Watershed Planning Update

Watershed Planning Update

An update on our watershed planning efforts is long overdue.  Our NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant for the “Keigley” watershed project wrapped up in September of 2018.  Here’s some of the highlights from 2017-2018 and what we’ll be doing next. A change in focus:  No more need to explain that by “Keigley Branch Watershed” we really mean “part of the South Skunk River.”  In the future, we’ll be working with the entire 200,556-acre watershed that drains to the South Skunk River above the confluence with Squaw Creek in Ames. On paper, a single ten-digit hydrologic unit (HUC10) seemed like a more manageable project, but as we talked with the public it became clear that watershed plans and partnerships would be more effective if the river’s headwaters in Hamilton County were included sooner rather than later. A new Watershed Management Authority (WMA):  The Headwaters of the South Skunk River WMA was formed in August 2018 with seven signatories: Story County Supervisors Story County Soil...
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April showers bring Watershed Planning!

April showers bring Watershed Planning!

“Never let your watershed management plan gather dust,” recommended Kevin Griggs at last week’s meeting of the Squaw Creek Watershed Management Board.  Board members agreed, discussing the next elements of the 20-year plan to bring to life. Can we protect drinking water wells in small communities like Stanhope? Can we improve wildlife habitat? Can we promote recreational opportunities in our area? We sure can, and often with the same practices that we're already promoting to address nutrients and water quality in Squaw Creek.  Cover crops and stormwater best management practices are good tools for source water protection.  Prairie strips and riparian buffers are great habitat for birds and pollinators.  At Prairie Rivers of Iowa, we're always on the lookout for new opportunities, and more reasons to get people interested in soil health and water quality. -- In parallel, we are also working on a watershed management plan for the Keigley-South Skunk Watershed.  We hope that this too will be a living document that opens the door to...
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