McKnight Foundation Awards IRR $80,000 for River Restoration

Photo courtesy of Gregg Stark.
Photo courtesy of Gregg Stark

Des Moines, Iowa.  Iowa Rivers Revival, a statewide river advocacy organization, has been awarded $80,000 by a Minnesota Foundation for river restoration efforts that could help reduce pollution into the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico.  

“These funds will support IRR’s work to promote stream and river restoration in Iowa, with an emphasis on techniques that can reduce nutrient pollution,” said Jerry Peckumn, Iowa Rivers Revival Board Chair and a farmer from Jefferson, Iowa. “We are very grateful to the McKnight Foundation for their confidence in our ability to foster greater awareness and expertise for river restoration in Iowa.”  

The grant will provide two years of program support for river restoration-related research, education and outreach that will include meetings, videos and field days.  According to Peckumn, the grant is the largest IRR has received since it was founded in 2007.  The award requires some matching funds, which means that to receive the full award IRR will be raising additional funds.

“We are excited at the opportunities this grant provides for IRR to build on growing efforts underway in Iowa to return the natural functions of our seriously degraded waterways,” said IRR Executive Director Rosalyn Lehman.  “We can learn from other states and regions where river restoration is getting more attention and are helping meet goals to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus.”

Iowa Rivers Revival (IRR) is a statewide nonprofit with a mission to help Iowans restore, protect, and enjoy rivers.  The organization championed an Iowa Legislative Interim Study Committee on River Restoration that convened in December 2013, and IRR has led efforts to fund state low-head dam mitigation and water trails programs.  IRR’s Master River Stewards Program was launched in 2012, and IRR has sponsored a River Rascals youth program in Central Iowa since 2009.  IRR has presented “River Town of the Year” awards to eight communities since 2007.   Learn more about IRR at

The McKnight Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations through grantmaking, collaboration and encouragement of strategic policy reform.  Founded in 1953, the Minnesota-based family Foundation had assets of approximately $2 billion and granted about $86 million in 2013.  Program priorities include restoring the water quality and resilience of the Mississippi River.

Rosalyn Lehman, Director, Iowa Rivers Revival — 515-724-4093,


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