Upcoming Events in the

Iowa River Watershed

Great Iowa River Race 

The seventh annual Great Iowa River Race includes race and recreational paddle divisions for canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, youth, and more. Participants will paddle nine miles from Sturgis Ferry in Iowa City to Hills Access in Hills. Following the race, an award ceremony and lunch will be provided for registered participants at Hills Access. A free shuttle will offer transportation of participants back to their vehicles located at Sturgis Ferry. The purpose of this event is to provide recreational opportunities on the Iowa River and build an interest in protecting and improving the river. This event does not serve as a fundraiser, and any money gained from the event will be added to a fund to purchase kayaks for the race and other public programs. 

Saturday, June 11, 2016
Check in between 8:00-9:15 a.m., Race Instructions at 9:30 a.m., Race begins at 10:00 a.m.

For more information and to register, visit Great Iowa River Race

Cover Crop and Soil Health Meeting

Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with the Rapid Creek Watershed Project and Iowa Soybean Association, will host a cover crop and soil health field day on Thursday, June 16, from 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. at the Timber Frame Lodge off the Lake Macbride Trail, in Solon.

The workshop is free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Contact Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or email ilf@iastate.edu.

For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit the website: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/

When: Thursday, June 16th 5:00PM-8:00PM

Where: Timber Dome Lodge, Solon, IA. From Highway 1 in Solon, take 180th St NE (5th St) west for 0.6 miles.  Turn north on Racine Ave and go 0.3 miles, passing the Solon High School. Take the first left past St. Mary’s Catholic Church and follow the field day signs to the lodge.

2016 State of the Iowa River Summary

A “State of the Iowa River Report” released in April 2016 by Iowa River Friends noted several signs of progress in the Iowa watershed along with chronic impairments and deficiencies.  The Iowa River Friends (IRF) gave the report at its annual meeting at the Grimes Farm Conservation Center near Marshalltown, which included participants from along two-thirds the length of this 5,501 square mile watershed stretching from Hancock to Louisa counties.

Over the last twenty years, assessments of river life at more than 12 locations along the river have shown “poor” to “fair” biological quality.  “Excessive sedimentation, nutrients (phosphorus and nitrate) and the loss of habitat have contributed to the decline,” the Report said.  However, “a few locations around Gifford and Eldora have indicated “good” biological communities.”   Seventy-three stream segments and nine lakes in the Iowa River watershed have at least one impairment.  These include (in order of frequency), bacteria, mercury in fish, biological, algae, ammonia, coal tar, organic enrichment/low dissolved oxygen, and others.

More encouraging is the growth in the number of watershed improvement projects for some of the creeks and portions of the river.  IRF President Mel Schlachter pointed out that local efforts can make an impact because the people involved know their sub-watershed, whether urban or rural or both.  “At the same time there needs to be awareness of the big picture and people working together up and down stream.  And more funds need to be available to meet the challenges already described.”

Iowa River Friends also encourages human involvement with the river and its creeks and streams, from paddling, fishing and river cleanups, to festivals, youth education and nature walks.  “The more people who love this river,” said Schlachter, “the more the river will improve.”

The summary report is available here: 2016 State of the Iowa River Summary

Become a member of Iowa River Friends

Now is the perfect time to join up with the Iowa River Friends. To become a member, print out the Membership form and send it to the Iowa River Friends treasurer at the address provided. Membership categories and fees are:

  • Student: $5
  • Individual: $10
  • Family: $15
  • Organization / Business: $50
  • Supporting: $100

Iowa River Friends Brochure

Photo Gallery 

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