Funding from the McKnight Foundation has provided substantial support for Iowa Rivers Revival to raise awareness and provide training opportunities about natural river restoration and its many benefits.


A vision for a statewide river restoration program

A River Restoration Program for Iowa should provide a framework for targeted in-stream and stream-side restoration, preservation, enhancement, and beneficial use of Iowa rivers. A program can be based on existing models, such as Iowa’s successful lake restoration program, and on best practices learned from other states.

Iowa’s rivers face complicated challenges. A program run by professionals with input from communities and affected landowners is crucial to restoring river structure and function and improving water quality. The quality of our waterways affects the economic vitality and quality of life for all Iowans, now and into the future.

What is river restoration?

River restoration is a process of restoring rivers and streams to healthier, naturally-functioning ecosystems.  Healthy streams can:

– Improve water quality.
– Help landowners prevent loss of stream bank, land, and infrastructure.
– Help the state and counties address damage to bridges and roads.
– Reduce flooding and flood damage.
– Cultivate a healthier ecosystem for fishing, hunting and wildlife.
– Increase and improve economic development.

Iowa Rivers & Waterways Study Committee

In May 2013, the Iowa Legislature established an Iowa Rivers and Waterways Interim Study Committee to consult with interested parties in considering options for restoring the quality of Iowa’s rivers and waterways. And to develop recommendations for an initial plan to prioritize river and waterway projects, and provide defined goals and measurable improvements. Interested parties may include engineers, local watershed partnerships, persons who farm near rivers and waterways, anglers, boaters, and other interested parties.

More information and Interim Committee presentations

River Restoration Priorities 

Lead a highly informative and credible public outreach campaign about the benefits of river restoration for local communities, landowners, water quality, and river habitat.

Offer statewide training opportunities about river restoration techniques and practices for community leaders, field and technical experts, and the general public.

Develop crucial partnerships to cultivate statewide expertise and initiate river restoration projects throughout the state.

Create a framework for an Iowa River Restoration Program. River restoration helps improve water quality, reduces streambank erosion, reduces flooding, improves habitat, and strengthens the economy.


An Introduction to Natural River Restoration Webinar (Oct 21, 2015)
– River Restoration Fact Sheet
– River Basics
– River Restoration and Nutrient Reduction
– Des Moines Register op-ed, March 1, 2013:  A Call to Iowa to Revive Our Rivers `