Efforts of Iowans to improve Iowa’s lakes, rivers, and streams have resulted in success stories across the state, and a new publication is showcasing some of the most impressive efforts over the last decade. Working with groups statewide, including the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Watershed Improvement Program, Iowans are making changes on the land to improve their waters.
“The success stories we highlight show what can be accomplished when local communities come together to improve water quality, and how they can continue to preserve the improvements made over the long term,” said DNR Director Chuck Gipp. “We hope that the accomplishments that we showcase here inspire others to take action in their own communities and be our success stories of tomorrow.”
The DNR works with other state and federal agencies to help Iowans organize local and regional watershed improvement efforts by providing technical and financial assistance to create long-term, comprehensive plans. Under watershed management plans, local groups work with landowners and residents to make changes on the land in areas that can make the largest impact on water quality.
Take for example the coldwater trout streams of northeast Iowa. Watershed projects on these famed streams over the last two decades have improved water quality, and in turn, wild trout populations, fishing, and tourism. By changing the way water comes into trout streams, watershed projects have kept excess sediment, nutrients, and bacteria out of the water. Along with in-stream work by DNR fisheries staff to improve trout habitat, trout are thriving again.
The trout stream story, as well as other success stories, are highlighted in Working for Clean Water: 2016 Watershed Improvement Successes in Iowa. For more information on the DNR’s watershed improvement efforts, contact Stephen Hopkins of DNR, or click here.