(AMES, IOWA) – In 2017, the Watersheds and Waterways team at Prairie Rivers of Iowa partnered with 23 local and state-wide partners to accomplish a number of events and initiatives.

“I am thrilled with Prairie Rivers of Iowa’s success in the Squaw Creek Watershed in 2017. It has been so successful thanks to our wonderful partners and collaborators.” Kayla Bergman, Watershed Coordinator at Prairie Rivers of Iowa. “We look forward to continue working in Squaw Creek Watershed and reporting annually on our progress.”

Practices funded:
Through the Squaw Creek cost-share dollars allotted from the state, Prairie Rivers of Iowa assisted producers with the implementation of conservation practices. Fourteen producers located throughout the four counties in the watershed received funding to plant 1,630 acres of cover crops. Another 1,060 acres of strip-till and no-till were installed for two local producers, and one denitrifying bioreactor was installed on a farm in Boone County.

Field days:
Prairie Rivers of Iowa hosted four field days in 2017, reaching a total of 137 attendees. These events were held in various locations around the watershed, being in rural Nevada, Gilbert, Ames, and Webster City. These events covered a number of topics concerning soil health and water quality, including soil microbiology, conservation tillage systems, bioreactors, cover crops, oxbow restoration, buffer strips, and no-till and strip-till practices. The Watersheds and Waterways team partnered with a number of organizations on these events.

Outreach events and workshops:
Prairie Rivers of Iowa attended 16 local events in 2017.  Around 600 adults and 400 children were reached during these events, many of which took place in and around the Ames area. The Watersheds and Waterways team gave presentations to students at Ames and Gilbert High Schools, as well as to classes and student groups at Iowa State University. Topics covered at these presentations included soil health, water quality issues, and conservation practice adoption, along with advice and tips on how to become local watershed stewards.
The Watersheds and Waterways team hosted two workshop series throughout 2017 with 26 participants. The Women Caring for the Land Workshop, held in Stanhope on April 13, was co-sponsored by the Women, Food, and Agriculture Network. Participants got the chance to learn about improving soil health on their lands through a series of demonstrations. The women learned about improving soil health through demonstrations and how implementing conservation practices can help them meet their goals. The Master River Stewards program was an eight-week course presented in partnership with Story County Conservation. Participants learned about the river ecosystem and watershed concepts through presentations, tours, and paddling trips. The workshop culminated in participants developing a stewardship project for them to implement in their area. This produced a wide variety of projects, including clean-up days, collecting water quality data, and education campaigns centered on water quality.

With appreciation:
None of these activities would be possible without the generous assistance from local and state-wide partners, including Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority, Story County Supervisors, Boone County Supervisors, Story County Soil & Water Conservation District, Boone County Soil & Water Conservation District, Hamilton County Soil & Water Conservation District, Story County Conservation, Boone County Conservation, City of Ames, City of Gilbert, City of Stanhope, City of Stratford, Key Cooperative, Heartland Cooperative, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, Techincal Service Providers Network, Practical Farmers of Iowa, Iowa Learning Farms, Emmons & Olivier Resources, Blue River Hybrids, and Iowa State University STRIPS team.