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Iowa Water Trails Association 
September, 2014  
In the Eddy: Planning Items Not In the Newsletter
Planning for Early 2015?
End-of-Season at Your Paddling Retailer
Sep 3-9 IDNR Water Quality Meetings Around Iowa
Sep 10 Disabled Veteran Kayaking/Canoeing Opportunity Riverside
Sep 14 Wildlife Paddle ALREADY FILLED!
Sep 17-18 Last IDNR Canoe School Session of 2014
Sep 19 Fish Assemblage & Sampling Beuna Vista County
Sep 20 Freshwater Mussels Program Lyon County
Sep 20 River Critters & Wildlife Program Forest City
Sep 20 Native American Village Life Program Bentonsport
Sep 20 Iowa River Cleanup Needs Volunteers
Sep 27 Fish Assemblage Program & Fish Hatchery Tour Manchester
Sep 27 Middle River WT Paddle Madison County
Oct 1 SSNHA Photography Workshop Fredericksburg
Oct 9 Geologic History of Iowa River Valleys Program Decorah
Oct 9 Iowa Environmental Council Annual Conference Des Moines
Oct 11 Annual Fall Colors Float Jones County
Oct 23 Archaeology & Cultural History ProgramDecorah
2014 IDNR WT Education Programs for Fall-Winter
Where Is It? Quiz Answer
What Is It? Quiz Answer
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Iowa Rivers Revival, Protector of Rivers, Streams & Watersheds

Report Kills & Spills Logo  
Keep It Clean Sticker IDNR

Yes, we're entering September--kids in school, football games, gardens beginning to fade. You may have also noticed that campaigning is underway for a variety of local, county, state, and national offices.  It's an "off-year" election (not presidential), but retirements among our national senators and representatives have precipitated openings on down the ballot.  Several state legislators have also retired, providing openings for new voices.  What was considered a slam-dunk gubernatorial race is somewhat competitive.


None of this is "news," so why note it in the IWTA Newsletter?  The world of politics is very noisy.  Candidate ads, big funding sources, well-financed special interest groups constantly hurl charges, counter-charges, accusations and exaggerations in support of their positions on a narrow range of issues, including employment, economic growth, education, taxes.  It is left to the rest of us to calmly ask candidates for their positions regarding conservation, natural resource protection, water quality.


When choosing between candidates, we should be able to compare their outdoor ethics, among other factors.  What do they believe, what have they done, what do they propose to do? Do they have formal positions?  Do they engage or avoid these issues during debates?


IWTA isn't advocating for any candidate or position, but we do advocate for an informed electorate.  It is often said that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Maybe it could result in a new bearing, regardless of which candidate or party is elected.  It's time to ask questions, be aware, and get involved.

September is a wonderful time of year to float our Water Trails, hike adjoining land trails, visit historical sites, and definitely a time to be clicking that camera shutter.


We hope to see you out there! 


Visit the IWTA website: 


And please keep us informed via email at:  



Where Is It? Quiz
GRR 2014 Lock Dam 10 GStark
Where Is It?
Make your best guess, then click on:
What Is It? Quiz
Swamp Milkweed Kent Pk  Lois Albrecht

What Is It?
Make your best guess, then click on: 

In the Eddy:  Quick Summary of Planning Items

PLANNING CALENDAR:  neotropical flyways

(Dates & Events Not in Newsletter Articles.)


September: Watch for migrating songbirds coming through Iowa.


September 1; Labor Day Holiday (Monday).

September 8; Full Moon, Sunset 7:28, Moonrise 7:08

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

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

October 8; Full Moon. Sunset 6:36, Moonrise 6:52


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Planning For & Around Winter Events in Early 2015

Chris Anderson NE Iowa PFest 2014 GStark
Black Hawk County Naturalist Chris Anderson advocated for children in the outdoors and "thrifty" paddling gear selection during the inaugural NE Iowa Paddlefest.

Whether you want to plan to avoid conflicts, plan to attend, or plan to participate as a presenter or exhibitor, here are the dates of some key paddling (and WT-related) events in early 2015.  Most of these events are recruiting low- or no-cost presenters, and offer opportunities for exhibits, displays, or a table for literature about your WT, event, or paddling group.  These events also provide a valuable and enjoyable opportunity to develop or renew contacts across our community.


January 24; Paddle Day at Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids.  Will be the 8th annual gathering of paddlers and friends of the outdoors.  Send your speaker or topic recommendations to Education Facilitator Jan Aiels at     Also, let Jan know if your organization would like to have a water &/or paddling-related display.  

February 6-8; Paddle and Pedal Expo at CanoeSport America in Indianola.  Grand-Daddy of the Iowa paddler gatherings, considered an "Iowa Homecoming" for supporters of paddling and river stewardship. Forward program or presentation suggestions to owners Jeff and Casey Holmes: 

February 8-11; PRRSUM 6th Annual UMSRS in Dubuque. Deciphering all those letters, the Partnership for River Restoration and Science in the Upper Midwest will host its 6th annual Upper Midwest Stream Restoration Symposium in Dubuque.  With stream restoration showing signs of gaining traction in the Iowa legislature, this could be a unique and convenient opportunity to network with practitioners in our "neighborhood."  More info at 

March 13-15; Canoecopia in Madison, WI.  Not an Iowa event, but draws a lot of WT folks from our state, and our Iowa exhibitor presence is growing. 

March 21; NE Iowa Paddlefest in Cedar Falls.  Second year for this event, based on a successful first.  Forward ideas for topics or presenters to Black Hawk County Naturalist Chris Anderson:   


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End-of-Season Opportunities at Paddling Retailers

S2S Retail 2014 G.Stark
Paddling retailers are offering late-season sales, and we're approaching the end of their scheduled training sessions and free test-paddles.  If you need to upgrade your skills or gear to better enjoy our Water Trails, now is a good time to "get with it." 


Seatasea Watersports in Cedar Rapids will host their last free kayak demo of the season on September 6. Demo info at:   Boat inventory at: 


CrawDaddy Outdoors in Waverly will host their last free kayak demo days September 4, 18, 27.  Check their website for upcoming trips and special promotions: 


CanoeSport America in Indianola will host training sessions and local tours through September, with a couple of final opportunities in October.  Check out the events, sales, and winter trips to warmer locations: 


Sep 3-9; IDNR Water Quality Meetings Around Iowa--Iowans Invited to Help Set Water Quality Goals for Streams

Learning to test water quality in an IRR Master River Stewards class.

Iowans are invited to attend one of six public water quality meetings held by the DNR across the state. The DNR is gathering Iowans' thoughts on improving the state's water quality goals as part of its three-year review of water quality standards and goals.  The meetings are part of the triennial review process set forth in the federal Clean Water Act, providing opportunity to the public to help set state goals for streams and rivers.


"This is the public's opportunity to tell us what is important to them," said Rochelle Weiss, DNR water quality standards coordinator. "We want to hear Iowans' concerns about potential pollutant levels, how streams are being used and how to protect existing water quality."

The triennial review process ensures water quality standards, as listed in Chapter 61 of the Iowa Administrative Code, are up-to-date. Following the public comment period, the DNR will meet with the stakeholder technical advisory team to consider the public's suggestions.  After identifying issues, the DNR will develop a work plan to address the concerns.


Public meetings will be held at the following locations and times in city alphabetical order:


Atlantic; Sep 3, 10 am to 12 pm, Rock Island Depot, 102 Chestnut St..


Clear Lake; Sep 9, 4 to 6 pm, Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce Lakeview Room, 10 North Lakeview Drive.


Independence; Sep 9, 10 am to 12 pm, Falcon Civic Center, 1305 Fifth Ave. NE.


Spencer; Sep 3, 4 to 6 pm, Spencer Public Library (Round Room), 21 East Third St.


Washington; Sep 4, 10 am to 12 pm, Washington Public Library (Nicholas Stoufer Room), 115 West Washington.


West Des Moines; Sep 8, 10 to 12 pm, West Des Moines Public Library (Community Room), 4000 Mills Civic Parkway.


Those not able to attend a meeting may submit written comments by Oct. 15 to:
Rochelle Weiss, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 502 East Ninth St., Des Moines, IA 50319, or by e-mailing

More information, including the full text of Chapter 61, is available at  under "Rule Reference Documents."

For more information contact Rochelle Weiss, DNR Water Quality Standards Coordinator at 515-281-4736 or


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Sep 7; "Annual Pelican Festival" at Coralville Reservoir

Pelicans Coralville Res Bill Joyce Schoon
Pelican squadron fly-by at Coralville Reservoir.
Photo by Bill & Joyce Schoon.

Iowa's famous Pelican Festival will be held from 11 am-4 pm on Sunday, September 7, at the Iowa DNR Hawkeye Wildlife Area, 2564 Amana Road NW, Swisher, IA 52338.


Local birding experts will be on hand to assist visitors in viewing these huge, white waterbirds through binoculars and spotting telescopes.  Birds present on the lake may number from a few hundred to a few thousand, depending on the fall migration's progress.  Presentations about pelicans and other bird or nature-related topics will be held every half-hour from 12:30 to 3:00 pm.  


A number of conservation organizations and other groups will staff displays, some with merchandise for sale, while food, snacks and beverages will be sold by Boy Scout Troop #211.  Kids may get free face paintings by Funny Face Designs.  This annual event is hosted by Iowa Audubon, the Iowa City Bird Club, US Army Corps of Engineers, Iowa DNR, Johnson County Conservation Board, and Cedar Rapids Audubon Society.  


Be sure to attend this fun and educational event about one of Iowa's most magnificent migrating birds.  See Iowa Audubon news at: 


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Sep 10; Disabled Veteran Kayaking/Canoeing Opportunity at National VA TEE Tournament in Riverside 

Vets Paddle Riverside Footpegs GStark
Seatasea staff adjusting cockpit fit. "Partner boat" standing by.

While not a true WT event, this activity could be the inspiration for similar initiatives on Water Trails across Iowa.  It is fueled by volunteers who are willing to share their boats, gear, time,and experience in support of our military veterans. And, as any of the volunteers will explain, your reward is in hearing a lot of appreciative comments and heading home with a strong sense of personal satisfaction.


The TEE Tournament provides eligible Veterans with an opportunity to participate in therapeutic adaptive sporting activities which demonstrate that having a visual or physical disability need not be an obstacle to an active, rewarding life. The first TEE Tournament was held in June 1994 in Nauvoo, Illinois, at the Great River Bend Golf Course. The inaugural event drew 36 legally blind Veterans from six Midwestern states. The event was moved to the Iowa City area in 1995 and has been held there ever since.  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) endorsed this event in 2008 and it became one of VA's six national rehabilitation programs for Veterans. The event has expanded to include not only Veterans who are legally blind, but also amputees, those who use wheelchairs, and Veterans with other disabilities.  For Veterans from coast to coast, this event continues to grow in both level of involvement and popularity each year.


The Vets Paddle is an "alternative activity," (others include bowling and horseback riding) to expand the variety of experiences offered to the participating Veterans beyond golf.  The VA introduced paddling in 2009, with equipment contracted from out of state.  Beginning in 2010, the event became a totally volunteer effort, combining the resources of Seatasea Watersports and members of the Saukenuk and Sticks In the Water paddler groups.  Volunteers are now compromised of paddlers from many parts of Iowa, linked via email, recruiting friends to maintain the "pool."


The TEE Tournament draws approximately 200 veterans, each accompanied by a support person.  Participation in the Vets Paddle is limited to 50 Vets, split between morning and afternoon sessions.  Volunteers assist with PFD-fitting and launching/recovery on shore, or partner and coach Vets on the water, providing encouragement and a safety presence in both areas.  VA medical staff members assist the transport of mobility-impaired individuals, ensure proper hydration, and provide other support as needed. 


While cool or wet weather can decrease Vet participation on the day of the event, the goal of organizers is to have approximately 25 volunteers and 50 boats on hand, along with adequate numbers of paddles and PFDs.  Experienced paddlers generally prefer narrower touring boats, but the Veterans, who may experience balance issues, generally do better in wider recreation kayaks.  The volunteer network has been able to increase the number of

Vets Paddle Riverside Launch GStark
Volunteers adjusting PFDs & assisting Vets into boats.

borrowed rec boats, often from supportive folks who cannot escape their day jobs on a Wednesday.


This year's Vets Paddle will be held from 8:00 am - 3:30 pm on Wednesday, September 10, at the sand pit across Hwy 22 from Riverside Casino, Riverside, IA.  Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Gregg Stark in advance at   More info about the TEE Tournament can be found at: http://www1,   

Photos by G.Stark  

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Sep 14; "Wildlife Paddle," Des Moines River WT, Keosauqua to Bonaparte--EVENT FILLED

Lower Des Moines
Paddler enjoying the Lower Des Moines River WT.  G.Stark photo.

(This event has been rescheduled from July 12 and again from July 26, and is ALREADY FILLED.)


Spend a delightful day on the Des Moines River learning about the creatures that live there from wildlife biologist Dr. Jim Pease. The paddle will be held Sunday, September 14, from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM beginning at the Keosauqua Boat Ramp and ending at the Bentonsport Boat Ramp. The event is free but pre-registration is required and participation is limited to 20 boats.


Pease, a Burlington native who has paddled southeast Iowa rivers since the age of 12, is now a wildlife and interpretive specialist who will provide an entertaining and educational experience on the leisurely 9-mile paddle. From birds and mammals to trees and shrubs, Jim knows them, and knows how to help you understand their relationship with the watershed.  


Pease brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as a teacher, interpreter, writer, consultant, director of the Master Conservationist program, developer of Iowa's new Master River Stewards program, and a regular guest on Iowa Public Radio's "Talk of Iowa" program.


A limited number of canoes and kayaks are available at no charge for participants who don't have their own. The paddle is open to everyone, but children under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Registration and additional information are available at or by calling (641) 472-6177. A packet of detailed information about the trip, including a map and shuttling instructions is available for download on the website.


The Lower Des Moines River Water Trail is one of 19 designated water trails in Iowa. This paddling trip is cosponsored by Pathfinders RC&D and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 


Sep 17-18; IDNR Canoe School--Last Session of 2014

Iowa DNR Logo

The last two-day Canoe School of 2014 will cover skills, hazard and river feature identification, teaching to different learning styles, and risk management. The course 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


Sep 19; "Fish Assemblage & Sampling," Little Sioux River, Linn Grove Dam, Buena Vista County

Buena Vista County Logo Northwest Iowa Planning and Development Commission and Buena Vista Conservation will offer a special program on "Fish Assemblage & Sampling," at 1:00 pm on Friday, September 19, at the Linn Grove Dam in Buena Vista County.


Join Ben Wallace, Iowa Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist, for a demonstration of electro-shock fish collection techniques, and identification of the fish species collected.  Ben will describe the unique features of each of the fish species collected and discuss how each fits into the Little Sioux River ecosystem.  The goal is to raise awareness of the types of organisms with which river users share the water.  


This event is free, but preregistration is required.  Call Buena Vista County Conservation at 712-295-7985 by Thursday, September 18 at 4 pm. The electro fishing program is subject to weather and water conditions, please call the conservation office the day of the program to confirm it will be held. 


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


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Sep 20; "Freshwater Mussels" Program, Lake Pahoja, Lyon County

Mussel PG
Pistol Grip Mussel
Northwest Iowa Planning and Development Commission will offer a special program on "Freshwater Mussels," at 11:00 am on Saturday, September 20, at the West Shelter at Lake Pahoja,1831 Buchanan Ave, Inwood, IA 51240 


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.


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.


This event is free, but preregistration is requested.  Call Lyon County Conservation at 712-472-2217.


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


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Sep 20; "River Critters & Wildlife" Program, Forest City, Winnebago County

Join former ISU professor Jim Pease as he introduces us to the many different kinds of wildlife that we can see along our rivers! Jim has an entertaining way of teaching people about the outdoors, and has shared his expertise through various publications, TV segments, podcasts, and a regular monthly program on Iowa Public Radio. Now, you can hear him in person!


This hour-long presentation will begin at 3:00 PM in the basement meeting room of the Titonka Savings Bank at the corner of Highway 69 and "J" Street in Forest City. 


The program will be free, and there is no need to preregister. For questions, contact Lisa Ralls,(641) 565-3399, or email


This event is cosponsored by Winnebago County Conservation and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 


Sep 20; "Native American Village Life" Program, Bentonsport 

Here's a program for kids and their parents! Join the energetic and entertaining Jefferson County Conservation Naturalist Therese Cummiskey for a journey into the history of Native American village life along the Des Moines River. The event will include hands-on participation trying out the various tools used by Native Americans for all aspects of everyday living. There will be different stations including grinding corn, making bowls out of gourds, cleaning a deer hide, and throwing an atlatl.This program is geared toward elementary age children but younger kids can enjoy the activities with a parent/guardian.


Join us from 10:00 am-Noon on Saturday, September 20 at the Bentonsport Shelter, right on the river in Bentonsport, Iowa  GOOGLE MAP  This program is aimed at elementary school aged children but can be enjoyed by younger children with an adult. This official water trail event is FREE, thanks to funding from the Iowa DNR Rivers Program. 

Registration is not required but will help us know how many to expect.  Register online 


For more information, call Pathfinders RC&D at 641-472-6177 or visit 


This official water trail event is co-sponsored by Pathfinders RC&D and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.


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Sep 20; Iowa River Cleanup Seeking Volunteers

Iowa River Cleanup 2012
Boatload of tires during a previous Iowa River Cleanup.
Volunteers are being sought for the annual Iowa River Clean-up, in which participants in canoes and on riverbanks will haul trash out of a 9.5-mile section of the Iowa River from Iowa City to Hills. This year's clean-up is scheduled for Saturday, September 20.


Volunteers who have their own canoes are invited to register and join the launch at 7:30 a.m. at Sturgis Boat Ferry, located on S. Riverside Drive just south of Hwy. 6 in Iowa City. A limited number of canoes will also available to loan to volunteers who sign up to help and request a canoe before September 12.


Volunteers are also needed to work on land the day of the clean-up, helping to clear trash from riverbanks, offload junk from canoes, and sort collected materials for recycling. Those interested in helping are asked to meet at noon on September 20 at Hills Access, a rural park located adjacent to the river one-half mile east of Hills on 520th Street.


The Sturgis Ferry-to-Hills Access section of the river is part of the Iowa River Water Trail, which offers scenic views of the river, the rural countryside, and local wildlife as it makes its way to the Mississippi River. The clean-up, which is being organized by the City of Iowa City Stormwater Division, Iowa Flood Center, and the Johnson County Conservation Board, is a National Rivers Clean-up-sanctioned event. The goal of the volunteer effort is not only to clear trash and debris from the river, but also to protect the future and integrity of this water resource.


To register as a volunteer or to request a canoe for the event, visit For more information about the event, contact  or call 319/541-2385. Paddlers may also call Dan Ceynar at 319/321-1755 for more information.


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Sep 27; "Fish Assemblage Program," Manchester Fish Hatchery, Manchester in Delaware County

DNR Photo.

Good to Great Manchester will offer a special program on "Fish Assemblage," from 9:00-11:00 am on Saturday, September 27, at the Manchester Fish Hatchery, 22693 205th Ave, Manchester, IA 52057.


Join Megan Thul and Mark Winn for a tour of the hatchery and a fish shocking presentation along Spring Branch Creek, which runs through the hatchery grounds.


Megan Thul works with the Iowa DNR Fisheries River Research Group, holds a BA from  Iowa State University in Natural Resource Ecology and Management, and is currently completing a MS in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences from South Dakota State University.  She has a strong background in stream fish assemblages gained through experience on the Mississippi River and rivers and streams of Iowa.  


Mark Winn is a 1991 graduate of Iowa State University (Fisheries and Wildlife Biology) with twenty four years of experience working within fisheries with the Iowa DNR. He is a Fisheries Technician and has been part of the Manchester Fish Management Team for over twenty years. Mark has diverse knowledge in working with and managing many resources across N.E. Iowa that include both warm-water streams and cold-water trout streams, interior rivers and lakes and ponds.


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 September 25.  After that date, please contact Mary Hyland, (641) 373-6302.


The Manchester Trout Hatchery, located 4 miles SE of Manchester, Iowa has a long and storied history.  The first fish were produced here in the 1890's and until 1976 was operated by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service at which time it was given to the state of Iowa via a land trade.  Since 1976 it has functioned as Iowa's trout brood stock station where trout are spawned, incubated and hatched annually to produce over 600,000 fish for stocking in Iowa waters.  The facility also functions as the Iowa DNR NE Regional Office for Fisheries, Wildlife and Law Enforcement.


The office is home to the Manchester fisheries management team, who are responsible for fisheries management activities in the following counties:  Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Delaware, Dubuque and Jackson.  Station activities include:

  • Spawning, incubating and hatching of three trout species: rainbow, brook and brown.
  • Rear and supply fingerling trout of all species to both Big Spring and Decorah hatcheries.
  • Rear fingerling trout of all species for annual put-and-grow stocking program.
  • Rear and stock catchable size rainbow and brook trout for Iowa's stream and urban put-and-take programs.
  • Building, grounds and equipment maintenance.
  • A myriad of public relations duties including:  Guided tours, public speaking presentations, multi-media contacts, school career days, educational science class assistance and fish clinics.

For more information about the Manchester Fish Hatchery and a trout-spawning video, go to: 

For more information about the city of Manchester, go to: 


This event is cosponsored by Good to Great Manchester, Delaware County Conservation, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 


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Sep 27; "Middle River Water Trail Paddle," Madison County

Middle River Roseman CLiechty
One of the famous "Bridges of Madison County."  Photo by Carol Liecty.
Enjoy a 13 mile paddle from Pammel Park Ford to Holliwell Covered Bridge.  Meet at Pammel Park Ford at 9:00 am, shuttle canoes vehicles from there.  Bring a sack lunch for a lunch break at Middle River County Park.  Participants are encouraged to bring drinking water and sun protection. 


This event is free, but registration is required.  Contact Madison County Conservation at 515-462-3536 or email 


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Oct 1; SSNHA Workshop: "Discover How to Use Photos to Tell Your Story," Fredericksburg

Camera Line Art Image
It's said a photo is worth a 1,000 words, but what is your photo saying?  Silos and Smokestacks Natural Heritage Area has organized a workshop to help you learn the nuts & bolts of photography: composition, rule of thirds, and much more. Whether you have a point-and-shoot or a high-end digital camera, these simple skills will help you create more engaging photographs with any subject matter.  In a fast paced society, we have to be mindful of how we are capturing our audience's attention. Are the pictures on your website, on your brochure, in your exhibit, conveying the message you want for your site?


The workshop will be held from 10 am-3 pm on Wednesday, October 1 in Fredericksburg.  Participants may submit up to three photos when they register, from which a few will be selected to see "what are they saying." Participants are also encouraged to bring their camera, to practice newly acquired skills and share work.


Leading this discovery will be Charley Starnes, Photo Salon Superintendent for the Iowa State Fair and Director of Living History Farms Annual Photography Day. Charley's photographs have been featured in the Iowa Travel Guide and the cover of the Silos & Smokestacks' Visitor's Guide.


There is a fee for this workshop; registration deadline September 24.  Learn more about Silos and Smokestacks Natural Heritage Area and its partner network: 


Oct 9; "Geologic History of Iowa River Valleys," Program, Decorah

NE Iowa RCD Logo

Learn about the powerful forces which shaped the Iowa we see today. Joe Artz, a Geoarchaeologist with Earthview Environmental, Inc., will discuss the impact of glaciers, lakes, wind & rivers on the geology of the area. Artz will help us travel back through time, gaining a perspective on the prairie, glaciers, and plants & animals which have graced the landscape, exposing a few myths along the way.


This free, public event will begin at 6:30 pm on October 9 in the Decorah Library, 202 Winnebago, Decorah, IA 52101.


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

Click on the link below to register online: 


Online registration will be open through October 7.  After that date, please contact Josh Dansdill, 563-864-7112 or email 


This event is cosponsored by Northeast Iowa RC&D and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.


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Oct 9; "Iowa Environmental Council Annual Conference," Drake University, Des Moines

IEC Logo

The 2014 Annual Conference of the Iowa Environmental Council will be held on Thursday, October 9, at the Olmsted Center Upper Level, Drake University, Des Moines.


The theme of the IEC Conference will be "ENGAGE IN YOUR FUTURE: Creating a healthier, sustainable tomorrow."
This year's conference will delve into the latest developments to Invest in clean water, Expand clean energy and Confront climate change. Keynote Speaker Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project Climate Change Communication, will kick off a day of networking and presentations sharing the latest developments and research in the environmental field.

The Council's conference is known for bringing together a unique cross section of Iowa's environmental community, including the Council's member organizations, to share successes & challenges, and to learn from one another to move  collective efforts forward.


For more info, visit:   or contact Development Director Amanda Samuelson at 515-244-1194 x202 or Communications & Outreach Director Katy Heggen at 515-244-1194 x210.  Discounted registration is available to Council members and students. Early bird registration is available through September 15, 2014.

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Oct 11; Annual Fall Colors Float, Wapsipinicon River, Jones County Conservation

Jones CCB Fall Colors Float 2012 Michele Olson
Jones County Conservation will host its annual Fall Colors Float Saturday, October 11 on the Wapsipinicon River, from the Matsell Bridge Access to the Anamosa Access (above the dam).  Vehicles will be shuttled at 9:00 am, put-in time is 10:00 am.


Enjoy the colors and sights of fall as we paddle down the beautiful Wapsipinicon River.  This stretch of river is known for its beauty, history, and great fishing.  Bring snacks, sunscreen, and cold weather paddling gear.  The historic and scenic General Store Pub at Stone City is a great place to grab a bite to eat - take out here for lunch or bring your sack lunch to eat on the river.


Stone City is about halfway, and will serve as an optional and low/high water takeout.


Pre-registration required:  Please call (319)481-7987 or e-mail by 4:00 pm Thursday, Oct 9.


More info about Jones CCB programs:  


Photo of the 2013 Jones County Fall Colors Float by Michele Olson.

Oct 23; "Archaeology & Cultural History" Program, Decorah

State Archaeologist Logo

Join Elizabeth Reetz, Education Director at the Office of the State Archaeologist, as she discusses Iowa's cultural history and the importance of waterways, such as the Upper Iowa River, to that history.


This free, public event will begin at 6:30 pm on October 23 in the Decorah Library, 202 Winnebago, Decorah, IA 52101.


Elizabeth Reetz holds a BA in Anthropology and an MA in Landscape Archaeology.  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 program is free of charge, but preregistration is requested. 

Click on the link below to register online: 


Online registration will be open through October 21.  After that date, please contact Josh Dansdill, 563-864-7112 or email 


This event is cosponsored by Northeast Iowa RC&D, the UI Office of the State Archaeologist, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.


Expanded IDNR 2014 WT Education Programs Available for Fall & Winter

The "float season" is drawing to a close, but please keep in mind that most of the 2014 topics can be enjoyed as indoor presentations during the fall and winter. Contact Todd Robertson, Outreach Coordinator for DNR River Programs, at 515-979-9538 or


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.


WhereIsItWhere Is It? Quiz ANSWER

The lead photo was taken inside the lock at Lock and Dam 10, not far upstream 

GRR 2014 Blue Bags GStark
Thanks to the efforts Cedar Valley Paddlers "sparkplug" Pam Wolter,
and the support of the Iowa DNR River Programs, each GRR 2014
participant received an Iowa "Keep It Clean, Keep It Fun"
blue trash bag during registration in Prairie du

from Guttenberg, Iowa.  The kayaks and canoes shown are part of a Great River Rumble 2014 floatilla of well over 100 boats which "locked through" Lock & Dam 10 on August 2. 


Approximately 185 paddlers were involved in the weeklong paddling and camping adventure, with up to 132 boats on the water at any point in time.  The trip covered over 110 miles from Prairie duSac, Wisconsin, down the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers, to Guttenberg, Iowa.  At least 51 Iowans participated, along with many folks from the midwest, and a few from as far away as Colorado and California.


The Great River Rumble is an annual weeklong paddling event which began in 1995. Almost all of the trips have been totally or partially on the Mississippi River.


"GRR" operates as a nonprofit organization, with no paid staff. Volunteers handle the planning, logistics, and support.  Volunteer "Landing Chairpersons" coordinate access, camping, sanitation, and meals at each overnight stop. Participants pay a fee to cover the cost of campground rental, shuttle busses, and the trucks which transport the camping gear from one overnight stop to the next. Evening and morning meals are available for purchase, paddlers are responsible for their own lunches.  


Covering up to 150 miles in whatever wind and weather Mother Nature delivers, this is definitely a paddle, not a float.  The first day of GRR 2014 covered 26 miles into wind and rain.  One unique feature of the 2014 trip was the need to paddle upstream on two occasions.  It's a mix of colorful canoes and kayaks, and an even more colorful cast of characters!


Find more info about the Great River Rumble at: 


View a lot more photos of Great River Rumble 2014 at: 


GRR 2014 Sandbar Break GStark
The huge sandbars along the Wisconsin River provided ideal break spots for 100+ boats and paddlers.


Photos by G.Stark 

WhatIsItWhat Is It? Quiz ANSWER
Swamp Milkweed wMonarch Macbride Lois Albrecht
Monarch feeding on Swamp Milkweed at Lake Macbride.


(Lead photo is Swamp Milkweed at Kent Park, by Lois Albrecht. Info below is also by Lois Albrecht.)


In July and August, paddlers will often encounter Swamp Milkweed Asclepias incarnata, (AKA Pink or Rose Milkweed) along the banks of rivers, lakes and marshes, growing up to five feet tall. It is most often a dark pink to mauve color. It prefers a moist to wet soil and probably will not thrive in dry soil. 



This beautiful Iowa native (like most native milkweeds) is important as a food for Monarch Butterfly larvae. The flowers are a very popular nectar source for adult Monarchs, other butterflies and hummingbirds. 



Swamp Milkweed was used by Iowa native peoples for medicinal purposes and as a food source, although it can be toxic if not used properly.

Swamp Milkweed wSwallowtail Macbride Lois Albrecht
Swallowtail on Swamp Milkweed at Lake Macbride.




If you see some while out paddling, it is worth a quick detour for a closer look - it is very photogenic, if you wish to snap a photo! 



Swamp Milkweed is well-behaved in the home garden landscape, as well as lovely. To support the Monarchs and other threatened butterfly and hummingbirds, consider planting some if you have a sunny but moist to wet spot.










Possible (Best) Links: 


Best Plant and Seed Source Links: 


 Photos by Lois Albrecht

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We Hope That You Are Enjoying the IWTA Newsletter
Our special thanks to:
  • Lois Albrecht for sharing her photos and information about Swamp Milkweed for our "What Is It? Quiz."  
  • All of the WT event organizers and presenters who are providing a summer full of Iowa WT education and enjoyment
  • Everyone who provided WT event information and photo support for this issue of the IWTA Newsletter.
And thanks to several people who pointed out my incorrect labeling of a Swamp Milkweed photo as Joe Pyeweed in the recent IWTA "Last Call."  It's good to know that we have subscribers who know better, and care enough to let me know.  And, I have proof that at least 6 people are reading those emails!

We encourage you to keep spreading the message (and the blue bags) to "Keep It Clean. Keep It Fun. For Everyone!" You are making a difference!  Groups interested in helping to display and distribute "Keep It Clean" promotion materials should contact Todd Robertson, Outreach Coordinator for DNR River Programs, at 515-979-9538 or . 


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. That is only possible with your support and participation. 


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


If you are not one of the over 1,000 Iowans who currently subscribe to this free, monthly email IWTA 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