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Mid Month 


Iowa Water Trails Association 
March, 2015  
In the Eddy: Planning Calendar Items Not In the Articles
Mar 13-15 Canoecopia in Madison, WI
Mar 21 NE Iowa PaddleFest in Cedar Falls
Apr 10, 13, 16 Frog & Toad Call Survey Workshops
Apr 25 Photography Seminar
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
Thanks to IWTA Readers

Skunk River I-80
Skunk River About to
Throw Off Its Blanket of Ice.
G.Stark photo.

"Photography Alert!"

IPTV will air a special collection of outdoor photography segments from previous Iowa Outdoors shows this evening, March 12. at 6:30 pm.  See details and a schedule of repeat airings for March 14-15 at IO Photography  


Congratulations to Manchester, recipient of the IRR "River Town of the Year" award, and to Council Bluffs, recipient of the IRR "River City of the Year" award. Watch for more info and photos in our April 1 IWTA Newsletter.


The Iowa "Paddling Show Season" continues with the March 21 NE Iowa PaddleFest in Cedar Falls.  We hope to see you there!


Paddler clubs around Iowa are finalizing and publishing their event schedules for 2015, so if you haven't acted on good intentions to renew or become a new member, it's time to ante up and get in the loop.


Unseasonably warm temperatures are here, snow is quickly melting , river ice is beginning to move, but . . .unsafe ice remains, water temps are very cold, & hypothermia is a serious risk for the unprepared.  A good option for early-season paddling is to visit a marsh with paddling friends.  Safety in numbers, protection from wind, generally shorter distances back to the access, and viewing migrating waterfowl can make for an enjoyable outing.


So, please be careful out there!


We Need YOU to Help Define IWTA's Future!  

Please Share Your Opinions & Ideas.

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 help define 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

GRR Lots of Boats


(Dates & Events Not in Newsletter Articles.)

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 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


Apr 10, 13, 16; Frog & Toad Call Survey 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, 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

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.



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

More awareness must be needed.

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.


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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Apr 25; Focus on Photography: "Explorers of Light" Seminar, Cedar Rapids

Camera Line Art Image

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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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; Some Classes Already Filled

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:

Soil on a residential lot may seem a long way from an Iowa WT, but some of you feel strongly about the effects of the former on chemicals, flash flooding, and ?? which impact the latter. Environmental Protection Commission Hearings on the issue will be held Mar 18 in Cedar Rapids, Mar 25 in Davenport, and Mar 27 in Des Moines. Read more about the issue & the meetings in a Quad Cities Times article:

or Cedar Rapids Gazette article:


A free webinar, "Toewood Design and Siting for Stream Restoration," will be broadcast Tuesday, Mar 17 at 1:00 pm CST. Iowa Rivers Revival and Iowa River Friends are among groups recommending that readers sign on for this USDA NRCS Science and Technology Library presentation.  This webinar is free, you do not need to pre-register, and space is NOT limited, but please plan to join the webinar up to 15 minutes early to get signed on.  Attendees will gain appreciation for the planning questions which need to be answered when considering wood as an integral part of a stream project. More info at


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.  

We're sorry to report that the single remaining bird from the 2014 Decorah alumni to remain in the wild, was electrocuted on Mar 2.  More on why this happened, and what can be done:


Live nest video and alerts: 

Live nest video and chat:


Proposed Dakota Access Pipeline Across Iowa, aka Bakken Pipeline, continues to draw 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.

Several Iowa lawmakers are calling for an independent environmental study of the proposed Bakken Pipeline (CR Gazette):

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.


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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 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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We Hope That You Are Enjoying the IWTA Newsletter
Snowman Paddler G.Stark
Patience, Frosty.  
Spring is Coming.
G.Stark photo.
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