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Iowa Water Trails Association 
August, 2014  
In the Eddy: Planning Items
Now-Aug 17 More Volunteers Needed for IDNR Rivers Booth at Iowa State Fair
Now-Aug 17 Mobile Museum at Iowa State Fair
Aug 15 Aquatic Insect Program, Koser Spring Lake, Cherokee
Aug 16 Archaeology & Cultural History Program, Manchester
Aug 16 2nd Annual River of Dreams Poker Run, Cedar Falls-Waterloo
Aug 16 River Critters & Wildlife Float, Big Sioux River, Sioux County
Aug 16 Annual Floatzilla Event, Quad Cities
Aug 17 Paddling Celebration on South Skunk River WT, Ames
Aug 18-22 Summer Mussel Blitz, Iowa River, Johnson County
Aug 22--24 Annual Lower Wapsi River Cleanup Project
Aug 23 Iowa River Fossils Paddle, Louisa & Johnson CCB
Aug 23 CANCELED--River Critters & Wildlife Float
Aug 23 Amazing Mollusks! Freshwater Mussels Program, Lake Red Rock
Aug 20-21 & Sep 17-18 Iowa DNR Canoe & Kayak Schools
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Iowa Rivers Revival, Protector of Rivers, Streams & Watersheds

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Keep It Clean Sticker IDNR
We appreciate your feedback regarding the IWTA Newsletter and IWTA Website.

Water Trails events are particularly plentiful in the second half of August, so chooset one, two, or a few, and get out there!


Todd Robertson is looking for a few more volunteers for the IDNR Rivers booth at this week's Iowa State Fair. It's fairly easy duty--talking with water trails enthusiasts, handing out maps, swapping paddling stories--so please give Todd a few hours if you can (see article for details and contact info).


We're sorry to report that the Aug 23 River Critters & Wildlife Float, sponsored by Sac County Conservation, has been canceled due to staff changes. We will do our best to inform subscribers if this event is rescheduled.

While we have a lot more work to do, our IWTA Website includes a complete calendar events under the "Events" tab. Updates may be posted on the website before we have a chance to issue a Newsletter or MidMo issue, so please visit us at 


Questions, concerns, suggestions? 

Contact us at   


In the Eddy:  Planning Dates & Misc. Events


(Dates & Events Not in Newsletter Articles.)

August 7-17; Iowa State Fair, visit IDNR building, River Programs, Water Trails, & Project Aware displays.

August 23; Buffalo Creek Trail Day, Buffalo Creek Park in Coggon, nature programs, food & music,


September 1; Labor Day Holiday (Monday).

September 10; Disabled Veteran Kayaking/Canoeing event at Riverside, in conjunction with VA National TEE Tournament, Wednesday, 8:00 am - 3:30 pm, across Hwy 22 from Riverside Casino, Riverside, IA. Volunteers & boats needed; please contact Gregg Stark,

September 20; Annual Iowa River Cleanup, Johnson County. Details tbd, watch for info at

September 23; Autumnal Equinox, 1st Day of Autumn.

September 27; "Middle River Water Trail Paddle," Madison County, 13 miles Pammel Park Ford to Holliwell Covered Bridge, Madison CCB at 515-462-3536 or email

September 27; Annual Upper Iowa River Cleanup, Chimney Rock Campground   



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

August 10, Sun             Sunset 8:14, Moonrise 8:00

September 8, Mon         Sunset 7:28, Moonrise 7:08

October 8, Wed            Sunset 6:36, Moonrise 6:52


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More Volunteers Needed for Iowa DNR Rivers Booth at Iowa State Fair!!!

Iowa DNR Logo

The Iowa State Fair is underway, continuing through August 17, and Iowa DNR River Programs Outreach Coordinator Todd Robertson needs a few more volunteers for a shift or two at the Iowa DNR River Programs booth and display. You will receive a free ticket to the fair and a pretty cool hat! 


Volunteers will talk with the public about water trails & paddling, use the low-head dam model to explain the dangers of these drowning machines, hand out water trail maps, and answer questions about canoe, kayak and stand-up-paddleboard examples on display.


Shifts will be approximately 4 hours.  The DNR building opens at 9:00 am and closes at 9:00 pm. Weekend & evening help would be especially appreciated.


Contact Robertson at or call his DNR work cell at 515-979-9538 to sign up for a shift.  


Now--Aug 17; UI Mobile Museum at Iowa State Fair

UI Mobile Museum 2014

The "Dare to Discover" Mobile Museum is on the road, delivering a unique look at the history and culture of Iowa. 


One of its major stops this summer will be the Iowa State Fair August 7-17. The Mobile Museum will be located just inside Gate 11, at the West end of Grand Avenue. Be sure to check out the facebook & Twitter accounts for updates on hours, activities and giveaways each day!


Email to invite the University of Iowa Mobile Museum to your community or event! 


Aug 15; "Aquatic Insect Program," Koser Spring Lake, Cherokee

Iowa DNR Logo

Join us on Friday, August 15 at 4:00 pm in Koser Spring Lake Park, Cherokee, IA 51012 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, interesting life cycles, and how they are used as bio-indicators for water quality.


This event will be led by Jackie Gautsch, 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, but preregistration is requested.

Click on the link below to register online: 


Online registration will be open through August 13.  After that date, please contact Michelle Bostinelos, (712) 279-6286 or


This event is cosponsored by Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council (SIMPCO) and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Find more information about SIMPCO at


Aug 16; "Archaeology & Cultural History Program," Manchester

Cherie Haury-Artz explains the
use of the atlatl.  G.Stark photo.

Delaware County Conservation will offer a special indoor program on the "Archaeology & Cultural History of Iowa," beginning at 10:00 am on Saturday, August 16 in the Delaware County Nature Center, 2379 Jefferson Road, Manchester, IA 52057. 


Join Cherie Haury-Artz, from the University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist, for an introduction to Iowa's archaeological past, a chronology of its cultural history, and the importance of the state's water trails to people throughout time.  Cherie Haury-Artz works in education and outreach at the UI Office of the State Archaeologist.  She holds a BA and MA in Anthropology, and recently wrote "A River of Unrivaled Advantages: Life Along the Lower Des Moines River."


This program is free of charge, but space is limited, so preregistration is required. 

Click on the link below to register online:  


Online registration will be open through August 11.  After that date, please contact Mary Hyland, (641) 373-6302.


For more information about Delaware County Conservation go to:

For more information about the city of Manchester go to:


This event is cosponsored by Delaware County Conservation, the City of Manchester, the UI Office of the State Archaeologist, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 


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Aug 16; "2nd Annual River of Dreams Poker Run," Cedar River, Cedar Falls--Waterloo

River of Dreams Logo


(Note: Organizers are looking for additional volunteers to help with registration, and to assist people entering or exiting boats. Call Pam Wolter at 319-231-0542.)

The 2nd Annual "River of Dreams" Poker Run, benefiting Magical Mix Kids, will be held in Cedar Falls/Waterloo on Saturday, August 16, 2014. Registration will be at Washington Park at 12:30 pm, with a first launch at 1:00 pm.  This is not a race, but a fun-filled Poker Run for a great cause; all money raised goes to Magical Mix Kids.


The run will start at Washington Park and finish at the Waterloo Boat House, with stops along the way for refreshments, entertainment, and special programming.  There will be prizes for 1st, 2nd, and Last Place Poker Hands, music, food, and door prizes.  If you don't want to float, you can still participate in the poker and fun.


Cedar River WT Course Description

1. Washington Park-Cedar Falls Access: Registration, receive t-shirt, safety information and 1st poker card.
2. George Wyth Park Access: Receive 2nd poker card, activities.
3. Cedar Bend Park Access: Receive 3rd card, activities.
4. Sherwood Park: Receive 4th card, activities.

5. Waterloo Boat House/Exchange Park Access: Receive last card, hand verifications, food by Mark's Smokin Que, and information booths.


For more info on event regulations, maps, and registration, visit or call 319-277-1918.


Magical Mix Kids is a non-profit organization created to provide a worry-free vacation for chronically and terminally ill children of the Cedar Valley area.  The "River of Dreams" Canoe/Kayak Poker Run is sponsored by The Mix 93.5, Cruisin 1250 Real Oldies, 1650 The Fan, Shirt Shack, Cedar Valley Paddlers, Iowa Northland Regional Council of Governments, City of Waterloo, Black Hawk County Conservation, & Iowa DNR.


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Aug 16; "River Critters & Wildlife Float," Big Sioux River, Sioux County Conservation

Jim Pease on Iowa River WT

Sioux County Conservation will offer a special "River Critters & Wildlife Float" on the Big Sioux River, starting at 9:00 am from Oak Grove Park, 4051 Cherry Ave, Hawarden, IA 51023. We expect to arrive at Carrs Landing around 2:00 pm. Pack a lunch to eat somewhere along the river. Drinking water, sun and bug protection are advised. 


The float will be led by Dr. Jim Pease, a wildlife and interpretive specialist who will help you find and understand the wild life along the Big Sioux. Jim has paddled Iowa's rivers since the age of 12, and will help you identify wildlife, from birds and mammals to trees and shrubs, and understand their relationship with the river. We will stop frequently to watch and learn what the river has to teach us. Family groups are welcome.


Jim has over 3 decades of experience as a front-line interpreter, professor of interpretation, and writer and consultant on many interpretive and environmental education projects. He has taught thousands, from youth through senior citizens, in formal and non-formal settings, written dozens of publications for professionals and lay people alike, and communicated by a regular statewide radio program, TV segments, podcasts, and websites. His experience includes teaching interpretation to undergraduate and graduate students for 24 years, research on impact of interpretive and education strategies, over two decades as an Extension Wildlife Specialist, director of Iowa's Nature Mapping and Master Conservationist programs, and fifteen years in youth development and natural resources. He helped design and coordinate Iowa's new Master River Stewards Program with Iowa Rivers Revival. Now retired from Iowa State University, he consults on a variety of projects, leads international trips, and can be heard monthly on Iowa Public Radio's "Talk of Iowa" program.


This event is free, but to ensure safety and a quality experience, participation is limited to 20 boats, so preregistration is required.  Call Sioux County Conservation at 712-552-1047 or email 


This program is cosponsored by Northwest Iowa Planning & Development Commission, Sioux County Conservation, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 


Aug 16; "Annual Floatzilla Event," Quad Cities

Floatzilla 2012


Organizers invite paddlers to join them in the Quad Cities on Saturday, August 16 to participate in this annual event to set a world record, promote paddling on our rivers, and host the largest gathering of canoes, kayaks and paddleboards on the Upper Mississippi River.


Sign up in advance or at Lake Potter in Sunset Park, Rock Island, IL the day of the event.  You can register for any of six launch points around the Quad Cities, depending on paddlers' interests and skill levels.  Guided floats for all skill levels begin at 7AM. Registration prices are per person, not per boat. Go to for details about registration, launch sites, floats, as well as River Roots Live--a free music & rib festival, and other activities.

Guinness World Record breaking attempt for largest flotilla of canoes and kayaks will take place at 2:00 PM in Lake Potter [Mississippi River backwater] at Sunset Park, Rock Island, IL. The current record of 1,920 boats was set in Inlet, NY in 2011.


Registration includes one Floatzilla t-shirt, commemorative boat sticker, registration wrist band, free parking, and free shuttle to and from off-site parking for "floats." T-shirts and boat decals guaranteed for paddlers who register by Aug 6. Shirts and decals are subject to availability for those who register after Aug 6.


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Aug 17; "Paddling Celebration on South Skunk River WT," Ames


(rescheduled from June 22)


The public is invited to a free Paddling Celebration on Sunday August 17 from 2 pm--5 pm at the Cottonwood Shelter in River Valley Park, near the 13th Street dam in Ames, on the South Skunk River.  The event is sponsored by Story County Conservation Board, with event coordination assistance by Skunk River Paddlers. The celebration is designed to introduce people to the Skunk River, both by paddling a short stretch of it, and by talking to local experts who will provide background information. Learn what it would mean if the Story County segment of the South Skunk River would become a state designated water trail.


This free event is open to the public, all ages are encouraged to participate, and no preregistration is needed.  Come to paddle on the river, learn about the water trail designation process, and learn about river cleanups, dam safety, and how the South Skunk ground and surface water are related to the Ames water supply.


Canoes and all necessary paddling equipment will be available all afternoon to paddle on the pool upstream of the 13th Street Dam. The Skunk River Paddlers will be on hand to help with basic paddling skills and assistance while paddling.


Jim Colbert and Bill Simpkins, two local experts with strong interests in the South Skunk, are excited to meet the public, discuss the river, and answer your questions. Colbert leads the Skunk River Navy, an organization of students and adults from ISU and the Ames area which conducts large scale river cleanups. Much of Simpkins' research focuses on South Skunk River aquifer. He is developing groundwater models for the City of Ames. Both Colbert and Simpkins are ISU faculty members.


River Valley Park is located at 725 East 13th Street, Ames 50010.

For more info, contact Mimi Wagner,


Aug 18-22; "Summer Mussel Blitz," Iowa River in Johnson County

Mussel Pile
Photo by Robin Fortney


The 2014 Iowa Mussel Blitz will be on the Iowa River from Coralville Reservoir to Hills, Iowa August 18-22.  


Monday, August 18 will be a training day with educational and fun events planned for the entire week, but the main purpose of the week is to try to get a picture of the mussel population of this stretch of the Iowa River. ALL people interested in Mussels or River Ecology are welcome.


If you would like more information, contact Scott Gritters (; 563-872-4976) or Paul Sleeper (319)350-8399.


Aug 22-24; "Annual Lower Wapsi River Cleanup Project."

Wapsi Cleanup 2012 Scrap Sorter


For 2014, LWRCP will be base-camped at Rock Creek Marina & Campground. Free primitive camping will be provided. Catered meals will be offered. 


Volunteers will be cleaning from McCausland to the convergence with the Mississippi, and on the second day they will cover the Wapsi bayou and Mississippi River sloughs near Rock Creek Marina.  


Canoes, lifejackets, and paddles will be supplied but it is suggested that you bring your own lifejacket for comfort. Registration will be available online soon; info at  


Any questions, please call coordinator Melisa Jacobsen at 563-349-0811.

Photo by LWRCP. 

Aug 23; "Iowa River Fossils Paddle," Louisa & Johnson County Conservation

Iowa River Float LouisaCCB
Louisa CCB Photo


(Rescheduled from July 12)

(This event is full, but contact organizers if you would like to be added to a waiting list.)


Spend a delightful day on the river learning about the geology of the river and the fossils found along the way. This trip will start at Sturgis Ferry Park in Iowa City at 9:00 am, and end nine river miles downstream at Hills Access, just outside of Hills, Iowa around 3:00 pm. Participants will leisurely paddle down the river, stopping at sand and rock bars along the way, looking for evidence of past marine inhabitants of Iowa found in the fossils washed down the river. 


Shuttle and boats (if needed) will be provided. All ages and experience levels are welcome; ages 16 and younger must be accompanied by an adult


This 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!


Registration information: Please call (319)-523-8381 or email to reserve canoes or kayaks, to register your own boat, or to reserve a spot on the shuttle!


More info at 


This trip is an official Iowa River Water Trail event, cosponsored by Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Johnson County Conservation and Louisa County Conservation.


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CANCELED: Aug 23; "River Critters & Wildlife Float," North Raccoon River, Sac County Conservation

The Aug 23 River Critters & Wildlife Float, sponsored by Sac County Conservation, has been canceled due to staff changes.  We will do our best to inform subscribers if this event is rescheduled.


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Aug 23; "Amazing Mollusks! Freshwater Mussels" Program, Lake Red Rock

Mussel PG
Pistol Grip Mussel

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will host a public program titled "Amazing Mollusks! Freshwater Mussels" at the Lake Red Rock Visitor Center at 10:00 am on Saturday, August 23. 


Join Iowa DNR Biologist Jennifer Kurth for a closer look at these "one-footed" wonders roaming our water trails. Freshwater mussels can be found in many rivers and lakes in Iowa.  They are valuable components of freshwater biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, and help keep the water clean by acting as Mother Nature's water filters.  For something that looks like a living rock, they have a unique life cycle and interesting adaptations to the environment in which they live.  Come learn more!


Jennifer 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 an MS in Ecology & Environmental Science from the U of Maine.  She works on streams which are listed as impaired for aquatic life, referring to it as "environmental CSI."  She is currently in the midst of a six-year, statewide survey of freshwater mussels in Iowa rivers and streams.


There is no fee for this program, and preregistration is not required.  Contact the Corps office at (641) 828-7522 or (641) 628-8690 or via email at for more information.


Lake Red Rock US Army Corps of Engineers website:


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


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Aug 20-21 & Sep 17-18; Few Remaining Opportunities to Enroll in Iowa DNR Canoe or Kayak Schools

Iowa DNR Logo

The Iowa DNR Canoe & Kayak School has a few openings in the final Canoe School session of  2014.  While the Aug 20-21 Kayak School appears to be filled, you might ask to be put on a standby list.


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, get more information, or be added to a standby list, contact Todd Robertson, DNR River Programs, 515-979-9538 or email 

  • Aug. 20-21, Kayak School - FILLED!
  • Sept. 17-18 Canoe School

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Please Recommend the IWTA Newsletter to Your Friends!
Softshell Turtle Shell Outside G.Stark
Softshell turtle shell.
Photo by G.Stark
Over 1,000 Iowans currently subscribe to this free, monthly email IWTA Newsletter--we encourage you to help us inform & entertain even more.  Please share the IWTA Newsletter with your friends via the "Forward this email" button, and ask them to click on the convenient "Join Our Mailing List" button to get on board.

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 appreciate your continuing support and encouragement, and encourage you to share your events info, reports, ideas, quiz topics, and suggestions with us at



Gregg Stark
Editor, Iowa Water Trails Association Newsletter