is owned by Jeff and Casey Holmes.  Some of you may remember Jeff's transition from Iowa paddling magazine publisher to Iowa paddling shop owner, which he recently recounted in a humorous blog: 


Jeff indicated that 2013 was indeed an "off year" due to the lingering cold, wet spring.  While admitting "it all depends on the weather," he expressed optimism for 2014 based on interest expressed during the recent 18th annual "Paddling Expo," the addition of kayak models in both the recreation and advanced categories, and the overall growth of interest in paddlesports (including SUP) by Iowans. 


New for 2014 is the addition of several models from Confluence (Dagger, Mad River, & Perception), Kokatat PFDs, and designation as a test-paddling center for QCC Kayaks.  CSO offers demo paddles, paddler training at all levels, boat repair, and guided trips throughout the year.  The shop diversified into bike sales and service in 2009, currently offering Jamis Bicycles.  You can find info on the April 12 CSO Free Demo Paddle and other info on their new website:  


CrawDaddy Outdoors in Waverly is owned by Darrin and Janeen Siefken.  Originally a Shell Rock hardware store with a small department of camping, paddling, and outdoor items, the Siefkens purchased and relocated the outdoor business to Waverly in 2005.  CrawDaddy has expanded in size and scope, and an attractive store displays a broad range of boats, camping gear, and outdoor apparel.  Most of the gear they sell is also available for rent.


Darrin agreed that cold, wet weather, combined with flooding, had a very negative impact on paddling-related sales for spring 2013.  He indicated that "Sales in March-April-May are critical, so that buyers can get the benefit of a full season's use.  Good spring sales bode well for ongoing sales of additional gear during the season." 


Diversification is a key to CrawDaddy's success, with the store offering demos, winter pool sessions, winter ski sales and rentals, and a year round schedule of outdoor adventure trips including weekend paddling at Red Rock and 5-day trips around the Midwest.  CrawDaddy is sponsoring pool sessions in paddling skills and rescues during the upcoming March 22 NE Iowa Paddle Fest in Cedar Falls.  You can find info on the April 3 CrawDaddy Season-Opener Free Kayak Demo Paddle and other info on their website: 


Seatasea Watersports in Cedar Rapids, owned by Ken and Danette Kremer, began as a SCUBA Center in 2000, and added paddling lines in 2004.  The shop also provides gear for snorkling, swimming, and triathlon.  Seatasea provides SCUBA training and certification, organizes dive trips to domestic and international locations, and does a significant online business in wetsuits.


Ken agreed that 2013 business was set back by a cold, wet spring, but added that, "it was further impacted by a very hot, dry August in which the heat and low water levels also discouraged paddlers.  I hope that good weather and the cabin-fever effect will make spring 2014 sales more like the spring of 2012."  He noted that last year's poor sales also impacted manufacturers, who had less money available for R&D, meaning we will see fewer new designs this year.


Seatasea opted to focus on kayaks, and no longer carries canoes in stock, but they maintain a full selection of paddling gear.  They offer kayaks for rent, and will begin their free Discover Kayaking & Stand-Up Paddling sessions on April 26.  Seatasea is a sponsor of the annual January ICNC Paddle Day and the September Disabled Veterans Paddling Event.  Find more info and schedules at  


Confluence Watersports, headquartered in Greenville, SC, is one of the world's largest manufacturers of kayaks, canoes and paddlesports accessories sold under the brand names Wilderness Systems, Perception, Dagger, Wave Sport, Mad River Canoe, Adventure Technology and Bomber Gear.


Confluence CEO Sue Rechner recently shared that, "After a few years of guarded optimism and steady growth, I'm pleased to enter a new year feeling bullish - not just for Confluence, but for the entire paddlesports sector. Having just returned from Outdoor Retailer and ISPO Munich, I experienced a level of confidence throughout the shows that indicates we are heading into a strong year."


Rechner noted, "Anecdotally, there's an emotional context to a long, cold winter, as well: cabin fever. As soon as the weather breaks, people are primed to transition into spring and summer activities.  At this point anything above freezing is a welcome event to most areas of the country."


While she did not address SUPs, Rechner's assessment is that, "From a trend perspective, boats across the full spectrum of pursuits are in demand. Three significant trends rise to the top. Sit on tops have grown tremendously. Tandems continue to be strong. Fishing continues to grow."


Our Iowa paddle shop owners indicated that some of those national trends do not impact Iowa in the same way they might impact coastal areas.  We do not have much opportunity for kayak surfing, for instance.  Whitewater paddling interest is growing along with new sites and opportunities.  Kayak fishing is growing, but we have a limited season, and while the shops can get you into a fully-equipped boat, none is interested in the highly competitive business of fishing gear.


It is interesting to note that the owners of three independent paddlesport businesses spoke well of each other's shops, and they apparently refer customers to each other when appropriate.  While they are engaged in a highly competitive market, challenged by both brick-and-mortar stores as well as online sources, they each find ways to be involved in locally-organized outdoor activities.  They are all complimentary and supportive of recent paddler efforts on behalf of river cleanups, water quality initiatives, and the focus of water trail organizers to bring new people to our waterways.  They acknowledge that Io

Colorful boats add interest & excitement to any community event.

wans can now buy a boat at almost any box store, farm store, or lumber yard, but are hopeful that new DNR programs, paddler clubs, water trail events, and groups like IRR and IWTA can help address the missing element of teaching safety awareness, including proper gear, basic skills, planning, and navigation.


If a long winter and cabin fever are the prime motivators, our Iowa paddle shops and water trails should look forward to a lot of interest and activity in 2014! 


Enthusiastic Response to Expanded Iowa DNR WT Education Programs for 2014 

West Nish Stream Stomp Kids
Kids learn about life beneath the surface during a
2013 "Fish Assemblage & Sampling" event on the
West Nishnabotna River WT. Emily Haase photo.

Last year's successful Iowa DNR WT Education Program initiative is being expanded for 2014, and is already drawing an enthusiastic response from water trail coordinators and naturalists with access to water trails.  New to the "program menu" for 2014 are the "Riparian Plant Program" and "Iowa's Archaeological Past."


Many events have already been scheduled, and organizers are doing their best to meet requests for specific programs on specific dates.  Most of the topics available for 2014 can be adapted to a presentation in a classroom, in the field, or a combination of the two:


Fish Assemblage & Sampling; Biologists with IDNR Watershed Improvement or Water Monitoring Sections.

Observe electro fishing techniques & learn the unique features of each fish species & their role in the river ecosystem.


Aquatic Insects; Jacklyn Gautsch, Biologist with IDNR Watershed Monitoring & Assessment Section.

Discover the interesting adaptations & life cycle of aquatic invertebrates which dwell below the water surface.


Freshwater Mussels; Jennifer Kurth, Natural Resources Biologist in IDNR Watershed Improvement Section.

Meet these valuable components of freshwater biodiversity-Mother Nature's water filters.


Geologic History of Iowa River Valleys; Geologists from IDNR Geology & Groundwater Section.

Learn about the origin & evolution of Iowa's river valleys & the surrounding upland landscape.


River Critters & Wild Life; Wildlife and Interpretive Specialist Dr. Jim Pease.

Find & understand the wide variety of interconnected wildlife along Iowa's rivers, from birds & mammals to trees & shrubs.


Riparian Plant Program; IDNR Botanist John Pearson.

Learn to recognize the trees, shrubs, & wildflowers which inhabit our waterways, lakeshores, riverbanks & floodplains. 


Iowa's Archaeological Past, A History of Iowa Cultural History; OSA Staff Cherie Haury-Artz & Elizabeth Reetz.

Reflect on the importance of Iowa's water trails to various people and cultures through time.


In 2013, these and similar WT Education Programs drew over 720 people to 24 events, many of which were river floats with participation limits.  To learn more about the IDNR WT Educational Programs or schedule one for your WT, contact Todd Robertson, Outreach Coordinator for DNR River Programs, at 515-979-9538 or


Water Trail Reflections & Resources -- RIP Pete Seeger  1919-2014


(In observance of the January passing of  Pete Seeger, we are re-running the following item from our Feb 2013 issue.  Seeger was, at times, praised, vilified, loved, hated, and honored. He is particularly appreciated by many for his love of the simple life, enthusiasm for teaching kids to sing, and his efforts on behalf of racial acceptance and environmental awareness.)


When Pete Seeger penned the song "My Dirty Stream (*The Hudson River Song)" in 1961, optimism for ever recovering the health of the historical Hudson River waterway was ebbing low.


"Sailing down my dirty stream

Still I love it and I'll keep the dream

That some day, though maybe not this year

My Hudson River will once again run clear"


By the time he wrote "Sailing Down My Golden River" in 1971, in support of his work with the sloop Clearwater on the Hudson River, public awareness had increased and progress was being made.


Pete Seeger
Pete Seeger


Sailing down my golden river,

Sun and water all my own,

Yet I was never alone.

Sun and water, old life givers,

I'll have them where e'er I roam,

And I was not far from home.

Sunlight glancing on the water,
Life and death are all my own,
Yet I was never alone.

Life to raise my sons and daughters,

 Golden sparkles in the foam,
And I was not far from home.
Sailing down this winding highway,

Travelers from near and far,

Yet I was never alone.

Exploring all the little by-ways,

Sighting all the distant stars,

And I was not far from home.   


The story of the 106' sloop "Clearwater" is the tale of how a group of committed individuals used folk music and a majestic replica of an 18th century sailing vessel to create interest and rally support for the preservation of the Hudson River.  According to its website, "Clearwater was the first environmental group to focus on an entire river and its ecosystem, the first wooden sailing ship with a mission to preserve and protect the environment, and the first onboard environmental classroom accessible to children of all ages, races, backgrounds."


Learn more at:



(Do you have thoughts, experiences, insights, or conclusions about Water Trails you would like to share?  Maybe you have read an interesting article about WTs you would like to recommend to others?  

Please email us at


WhereIsItWhere Is It? Quiz ANSWER
Volga R Mederville Bridges 2010 G.Stark
View of the old and new Mederville bridges during a 2010 Volga River float orchestrated by
rivers advocate and former Elkader resident Clara Swan (red kayak).  Photo by G.Stark


This is a view of the old and new bridges at Mederville, on the lower Volga River.  Larry Stone reports that "The old arched bridge was so solid that they didn't even attempt to tear it down when they built the new one."  


Mederville is an unincorporated community, about halfway between Osborne and Littleport on the Volga River in Clayton County.


Volga River info is included on the Turkey River WT map & brochure:  


Osborne Nature Center provides interesting indoor & outdoor displays, travel information, and a convenient Volga River access near the intersection of the Volga and Hwy 13 south of Elkader: 


Photo by G.Stark. 

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WhatIsItWhat Is It? Quiz ANSWER
Frozen Foam 2 Middle R WT 2014 Jim Liechty
"Elephant Seal" & friends at Pammel Ford on Middle River WT.
Photo by Jim Liechty.

(Our thanks to Jim Liechty, Director of the Madison County Conservation Board, for this info and Feb 26 photos of a unique occurrence at Pammel Ford on the Middle River WT.)


"We've been managing Pammel State Park since 1989 and have had the opportunity to witness some awesome scenes around the ford created by acts of nature. However, the ice formations in these photographs taken today are the most unique that I have witnessed.


"The tall formation in the foreground (very first photo) resembles the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon, and the formation just beyond it resembles an Elephant Seal (use your imagination!).


"These formations are actually frozen foam that was created by unique weather conditions over the last week. The river ice blew out last Wednesday creating the ice jam on the ford. As temperatures dropped through the weekend and earlier this week, ice reformed below the ford but left some very small openings in ice. The water moving over the ford, but under the ice, forced the highly oxygenated water, mixed with some impurities, up through the small openings creating a foam. The bitter cold temperatures last night and this morning began freezing the foam and gradually built up these structures. Much of the whiter foam surrounding the base of these structures is still not frozen and when caught by the wind it blows up like dish washing foam.


"If you look close, there are smaller vertical structures formed all the way across the face of the ford below the overhanging ice-blocks."


Jim closed his email with, "Thought you might want to include one of these pics in the March Iowa Water Trail newsletter." We certainly did, and we appreciate Jim's thinking of the IWTA Newsletter as a way to share this interesting phenomenon with other WT enthusiasts.  Please contact us when you find something interesting or unusual along your WT. 


Frozen Foam 3 Middle R WT 2014 Jim Liechty
Closeup of "Elephant Seal" frozen river foam at Pammel Ford on Middle River WT.  Photo by Jim Liechty
We Hope That You Are Enjoying the IWTA Newsletter
We'd like to hear from you.
Our thanks to everyone who provided information for this issue.  
Special thanks to Jim Liechty for sharing his description and photos of the unique frozen foam formations at Pammel Ford.
Special thanks to Jeff Holmes, Darrin Siefken, and Ken Kremer for sharing some perspective on the paddling business for 2014.  Maybe we should provide their spouses with an opportunity for a "rebuttal" in a future issue?


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 900 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 already a subscriber to this free, monthly email newsletter, please click on the convenient "Join Our Mailing List" button to get on board.  


And, please share 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