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Iowa Water Trails Association 
April, 2015  
Quick Look At the Weeks Ahead
Apr 10 Start of Frog & Toad Call Workshops
Apr 18 Crossing the Delaware Paddle in Delaware County
Apr 18 Shores of Clinton County Paddle South of Camanche
Apr 25 Photo Seminar in CR
Apr 30 First of Five Opportunities for IOWATER Volunteer Training
Key Dates Announced for Statewide & Midwest Events
IWC Annual Meeting Elects New Officers
Manchester Recognized as IRR River Town of Year
Council Bluffs Awarded IRR River City of Year
Canoe & Kayak School Date Changes, Classes Filling
What YOU Are Reading & Recommending
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


April is when our focus shifts from indoors to outdoors, from video presentations to live participations, from store shopping to demonstration paddles, from planning to doing.  It's farewell to salt and shovels, hello to paddles, boats, and Water Trails!


Please note that the "IWTA 2015 Planning Calendar" PDF listed in the "Quick Links" has been updated with the most recent cancellations, date changes, and new event additions we have received as of Mar 30.


Anyone looking to plan, organize, and market WT events this season can find some useful info in the "WT Event Planning, Execution" PDF listed in the "Quick Links."


Boat Love
"I Love This Boat!!!"
Look for a special IWTA Newsletter bonus issue in your
email inbox in the next few days.  
This photo review  will highlight some of the events which
IWTA  (and many of you) attended Jan-Mar 2015. 

Remember that this is the start of spring, not summer.  

The ice is out, the sunshine is inviting, but the water temperatures are still cold, and a combination of wind and rain can quickly lead to hypothermia. File a float plan, dress appropriately, carry energy foods, and paddle with friends.


Please be careful out there!


We have enjoyed visiting with our readers at various events so far in 2015, and hope that some of you will stop by the Apr 19 Jones County Earth Day Fair in Anamosa.  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.


Where Is It? Quiz
North Washington Dam Before

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

What Is It? Quiz
Sandhill Crane Quasqueton Close

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

"Future of IWTA" Survey Will Close April 6.

We Need YOU to Help Define IWTA's Future!

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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PLANNING CALENDAR:  A Quick Look at the Weeks Ahead

Apr 4; Full Moon. Sunrise 6:45, Sunset 7:35, Moonrise 8:00 CDT

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

Apr 11; Canoesport Outfitter DemoFest, Lake Ahquabi, south of Indianola.  Fee $5 preregistration, $10 at event. Full schedule of events on website  

Apr 15; Federal Income Tax Filing Deadline for Iowans (Iowa State Income Tax filing deadline Apr 30).

Apr 18; 3rd Annual "Crossing the Delaware" paddle across Delaware County. Brother and sister hosts Sam Childs & Hannah Childs invite you to paddle any or all of the 43 miles of the Maquoketa River in Delaware County. Options for shuttles, lunch, etc. Portage around the WW Park under construction in Manchester. Forward questions or RSVP to   Or find them on Facebook.

Apr 18; "Shores of Clinton County Paddle," Rock Creek Park, Off US 67 South of Camanche. Check in, ready to depart to launch at 10:00 am. Season opener in the quiet backwaters of the Upper Mississippi Wildlife and Fish Refuge (UMWFR). Trip will follow the creek channel and associated lakes for about 5 miles.  Anticipated finish time is around 1:30 pm, prior to the 2:00 pm Riverside Jam. Some boats available for rent. Register at 563-259-1876.

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

Apr 19; Jones County Earth Day Fair & Grant Wood Trail Pancake Breakfast, Anamosa, 8:00 am-1:30 pm, exhibits, food, Lawrence Community Center.  Jones CCB is one of the sponsors

IOWATER Trng Marion GStark
IOWATER Volunteers Receive Training
in a Creek Near Marion.

Apr 22; Earth Day, annual observance of the first Earth Day in 1970.

Apr 22-23; Lyrids Meteor Shower Peaks.

Apr 24; Arbor Day, annual observance last Friday in April,

Apr 24-26; Outdoor Adventure Expo at Midwest Mountaineering in Twin Cities, MN.  

Apr 25; Linn Area Photo Club, Canon "Explorers of Light" Seminar, Award-Winning 

Seminar registration info at Eddie Tapp, Cedar Rapids.  9:30am-4:30pm.  Learn about Tapp and his work at

Apr 30; IOWATER Introductory Training for Water Testing Volunteers, Osceola. 8:30am-4:30pm. Visit & click on "Calendar of Events" for registration information.

Apr 30; Iowa State Income Tax Filing Deadline. Remember the Chickadee Check O

May 1; Iowa Legislative Session Target Close; (per diem expenses end May 1).ff.

May 3; Full Moon. Sunrise 6:00, Sunset 8:07, Moonrise 7:49 CDT

May 9; IOWATER Introductory Training for Water Testing Volunteers, Cedar Rapids.

 8:30am-4:30pm. Visit & click on "Calendar of Events" for registration information.

May 10; Mothers Day.

May 10; "Mother's Day On the Marsh (MOM)," Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge, Odessa WT, near Wapello.  Sunday, 9:00 am to 11:00 am.  Leisurely paddle with naturalists to learn about birds & their broods. Canoes and kayaks are available, participation limited, registration required.  Open to everyone, but children under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult. or call 319-523-8381. 


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Apr 10; Start of Frog & Toad Call Volunteer Workshops

Apr 30; 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

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.

Chickadee Checkoff Logo


Last spring, only 8,000 Iowa taxpayers (1/2 of 1%) donated $136,000, so 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 18; "Crossing the Delaware" Paddle Across Delaware County

Paddle Across Delaware Maq Rvr Sam & Hannah Childs
Sam Childs & Hannah Childs
Paddling on the Maquoketa River

Brother and sister team Sam Childs and Hannah Childs invites you to paddle any or all of the 43 miles of the Maquoketa River in Delaware County:


"The rivers are flowing again and the weather and water is getting warmer, a perfect time to celebrate spring! Join us for a paddle across the majority of Delaware County on the Maquoketa River. We will be paddling 43 miles of the river all in one day. The river starts as a creek sized stream containing numerous log jams and strainers as it winds its way through timber lined banks (this upper section is water dependent), then widening through farmland, and riverside communities along the way. 


"Participants who do not wish to tackle 43 miles all in one day are encouraged to please paddle any section of the Maquoketa River in Delaware County of their choosing and enjoy the river that day or all weekend. *Please note* The whitewater park in Manchester is under construction and likely to still be under construction April 18th. Open paddling in or through the park is strongly discouraged. Please do not paddle at the whitewater park while it is still under construction. There are access points above and below the whitewater park for easy portaging." 


Put in: 7:00 am at Joy Springs Park west of Strawberry Point, IA

Length of paddle, take out, take out time?: As far as we can paddle down the Maquoketa River or Hoeger's Bridge (Pioneer Road Access) south of Delhi off Hwy 38, whichever comes first.

Approximate distance from Joy Springs to Hoeger's Bridge is 43 river miles.

Current water level the day of the paddle will affect how far up we can put in. This will be determined the evening before the paddle as river levels fluctuate.


Plan A: Meet at the put in or any put in of your choice and paddle down the river. Set your own shuttle, bring your own lunch, no cost, just join us on the river!


Plan B: We will provide the shuttle and lunch on the river for $25.00 per person. Must have all your own paddling equipment.


Please let us know you're coming (Plan A or B) so we can get a general count of how many paddlers to expect. Plan B participants must RSVP by April 5th, so we can get the shuttle and food rounded up.


Questions and RSVP direct to:

For more info, Find us on Facebook


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Apr 18; "Shores of Clinton County Paddle" at Rock Creek Park South of Camanche

Logo Clinton Co Con

Clinton County Conservation Board will be hosting a "Shores of Clinton County Paddle" at 10:00 am on Saturday, April 18, at Rock Creek Park, Off US 67 South of Camanche.


This season opener will be in the quiet backwaters of the Upper Mississippi Wildlife and Fish Refuge (UMWFR). Participants will meet at the MRETC in Rock Creek Park and be checked in and ready to depart at 10:00 am. 


We will move as a group to the put-in below the US 67 crossing of Rock Creek. We'll follow the creek's channel South and then East to The Tubes and Pond Lilly Lake, then West to Tyler Lake, Sodus Slough and Shaft Creek, a trip of about 5 miles. If time allows we'll explore the Lost Lakes Water Trail. We hope to be finished around 1:30 pm, just in time to settle in for some music at the Riverside Jam beginning at 2 PM. 


There is a rental fee of $15/boat/day for the use of Clinton County Conservation watercraft. You are welcome to join us in your own craft but must follow the group's requirements. Register for this, or any Shores of Clinton County event by calling 563-259-1876.


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Apr 25; Canon "Explorers of Light" Photography Seminar in Cedar Rapids

Camera Line Art Image

While this seminar is not focused solely on outdoor photography, it provides access to an excellent presenter and content at minimal cost. 

Apr 25; Linn Area Photo Club, Canon "Explorers of Light" Seminar, Award-Winning Photographer Eddie Tapp, Cedar Rapids.  


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--NEW SESSION ADDED


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.

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

JUST ADDED--May 23, 8:30 - 4:30 pm, Sac City

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)


Visit the IOWATER webpage and click on "Calendar of Events" for registration information:


More info at

Or email


Key Dates Announced for Upcoming Statewide & Midwest Events--Mark Your Calendar

Iowa Trails Summit Logo B&W
Jun 11-12; Iowa Trails Summit in Cedar Falls-Save the Dates

Details are still being finalized, but we have confirmed that Thursday, June 11 will be Water Trails Day.  One session will focus on combining natural resources experts with local volunteers to gather useful information, while increasing public awareness (examples: bio-blitzes, wildlife monitoring, mussel blitzes).  In another session, the Office of the State Archaeologist will provide info and resources to coordinate community volunteers to conduct walking surveys with a professional archaeologist at known archaeological sites within water trail corridors.  Following the formal program, attendees will have an opportunity to meet with members of the Iowa DNR Water Trails Citizen Advisory Committee.  It will be a full day devoted to Iowa WTs, a great opportunity to learn and network.  Sessions on Friday, 


June 12 will address Iowa trails more broadly, including a WT panel discussion and explorations of how supporters of various land and water trails can cooperate and magnify their impact and access to funding resources. Watch for more info at


Oct 25-28; Mid America Trails & Greenways Conference in Des Moines-Save the Dates

MATAG is a regional event held every other year, bringing together trail and greenway interests from IL, IN, IA, KY, MI, MN, MO, OH and WI. The conference is intended to showcase great projects, share ideas, and network.  Iowa is hosting the event this year for the first time.  


Outdoor activities and field trips will include the new Water Works Park plans and paddles, Des Moines River walks, High Trestle Trail rides, Jester Park equestrian rides, and possibly OHV/snowmobile activities as well as indoor presentations in the areas of funding, maintenance, design, and health. The conference will be headquartered at Embassy Suites Des Moines and central Iowa trails. Preliminary info has been posted on their website, and details will be added as finalized:

Project AWARE Logo No Year

Jul 11-16; Project AWARE on Wapsipinicon; Registrations Due Jun 19 to Avoid $10 Late Fee

In 2015, this all volunteer Annual Watershed Awareness River Expedition will perform a 65-mile river cleanup on the Wapsipinicon River from Independence to Olin. It will include paddling & gathering trash up to 16 miles per day, limited number of canoes available, daily educational programs, catered meals, & tent camping. Info, schedules, and registration forms can be found at


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IWC Annual Meeting Elects New Officers, Unveils Web Redesign

IWC Logo

Iowa Whitewater Coalition held its annual meeting on Feb 7 during the Canoesport Outfitters Paddle and Pedal Expo in Indianola. Dave Hillman was elected IWC president, succeeding Lyle Danielson. Dylan Verhoef was appointed treasurer, succeeding Julie Kunkle.


Keynote speaker Nate Hoogeveen, Director of River Programs for the Iowa DNR and an IWC past president, provided another fine update on progress with low head dam mitigation projects around the state. Highlights included removal of dams at Rockford and North Washington, and new rock arch rapids conversions at Goldfield and Quasqueton. Future plans include removal of the Quaker Mill Dam with reconstruction of a levy to redirect the Maquoketa River back into its original channel.


Lyle Danielson demonstrated a newly redesigned look of web pages for the IWC website homepage and the Iowa Low Head Dam Reference. The new pages are designed to be responsive for suitable display on mobile and tablet devices as well as on standard and wide monitors. The low head dam reference web pages are intended to share information about river safety, and to warn of danger at dams and other hazards. Consider visiting this web site when planning your next river outing in Iowa.

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Manchester Recognized as IRR "River Town of the Year" 

IRR River Town Peckumn
IRR Chairman Jerry Peckumn presents award
to Manchester community leaders.  

Proud Manchester citizens filled the Franklin Street Brewing Company "to the brim" on March 4, as Iowa Rivers Revival named Manchester its "River Town of the Year" for 2015.  The award recognizes the city and its many partners for removing a dam and creating the Manchester Whitewater Park slated to open this spring, and for other efforts aimed at making the Maquoketa River "the defining attraction for the town."  


"Manchester is making the Maquoketa River the heart and soul of the community again, a focus for recreation, economic development, and environmental stewardship," said Jerry Peckumn, Board Chair of Iowa Rivers Revival (IRR).


Doug Hawker with the River & Rec Committee, Dean Sherman, Chair of the Good to Great (G2G) Committee, Tim Vick, City of Manchester, and Ryan Wicks, Chair of G2G River & Rec Committee accepted the award on behalf of Manchester.


Iowa Rivers Revival pointed to several key river-related projects in and near Manchester, including the Manchester Whitewater Park, revitalizing the riverfront, initiating efforts to make the Maquoketa River a designated Iowa Water Trail, protecting the river and environment, restoring the river, fostering fisheries, initiating removal of the Quaker Mill Dam (likely summer/fall 2015), and integrating river projects with other economic development efforts.


The $1.8 million whitewater project - removing the nine-foot downtown dam, constructing six 18-inch drops and rocky pools over an 800-foot run, and enhancing the riverfront - is near completion after construction all winter.  The Whitewater Park, right in the heart of town, will open this spring - a recreational playground for citizens and visitors, a setting for community events, a destination for anglers, a magnet for kayakers, canoers, and tubers.  Additional work will include expanding walking / biking trails along the river, with a goal of connecting several city parks, removing dilapidated buildings in the greenbelt, beautifying the riverfront, improving access for anglers and boaters, organizing cleanups, and creating places for spectators, music events, & public celebrations.


Manchester's "Good to Great" organization has been a catalyst.  In 2009, it formed a "River & Recreation" committee (RRC).  The RRC's goal was to develop partnerships, envision projects and find funding to make the riverfront the town's "defining attraction," as the city told IRR recently.  "They realized that the time was now to restore the river to its natural state and to do it in a manner beneficial to both the health of the river and the health of the community." The Whitewater Park is the premier result, and its financial framework reflects the working partnership.  The $1.8 million project was funded by $600,000 from the city; $200,000 from the State DNR's "Low-Head Dam Mitigation & Water Trails" program; $300,000 from Vision Iowa CAT & RECAT grant; $100,000 from State REAP grant; $50,000 from Delaware County; and $630,000 in community campaign private donations by generous citizens and businesses.

IRR River Town Manchester Crowd
Excellent community turnout for the award ceremony.


"Collaboration is crucial," said Peckumn, the IRR's board chair.  "All these efforts in Manchester and on the Maquoketa are characterized by a rich mix of public and private cooperation, and partnerships between city, county and state governments, other public agencies, businesses, organizations, land-owners, and volunteers.  That's how communities embrace their rivers and become River Town of the Year.


Peckumn put in a plug for the State DNR's work on river programs, dam mitigation and water trails.  "The State has been an invaluable partner," Peckumn said, "a catalyst for transforming how communities relate to their rivers." DNR programs provide matching funds, planning, technical support, fishery and wildlife expertise, reports on existing conditions in watersheds, "reconnaissance" of biological and archaeological conditions, and coordination of efforts to create water trails and better access so Iowans can fully enjoy and protect their rivers. A dozen low-head dams have been removed or modified over the last four years with State coordination, and 15 more projects are under way.  Three include whitewater recreation features that bring visitors and bolster the local economy - Charles City, Elkader, and soon Manchester.


Read more at: 

Photos by G.Stark 

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IRR "River City of the Year" Award Presented to Council Bluffs

Iowa Rivers Revival, a group that advocates for rivers, named Council Bluffs "River City of the Year" in recognition of the city's outstanding efforts to renew its connections to the Missouri River. The award was presented during a March 6 ceremony at Harrah's Casino overlooking the Missouri River.  Mayor Matt Walsh, Mark Eckman, Executive Director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Larry Foster, Director of Park and Recreation and Public Property, accepted the award on behalf of Council Bluffs.


"It's a great success story," said Roz Lehman, Director of Iowa Rivers Revival (IRR). "Council Bluffs' recipe includes strong vision, focused planning, and constant collaboration," Lehman said.  "The result is outstanding features and events that are bringing citizens and visitors back to the river to live and work and play.  It's a model for communities all over Iowa."


IRR highlighted several key river-related projects in and near Council Bluffs, including the Tom Hanafan River's Edge Park (90 acre site for music, art, & recreation, dedicated 2013), Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, Playland Park Master Plan, and ongoing collaborative partnerships to protect & enhance the environment, water quality, and outdoor recreation.


"The 2,300-foot-long Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is a spectacular feature, day or night, connecting Council Bluffs and Omaha over the Missouri and drawing people back to the river," Lehman said. The $22 million "cable stay" bridge opened Sept. 28, 2008.  It connects to over 100 miles of recreational trails on both sides of the river, including Council Bluffs' 13-mile-long Riverfront Trail for bikers, walkers, runners and skaters.  The Trail connects river-related features, including Tom Hanafan River's Edge Park, Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, Dodge Riverside Golf Club, Harrah's and Ameristar Casinos, and the Western Historic Trails Center.


"Council Bluffs is very quick to say its success is a result of local and regional collaboration, including strong cooperation with its neighbors in Omaha," Lehman said.  "IRR continues to see the common thread of collaboration as a key to success in thriving river communities." "Connecting people to the river is key," Lehman said.  "Council Bluffs demonstrates a commitment to celebrating and protecting the Missouri River for generations to come."


Iowa Rivers Revival was founded eight years ago to be a voice for rivers.  IRR is committed to helping Iowans work on education and public policy to restore and protect Iowa's rivers and streams. Read more at: 


IDNR Canoe & Kayak School Begins in May; PLEASE NOTE DATE CHANGES!

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. 

80% FILLED--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. 

CANCELED--Jun 24-25; IDNR Canoe School for Naturalists & Trip Leaders.  

80% FILLED--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. 

DATE CHANGE--NOW Sep 14-15; 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 & Recommending

"From Billions to None" on IPTV
Will Examine Extinction
of Passenger Pigeons.

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:


"Signs of Spring" cited by several Iowans included the flow of maple sap, early wildflowers, bird sounds, salad greens, construction cones, and livestock heading to greening pastures. Several of the quotes are from readers of this newsletter.  Read who-said-what and enjoy a beautiful pasque flower photo by Larry Gullet in the Cedar Rapids Gazette article: 


Decorah Eagles sheltered their 3 eggs through a late March snowstorm,  and egg-hatching has now begun. The first eaglet, D21, completed the hatching process on March 27. The second, D22, debuted on March 29.  There could be 3 by the time you receive this newsletter. New video of the hatching process and the first glimpses of the eaglets have been posted.

Watch the videos: 

Watch the live feed: 

A vote of the full Iowa Legislature to fund the Iowa Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund remains doubtful. A recent Des Moines Register article recounted the familiar numbers:  Sixty-three percent of Iowa voters in November 2010 supported a state constitutional amendment to create the trust fund, to be energized by a 3/8 cent increase in sales tax (approx. $150 million per year).  Four years later, public support has risen even higher, but there's still no sign of funding for the fund.  Advocates (including many of you) packed the meeting room on March 17 in support of SF357.  
A Senate subcommittee voted 3-0 to advance the bill to the Senate Ways and Means Committee..  While supporters are not optimistic about further progress in 2015, they are even less optimistic about 2016, when lawmakers will be reluctant to support any form of tax increase.

Read the Des Moines Register's story on the March 17 meeting:


"From Billions to None: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction" will air on IPTV World Apr 23 (5:30 pm & 8:00 pm & Apr 24 (3:00 pm). "Centenary of this recent extinction offers an opportunity to focus new attention on habitat conservation and species survival-and help us avoid the fate of the passenger pigeon for future species."  The April IPTV schedule also includes a new Nature series on Animal Homes, a new series on Iowa Farm Families, and a re-airing of the "That Tree" 365-day outdoor photography challenge.


Jon Stravers addressed "The injustice of inaction on conservation funding" in a Mar 15 piece in the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Stravers is the Bird Conservation Coordinator at the Driftless Area National Wildlife Refuge near McGregor (and a gifted musician/songwriter).  He wrote in support of the bipartisan bill (SF357), now pending in the legislature, which would fulfill the obligation to fund the Natural Resource Trust Fund. 


Adventure canoe 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.  There may also be opportunities for interested individuals to join the group for training this spring.  Organizer Vern Fish prepared a trip report on last summer's Blood River adventure, which provides insight into the nature of these adventure trips.  View the report at  Contact Vern at, 319-215-7830.


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2015 Iowa Legislative Session In Progress

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 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
North Washington Dam Before
View of the North Washington Mill Dam which was removed in 2014.
The dam's builders and purpose remain a mystery.


The North Washington Mill Dam was removed in 2014, leaving a few ripples in the Little Wapsipinicon River, and almost no trace of the dam. The dam was near the community of North Washington, east of Charles City. 


Prior to the dam's removal, the Chickasaw County Conservation Board initiated a historical/archaeological survey which could not find any record of the dam, its owners, or its purpose.  Based on design and materials, the 8' high, 54' long dam was likely constructed between 1900 and 1920.

Please contact the IWTA if you have any info about the construction or purpose of this "mystery" dam.


Iowa Whitewater Coalition listing for North Washington Mill Dam - removed 2014 

Click here to view an aerial map of the former dam.'04.3%22N+92%C2%B024'38.3%22W/@43.117863,-92.41065,3299m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0


North Washington Dam After
View after removal of the North Washington Mill Dam on the Little Wapsipinicon River.


Photos by Dave Hillman/IWC.

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WhatIsItWhat Is It? Quiz ANSWER
Sandhill Crane Quasqueton Close
Sanhill crane near Quasqueton.
Orlan Love photo.

Eastern Iowans enjoy a steady flow of interesting articles by Cedar Rapids Gazette outdoor writer Orlan Love.  Orlan recently shared a photo and story about a rare bird in the neighborhood.  He graciously granted us permission to share the following photo and excerpt with IWTA Newsletter readers.


"A rare overwintering sandhill crane - or a thoroughly confused migrant - showed up in my neighborhood in mid February. The bird was still here the first week of March, raising hopes that it will attract a mate and raise a colt or two this spring. Buchanan County already has documented sandhill reproduction in a wetland northwest of Independence, but when it comes to the birds ecology pioneer Aldo Leopold described as "wildness incarnate," the more the merrier.


"For the past few years sandhills, including obvious pairs, have resided during the nesting season on a reclaimed wetland west of the Wapsipinicon River a few miles northeast of Walker. If they raised any young, however, they did so in secrecy.


"Nesting sandhills, gone from Iowa for nearly a century, began reappearing in 1992, when the first successful Iowa nesting in 98 years was recorded in Tama County's Otter Creek Wildlife Area. As of last year, sandhills had reproduced in 26 Iowa counties and had been sighted in 33 others, according to the Department of Natural Resources.


"By the mid 1900s, the greater sandhill subspecies, of which the Iowa birds are members, had been largely driven from the Upper Midwest by indiscriminate hunting, egg collectors and the draining of marshes. Unlike the lesser subspecies, whose members congregate in the hundreds of thousands each spring along the Platte River in Nebraska, the greater sandhill population dwindled to a few dozen pair before the recovery. They eventually responded to legal protection and the reclamation of wetlands, rebuilding their numbers until cranes reared in Wisconsin began recolonizing their ancestral homes.


"With their gangly terrestrial appearance and their graceful, straight-arrow flight, sandhill cranes elevate the status of the state's wildlife, and nothing in Iowa is wilder than their piercing, otherworldly call."


Link to Orlan Love's article: 

  Sandhill Crane Quasqueton

Photo and Article by Orlan Love

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We Hope That You Are Enjoying the IWTA Newsletter

Regal Fritillary is still looking for a little love from the Iowa Legislature.  Watch for this rare beauty along Iowa's prairies and WTs this summer.
Special thanks to:
  • Readers who shared their insight on the "Future of the IWTA" via our current survey.
  • Readers who provided updates to the IWTA 2015 Planning Calendar.
  • Orlan Love for sharing his photo and article on the Sandhill Crane in Iowa.
  • Dave Hilman for the suggestion and photo for the North Washington "Mystery" Dam.
  • Readers who forwarded items they are reading, or otherwise found interesting.
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.


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Gregg Stark
Editor, Iowa Water Trails Association Newsletter