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.

In December 2013, the Iowa Rivers and Waterways Interim Study Committee convened to hear testimony from a broad group of stakeholders in considering natural river restoration options for restoring the quality of Iowa’s rivers and waterways (see links to presentations below).

In January of 2014, the bi-partisan Committee unanimously agreed to adopt the following recommendations for next steps in developing an Iowa River Restoration Program:

– That DNR and IDALS, in collaboration with other involved entities, develop a plan that builds upon current and emergent efforts and related programs to identify and facilitate meaningful and effective river restoration priorities.

– That DNR and IDALS continue to initiate and cooperate in demonstration projects with local landowners and watershed groups to provide examples of options and outcomes that could address a range of restoration needs and opportunities.

In February 2015, DNR leaders convened a broad group of staff and stakeholders, whose work directly affects rivers, to explore the framework necessary for an Iowa River Restoration Program.

Iowa Rivers & Waterways Study Committee Presentations

Opening Remarks

Panel Discussion 1:
Mike Steuck, Manchester Fisheries Management Office, Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Nate Hoogeveen, Director of Rivers Programs, Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Jim Gillespie, Director, Soil Conservation Division, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Panel Discussion 2:
Larry Gullett, Director, Johnson County Conservation Board
Jerry Peckumn, Iowa Rivers Revival
Todd Sutpin, Iowa Soybean Association

River Restoration in Other States:
Marty Melchior, Regional Director, Interfluve

Panel Discussion 3:
Mike McGhee, Iowa Department of Natural Resources Lake Restoration
Todd Bishop, Iowa Department of Natural Resources River Restoration Financing

Panel Discussion 4:
Mimi Wagner, River Restoration Consultant and Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture, Iowa State University
Tom Brownlow, City Administrator, Charles City
Wayne Petersen, Urban Conservation Program, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Panel Discussion 5:
Jody Kerns, Private Landowner
Eric Boehm, Private Landowner

Committee Discussion

WHOTV Channel 13 News Coverage, December 10, 2013

Des Moines Register, December 11, 2013: $300k requested for river plan