In a collaborative effort between the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Bureaus of Fisheries and Wildlife that began three years ago, the state has restored Mill Creek and several acres of land experiencing streambank erosion. The project was funded through the DNR Water Quality Improvement Section with funds from EPA, which provides Clean Water Act grants for nonpoint source projects.
The renewed stretch of Mill Creek is frequented by anglers looking for trout and other fish. The segment – considered a priority trout stream – is the site of about 11,000 trout fishing trips each year, according to the DNR’s Bureau of Fisheries. Since the project has been completed, staff have been able to document a significant reduction in sediment and nutrients going into the creek.
The grant enabled DNR staff to reconnect the creek to the floodplain, planting prairie vegetation and sloping banks that were previously steep and vertical – all without negatively affecting the quality of the water. These efforts have made the creek easier to access for fishermen. Staff used techniques included in Iowa’s River Restoration Toolbox to determine best practices or stream stabilization, including seeding and planting shrubs and other vegetation.
Three years after the project began, the restoration of the improved portion of Mill Creek was so effective it was cited as a success story by the Association of Clean Water Administrators during its recent celebration of 50 years of the Clean Water Act.
For more information, contact Dan Kirby of Iowa DNR.