The EPA has accepted Iowa's water quality plan. The basic idea behind the plan is to protect as much water in Iowa for recreational use as possible. The state will ensure water is safe for swimming, boating, fishing and other normal day use activities. Looks like a positive step in the right direction.
We firmly believe that the main reason you are visiting the Decorah area and spending your hard earned money here is for the recreational potential and the great people that live in the area. Sustaining what we currently have and improving our resource base only improves our recreational potential. Three main methods exist at this time for the non-landowner to assist in the improvement of the Upper Iowa River Watershed. (YOU ARE TWO CLICKS AWAY FROM BECOMING A FRIEND OF THE UPPER IOWA RIVER) The methods presented are not in any particular order of importance but all provide different levels of improvement to the Upper Iowa River watershed. If everyone would become a Friend of the Upper Iowa River by following the link highlighted above and then find a way to give money in some of the manners listed below we could continue to improve the water quality in Winneshiek county.
The Iowa DNR sells hunting and fishing licenses. The revenue from these sales funds most all DNR functions. Public use areas, wildlife management areas, unique sites, river corridors, etc. The list is much more extensive than what is listed here on this site. Whether you hunt or fish is irrelevant to the sustainability issue. YOUR dollars allow the DNR to maintain and improve existing programs while having the potential to purchase more land to protect our resources from unsustainable practices.
The Iowa Natural Heritage foundation slogan reads, "For Those Who Follow." The INHF strives to protect Iowa's land, water, and wildlife. One of their main supporting strands is water quality of scenic rivers such as the Upper Iowa River. In their most recent membership drive Wells Fargo & Company will match every dollar you give beyond $30.00 to the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. If you would like to go directly to the INHF's Upper Iowa page please click here.
Pheasants Forever is a habitat maker. Their primary goal may be to produce great pheasant hunting but the result of all of their habitat work is tremendous water quality. Soil doesn't move and chemical use is considerably decreased when this habitat group gets involved. The greatest asset this group can sell you on is their fiscal record. Pheasants Forever spends 91% of the money raised in a specific county on habitat for that county. That's AWESOME for water quality. Great news on the habitat front for Winneshiek County in 2007. The county will place 2000 acres of agricultural ground into some form of set aside acreage. Pheasants Forever will play a major role in the installation and long-term care of these projects.
Erosion- Soil that moves in any fashion is bad for water thus bad for recreation.
The picture below is a large cut bank on a trout stream. This particular stream is over grazed and vegetation cannot establish a root mass to maintain the slope. The slope is to big too slump and re-vegetate itself without human intervention. The next time you are in a stream and are stuck in mud. Ask yourself, Where did that mud come from? It came from somewhere and it never should have happened. Please use the resources listed above to help promote sustainable land management practices. We are all in this together, it's not us vs. them. Thanks for your support of sustainable practices.
If the picture below looks really brown to you your eyes are very good. When a trout stream is darker than the dead grass around it you know you have erosion problems. I challenge you to find one person who can find a local benefit to erosion. The picture above shows clear water, the one below looks like a hot cup of coffee with cream. Take a stand, get involved and end erosion. Good Luck and thanks for your efforts.
Today's erosion photo's show the upper reaches of the Trout River watershed. The first photo shows why all people including farmers should have to get a permit to alter a streams course. It is a sad picture and a sad state of affairs that one bad steward can cause so much damage. The second picture below shows water running 3' underground from a field into a trout stream. It is running clear but the hole provides a great look into waters movement underground. Most of the time we don't see this and it goes to show that what was in the top three feet of the field is now leaching into the creek and into the aquifer below. Knowledge is power.
RESULTS OF WETLAND MONITORING ARE CAUSE FOR ALARM
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Researchers are currently engaged in a first-of-its-kind water quality study
designed to assess the health of
One of the top questions researchers hope to answer is at what level do
chemical or other contaminants begin to have a measurable, negative effect on
aquatic life forms. The results of previous investigations suggest that many
Hopkins will lead DNR in coordinating watershed projects across the state
MEDIA CONTACT: Allen Bonini at (515) 281-5107 or Tim Hall at (515) 281-8169.
DES MOINES —The DNR announced today that it has named Steve Hopkins as coordinator of its nonpoint source pollution program, which works with local projects to improve water quality in Iowa.
Hopkins has worked for the DNR since 2000, most recently serving as supervisor of the Water Supply Operations section, co-administering the state’s public drinking water program. Hopkins also runs his own family farm outside of Newton, raising range-fed chickens and cattle. He has also worked as Jasper County Sanitarian and coordinated the Trout Run Watershed Protection Project near Decorah and the Farm 2000 Project through Iowa State Extension. Hopkins holds a master’s degree in land resources and a bachelor of science degree in human ecology.
“Steve has managed and implemented agricultural-based water quality improvement projects on the ground, and brings a working background in agriculture,” said Wayne Gieselman, head of the DNR’s Environmental Services Division. “His knowledge and experience will be invaluable as he helps both rural and urban Iowans work to improve the quality of water in our streams, rivers and lakes.”
Hopkins will coordinate the nonpoint source pollution program, housed in the DNR’s Watershed Improvement section. The program helps develop watershed improvement projects across the state, which work with landowners to install conservation practices that keep pollution out of Iowa’s water. The program also provides funding and technical assistance.
“I look forward to working with this program and its partners to help improve watersheds across Iowa,” Hopkins said.
Nonpoint source pollution is the major water quality challenge in Iowa, occurring when rainfall, snowmelt or irrigation water runs over land or through the ground and picks up pollutants and deposits them into streams, lakes or groundwater. Those pollutants include excess soil, bacteria and nutrients. The DNR currently funds and works with more than 50 organized watershed projects to keep these pollutants out of our water.
Hopkins will begin work in his new position May 4. Hopkins replaces Ubbo Agena, who retired from the DNR in February.