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Iowa Water Trails Association 
May, 2014  
Planning Items "In the Eddy"
May 11 Mother's Day on the Marsh (MOM) at Odessa WT
May 29 FW Mussels Program at Hillview Rec Area Near Hinton
May 31 Archaeology & Cultural History, Calkins NC, Hardin Co
May 31 Aquatic Insect Program, Lake Red Rock, USACE
IRR To Receive Environmental Impact Award
Updates From IDNR River Programs
2014 IDNR WT Education Programs Beginning
Baja: A Lesson for Iowa Water Trails
Iowa Students Receive National Honors in 2014 "River of Words"
New Mobile Museum Could Be Part of Your WT Programming
WT Reflections & Resources - Parks & Recreation Perspective
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

DNR Non Meandered Stream Sign


Let's ignore those rumors about snow flurries in the northern cunties, label those 40 degree high temperature reports as bad data, and focus on the greening plants and trees which are beginning to dominate the landscape.


Let the Water Trail fun begin!


This issue of the IWTA Newsletter is full of WT program and event announcements, dates for early season WT events, several well-deserved awards, and some interesting perspectives on WTs. 


We will definitely be back with a MidMo issue around May 10-15, so please let us know if we have missed anything or need to correct info.  Organizing early-season events is exciting, but sometimes confusing, so don't be bashful about forwarding corrections. 


We believe that our IWTA Newsletter readers are among the "good examples" who gather trash, wear PFDs, respect private property, and walk softly on the environment--the kind of folks who can help deliver the "Keep It Clean--Keep It Fun--For Everyone" message to all of our WT users. Your efforts are appreciated.


"Can we go paddling, yet?"  Photo by GStark


Our next scheduled IWTA display appearance will be at the June 13 Iowa Trails Summit in Cedar Falls.  We're also pursuing opportunities to display at events sponsored by some of our "crossover" WT friends interested in archaeology, geology, history, natural sciences, birding, outdoor photography, or ??? Please let us know if your group would like to learn more about the IWTA.


Where Is It? Quiz
Des Moines River Bridge GStark 2014
Where Is It?

Make your best guess, then click on:
What Is It? Quiz
Wild Parsnip Flowering ISU

What Is It?

Make your best guess, then click on: 

In the Eddy:  Short But Important Items That Collect Around the Editor's Desk.



May 10; Middle River WT Float, 18 miles Middle River Forest Co Park (Adair Co) to Roseman Bridge Access.  Meet at Roseman at 9:00am for shuttle. Bring water & lunch. Free, but registration required, 515-462-3536.

May 11; Mothers Day.

May 17; Armed Forces Day.

May 30; Memorial Day (observed May 26).

June 6-8; (RESCHEDULED DATES) Charles City Challenge: WhiteWater Weekend, on Cedar River.  Kayak & SUP competition, music, food, beverages, prizes; info at  

June 6-8; Iowa DNR Free Fishing Days, many local fishing derbies for kids, organized around the state. .

June 7; 4th Annual Tree Town Adventure Race, Forest City on Winnebago River WT.  Paddling, cycling, running race with wide variety of individual and group classes.   

June 7; Annual Middle River Cleanup, 9 miles Pammel Park Ford to Middle River County Park.  

It's spring -- grow something!

Meet at 7:30 am, bring own lunch.  Warm meal & concert provided after cleanup.  Free, but registration required, 515-462-3536.  

June 13; Iowa Trails Summit, Cedar Falls on UNI campus.  Presentations & displays relating to public tra

ils for all forms of recreational use.  

June 14; (RESCHEDULED DATE) 4th Annual Great Iowa River Canoe & Kayak Race, Iowa City on Iowa River WT.  Iowa Valley RC&D;, registration & rules at  



(Iowa 2014 dates, all times Central Daylight Savings Time at Cedar Rapids.)

May 14, Wed                Sunrise 5:47, Sunset 8:19, Moonrise 8:24

June 12, Thu                Sunrise 5:31, Sunset 8:43, Moonrise 8:14

July 12, Sat                  Sunrise 5:42, Sunset 8:42, Moonrise 8:43

August 10, Sun             Sunrise 6:09, Sunset 8:14, Moonrise 8:00

September 8, Mon         Sunrise 6:40, Sunset 7:28, Moonrise 7:08

October 8, Wed            Sunrise 7:11, Sunset 6:36, Moonrise 6:52


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May 11 "Mother's Day On the Marsh (MOM)," Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge, Odessa WT 
Louisa CCB Mothers Day 2013
"MOM" Paddle 2013.
Photo by Louisa CCB.


(Late update: This paddle is full. If you would like to be placed on the waiting list, please call (319)-523-8381.)


Celebrate Mother's Day while you enjoy a leisurely paddle, with naturalist guides, around Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge. You do not need to bring your Mother, although it is encouraged!  This paddling trip will be held on the Odessa Water Trail, and is open to the public. Expect to see birds and other mothers as you leisurely paddle through the marsh, viewing wildlife and listening to the sounds of nature.


Participants will paddle from 9:00 am-11:00 am, launching from the Inlet Tubes at Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge on the Odessa Water Trail, 120th Street, Wapello, IA 52653.  Registration is required and participation is limited so make sure you register early. If you do not have your own kayak or canoe, a limited number are available for rent. The trip is open to everyone but children under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult.


This trip is an official Odessa Water Trail event cosponsored by Port Louisa Wildlife Refuge, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Louisa County Conservation. The event is free but all participants must be registered in advance. There is a limit of 20 boats for this trip, so get registered early!  Canoes and kayaks are available.  Info and registration at  or call 319-523-8381. 


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May 29 "Freshwater Mussels Program," Hillview Recreation Area Near Hinton, SIMPCO
Mussel Pile
Photo of pile of mussels by Robin Fortney.


The Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council (SIMPCO) will offer a special indoor program on "Freshwater Mussels" beginning at 6:00 pm on Thursday, May 29 at Hillview Recreation Area near Hinton.


Join Iowa DNR Biologist Jennifer Kurth for a closer look at these "one-footed" wonders roaming the many rivers and streams of our state.  Freshwater mussels play an important role in the health of freshwater ecosystems and help keep water clean by acting as natural water filters.  For creatures that look like living rocks, mussels have unique life cycles and

interesting adaptations to survive in their environment.  Come learn more!


Jennifer Kurth is a Natural Resources Biologist in the Watershed Improvement Section of the Iowa DNR.  She has a BA in Theatre and a BS in Biology from the U of Minnesota, and a MS in Ecology & Environmental Science from the U of Maine.  She works on streams which are listed as impaired for aquatic life use, and explains it as "environmental CSI."  She is currently in the midst of a six-year , statewide survey of freshwater mussels in Iowa rivers and streams.


This program is free of charge, but preregistration is requested.

Click on the link below to register online:


140529a FW Mussels SIMPCO


Find more information about SIMPCO at

This event is cosponsored by SIMPCO and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 


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May 31 "Archaeology & Cultural History WT Program," Calkins Nature Area Interpretive Center, Hardin CCB
Hardin County Conservation Logo


Join us at the Calkins Nature Area Interpretive Center on Saturday, May 31 from Noon-approx. 4:30 pm as Archaeologist Elizabeth Reetz explains the rich cultural history along the Iowa River Water Trail.  


Participants will be introduced  to Iowa's archaeological past, a chronology of Iowa's cultural history, and the importance of Iowa's water trails to people throughout time.  A classroom presentation will be followed by an optional float on the Iowa River, 4.8 miles from Alden River Access to Weaver's Cove in Iowa Falls. 


Elizabeth Reetz is the Education Director at the UI Office of the State Archaeologist.  She holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota and an MA in Landscape Archaeology from the National University of Ireland.  She is particularly interested in late prehistoric cultures of the Midwest, pottery analysis, and community-based archaeology.  Her work experience has included time as an archaeologist in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.


This event is free, but preregistration is required.  To register, contact Chris Barber at or (641) 648-9878.


This event is sponsored by Hardin County Conservation and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Find more information about Hardin County Conservation and Calkins Nature Center, at:    

Find more information about the Iowa River Greenbelt Water Trail at:,%20Hamilton%20Co.pdf?amp;tabid=868 


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May 31 "Aquatic Insect Program," Lake Red Rock, US Army Corps of Engineers


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will offer a special program on "Aquatic Insects (Invertebrates)," beginning at 3:30 pm on Saturday, May 31 in the South Tailwater Recreation Area at Lake Red Rock.  Participants should gather in the parking lot next to the large shelter, and dress appropriately for walking a wetland.


Join Iowa DNR Biologist Jackie Gautsch to explore the fascinating diversity of life that dwells beneath the surface of the water.  Participants will use dip nets to collect and investigate the aquatic invertebrates that call water their home.  Learn about their adaptations for life in the water, their interesting life cycles, and how they are used as bio-indicators for water quality.


Jack Gautsch is a Biologist with the Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Section of the Iowa DNR.  She holds a BS degree in biology and earth science from the University of Wisconsin, and has participated in projects as varied as herpetological studies, caddisfly research, and fish monitoring on the upper Mississippi.


This program is free of charge, and preregistration is not required.  For more info:

South Tailwater Recreation Area:

Lake Red Rock US Army Corps of Engineers website: 

Contact the Corps office at (641) 828-7522 or (641) 628-8690 or via email at


This event is cosponsored by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 


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IRR to Receive Environmental Impact Award for Master River Stewards Program
MRSP participants learn to measure
water quality.  IRR photo.


Iowa Rivers Revival has been recognized with a 2014 Environmental Impact Award for developing and delivering the Master River Stewards Program.  The MRSP was created to educate and raise awareness about river and water quality issues.  The MRSP is a comprehensive river course that focuses on riverine systems, paddling skills, river navigation, restoring aquatic habitat, improving water quality, and understanding policies related to floodplains, river protection and restoration.


IRR leaders indicated that the success of the MRSP is a direct result of the leadership and expertise of Jim Pease (IRR Advisor), Mary Skopec (IRR Board Member), Robin Fortney (IRR Board Member), and program partners which include the Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education Program (REAP CEP), Iowa DNR IOWATER, Iowa DNR River Programs, Growing Green Communities-Metro Waste Authority, Des Moines Water Works, Polk County Conservation Board, and many other dedicated volunteers.


Additional 2014 Environmental Impact Award winners include Blank Park Zoo, Meredith Corporation, City of Johnston, World Food Prize Foundation, and Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity.


The winners will be honored at the Environmental Impact Awards luncheon from 11:30 am-1 pm on Wednesday, May 21, at the Raccoon River Park Nature Lodge in West Des Moines.  Tickets for the luncheon are $25 per person and registration is available online until May 16 at  The award sponsors are The Center on Sustainable Communities, Des Moines Water Works, Greater Des Moines Partnership, Metro Waste Authority, and MidAmerican Energy.
IRR's Master River Stewards Program is in it its third year, and is currently training 24 participants near Iowa City through June.  For more information about the Master River Stewards Program, visit


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Updates From IDNR River Programs


Iowa DNR Logo

Registration Open for July 12-19 Project AWARE on Big Sioux River

This year's 12th annual Project AWARE event, to be held July 12-19 on the Big Sioux River in NW Iowa/SE South Dakota, will be hosted by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in partnership with the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.


The registration deadline is June 20, so check out the changes for 2014 on the Project AWARE website and download your registration form or contact: Lynette Seigley (319)-335-1598 



IDNR Canoe & Kayak School Sessions Have a Few Remaining Openings

Each one or two-day course will cover skills, hazard and river feature identification, teaching to different learning styles, and risk management. 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. To register or get more information, contact Todd Robertson, DNR River Programs, 515-979-9538 or email

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


IDNR New Blue "Keep It Clean, Keep It Fun" Trash Bags Arriving at a WT Near You

The  new, reusable, blue trash bags are being received by county conservation boards, outfitters, retailers, paddler groups, and others in support of the Iowa DNR's expanded 2014 public relations campaign to improve behavior on Iowa's rivers.  The bags display the "Keep It Clean, Keep It Fun" logo and message used on posters and decals. WT supporters are encouraged to display the materials on vehicles and boats, and during public events and activities.


IDNR Blue Trash Bag

The message is simple: 

Keep It Clean.  Pick up trash as you go and pack out the trash you bring in. 

Keep It Fun.  Use respectful language & behavior.

For Everyone!  Respect private property.


Groups interested in helping to display and distribute "Keep It Clean" promotion materials may contact Todd Robertson, Outreach Coordinator for DNR River Programs, at 515-979-9538 or



"Non-meandered Stream" Sign Now Available in Smaller 24x36 Size

Many recreational users along non-meandered streams don't understand that the river beds, sandbars, and banks up to the high water line are privately owned.  While incidental use is allowed, such as, having lunch on a sandbar, fishing, or portaging around an obstruction, the land is privately owned and not public. After stepping out of a paddlecraft or tube, one is standing on private property.  Therefore, when recreating on a non-meandered stream one should behave as a guest and respect the land by removing trash and not camping or partying on sandbars.


The IDNR River Programs recently developed a sign that helps communicate this message to recreational users along non-meandered streams.  The original sign measures 30 x 48 inches, and is now also available in a smaller 24 x 36 inch size.  It is intended for placement in strategic locations at accesses where the sign can be easily seen, yet protected from high water events and ice outs.  


This sign is available free from the DNR for all land managers who maintain access points along non-meandered streams. The signs are not required, and won't prevent all abuse of private lands, but it is hoped that they will help communicate responsibilities and expectations.  To request signs, contact WT Coordinator John Wenck at or 515-281-8085.


Schedule of Expanded IDNR 2014 WT Education Programs Begins in May
West Nish Stream Stomp Kids

Kids enjoying a look at the variety of fish
found in the West Nishnabotna River.

Photo by Emily Haase.


Louisa CCB's May 11 "Mother's Day on the Marsh (MOM)," a leisurely Sunday morning naturalist-guided paddle on the Odessa WT, will kick off the 2014 WT Education Programs.  Details for several more events in late May are being finalized, and we will forward information as soon as it is available.


Many presentations and locations have already been scheduled, but the IDNR continues to encourage and consider additional requests. 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. Contact Todd Robertson, Outreach Coordinator for DNR River Programs, at 515-979-9538 or


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.


Baja California: A Lesson for Iowa Water Trails 

Baja 2014 Joyce Schoon
The Baja environment, clear water, and
unique landforms make for interesting paddling.
Photo by Joyce Schoon.


Bill & Joyce Schoon have enjoyed kayaking and photography throughout the Midwest, along with the coasts of Maine, the Carolinas, and Texas.  Bill shared this "lesson-learned" from their most recent photo-paddling adventure in the Sea of Cortez along Baja.


Joyce and I recently returned from Loreto, Mexico, where we paddled the Sea of Cortez for five days.  A description of this trip, along with a video is for different distribution, and is forthcoming. 


The lesson from Mexico is this:  "If you care at all about your water, you will take care of it."


We were on this trip with eight other people plus four Mexican guides.  Joyce and I, along with two of the guides, were the only real paddlers.  The others had some paddling experience, along with extensive travel/adventure experience (hiking, backpacking, horseback camping, etc.), and would be considered environmentalists.


We paddled in a huge National Park that was absolutely pristine, and they are working really hard to keep it that way.  Geologically, this area is young volcanic and very, very fragile.  Our guides were well-schooled and made sure we knew what to do and what not to do.  Here is the list: 

  • Whatever you carry in, you carry out, and nothing more.
  • You do not pick up rocks, shells, wood, or animal or plant life.
  • There are only designated places to land and camp, and they must be reserved in advance.
  • There are no fires allowed, even though there is an abundance supply of driftwood.
  • There are clearly marked trails for hiking, and you don't step off of them.
  • You can pull a leaf to smell, but not a branch.
  • You could pee on the beach, but not above the high tide mark.  Our ladies were provided a bucket behind a rock-a big rock.
  • All solid waste went in a different bucket behind the big rock.
  • Used toilet paper was burned in a metal pan and the ashes put in the solid waste bucket.
  • All cans and bottles were kept to be recycled.
  • All organic waste (orange peels, etc.) were kept separate for composting.
  • All solid trash was collected and carried out.
  • The only things we left behind were footprints.

In five days paddling, I saw one crushed coke can which I picked out of the water, and one plastic cup which had washed up on the beach.


Our Iowa waterways should be half as well taken care of.


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Iowa Students Receive National Honors in 2014 "River of Words"
"River of Words" is a unique & creative way
to engage youth in the natural environment.


Four Iowa students have received national recognition for art and poetry they submitted to the 2014 River of Words Environmental Poetry and Art Contest.


The Grand Prize in Art (10th to 12th Grades) was awarded to 18-year-old Hannah Harms of Waverly for her artwork titled, "Genesis: A Drop of Life."  Three additional Iowa students were also selected from thousands of entries and recognized as national finalists:

  • Emily Delleman, 15, of Davenport  for her artwork titled, "Drought"
  • Elizabeth Heidt, 17, of Davenport for her artwork titled, "Have Confidence in Your Reflection"
  • Mitchell Oberfoell, 10, of West Des Moines, for his poem titled, "Spiderlings."

"Having Iowa students selected as a grand prize winner and as finalists really shows the talent of Iowa's youth and their appreciation for natural resources," said Jacklyn Gautsch, Iowa DNR River of Words coordinator.  "Iowans should be proud of the accomplishments of these young people."


All national winners and finalists are posted on the River of Words website at: Following the national competition, all Iowa entries are returned to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, which holds an annual statewide contest.  For more information about Iowa River of Words, visit The 2014 Iowa winners will be posted in May.


The annual River of Words contest is a program of the Center for Environmental Literacy at Saint Mary's College of California. The River of Words program inspires youth to translate their observations about their local watersheds and environment into creative expressions in poems and art.


New Mobile Museum Could Be Part of Your WT Programming

UI Mobile Museum 2014
University of Iowa Photo


The UI Pentacrest Museums (Old Capitol Museum and the Museum of Natural History) and Office of the State Archaeologist are bringing some of the state's natural and cultural treasures to communities across the state in a new Mobile Museum. Launched in April 2014, the Mobile Museum will visit schools, libraries, RAGBRAI, the Iowa State Fair, and other special events across the state.


The Mobile Museum features an array of exhibits that focus on three very different eras in Iowa's history.

  • Iowa's Ice Age Giants explores the great mammals that roamed the state during the last ice age and their sudden extinction.
  • Glenwood: Iowa's Ancient Agriculturalists tells the story of the Glenwood culture centered in the Loess Hills and their connections to the Iowa landscape through agriculture.
  • Cornerstones focuses on the founding of Iowa and writing of its constitution, the building of the Old Capitol building, and the creation of the University of Iowa.

The museum also features a new interactive digital wall that allows visitors to learn about UI space research, the Santos Virtual Soldier program, and the UI Flood Center's sophisticated flood-prediction mapping systems, as well as additional information on Iowa archaeology.


UI educators and curators can combine mobile museum visits with education programs or speaker visits for any age group or event. Email to invite the University of Iowa Mobile Museum to your community or event.  More info and photos at


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Water Trail Reflections & Resources - Parks & Recreation Perspective

Kingfisher Right

Your IWTA editor stumbled upon another WT perspective while passing time in a waiting room.  I later learned that Parks & Recreation Magazine has been around for nearly 50 years, informing park professionals of key issues, trends, and ways to better serve the public.  The July 2013 issue included a cover story titled "For the Love of Water Trails," in which author Sue Abbott discussed how the creation of a water trail can provide new recreational opportunities for your community.  Here's an excerpt:


"It's the Experience that Counts


"While most of us can daydream about getting out on the Lake Tahoe Water Trail, or an Okefenokee Canoe Trail, chances are we are going to become most familiar with the waterways close to home.  This is a good thing!


"No matter what the craft-canoe, kayak, raft, rowboat, scull, sailboat, stand-up[ paddleboard or small motorboat-experiencing life from sea level offers a different perspective on the world, and maybe even ourselves.  You could say that water trails are pathways to discovery, connecting us to history, our heritage, the sea life below us and the nature all around us.  They are routes to better health and wellness, getting us acquainted with our own muscle power and our powers of observation.  And noticing our surroundings-perhaps with the help of interpretive materials-often leads to greater awareness, care and respect, instilling a sense of stewardship for the environment around us."


To read the full article, you may have to register at  Or maybe you could visit with some of your friends in the park and recreation business?


WhereIsItWhere Is It? Quiz ANSWER
Des Moines River Bridge GStark 2014
View of the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge over te Des Moines River in Downtown Des Moines.  Photo by G.Stark

One of several focal points of The Principal Riverwalk, the iconic Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge spans the Des Moines River.  The popular pedestrian bridge along Center Street in downtown Des Moines links the east and west sides of the city at the northern edge of the riverwalk loop. The bridge features two separate pathways - one for walkers/joggers and one for bicyclists. The Principal Riverwalk, completed in early 2013, has helped strengthen the heart of the city, unite the east and west sides of downtown, encourage outdoor recreation, and spur additional development in the area.


Each year, local citizens nominate notable women from Iowa's history for recognition on the bridge. A committee reviews the nominations and selects several to honor. Selections include women who have made a positive impact on the lives of others, achieved extraordinary accomplishments, inspired future generations and who have been agents of change for the betterment of the state of Iowa, our nation or the world. Plaques will be added to the bridge to recognize the honorees. In October 2013 the first four Iowa Women of Achievement honorees were announced:


"Allow for a way to get people on the water" was one of four key themes expressed by the community during the original feasibility study for the Riverwalk. While "on the water" activities are not part of the first phase of The Principal Riverwalk, it is hoped that future development of the area will focus on ways to make the water accessible for recreation.


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WhatIsItWhat Is It? Quiz ANSWER
Wild Parsnip Flowering ISU
Flowering wild parsnip (second year).  Photo by Iowa State University.


Which of the following is true of Wild Parsnip:

  • Can cause a more severe skin reaction than poison ivy?
  • Can leave skin discoloration or scars for several years?
  • Sap contains chemicals called psoralens, which increase the skin's sensitivity to sunlight, resulting in a skin burn?
  • Unlike poison ivy, wild parsnip affects everyone?
  • Began in Wisconsin, is spreading through Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota?
  • Is especially prevalent along roadsides, a high risk for mowing crews?
  • Favors sunny conditions like river banks and accesses?
  • Is closely related to the carrot family?
  • Is a native of Eurasia, but a rapidly-spreading invasive in the Midwest?
  • Is called the "evil sister of Queen Anne's lace?"
  • Is sometimes referred to as yellow mustard or wild mustard?
  • Looks similar to Prairie Parsley?
  • Typically has a two-year life cycle?
  • Was recorded in Wisconsin as early as 1896?
    Wild Parsnip Rosette ISU
    Wild parsnip "rosette" (first year).  Photo by ISU.
Unfortunately, all of the above questions are true.  So, other than locking ourselves indoors, how are we going to cope?
  • Learn to identify wild parsnip (similar to Queen Anne's lace, but the flowers are yellowish-green, not white)..
  • Be aware of the potential, and avoid contacting wild parsnip.
  • Long sleeves and long pants will provide some protection, but wash them when you return from an outing.
  • If contact is made, wash your skin ASAP to remove any oil.
  • Initial symptoms may be similar to poison ivy, so inform your doctor if you know you most likely contacted wild parsnip.
  • Use extreme caution if participating in efforts to remove or control wild parsnip populations.

Links to more info about wild parsnip:

We Hope That You Are Enjoying the IWTA Newsletter
Learning is a first step toward awareness, understanding, support, and (hopefully) commitment.
Our thanks to everyone who provided information for this issue, with a special nod to Bill and Joyce Schoon for sharing insight from their photo-paddling adventure to Baja.  
Special thanks to everyone who is working to deliver the WT Education Programs.  It takes a lot of cooperation by the DNR, local organizers, and the presenters to plan, schedule, and execute the programs, but they have received extremely positive reviews from those who attend and participate.
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.  We have grown to over 1000 subscribers, an indication of strong interest in our WTs, but the true 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