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Iowa Water Trails Association 
December, 2015  
Send us your 2016 Event Dates!
Nominate the 2016 River Town of the Year
Dec 2 River Restoration Listening Sessions Begin Along Des Moines River, Also Dec 11 & Jan 12
Jan 16 ICNC Paddle Day in Cedar Rapids--Win the Sassafras Raffle!
Feb 5-7 Iowa Paddle & Pedal Expo--Mark Your Calendar
Feb 7 Winter Waters Fun Fest in Camanche--Free Display Space!
Apr 2 Outdoor Adventure Fest in Waterloo/Cedar Falls--Call for Speakers!
Are You Among the "Select Few" Who Need a New Hull ID Number?
Report on 2015 "Shores of Clinton County Paddles"
Winter Pool Sessions Around Iowa Sharpen Paddling Skills
What Readers are Following & Recommending
Gift Ideas for "Outdoorsy" Friends & Family Members
IRR Master River Stewards Seeking A Few Good Facilitators
Quick Look At the Weeks Ahead
Answer to Where Is It? Quiz
Answer to What Is It? Quiz
Thanks to IWTA Readers

Holiday Wishes to
Our Readers
It's December, and your IWTA Newsletter Editor is being challenged to keep his garage warm enough to complete some latex painting. Maybe it's time to drop the optimism about expecting a few more warm days, and face the reality that it's December in Iowa?

I'm pleased to report that during the Nov 13 Cedar River Watershed Coalition Meeting in Cedar Falls, your IWTA Newsletter received numerous compliments regarding our efforts to disseminate info about "all things river" throughout the state. There are apparently quite a few newsletter readers in that group, and we likely added a few more.

FYI, the Coalition hosted an excellent meeting, led by Senator Rob Hogg and Black Hawk CCB Director Vern Fish, with speakers including Director Schouten of Iowa Homeland Security & Emergency Management, and a Floodplain Management Panel representing Cedar Falls, Waterloo, Black Hawk County SWCD, and the Iowa Floodplain & Stormwater Management Association (IFSMA). Chartered in 2010, IFSMA is the Iowa chapter of the AFSMA--probably not very well known in Iowa, but you can find more info at

During the meeting, interest was expressed in eventually creating a Water Trail the length of the Cedar River, so if you, your organization, or your community has an interest, you should probably plug into the activities of the Coalition:
The prerequisites of proper training, necessary gear, a paddle plan, and the buddy system are especially important for winter paddling. Cold weather, cold water paddling is a unique challenge and experience, but the risks must be managed. Be careful out there.

We continue to welcome info and dates for 2016 events. Please contact us with your ideas, questions, concerns, or corrections:
Where Is It? Quiz
Cedar R Vinton Musicians

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

What Is It? Quiz
River Birch Tight 003
What Is It?
Make your best guess, then click on: 

Send Us Your Info for the 2016 IWTA Planning Calendar!
Calendar photo 2016
As 2015 winds down, we're gathering event information for the 2016 IWTA Planning Calendar. Whether you have firm dates and complete details, or tentative dates and a rough outline, we would like to hear from you. Even if you just share an "inkling," we will have a reminder to follow up with you as the year progresses.

Among the dates/events we have already received:
Jan 16; ICNC Paddle Day, Cedar Rapids. Presentations, exhibits, door prizes, canoe raffle;  
Feb 5-7; CSO Iowa Paddle & Pedal Expo, Indianola. Three days of presentations, exhibits, dealer reps, spring deals.
Feb 7; Winter Waters Fun Fest, Rock Creek Park & The Mississippi River Eco-tourism Center, Camanche. Presentations and displays about paddling trips, free use of winter sports equipment, chili/mac supper, free display space to paddlers; free family event. Chuck Jacobsen, Clinton CCB, 563-847-7202, Cell: 563-357-0759
Mar 5; Outdoor Photography Workshop, Quad Cities.
Mar 11-13; Rutabaga Canoecopia, Madison, WI.
Mar 23-24; Iowa Water Conference, Ames. Full agenda to be announced in December 2015.
Apr 2; Outdoor Adventure Fest, Waterloo/Cedar Falls; keynote by Dr. Jim Pease (formerly the NE Iowa PaddleFest).
Apr 30; Iowa 3-Year Boat Registrations Expire.
Jun 16-17; Iowa Trails Summit, Cedar Falls.
Jul 31--Aug 6; Great River Rumble, route TBD. 
Pending final confirmation of overnight stops, it appears that the 2016 GRR will run approximately 100 miles from Eau Clair to Winona on the Chippewa and Mississippi Rivers, but keep checking the website for official info.
Aug TBD; Mussel Blitz, Dates & Sites TBD; Scott Gritters
Sep 14; VA Vets Paddle, Riverside.
Sep 17; IARVCP Iowa River Cleanup, Iowa City.
Oct TBD; Minnesota Water Trails & Tourism Summit, biennial conference expected again in 2016, attendees from neighboring states welcome.
Oct TBD; Dennis Wendel Mussel Move, Waterloo, annual event to rescue mussels left high and dry by seasonal deflation of the bladder dam on the Cedar River; Pam Wolter,

Do you have WT-related event info for 2016?
Contact us at

Now Thru Dec 15; IRR Accepting Applications for 2016 River Town of the Year Award
IRR Logo
Iowa Rivers Revival is now accepting applications for the 
2016 "River Town of the Year."  The deadline is December 15, 2015.

This annual award recognizes and celebrates 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. 

We are excited to learn about what communities are doing across the state to protect and enhance their local rivers and streams.  This award provides and opportunity to showcase local stewardship and inspire others. 
Examples of award criteria include, but are not limited to these activities:
Manchester WW Park Oct 2015 G.Stark
Manchester (whitewater park shown above) and Council Bluffs were both recognized as River Towns of the Year in 2015.  G. Stark photo.
  • Innovative storm water controls and river protection measures.
  • Efforts to improve water quality. 
  • Efforts to protect and enhance greenbelts and/or ecosystems. 
  • Protection of threatened riparian habitat and species. 
  • Participating with Iowa Water Trails program. River tourism efforts. 
  • 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.
  • Dam mitigation and/or safety awareness.
The award will be presented early 2016 at a reception hosted by Iowa Rivers Revival in the "River Town of the Year" community.  IRR will also work to provide additional opportunities to promote and recognize the "River Town of the Year" through media and river-related events.

Previous "River Town" award recipients are Webster City, Elkader, Coon Rapids, Cedar Falls, Charles City, Central City, Dubuque, Decorah, Manchester, and Council Bluffs.

Visit the Iowa Rivers Revival website  to access the award application, view previous winning cities' applications, IRR news releases, and news coverage. 
Please email or call 563-425-5233 with questions or a contact recommendation.

Iowa Rivers Revival is a non-profit organization committed to protecting Iowa's rivers and streams.  For more information, please go to the website -- 

Dec 2; Natural River Restoration Listening Sessions Begin Along Des Moines River
IRR Logo
Iowa Rivers Revival (IRR) and American Rivers are teaming up to host a series of educational meetings that will provide an introduction to natural river restoration benefits and practices. Landowners, farmers, conservationists, educators, and interested members of the public are invited to attend this free informational meeting.
The presentations will focus on communities near the Des Moines River, with the first in this series being held at the Humboldt Public Library (30 N 6th St, Humboldt, IA 50548) on December 2 at 4:30 PM. Each session will last about one hour, with time for questions. Staci Williams, an Associate Director for American Rivers, will lead the discussion. All dates and sites just announced:
  • Wednesday, Dec 2, 4:30 p.m. at the Humboldt Public Library
  • Friday, Dec 11, 10:30 a.m. in Boone at the Ericson Library
  • Tuesday, Jan 12 at 5:30 p.m. in Boone at the Ericson Library
  • Tuesday, Apr 5 Technical Workshop at the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance
Natural river restoration provides many benefits to landowners and the surrounding community, including:
  • Offers affordable and sustainable options to reduce streambank erosion.
  • Improves water quality by reducing sediment and nutrient loading into the stream.
  • Reduces flooding and flood effects.
  • Protects local infrastructure such as bridges and roads from erosion and flooding, and reduces taxpayer expense to repair, replace and maintain.
  • Enhances aquatic and riparian wildlife habitat and ecosystem.
  • Improves river recreation, fishing, and hunting - boosting local economies and providing public health and quality of life.
Iowa DNR and other local partners are currently working to develop a river restoration program based upon these principles and which would provide guidelines, criteria, funding, training, and the expertise necessary to offer cost-share opportunities for protecting Iowa's landscape, streambanks and rivers. This session will provide an overview on the benefits of river restoration as well as a status update on the development of this important program and resources that it will provide for landowners and practitioners.
Iowa Rivers Revival works to engage individuals, organizations, communities, and government leaders in river awareness, responsibility, and enjoyment to improve and enhance the condition of Iowa waterways - ensuring a quality, safe and lasting resource for future generations. Learn more at
American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and an annual America's Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. - See more at  

Roz Lehman, Executive Director, Iowa Rivers Revival, 515-724-4093,
Staci Williams, Associate Director, American Rivers, 843-957-2367,

Jan 16; ICNC Paddle Day in Cedar Rapids; You Could Win the Sassafras Raffle!
Voyagers ICNC Presentation
Land of the Voyagers.
Noon-5:00 pm on Saturday, Jan 16 at Indian Creek Nature Center, 6665 Otis Rd SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
This 9th annual Paddle Day offers something for every paddler, whether a beginner or seasoned veteran. Connect with a paddling buddy, share experiences, learn about new gear or discover a new place to paddle.  Enjoy displays, door prizes and engaging presentations.  

Doors open at noon for you to examine paddling exhibits and displays by various paddling organizations. Enter the raffle for a hand-built 12 ft. solo Sassafras canoe. 

Speakers begin at 12:30 pm and will include:
  • Corey Smock, "Itasca to New Orleans: Paddling for a Cause -- 2,340 miles"  
  • Darrin Seifkin,  "Kayaking Lake Superior" 
  • Todd Robertson, "Safety First" 
    Sassafras Canoe Raffle
    Buy Raffle Tickets for this Beautiful Lapstrake Canoe
    (vehicle not included).
  • Bruce Frana and Eric Evans:  "Retracing the Voyageurs' Route: Across the Boundary Waters to Lake Superior" 
For complete details of each presentation, or raffle tickets, visit  
Members $8; NM;$12  
More Sassafras photos and design info at:

Feb 5-7; Iowa Paddle & Pedal Expo in Indianola--Mark Your Calendar!
Join your paddling friends at the Expo.
It's too early to expect Canoesport Outfitters to announce the presentation schedule, but it's definitely time to reserve February 5-7, 2016 for attending the annual Iowa Paddle & Pedal Expo in Indianola. 

It's all good--good info, good gear, good people, and good deals. 
Hope to see you there!

Watch for the presentation schedule and other Expo info at:

G.Stark photo.  
Feb 7; Winter Waters Fun Fest in Camanche--Free Display Space!
Logo Clinton Co Con
A new "Winter Waters Fun Fest" will be held at Rock Creek Park & The Mississippi River Eco-tourism Center near Camanche on Sunday, February 7.  

The event will include numerous presentations and displays about area and regional paddling trips, free use of winter sports equipment, and a chili/mac supper. This is a free family event, and display space is free to paddlers. 

For more information, contact Chuck Jacobsen, Clinton CCB, 563-847-7202, Cell: 563-357-0759
Apr 2; "Outdoor Adventure Fest" in Waterloo/Cedar Falls--Call for Speakers!
Mary Hyland Explains Project AWARE during 2015 PaddleFest.
Black Hawk County has announced a new event name and new location, set the date(s), and issued a "Call for Speakers!"

What was named "PaddleFest" for the past two years is now the "Outdoor Adventure Fest." The name was changed primarily to broaden the event's focus to include all types of outdoor recreation, including paddling.

This year's event will take place April 2-3, 2016 at the Black Hawk County YMCA. The indoor sessions will be held on April 2, with an optional paddle outing on April 3.

April is not that far off, and organizers are looking for speakers for this year's conference. Katie Shelton, Vern Fish and the crew are looking for folks who have taken high adventure trips, local adventure trips, or who can present on natural history topics (birding, rocks, fossils, etc). 

This year's keynote speaker, Jim Pease, will speak to the status of rivers here in Iowa. 

If you are interested in speaking at the 2016 Outdoor Adventure Fest, or have other questions about the event, please email Katie at

G.Stark photo.  
Select Boat Owners Need to Verify Hull ID Number to Register their Craft
Iowa DNR Logo
IWTA has verified that the owners of approximately 589 canoes and 52 kayaks will be among more than 13,000 Iowa boat owners receiving a letter alerting them that their boat hull identification number (HIN) does not comply with U.S. Coast Guard regulations and they have to verify their HIN with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in order to register their boat.

The US Coast Guard requires any vessel manufactured in year 1973 and newer to have a valid 12 digit HIN.  Boat owners will need that valid 12 digit HIN to register their craft, and the current 3-year registrations expire in April 2016. 
"This is no fault of the boat owner; they purchased a craft that had an incorrect HIN issued by the manufacturer. We want to help them resolve this before their registration expires on April 30, 2016," said Susan Stocker, boating law administrator for the Iowa DNR. 

Stocker said the process is fairly simple; they need to either trace the HIN with a pencil or take a photo of it and email it to, fax to 515-725-8201 Attn: HIN Verification or mail to Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Attn: HIN Verification, 502 East Ninth Street, Des Moines, IA 50319-0034. Boat owners will need to verify the HIN prior to April 30, 2016, in order to renew their boat registration.

"If they no longer own the boat in question, we would like to know that too," Stocker said.  Stocker said they should call 515-725-8200 to have their record corrected.

Part of the verification process includes boat owners signing an affidavit included in the mailing that confirms they will permanently attach the new HIN to the boat (if provided) to comply with US Coast Guard regulations.
If boat owners have questions they should contact the Iowa DNR at or 515-725-8200.
For questions, contact: Susan Stocker, Boating Law Administrator and Education Coordinator, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, at 515-725-8477.
Report on 2015 "Shores of Clinton County Paddles"
Logo Clinton Co Con
Clinton County Conservation organized an interesting series of "Shores of Clinton County Paddles" throughout the spring-summer-fall of 2015. Participants had the opportunity to experience the variety of paddling experiences available in the county, including small rivers, Mississippi backwaters, Mississippi big waters, and even overnight camping.  

We asked Interpretive Naturalist Chuck Jacobsen to summarize the goals, challenges, and successes of this interesting programming approach and "marketing angle." Following is his "Installment 1."

"This years navigation of the "Shores of Clinton County" was well received and blessed with overall wonderful weather. We met many new paddlers who saw these waters for the first time. 
"Our first trip was designed as an easy season opener and a test of a new system of registration. We met at Rock Creek Park and paddled the Rock Creek Water Trail. Eighteen paddlers found the waters welcoming as we shoved away into Shaft Creek (actually a bayou of the Wapsipinicon). A colorful group of kayaks slipped past the boat docks of Rock Creek Marina and soon disappeared around a bend. The bayou dropped us into Sodus Slough and we headed east into its narrowing waters along the 5.5 mile Rock Creek Water Trail. After a little more than a mile a tubed access road caused a portage of a fifty yards or so. 

"We passed into Schricker Slough and paddled to some high ground near The Tubes where we turned into the shallower waters to pull out for a snack and stretch. Suddenly a fish launched out of the water four feet into the air.  It hit the water again after traveling a length of twelve feet through the air. A silver carp, the first I've ever spotted in those waters but not the last sighting of the year. 

"The landing was a little wet, but the thick vegetation kept most of us out of the mud. After our break we began to head back by a slightly different track down Schricker Slough to its confluence with the much larger and swifter Hansen Slough. This was the first real current we'd been in and it was going our way. So strong was it that our sterns were swung round as we crossed over its jet into the slower current of Sodus Slough and Shaft Creek. After 1.5 hours of paddling through the Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge, with many sightings of birds and momentary feelings of wilderness, we landed safely at the Park. 

"Some lingered at the Center and enjoyed the music of the Riverside Jam playing that afternoon. A good start to Clinton Counties 2015 paddling season."  (to be continued. . .)
For more info about the Shores of Clinton County Paddles, or to ask questions about organizing a similar event, contact Chuck Jacobsen, Interpretive Naturalist, Clinton County Conservation, Work: 563-847-7202, Mobile: 563-357-0759,  
Winter Pool Sessions at Cedar Rapids, Indianola, Waverly
Canoesport Outfitters staffer Shireen Cave demonstrates basic SUP skills at the Indianola "Y" Pool.  G.Stark photo.
New Opportunity in Cedar Rapids: 
The Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation Department, in cooperation with Linn County Conservation, is offering kayakers, ages ten and up, a chance to practice their skills such as strokes, rolls and safety and rescue moves in the controlled environment at Bender Pool, 940 14th Avenue SE. Drop-in Sunday pool sessions for kayakers are being offered each month from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on November 22, December 6 and 20, January 3, 17 and 31, February 14 and 28, and March 13. The sessions are practices, not lessons, but experienced paddlers will be available to help. The fee is $10 per person per visit. No advance registration is required.
Participants bring their own kayaks and equipment and wear proper swim attire and clean life jackets. A helmet is required for those practicing rolls. The kayaks must be rinsed, inside and out, with the hose just outside the door before they can be placed in the pool. Youth must be supervised by an adult. For more information, call Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation, (319) 286-5731.
Indianola at Indianola "Y" Pool: 
Formal paddling skills classes are offered by CanoeSport Outfitters at the Indianola "Y" Pool. Visit their website for details: CanoeSport Outfitters,  

Waverly at Waverly "W" Pool: 
Formal paddling skills classes are offered by CrawDaddy Outdoors at the Waverly "W" Pool. Visit their website for dates and details: CrawDaddy Outdoors,  

We would be glad to publicize any additional off-season opportunities to develop or practice paddling and safety skills. 
Please forward your information to
What IWTA Newsletter Readers are Following & Recommending
Beaver gnawing on large tree G.Stark
A little something to chew on.
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:

Dec 10; Our Woodland Legacy (OWL) Symposium by Trees Forever, in Cedar Rapids
9th annual event features Dr. William Sullivan addressing evidence of the hidden benefits of urban green spaces, and BlueZones® and walkability expert, Dan Burden speaking on local policies and how to bring the natural world into our neighborhoods and communities. Share your ideas during a roundtable discussion, and discover how to integrate nature into your health, community, buildings and more during one of the workshops. Info at
or contact Dustin Hinrichs at 319-373-0650 x 124.

$3.3 million Driftless Area Visitor & Education Center Under Construction in Lansing
Article by Orlan Love in Nov 28 Cedar Rapids Gazette.
The 10,000 sq.ft. center will showcase and explain the little-understood features of the driftless area--about 24,000 square miles at the intersection of Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, & Illinois which were bypassed by the most recent glacier. Interpretive exhibits will highlight the area's wide-ranging natural, cultural, social, & economic history--from algific talus slopes and Native American Mounds to steamboat era relics and clamshell button manufacturing. Read the full article at:

Gift Ideas for Your "Outdoorsy" Friends and Family Members
Archaeological Guide to Iowa book
"Archaeological Guide to Iowa" is among the many Bur Oak titles currently on sale.
Obviously, your "outdoorsy" friends and family members would appreciate being introduced to the IWTA Newsletter. Well over 1200 Iowans subscribe to this free, monthly email newsletter to stay informed about what is happening in, on, around, and to our Iowa Water Trails. With a little holiday help from our readers, we may receive our own holiday wish--being able to claim over 1300 readers!  Subscribe here:

The University of Iowa Press publishes a wide array of books about Iowa or by Iowa authors. Outdoorsy readers may be particularly interested in the books and guides in the Bur Oak series, which focus on the literature, history, geography, and culture of the Great Plains, especially natural history and environmental issues. 

Bur Oak books cover subjects from archaeology, history, and ornithology to prairie restoration, gardening, and sustainability, Bur Oak Guides include user-friendly fold-out laminated guides and a wide array of paperback field guides to assist in a more direct exploration of the natural world. Among the authors you will find some of your favorites, such as Terry VanDeWalle, Sylvan Runkel, Cornelia Mutel, Lynn Alex, and many more. Browse the Bur Oak series at:
And who doesn't like to find desired items on sale?:

We continue to believe that the Iowa Outdoors Magazine is a wonderful way to learn about our state's natural resources, to build citizen support, and involve our young people in healthy recreation, fun, and awareness of our world beyond the keyboard. It is well-written, includes excellent photographs, arrives in your mailbox (unique experience for grandkids!), and it will be one of the least expensive items on your gift list.

This magazine frequently includes interesting stories and beautiful photos relating to our water trails and the myriad of interesting activities along our waterways.  Whether you're looking for places to visit, things to do, ways to interest students or grandkids in the outdoors, answers to outdoor questions, human interest stories, or even recipes, you can find it in the pages of Iowa Outdoors. A great gift for active families, grandkids, retirees, or those wanting to stay in touch with their home state.  Subscribe or extend your subscription at
Want to be a Facilitator for the Master River Stewards Program?
Iowa Rivers Revival (IRR) is looking for a few dynamic river-loving facilitators for their Master River Stewards Program (MRSP).  If you and/or your organization or agency are interested in teaming with IRR to provide MRSP workshops to adults in your area, consider applying to attend the MRSP Train the Facilitator training on March 30 and 31, 2016, at the Fire Station in Webster City.
The Master River Stewards Program is an adult education program created and piloted by IRR with funding from a REAP-CEP grant and other donors. MRSP brings 32 hours of instruction to Iowans on watersheds, river and stream dynamics, river and riparian habitats and wildlife, river paddling and navigation, river chemistry and water monitoring, river and stream restoration and stewardship, and policies related to protecting river and stream water quality.

Additional coursework includes group projects conducted by participants and a follow-up project-reporting meeting.
The aim of MRSP is to engage and educate Iowans about a broad range of river issues, and to create a citizenry that is knowledgeable and will advocate for Iowa rivers so that current and future generations can enjoy these important natural resources.
Should you be accepted, IRR will provide:
*   Facilitator training;
*   All written materials for the course (books and thumb drives);
*   Evaluations, reporting forms, and other course templates;
*   MRSP certificates and patches for participants; and
*   MRSP mentoring and course follow-up by IRR.
MRSP facilitator applicants must:
*   Have an in-depth understanding of one or more aspects of the curriculum,
*   Be well-organized and have experience in educating and communicating with adults, and
*   Have the ability to serve as a positive listener and catalyst in discussion of issues related to rivers and streams.
How to apply
IRR will accept up to 20 people for this facilitator training. To apply, send the following information by
December 31, 2015 to Roz Lehman, IRR Executive Director, P.O. Box 72, Des Moines, IA 50301 (or via email at  Applications may not exceed 4 pages in length.
Please include all of the following:
 Name, complete address, phone, email
 Organization/Agency represented (if applicable)
 County and watershed
 Why do you want to be an MRSP facilitator?
 What is your experience in working with adults?
 What is your knowledge and training (including any degrees) in one or more of the MRSP curriculum
 Please give an example of an event or course you have helped organize.  What can you and your organization or agency bring to the MRSP?
Those accepted for this training must be willing to commit to:
*   Offering 2 MRSP workshops over the next 3 years utilizing IRR's course materials and curriculum;
*   Report regularly to the IRR MRSP Coordinator, including photos, evaluation summaries, and project re-
            ports from each MRSP offering; and
*   A fee of $50 per participant to IRR to cover course books, thumb-drives with course materials, and other
            program-related costs.
About Iowa Rivers Revival
Iowa Rivers Revival is a non-profit statewide leader in river education and advocacy and is committed to protecting some our most precious natural resources - our rivers and streams.  IRR works to engage individuals, organizations, communities, and government leaders in river awareness, responsibility, and enjoyment in an effort to improve and enhance the condition of Iowa waterways - ensuring a quality, safe, and lasting resource for future generations.  For more information, go to 

Please email or call 563-425-5233 with questions or a contact recommendation.

Iowa Rivers Revival is a non-profit organization committed to protecting Iowa's rivers and streams.  For more information, please go to the website -- 

PLANNING CALENDAR:  A Quick Look at the Weeks Ahead

Dec 7; Pearl Harbor Remembrance.
Dec 13-14; Geminid Meteor Shower Peaks.
Dec 22; Winter Solstice, 1st day of Winter.
Dec 25; Full Moon. Sunrise 7:33, Sunset 4:41, Moonrise 5:25 CST
Jan 16; ICNC Paddle Day, Cedar Rapids.
Feb 5-7; CSO Iowa Paddle & Pedal Expo, Indianola.
Feb 7; Winter Waters Fun Fest, Rock Creek Park & The Mississippi River Eco-tourism Center, Camanche.

Where Is It? Quiz ANSWER
Cedar R Vinton Wood Sign

"Celebration Park" is situated along the Cedar River near downtown Vinton. Located at a site where several homes were flooded in 2008, it is an excellent example of a community adapting to the reality of living along a floodplain, and incorporating resiliency into the infrastructure. In the event of a future flood, the park can be cleared and cleaned much more easily and quickly than the homes it replaced.

Cedar R Vinton OA Park

The park includes a shelter house, gazebo, limestone wall along the river, and a monument to those who lost their homes to the devastating flood. Benches, sculptures, and lighting contribute to convenience, aesthetics, safety, and security. The park will host a variety of musical events, art shows, and other community activities. Such events can easily connect with the main street area, another source of civic pride, which received an "All -Star Award" from the Iowa League of Cities in 2000.
Cedar R Vinton Memorial

Local resident Mark Mossman helped move the park go from concept to completion. The gazebo was named the "Burns Mossman Gazebo" in honor of Mossman's son, Burns, who died in a motor vehicle accident in 2009, and who enjoyed time on the river.

Planning for Celebration Park began in 2010, fundraising began in January 2013, and the park officially opened in June 2014.

The possibility of a Cedar River Water Trail through Benton County, including Vinton, has been discussed several times in the past. Such a Water Trail in Benton County could connect with the Cedar River Water Trail upstream in Black Hawk County. Similar Cedar River Water Trail segments and a possible Water Trail running the length of the Cedar River have been mentioned as part of the efforts of the Cedar River Watershed Coalition.

Cedar R Vinton Bridge Truck
Looking downstream, beneath the Hwy 150 bridge, toward a concrete boat ramp and paddler access.

Photos by G.Stark 
WhatIsItWhat Is It? Quiz ANSWER

River Birch 2 Tight
The scaly bark of the River Birch is visible year-round, but is of particular visual interest when our deciduous trees have lost their leaves and snow blankets the background.

The Iowa DNR describes the River Birch as: 
"Particularly well-suited to areas wet for a portion of the year, this fast-growing tree may also do well in areas dry in the summer and fall.  Handsome "exfoliating" bark peels into papery sheets and plates, exposing the inner bark which is salmon-brown.  Lustrous medium to dark green leaves change to yellow in fall.  Grows 40 to 70 feet tall with a spread of 40 feet to 60 feet."

Trees Forever recommends River Birch for suitable sites:
"River Birch (Betula nigra) Peeling, cinnamon-colored bark is attractive year-round. Often grow with multiple trunks. Tolerant of wet sites."

The Arbor Day Foundation attests to the growing popularity of the River Birch:
"As its name suggests, the river birch naturally grows along river banks. But as a landscape tree, it can be planted almost anywhere in the U.S. The species is valued for its relatively rapid growth, tolerance of wetness and some drought, unique curling bark, spreading limbs and relative resistance to birch borer.
The river birch has not yet reached the popularity of many maples and oaks, but it is well on its way. In 2002, one of its cultivars was even named the Urban Tree of the Year by the Society of Municipal Arborists."

Wikipedia provides some more technical information:
"Betula nigra (black birchriver birchwater birch) is a species of birch native to the Eastern United States from New Hampshire west to southern Minnesota, and south to northern Florida and west to Texas. It is one of the few heat-tolerant birches in a family of mostly cold-weather trees which do not thrive in USDA Zone 6 and up. B. nigra commonly occurs in flood plains and/or swamps. It is a deciduous tree growing to (82-98 ft with a trunk 20 to 59 in in diameter, often with multiple trunks. The bark is variable, usually dark gray-brown to pinkish-brown and scaly, but in some individuals, smooth and creamy pinkish-white, exfoliating in curly papery sheets. The twigs are glabrous or thinly hairy. The leaves are alternate, ovate, 1.6-3.1 in long and 1.2-2.4 in broad, with a serrated margin and five to twelve pairs of veins. The flowers are wind-pollinated catkins 1.2-2.4 in long, the male catkins pendulous, the female catkins erect. The fruit is unusual among birches in maturing in late spring; it is composed of numerous tiny winged seeds packed between the catkin bracts."

River Birch Clumps
The multiple trunks, scaly bark, and fast growth of River Birch make them attractive choices for landscaping.
These 5 "clumps" are quite comfortable next to a small creek near Fairfax.
Photos by G.Stark
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Gregg Stark
Editor, Iowa Water Trails Association Newsletter