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Iowa Water Trails Association 
March, 2014  
Congrats to Decorah!
Lots of "Stuff" to find "In the Eddy"
Eagles & Eagle Eggs
May-Sep IDNR Canoe & Kayak School Sessions
Thanks to Our Subscribers



Iowa Rivers Revival, Protector of Rivers, Streams & Watersheds

Report Kills & Spills Logo  
Keep It Clean Sticker IDNR
Volga R Mederville Bridges 2010 G.Stark
Summer scenery will be coming soon.
Volga River at Mederville was our March
"Where Is It? Quiz.   GStark Photo.


Thanks for the break, Mother Nature.  It seems so long since we last saw green on the ground, and it's a nice change.  The transition from white drifts to dirty white piles to bare ground flowed quickly, thanks to a combination of warmer temperatures and a higher sun angle.


Coming soon--buds, green leaves, and increased activity along our Iowa water trails.


If you attend the Mar 22 inaugural "Northeast Iowa Paddlefest" in Cedar Falls, please stop by the IWTA display to visit and share your thoughts on how IWTA can better serve the WT community.

Congratulations to Decorah--IRR "River Town of the Year"
IRR Logo
Iowa Rivers Revival (IRR) recognized Decorah as its "River Town of the Year" during a March 7 reception at Luther College.  Mayor Don Arendt and City Administrator Chad Byrd accepted the award on behalf of the city.
IRR Executive Director Roz Lehman noted, "The people of Decorah and the Oneota valley are deeply aware of the legacy they have inherited with this beautiful valley. They have a passion for protecting the legacy and passing it on for generations to come."       
"Decorah is connecting people to the river that inspired the town's settlement so long ago," Lehman said.  "The river still makes Decorah a very special place to live and visit."   

Watch for a full writeup in our April 1 IWTA Newsletter.


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


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 5 RRWA Annual Meeting at Hotel Pattee in Perry

Board Meeting at 9:00 am, Members Meeting & Election of new board members at 10:30, Guest Presenter at 11:00 am-- Chris Jones of the Iowa Soybean Association will present his research on Nitrates in the Raccoon River. For more info, contact Michael Delaney


Mar 25 Outfitter Training Class Drawing Excellent Response

The last opportunity to participate in the free, one-day Livery (Outfitter) Training Classes for 2014 will be on Tuesday, March 25th at the Osborne Nature Center near Strawberry Point and Elkader. These popular 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. 

Interested outfitters are encouraged to contact Iowa DNR River Programs Outreach Coordinator Todd Robertson: or 515-979-9538.


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. Participants will pay a fee of $50 for the 8-week course, which will include indoor and outdoor segments at Johnson County's Kent Park and Clear Creek.  Full details on the program and schedule on the IRR website:   or contact Rosalyn Lehman, IRR Executive Director,   515.724.4093. 


5th Annual Great Iowa River Canoe & Kayak Race Rescheduled From June 7 to June 14

Dora Bopp, Iowa Valley RC&D informs us that, contrary to info already in circulation, the Great Iowa River Race will be held on Saturday, June 14, 2014. The 9 mile paddling race begins at Sturgis Ferry, Iowa City and ends at Hills Access, Hills, Iowa. Registration and additional details can be found at Sponsorship and volunteer opportunities are available. For additional information contact or 319.622.3264.  


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. Visit the Project AWARE website to learn about changes for 2014, and download your registration form.  or contact: Lynette Seigley (319)-335-1598    


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, have been challenged to keep their eggs from freezing as winter maintained its icy grip on Iowa. Their first egg arrived Feb 23, the second on Feb 26, and a third on Mar 2.  Daytime temperatures struggled to reach the teens, nighttime temperatures were well below zero, with strong winds and occasional snow. We'll wish them the best, and hope for egg hatching in early April. Webcam: 


Lingering cold weather provided 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 is the last organized Eagle watch event of which we are aware: 


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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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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Gregg Stark
Editor, Iowa Water Trails Association Newsletter