Introduction to River Restoration in Northeast Iowa

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Join IRR for one of two Introduction to River Restoration with along with Iowa DNR fisheries staff and other local agencies. There will be several site visits as part of the field component for the workshops including sites along the Turkey and Maquoketa Rivers to observe examples of in-progress or completed river restoration projects and examples of best practices.

Natural river restoration can be an affordable and practical solution for addressing streambank erosion issues across Iowa. Eroding streambanks can mean the loss of crop buffer areas, productive farmland, and local infrastructure. In addition, streambank erosion is a major contributor to sediment and nutrients in our water. Understanding river dynamics can lead to much more cost-effective, fish and wildlife friendly solutions to these problems. River restoration also enhances aquatic ecosystems and improves river recreation, fishing, and hunting — boosting local economies and providing public health and quality of life.

These workshops are geared toward landowners, natural resource professionals, engineers, paddlers, anglers, local NRCS and RC&D agencies, county conservation employees and other interested individuals who want to learn in a classroom setting AND get out and explore.

Registration: There is no fee to participate, but advanced registration is recommended due to limited space. Please RSVP by emailing





Own an Original Piece of Artwork!

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Original artwork by Pam Dennis and Ryk Weiss
                                      Original artwork by Pam Dennis and Ryk Weiss

IRR had the unique opportunity to help make and later acquire this unique piece of art made from found items from river cleanups and clay fish created by artists Pam Dennis and Ryk Weiss and guests at last year’s Hinterland music festival.

The piece is currently on display at Confluence Brewery and you can bid online to make it yours!   This piece is a reminder that all of us are connected to the rivers and we all can help protect, restore and enjoy them.

Bidding closes on May 31st at 4:00 PM. We’ll be meeting at Confluence at 5:00 PM to announce the winner!  (Need not be present to win)

Please consider placing a bid or donating to IRR and join us at Confluence for brews and networking!

All proceeds go to Iowa Rivers Revival to continue working hard for water quality, Iowa rivers and ALL OF YOU!


Powerful Examples and Guidance for Modifying Dangerous Dams!

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Turkey River at Vernon Springs, Howard County, Iowa
                                   Turkey River at Vernon Springs, Howard County, Iowa

Iowa has 177 low-head dams in 57 of the state’s  99 counties. “Low-head” dams span the river and are less then 20 feet high (many just 2-5 feet high).  The dams often are deceptively dangerous “drowning machines.”  Since 1900, at least 163 people have been killed in the deadly recirculating currents that form below these dams — 31 since 1998.  The drop below the dam can be nearly invisible from upstream, and the treacherous “boil” below the dam can appear harmless.

Dams also block the movement of fish and other aquatic life up and down rivers, harm the health and biodiversity of Iowa’s rivers, require costly repairs, and pose major liability concerns.

Iowa Rivers Revival is distributing “Iowa Low-head Dam Modification Success Stories” booklet this week to more than 800 recipients around Iowa – especially to communities, public officials, and private owners related to the 177 low-head dams remaining in Iowa.  The booklet  includes stories and details of 13 low-head dam modifications in towns across Iowa — 12 since 2010.  Stories include local partners and decision-making, cost of modification, funding sources, design features and photos.  The booklet also discusses the history of low-head dams in Iowa, benefits of dam modification, sources of planning assistance, and a guide for community action.  Dam modification success stories included in the booklet are dams at Boone, Charles City, Elkader, Goldfield, Klondike Mill (Lyon Co.), Manchester, North Washington (Chickasaw Co.), Quaker Mill (Delaware Co.), Quasqueton, Rockford, Story City, Vernon Springs (Howard Co.), and Warner’s Ford (Allamakee Co.).

The new booklet also is available for free by download here.

“River Town of the Year” Ice Cream Social

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You are cordially invited to attend a reception hosted by Iowa Rivers Revival:

 “River Town of the Year” Ice Cream Social – honoring Clinton, Iowa

Each year, Iowa Rivers Revival presents the “River Town of the Year” Award to an Iowa river community that demonstrates a commitment “to reclaiming the waterfront as an anchor for economic development, recreation, and ecological practices, as well as addressing some of the challenges and solutions related to water quality.”

Clinton richly deserves to be named “River Town of the Year.”  IRR commends the vision and efforts of Clinton officials and citizens to enhance the city’s connections with the Mighty Mississippi River, and to improve water quality.

Monday, April 4, 2016, 3:00-4:00 p.m. – Program c. 3:15 p.m.
Legislative Dining Room G15, Lower Level of the State Capitol

Clinton named “River Town of the Year”

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Clinton, Iowa named “River Town of the Year”

“Clinton celebrates its past as a river town, enjoys the present, and prepares for the future”

This year’s award recognizes Clinton especially for tackling difficult water-quality challenges at the same time it promotes river recreation, boating and fishing, recreational trails, wildlife watching, river history sites, and other river-centered activities.

“We are especially impressed with Clinton’s forward-looking efforts to protect the environment, improve waste water going into the Mississippi, and reduce storm water and pollutants discharging to the river,” Peckumn said.

Iowa Rivers Revival is presenting the “River Town of the Year” award at a reception in Clinton.  Mayor Mark Vulich and other leaders are accepting the award on behalf of Clinton.  IRR will also be honoring Clinton at a reception at the state capitol on Monday, April 4 at 3pm in room G15.  The public is invited to attend.

Iowa Rivers Revival pointed to several key river-related projects in and near Clinton:

     *   The Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility is a model for Iowa, IRR said.  It uses new “biological nutrient removal” technology (BNR) to reclaim waste water and reduce nutrient pollution discharges to the Mississippi.  It reduces harm to marine life in the river.  It is a collaborative regional facility (with nearby Camanche and Low Moor) that saves millions of dollars, spreads benefits, and puts the three communities in good position as new strategies and regulations emerge to reduce nutrient pollution.

     *  The Main Avenue Green Infrastructure Project is a recently-completed, $1.2 million project improving storm water retention, treatment and filtering. It will result in reduced discharges to the Mississippi of bacteria, and solid, metal and nutrient pollution.  The Green Infrastructure Project includes permeable brick parking areas, rain gardens and barrels, bio-retention cells, a bio-swale, tree plantings, and soil-quality restoration.  Half the funding for the Project was provided by the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR).

     *  Cultural and Historic Preservation Efforts.  Clinton’s Sawmill Museum (a designated Great River Road Interpretive Center) tells the story of Clinton being the “Lumber Capital of the World” in the late 19th Century.  The Clinton Area Showboat Theatre hosts a summer repertory theater in a restored old paddle wheeler on the river-front levee.

     *  Connecting with the Mighty Mississippi.  The Discovery Recreational Trail and Mississippi River Trail now total 12 miles for bicycle riders, runners, walkers and watchers along the river.  There are four boat ramps, a new handicap-accessible fishing pier, and Clinton Marina with slips and services for 150 boats.

     *  Celebrating nature.  Clinton’s Soaring Eagle Nature Center (a Silos & Smokestacks “Emerging Site”) is a great resource for public activities and educational activities with area schools.  There is an Annual Bald Eagle Watch each January.  Eagle Point Park is 200-acre city park with high bluffs and a 1937 stone tower with wonderful views of the Mississippi.

     *  Welcoming visitors.  Events and amenities attract visitors and residents.  Clinton hosts fishing tournaments, and the Class-A baseball “LumberKings.”  In 2015, Clinton became a tour stop for the “American Queen” Steamboat, welcoming visitors to local shops, family farms and historic sites.  The River Edge Zone offers fine dining — and fine Mississippi River views.

Encouraging volunteers and community involvement.Clinton hosts river-front cleanups in Spring and Fall, with volunteers from the community, Fire Department, City of Clinton, Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Clinton Marina.  Most of the events and activities mentioned above rely heavily upon volunteers.

Peckumn said one quality seems to be at work in every community that has been named River Town of the Year.  “Cooperation and collaboration are crucial,” said Peckumn, the IRR Chair.

“All these efforts in Clinton are characterized by a rich mix of public and private cooperation, and partnerships between city, county, state and U.S. governments, other public agencies, businesses, organizations, and volunteers.  That’s how communities embrace their rivers and become River Town of the Year,” Peckumn said.

Peckumn noted, for example, that Clinton worked with the Iowa DNR on the Wastewater Reclamation Facility – and with Camanche and Low Moor.  The DNR provided half the funding for the Main Ave. Green Infrastructure Project.  The Annual Bald Eagle Watch is co-hosted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi River Project, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Lock and Dam 13, and Clinton Community College.  “Clinton is cooperating to rebuild its historic connection to the Mississippi,” Peckumn said.


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