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Iowa Water Trails Association 
March, 2015  
In the Eddy: Planning Calendar Items Not In the Articles
Mar 7 Start Wildlife Diversity Volunteer Training Workshops; Chickadee Check-off Donations Due Apr 15
Mar 7 & Apr 25 Photography Workshops
Mar 13-15 Canoecopia in Madison, WI
Mar 21 NE Iowa PaddleFest in Cedar Falls
Apr 30 First of Four Opportunities for IOWATER Volunteer Training
Canoe & Kayak School Classes Filling Fast
What Our Readers Are Reading & Asking
2015 Iowa Legislature in Session, How To Contact Your Legislator
Answer to Where Is It? Quiz
Answer to What Is It? Quiz
Thanks to IWTA Readers

Snowman Paddler G.Stark
Patience, Frosty.
G.Stark photo.

March is a "transition" month, as winter begins to yield to spring (unless Mother Nature has forgotten about spring?).


During spring transition we need to be especially aware to consider differences between the calendar and the actual paddling environment. Sunshine & warm air can distract our attention from still-cold water. Rain & wind can be more chilling than snow, quickly leading to hypothermia. Remaining ice will deteriorate, with varying thicknesses and soft spots.

So, please be careful out there!


It has been very enjoyable to visit with many of our readers at events such as the ICNC Paddle Day in Cedar Rapids, Iowa Paddle & Pedal Expo in Indianola, IRR Legislative Reception in Des Moines, and REAP & Environmental Lobby Day at the Capitol. Your positive comments about IWTA and the IWTA Newsletter are much appreciated. We hope to visit with more of you at various events or on the Water Trails in the coming months.


Our thanks go out to those who have already shared their opinions about the role of IWTA via the "Future of IWTA" survey, and our encouragement goes out to anyone who has yet to share his/her insight via the short survey.  Your investment of a few minutes would be greatly appreciated.


Where Is It? Quiz

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

What Is It? Quiz

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

IWTA's Future Relies on YOU!  

Share Your Ideas, Suggestions, & Concerns.

Are your needs met by receiving a newsletter and accessing a website? Or do you want something more interactive?  Do WT developers/managers/volunteers have access to sufficient resources? Or do you need more opportunities to exchange info, network with others? Should the role of the IWTA be primarily info communication? Or should it include other activities such as WT tours, photo contests, or an annual conference?


The "Future of IWTA" Survey has no secret agenda, and there are no right or wrong answers. Only our subscribers can tell us how the IWTA can best meet their wants and needs. . . and those of our Water Trails.


Your investment of a few minutes to complete this survey would be greatly appreciated:



The survey allows more than one response per email address, and all members of your household are encouraged to respond, but please limit yourselves to one response per person.

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In the Eddy:  Quick Summary of Planning Items

PLANNING CALENDAR:  Whitewater Creek Overlook

(Dates & Events Not in Newsletter Articles.)

Mar 2-3; Iowa Water Conference in Ames; annual gathering of water professionals, researchers, educators.

Mar 4; Tree Day at the Iowa State Capitol, 9:00 am, discussion with legislators, sponsored by Trees Forever.

Mar 5; Full Moon.

Mar 6-8 Oneota Film Festival, Decorah. Oneota Film Festival Lost Rivers

Mar 8; Daylight Savings Time Begins, set clocks ahead 1 hr.

Mar 18; St. Patrick's Day.

Mar 20; Vernal Equinox, First Day of Spring.

Apr 4; Full Moon.

Apr 9; CrawDaddy Outdoors "season-opener" Free Kayak Demo Day, Ave of Saints Lake, Waverly.  Full season schedule of demos, classes, trips at

Apr 11; Canoesport Outfitter Free Demo Day, Lake Ahquabi, south of Indianola.  Full schedule of events on new website

Apr 18; Seatasea Season Opener Free "Discover Kayaking & Stand-Up Paddling," Cedar Rapids.

Apr 22-23; Lyrids Meteor Shower Peaks.

Apr 22; Earth Day (45th).

Apr 24; Arbor Day.


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Mar 7; Start of Wildlife Monitor Volunteer Workshops

Apr 15; Due Date for Iowa Tax Filing, Chickadee Checkoff Donation

IDNR Wildlife Diversity Logo


Workshops require a $10 registration fee which pays for training materials, a meal, subscription to our monthly newsletter, a frog and toad call CD or bird identification guide, and certification costs. To register, please download and complete the registration form for the desired workshop and return it with the $10 fee to: VWMP; Boone Wildlife Research Station; 1436 255th St.; Boone, IA 50036. Registration for each workshop will be first come, first served.

 Volunteer Wildlife Monitoring Workshop Registration Form

Bird Nest Monitoring Workshops 
   (Anyone interested in being a Bald Eagle Nest Monitor 

     must participate in some training.)

March 7, WAPELLO COUNTY Pioneer Ridge Area & Nature Center south of Ottumwa. 10:00 am to 3 pm.

March 14, DALLAS COUNTY Forest Park Museum near Perry, IA. 10:00 am to 3 pm.


Frog and Toad Call Survey Workshops 
   (Anyone interested in participating in the Frog and Toad Call Survey must attend training.)

April 10, SCOTT COUNTY Wapsi River Educational Center near Dixon, IA. 5:30 pm to 9 pm. 

April 13, DALLAS COUNTY Forest Park Museum near Perry, IA. 5:30 pm to 9 pm.

April 16, SAC COUNTY Sac County Conservation Center at Hagge Park, Sac City, IA. 5:30 pm to 9 pm.



While Iowans still refer to it as the Chickadee Check-off, it is now identified as the "Fish/Wildlife" fund on a line near the end of the tax form.  Simply fill out the amount you would like to donate in the space next to the fish/wildlife fund.  Your entire donation goes to the Wildlife Diversity program.  There are no administration fees, and your donation is tax deductible on the following year's filing.


Last spring, only 8,000 Iowa taxpayers (1/2 of 1%) donated $136,000.

More awareness must be needed.


Learn more about the Iowa DNR Wildlife Diversity Program: 

Subscribe to the Wildlife Diversity Program Newsletter:

Contact Pat Schlarbaum by e-mail, or phone (515-432-2823 ext. 104).

Become one of the volunteers essential to monitoring over 1,000 species of Iowa wildlife: 


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Focus on Photography: Learning Opportunities This Spring

Camera Line Art Image

While neither of these photography learning opportunities is focused solely on outdoor photography, they include excellent presenters and content at minimal cost. 


Mar 7; Photographer's Feast, Photography Workshop, 

WIU Quad Cities, 9:00am-2:00pm, tips for shooting around our region-architecture, landscape, nature, people, events, documentary, plus walk-around poster session/Q&A  with equipment suppliers.  $5 fee, preregistration required:   


Apr 25; Linn Area Photo Club, Canon "Explorers of Light" Seminar, Award-Winning Photographer Eddie Tapp, Cedar Rapids.  9:30am-4:30pm.  Learn about Tapp and his work at

Event is free, but preregistration is required: 


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Mar 13-15; Canoecopia in Madison, WI

Charles City Exhibit
Charles City WhiteWater & Cedar Falls Tourism 
were among Iowa exhibitors at
2014 Canoecopia.   G.Stark photo.

The 3-day "Canoecopia," sponsored by retailer Rutabaga, has grown over 25 years to include 100 presenters, 200 exhibitors, and 250,000 sq.ft. of display area at the Alliant Center in Madison, WI.

It may seem a bit odd to plug an event not held in Iowa, but Iowa tourism groups, special events, and unique attractions continue to expand their promotional presence to the thousands of folks attending the world's largest paddling sports show.  
If you attend, be sure to visit these exhibit booths:

  • Cedar Falls Tourism & Visitors Bureau, booth D4.
  • Floatzilla (River Action, Inc.), in the Lobby.
  • Northeast Iowa Whitewater, booth F2.

Whether or not you choose to part with any of your Iowa dollars, it's a lot of fun and a great source for information and ideas.  More info at:


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Mar 21; NE Iowa PaddleFest in Cedar Falls

NE Iowa PFest Siefkin in Pool
Darin Siefkin of CrawDaddy Watersports
positions paddler during in-pool demo at
2014 NE Iowa PaddleFest.    G.Stark photo.

Black Hawk County Conservation invites you to join them at River Hills School in Cedar Falls, IA for the Second Annual Northeast Iowa PaddleFest.  The inaugural PaddleFest event was so successful, and so much fun, they just had to do it again!

  • Keynote speaker Gene Ott of Packsack Canoe Trips, Ely, MN.
  • Updates on paddling opportunities around NE Iowa.
  • How to make your own lightweight wood gasifier stove.
  • Bring your trip videos to share.
  • Multiple concurrent presentations.
  • Demo training sessions in the HEATED therapy pool.
  • Lunch will be served for those who pre-register. 

$15 per person (pre-registered); $20 walk ins.  

More info & preregistration at NE Iowa PaddleFest


IOWATER Volunteer Training Sessions Begin in April


Facing similar budget pressures as most areas of state government, Iowa's citizen volunteer water monitoring program, IOWATER, relies even more heavily on those trained citizens to conduct basic water chemical, physical and biological measurements.  Volunteers are provided with the tools, equipment, and training to understand and help protect Iowa's valuable water resources.  You are encouraged to register and participate in any of the training session dates listed below. If you are already a trained volunteer, but possibly discouraged by recent problems reporting your data, a new website is now up and running.


IOWATER Introductory Training dates for 2015, so far. 

April 30, 8:30 am-4:30 pm; Osceola, location TBD

May 9, 8:30 am-4:30 pm; Indian Creek Nature Center, 6665 Otis Road SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403

June 19, 8:30 am-4:30 pm; Upper Iowa University, Baker-Hebron Bldg, Rm 106; 605 Washington St., Fayette, IA 52142

June 26, 8:30 am-4:30 pm; Des Moines, 11730 SE 6th, Runnells, IA 50237 (ELC facility)


The IOWATER Mar 2-3 Iowa Water Conference at Iowa State Center in Ames is upon us. 

Attendees will explore current trends across water resource management in both urban and rural landscapes, with a particular emphasis on the interconnected nature of our water resources, and the opportunities this offers for collaboration.

More info at

Or email


IDNR Canoe & Kayak School Begins in May; Classes Filling Fast

Canoe School Boone River by Todd Robertson
Canoe School Participants Navigating Rapids
on the Boone River.     Photo by Todd Robertson

From Todd Robertson, IDNR River Programs Outreach Coordinator:


"The Iowa DNR 2-day Canoe/Kayak School courses (including a one-day flat-water class) are a great way to improve skills for people who help get others out on the water. You are expected to have some previous experience, but not expertise. The intent is to increase safety, lower stress, have fun, and pay knowledge forward, based on American Canoe Association instructional foundations. Time is divided between some classroom and hands-on experience on a lake environment and then a river.


"Participants from past schools rated the training extremely helpful. They were also surprised by how much there was to learn and how intensive this course is. The one-day flat-water class will be held at Gray's Lake in Des Moines. All of the two-day classes will be held along the Boone River at Briggs Woods, in Hamilton County. By popular demand, we have added a second kayak school for this year. Class size is limited, and these classes will fill up fast."


Details about course content, accommodations, gear to bring, & registration forms for all classes: 

For any questions, contact Todd Robertson at 515-979-9538 or 515-725-2960 or email:


May 21; "Flat-Water Essentials" IDNR Canoe School for Naturalists, Scout Leaders, Youth Group Instructors.  Gray's Lake, Des Moines. Focus on skills, hazard ID, teaching & learning styles.  One day, canoes & equip provided, ACA instructors, $25, limited space, preregistration required. 

May 27-28; IDNR Canoe School for Naturalists & Trip Leaders.  Briggs Woods Park, Boone River. Focus on skills, hazard ID, teaching & learning styles, risk management.  Two days, for canoes only, ACA instructors, $25, limited space, preregistration required. 

Jun 9-10; IDNR Kayak School for Naturalists & Trip Leaders.  Briggs Woods Park, Boone River. Focus on skills, hazard ID, teaching & learning styles, risk management.  Two days, for kayaks only, ACA instructors, $25, limited space, preregistration required. 

Jun 24-25; IDNR Canoe School for Naturalists & Trip Leaders.  Briggs Woods Park, Boone River. Focus on skills, hazard ID, teaching & learning styles, risk management.  Two days, for canoes only, ACA instructors, $25, limited space, preregistration required. 

Aug 5-6; IDNR Kayak School for Naturalists & Trip Leaders.  Briggs Woods Park, Boone River. Focus on skills, hazard ID, teaching & learning styles, risk management.  Two days, for kayaks only, ACA instructors, $25, limited space, preregistration required. 

Aug 25-26; IDNR Canoe School for Naturalists & Trip Leaders.  Briggs Woods Park, Boone River. Focus on skills, hazard ID, teaching & learning styles, risk management.  Two days, for canoes only, ACA instructors, $25, limited space, preregistration required. 

Sep 15-16; IDNR Canoe School for Naturalists & Trip Leaders.  Briggs Woods Park, Boone River. Focus on skills, hazard ID, teaching & learning styles, risk management.  Two days, for canoes only, ACA instructors, $25, limited space, preregistration required. 


What IWTA Newsletter Readers Are Reading & Asking

Thanks for sharing your WT-related interests and questions.

IWTA does not advocate for positions on issues, but readers occasionally ask questions or share articles about issues which may be of interest or concern to other readers & WT supporters.  To balance IWTA neutrality, reader participation, and the exchange of potentially useful information, while minimizing the impact on IWTA Newsletter space, following are brief comments and links to items that your fellow readers find interesting:


"Save Our Iowa Turtles" cry is gaining volume, and drawing questions from readers.  China has essentially "cooked" its turtle population, Iowa has no harvest limits on many turtle species, so the law of supply and demand is prevailing.  When ready to mate and lay eggs, turtles return to the location where they originally hatched, a habit which makes relocation or reestablishment of over-harvested populations very difficult. Efforts are underway to set harvest limits, and ban harvest during the mating and egg-laying season (Jan 1-Jul 15). Iowa DNR request is pending approval by the Governor.

View an excellent overview on the good news, bad news, and how you can express your opinions, on the "Save Iowa's Turtles" page, Sierra Club website:

Background info on the Save the Turtles page, Raccoon River Watershed Association:

Comments re current efforts to regulate turtle harvesting, on the Iowa Rivers Revival facebook page:

Iowa turtle photos, identification, habits, on the Iowa Herpetology herpnet website:


Wildlife Diversity Monitoring article in the CR Gazette featured a couple of our IWTA Newsletter subscribers, drawing attention to the important role of Iowa's citizen scientists:


Decorah Eagles now have 3 eggs and our readers are among the millions of fans around the world. There are several nests with eagle cams, but the Decorah site wins the international popularity contest:

Live video and alerts: 

Live video and chat:


Proposed Dakota Access Pipeline Across Iowa, aka Bakken Pipeline, is raising reader questions and concerns.  (Not to be confused with the Keystone Pipeline through Nebraska.)  As proposed, the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline would run diagonally NW to SE across Iowa, through 17 or 18 counties, through multiple watersheds, and across several rivers.  The agriculture community is objecting to compaction and other impacts on production land, plus the expected use of eminent domain over their property rights. The environmental community is concerned about the impact of potential oil spills from the 30" pipeline.  

Senate File 129, currently in committee, would increase the financial assurance for accidental discharge remediation required of construction firms from its current $50,000:

Map of proposed pipeline route across Iowa counties: 

Pipeline proposal is currently under consideration by the Iowa Utilities Board:


Adventure crew headed to Cochrane/Thlewiaza Rivers, Saskatchewan to Manitoba, in summer 2015 has secured a third (tentative) member, but still has an opening for a fourth.  To provide some insight into the nature of these paddling adventures, organizer Vern Fish prepared a trip report on last summer's Blood River adventure, posted at

Contact Vern at, 319-215-7830.


Mar 6-8 Oneota Film Festival Adds "Lost Rivers" to Schedule.  One of 50 films on tap for the Sixth Annual Oneota Film Festival, "Lost Rivers" examines the history of lost urban waterways in several cities around the world. The film will be shown the morning of Saturday, March 7, followed by a panel discussion applying lessons from the film to an ambitious project involving Decorah's Dry Run Creek.  Attendees will then have the option to participate in a creek walk through the culverts under the heart of Decorah.

Read more about the "Lost Rivers" film:

Find more info about the Oneota Film Festival, film presentation schedule, special events, etc.:


Looking for things to do in wintertime Iowa?  Dora Bopp, of the Iowa Valley RC&D, recently reminded us of winter opportunities such as Iowa County's Mar 7 "For the Birds" (making bird food treats for non-migrating birds, plus snowshoeing option), or Mar 21 "Take Flight" (presenters from Macbride Raptor Project discuss birds of prey, their habitat needs, identification, adaptations).  Find more details on these two events at:

These, and similar events in all 99 of our Iowa counties, can be found on the My County Parks website.  The site is searchable by county or by type of activity in which you have an interest.  So, whenever you hear, "I'm bored!" check your options for entertainment, exercise, and enlightenment at:


Mar 7 "Life in the Raccoon River: Water Quality" Conference, 8:30 am to 3:00 pm at Drake University, was announced in a recent Raccoon River Watershed Association newsletter.  Sessions will include Water Chemistry by Des Moines Water Works, Survey of Aquatic Life & Chemistry, Benthic Macro Invertebrates, Iowa's Nutrient Reduction Strategy, Best Management Practices in the Raccoon, and a Life in the Raccoon Watershed photo presentation.

Visit Raccoon River Watershed Association: 

Contact Mike Delaney:


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2015 Iowa Legislative Session In Progress

Participants & Legislators Gather in the Iowa
Capitol Rotunda During Successful 2015 REAP
& Environmental Lobby Day.     Photo by G.Stark.

How to Contact Your Legislator

Find updated contact info for your legislators, committee assignments, lists of all representatives or senators, bills in play, lobbyists, and more at 


Key Dates & Special Days for 2015 Session of the 86th Iowa General Assembly

Mar 4; Tree Day at Iowa Capitol.

Mar 6; Final date for Senate & House bills to be reported out of respective committees.

Mar 16 - 20; Senate & House only consider their respective bills and unfinished business.

Mar 23 - Apr 3; Debate not limited by rule.

Apr 3; Final date for Senate & House bills to be reported out of their respective committees.

Apr 6 - 10; Senate & House consider only respective bills and unfinished business.

Apr 13; Amendments need not be filed on the day preceding floor debate.

Apr 13; Only limited types of bills are eligible for consideration.

May 1; 110th calendar day of the session [Per diem expenses end].


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WhereIsItWhere Is It? Quiz ANSWER
View of new Sycamore Street Bridge along Lower Bee Branch Creek Restoration in Dubuque.
Great backdrop for a photo of you in your new canoe or kayak!
City of Dubuque photo.

The "day-lighting" of Bee Branch Creek in Dubuque involves replacing almost one-mile of storm sewer with a creek and floodplain that resembles the one we would have encountered 100 years ago. This "day-lighting" and restoration of the formerly buried Bee Branch Creek, with associated engineered shaping of the floodplain, will deal more effectively with flash floods and protection of nearby properties. It will also provide for a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities. The Bee Branch Creek Restoration project was split into two distinct sections, each with unique characteristics.


The Lower Bee Branch Creek Restoration was completed in 2011.  It includes a large expanse of open water wrapping around a former industrial to be redeveloped as a retail center. Amenities include a multiuse hike/bike trail, trail lighting & benches, two overlooks, and 500 trees planted along the creek and around the 16th Street Detention Basin. This lower section of the overall project included dredging of the basin, removal of 8 properties, construction of two new bridges, and upgrades to area sanitary and storm sewers. See construction photos of Lower Bee Branch Creek Restoration:


The Upper Bee Branch Creek Restoration will begin in 2015, and is scheduled for completion in late 2016.  It is designed for light recreational use, with a 2,300-foot long landscaped creek and green space, a multiuse trail, sidewalks, walking paths, lighting, benches, a stepped amphitheater, a play area with slides, and a community orchard. See Upper Bee Branch Creek Restoration plans:


Dubuque Communications Specialist Kristin Hill indicated that, "Paddlers are welcome to use the Lower Bee Branch Creek and 16th Street Detention Basin, but you cannot access it from the Dubuque Water Trail. Paddlers may drop in anywhere along the Lower Bee Branch." Future plans include a parking lot and rest rooms, which will make this unique spot even more convenient for a quick paddle.


Since there will be no direct access between the upper and lower sections, and the upper section will have a very low water level, paddling will most likely not be allowed on the Upper Bee Branch Creek section.


Learn more about Dubuque's Bee Branch Creek Restoration project through maps, videos, before/after photos, etc.: 

Read more about the "Lost Rivers" film to be shown during the March 6-8 Oneota Film Festival in Decorah, and "daylighting" of streams around the world:


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WhatIsItWhat Is It? Quiz ANSWER
Photo of male Regal Fritillary.
Iowa State University photo.

Saving the Regal Fritillary

Recent efforts to increase awareness of the critical role of pollinators, including butterflies, have led to what could become some very high visibility recognition for at least one species.  Joint Resolutions in the Iowa Senate (SJR2) and the Iowa House (HJR2) are currently in committee, but if approved, would designate the "Regal Fritillary as the 1 official state butterfly of the State of Iowa."


The Regal Fritillary is one of Iowa's largest native butterflies, with a wingspan exceeding 4 inches.  Unfortunately, the Regal Fritillary depends on the habitat of the tall grass prairie, and specifically violets.  The butterfly's rarity parallels that of our prairie and wetlands.


The Regal Fritillary does not migrate, instead overwintering as a tiny caterpillar hidden in the leaf litter, becoming active again in the spring. The larvae will feed (preferably on violets) until they pupate in late spring. Regal Fritillary males emerge in June, followed by the females, and mating occurs.


The staff at Reiman Gardens in Ames are working to raise and reintroduce Regal Fritillaries to Iowa prairies.  If they can successfully simulate conditions to advance the tiny caterpillars through subsequent stages, they plan to release adults at the Neal Smith Prairie.  They also hope to "release Regal Fritillaries into the Butterfly Wing so that visitors to Reiman Gardens can see this magnificent representative of Iowa's once vast native prairie habitat."


Learn about Reiman Gardens' efforts to raise Regal Fritillaries; download a colorful Regal Fritillary life cycle poster: 

The Xerces Society works to promote the value of butterflies and other invertebrates, monitor migrations, protect our pollinators, and encourage habitat development: 

Media articles about efforts to name an official Iowa State Butterfly:

Check the verbage, status, and progress of SJR2 and HJR2: 


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We Hope That You Are Enjoying the IWTA Newsletter
Skunk River I-80
Skunk River quietly awaits spring's arrival in Iowa.
G.Stark photo.
Special thanks to readers who shared:
  • Insight on the "Future of the IWTA" via our current survey.
  • Corrections and additions to the IWTA 2015 Planning Calendar.
  • Event info for February-March.
  • Items they are reading, or otherwise find of interest to those involved with WTs.
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. 


Please 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