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Iowa Water Trails Association 
November, 2014  
Middle River WT on IPTV Iowa Outdoors
Dec 13 Due Date for IRR River Town Applications
This Space Could Be Yours!
Iowa Outdoors Magazine Holiday Gift Subscription
Feb 8-11 Stream Restoration Symposium at Dubuque
Are You Planning for Early 2015 Events?
2014 IDNR WT Education Programs for Winter
Thanks to Our Subscribers



Iowa Rivers Revival, Protector of Rivers, Streams & Watersheds

Report Kills & Spills Logo  
Keep It Clean Sticker IDNR
Happy Thanksgiving!  As we near the end of  2014, IWTA and the Water Trails community has much for which to be thankful. Public usage of water trails has continued to grow.  WT special events attracted many new people to water trails and broadened their understanding of this special environment. Dam mitigation projects moved forward, reducing hazrds, providing expanded whitewater opportunities, & improving fisheries. Increased public awareness of water trails, watershed management, flood mitigation, and water quality issues is finding its way into local discussions and community planning.  It is all very encouraging, and a credit to folks like you who subscribe to the IWTA Newsletter.

Your IWTA Newsletter editor is thankful for the 1100 people who have chosen to subscribe to this free, monthly email newsletter.  And, he is especially thankful for the information, support, and encouragement provided by WT coordinators, event organizers, DNR staff members, and numerous others who provide feedback, photos, and quiz topics.  Our sincere thanks to you all.

Be careful out there. As we recently noted, November is one of two weather "transition" months (the other is March), in which temperatures, precipitation, and wind can quickly conspire against hikers, campers, hunters, and those on the water. Proper gear, training, partners, and planning should be the order of the day for 
Coming soon to a
 yard near you.
any WT trips. Hunting seasons are underway, so it is 
wise to dress more like a holiday ornament than a wild critter.

Watch for our December IWTA Newsletter. We will be including several items reflecting on 2014 and looking forward to 2015, along with info about at least one major WT event for the coming year.  

Do you have big WT plans for 2015? P
lease keep us informed via email at:  


Visit the IWTA website: 

Middle River WT Now Showing on IPTV Iowa Outdoors

The Middle River Water Trail in Madison County is receiving some valuable publicity in a featured segment of the currently-airing Episode 407 of the Iowa Outdoors show on Iowa Public Television. 


Viewers vicariously experience the beautiful river valley while floating beneath some of the iconic "Bridges of Madison County."  Todd Robertson, IDNR Rivers Program, and other paddlers help explain appeal and value of our Iowa Water Trails.


This episode also includes spectacular aerial photography of the Mississippi River and rock climbing next to the Maquoketa River WT in Jones County.


Check your local TV listings, or visit  

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Dec 13 is Due Date for IRR "River Town of the Year" Applications 

Dubuque WT Robertson
Paddlers and a Water Trail were among many features helping Dubuque earn its 2013 IRR River City award.  Photo by Todd Robertson

Iowa Rivers Revival is accepting applications for the annual River Town of the Year award.  Each year IRR recognizes an Iowa town or city for outstanding efforts to reclaim river-fronts as anchors for economic development, recreation, and good ecological practices.  Cities are invited to apply for the award, or citizens may nominate their town. 

Applications are due by December 13, 2014.   Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to protecting and maintaining river water quality and promoting the river as an asset to the town. The award will be presented in early 2015 at a reception hosted by Iowa Rivers Revival in the River Town of the Year community.
For a detailed application, more information about the award or Iowa Rivers Revival, please go to 

Examples of award criteria include, but are not limited to these activities: 
* River tourism efforts;
* Historic and cultural preservation;
* Providing river access (programs, trails, portages, guide info);
* Annual or seasonal river clean-up or event;
* Partnerships to protect and enhance local river or stream;

Charles City Overview
Charles City's riverfront development & whitewater run
helped the city earn the 2012 IRR River Town award, 
& now serve as a model for other communities.

* Dam mitigation and/or safety awareness;

* Promoting commerce that accommodates river enthusiasts (commercial establishments - - e.g., bed & breakfasts, bait/fish shops, restaurants, canoe boat/rentals).

 Previous "River Town" award recipients are Webster City, Elkader, Coon Rapids, Cedar Falls, Charles City, Central City, Dubuque and Decorah.  The web site has previous winning cities' applications for the award, IRR news releases, and news coverage at

Rosalyn Lehman, Executive Director, Iowa Rivers Revival, 515-724-4093,  | 


Next Month; This Space Could Be Yours! 

Belted Kingfisher Nick Chill

This could be an article about:

  • Your upcoming WT recreation, education, or cleanup event.
  • Your upcoming WT organizing or stakeholder event. 
  • The valuable contributions of your WT volunteers.
  • The oldest or youngest users of your WT.
  • Your most unique WT programming of 2014.
  • Your most successful WT program ideas.
  • What you learned from a less-than-successful WT event.
  • What you believe to be the most valuable contributions of WTs to Iowa.
  • Your request for assistance on how to address a WT challenge, create a WT opportunity,                or solve a WT problem.

Whatever you are proud of, concerned for, or wondering about, your WT community is here to provide support. The IWTA can help you tap in to your resources.


Contact us at 


"Iowa Outdoors" Magazine Could Impact Your Holiday Gift List

Many of you already subscribe to the Iowa Outdoors magazine, but this is the time of year to keep it in mind as a holiday gift.  Articles on outdoor recreation, all forms of trails, flora, fauna, food, and places to explore around the state ensure that it will be enjoyed by just about anyone, and a great resource for kids and grandkids.  Whether that person on your list likes to hunt for a trophy buck, a record crappie, the elusive mushroom, or the perfect photo, the magazine provides ideas and examples to improve their success.


Iowa Outdoors magazine is entertaining, educational, and a great holiday gift!  


February 8-11; PRRSUM 6th Annual Upper Midwest Stream Restoration Symposium in Dubuque


The Partnership for River Restoration and Science in the Upper Midwest chose Dubuque as the site for its 6th annual Upper Midwest Stream Restoration Symposium on February 8-11, 2015.  With stream restoration gaining traction in the Iowa legislature, this could be a unique and convenient opportunity to network with practitioners in our "neighborhood." More info at 


The Upper Midwest Stream Restoration Symposium (UMSRS) presents a unique opportunity to bring together regional stream restoration practitioners so they may share experiences and expertise with colleagues working within similar environmental and land-use conditions.  Attendees from multi-disciplinary backgrounds will hear about innovative restoration designs and approaches as well as have the opportunity to network with the region's leading stream restoration practitioners.


UMSRS looks to provide a collaborative environment which will allow an interdisciplinary approach to stream restoration and other related watershed sciences, hence a broad range of speakers and topics are scheduled.  The symposium will include both oral and poster presentations related to stream restoration, including design and related analyses, alternatives analysis, implementation, and monitoring, as well as the planning, regulatory, and funding context under which stream restoration occurs. Selected presentations will be grouped into topical sessions.


UMSRS will take place over 2.5 days, opening with a Sunday night dinner and a keynote talk. The Symposium is single-track (no concurrent sessions) so that all attendees hear all presentation and discussions. Keynote speakers will open each day followed by oral and poster presentations.  Pre-symposium short courses will also be offered concurrently prior to the kickoff dinner on February 8, 2015.  More information on the short courses will be coming soon.


The Symposium will be held in Dubuque, Iowa at the Hotel Julien. The venue will allow easy access from across the Midwest via air or car. Organizers have worked hard to keep registration costs as low as possible, and provide several options for single or multi-day attendance.  Early bird (discounted) registration is available until November 28, 2014.  Regular registration will be open until January 16, 2015.  Info and registration at


The deadlines for session topics and for oral presentations have already passed, but posters will continue to be accepted until registration closes on January 16, 2015.  If you have any questions or if you need further information please contact: Barbara Heitkamp, UMSRS Coordinator


Presenters have been encouraged to incorporate some of the following in their presentations:

  • Stream Restoration Design and Monitoring
  • Regulation and Stream Restoration:  Where am I and what am I doing here?
  • Water Quality Management in Midwest Streams
  • Assessment and Monitoring of Stream Restoration Success
  • Managing Invasive Species in Midwest River
  • Aesthetics in Stream Restoration
  • Rural Stream Restoration
  • Ecology and Stream Restoration
  • Stream Restoration and Agricultural Drainage
  • Lessons Learned:  Stream Restoration Failures (be a brave soul!)
  • Stream Restoration Education: Using Projects as Teaching Tools for the Public


The Partnership for River Restoration and Science in the Upper Midwest (PRRSUM, pronounced "prism") was created to address river research and restoration in the Upper Midwest, an area of intense activity involving federal and local agencies, watershed managers, consultants, researchers, and educators. Organizers identified a clear demand for discussion, knowledge exchange, and collaboration between these entities, including two-way exchanges between research and practice as well as interagency communication.  Learn more about PRRSUM at


Iowa Winter Events Seeking Your Ideas, Support, & Involvement

Charles City Exhibit
Charles City WhiteWater was one of several Iowa exhibitors at the 2014 Canoecopia in Madison, Wisconsin.  G.Stark photo.

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 early 2015 events of interest to WT organizers or users.  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 3; Iowa Rivers Revival Legislative Reception in Des Moines.  Opportunity to develop legislative relationships, in a casual setting, on behalf of the health of our 70,000 miles of Iowa rivers.  Contact Executive Director Roz Lehman at  Visit IRR at 

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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IDNR 2014 WT Education Programs Available for Winter; Planning Underway for 2015

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. You may also want to be added to the contact list for announcement of WT Education Programming for 2015.  Contact Todd Robertson, Outreach Coordinator for DNR River Programs, at 515-979-9538 or


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

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.


We Hope That You Are Enjoying the IWTA Newsletter
Beaver gnawing on large tree G.Stark
Beavers do not hibernate, preferring to stay busy throughout the winter.  The IWTA is not hibernating, and neither are the many Water Trail organizers and coordinators across Iowa.  It takes a lot of planning to maintain and improve WT accesses, expand available amenities, and develop interesting and informative programming.  Please consider your local WT folks and County Conservation Boards in your year-end contributions of funding, volunteer time, and other resources.

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 1,100 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