“We speak for the rivers, because they can’t speak for themselves,” was the general theme of our river steward training led by Dr. Jim Pease over the last two days hosted by Iowa Rivers Revival. They have put together a thorough curriculum discussing watersheds, geologic landforms, topography, river form and function, navigating Iowa’s waters, river wildlife, river chemistry and monitoring, agricultural production and policies, stream and riparian zone restoration including fish and wildlife habitat, and finally developing a river-health related project.

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Now that I have been through the “Training the Facilitator Program”, I am prepared, along with 17 other educators from across to state, to develop and host a Master River Steward Program in our watershed area. The idea is to develop a large group of river stewards who can spread the word about watershed and stream health across Iowa. At the beginning of the program each participant receives the Izaak Walton League’s Handbook for Stream Enhancement & Stewardship and many more resources on a flash drive to use throughout the course. Upon completion of the program, each participant receives a certificate and patch after starting their own river-health related project in their watershed.

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The curriculum aligns with our goals of boosting watershed knowledge and developing programming which helps Iowan’s understand the complex water issues in our state. It is going to take a state-wide citizen effort to solve our water quality needs. Through understanding of natural systems and monitoring of our streams we can maintain ecological and economical quality across the state.

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Stay tuned to our website, blog, or facebook page for more details to come on our Master River Steward training program. Thank you to Iowa Rivers Revival for the great resources and training!