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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Nutrients in November Workshop Recap

The Prairie Rivers of Iowa Watershed and Waterways Program just wrapped up its Nutrients in November Workshop Series! This three-workshop series provided educational programming on tools and conservation practices to help farmers and landowners improve the water quality in the Squaw Creek Watershed and other surrounding areas. The first workshop was held on November 2nd in Boone and had ten people in attendance, This workshop was led by Dr. Lisa Schulte-Moore of the  Natural Resources Ecology and Management Department at Iowa State University along with PhD student Carrie Chennault. They presented on an online land use decision-making tool called People in Ecosystems/Watershed Integration (PEWI). PEWI is a simple spreadsheet tool designed to provide a scientific platform for teaching, discussing, and evaluating the trade-offs associated with agricultural land use and management. PEWI encourages users to think through the different ecosystem services that different agricultural practices and plant life provide in the watershed and their associated trade-offs. Users of the tool can experiment...
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Now available: Online Form to Request Financial and Technical Assistance!

Are you a farmer or landowner in the Squaw Creek Watershed interested in using conservation practices on your land? You have come to the right place! Cost-share programming is available through Prairie Rivers of Iowa for no-till, buffer strips, cover crops, extended crop rotations, bioreactors, and perennial plantings. Farmers and landowners who are a first-time user of the conservation practice, have not used the practice for at least two years on planted acres, or are installing an additional structural practice are eligible for our cost-share program. We know that no farm field is the same, and so we will find the conservation practices that work best for your land.    Cost-share for no-till is $10/acre and $25/acre for cover crops. Other practices include: extended crop rotations, saturated buffers, bioreactors, buffer strips, and perennial plantings at50% cost-share. More information is available on each of the practices upon request via our website or a call to the Prairie Rivers of Iowa office (515-232-0048). We now...
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Nutrients in November: Final Workshop on Tuesday 11/17!

The final workshop in Prairie Rivers of Iowa’s “Nutrients in November” workshop series will be held on November 17th from 6-8 PM in the Gilbert Franklin Community Room at Gilbert City Hall. The workshop will feature RetaiN Iowa: On-farm Nitrate Testing Kits. Jamie Benning from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will show how to use a simple test that farmers and landowners can use to measure the amount of nitrates leaving field tiles. Attendees will be able to take home a free nitrate testing kit to try on their own land! Admission is free and will include light refreshments. Please RSVP online at www.prrcd.org/workshops or to Hanna Bates, Watershed Coordinator via phone at 515-232-0048 or via email at hbates@prrcd.org. ...
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The Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority has Adopted a Mission and Goals

Ames, Iowa (October 23, 2014) – The Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority Board (SCWMA) has been meeting to place the final touches on their watershed management plan with the help of Emmons and Olivier Resources, Inc. (EOR) from Oakdale, Minnesota (a water resource-based engineering and environmental consulting firm). At the Board’s last meeting, they adopted a mission and set some specific goals to achieve in the Squaw Creek Watershed.   The newly adopted mission statement is as follows: The mission of the Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority Board is to engage, educate and encourage all citizens to improve the health, stewardship and resiliency of our watershed resources.   The goals of the SCWMA are to work on restoring hydrology, improving water quality, creating recreational opportunities and increasing wildlife habitat within the watershed through an active watershed educational campaign and relying upon building partnerships. Pat Conrad, project manager with EOR stated, “The ultimate goal of the WMA is to transform Squaw Creek into a resource...
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See EOR’s Presentation on the Squaw Creek

Would you like to see the presentation and data that Emmons and Olivier Resources Inc. has presented to the Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority?  Check out their Water Quality Summary and their Stream Assessment presentations to read about their findings thus far.   Water Quality Summary Stream Assessment   A quick summary of their Key findings of the water quality and stream assessment: ·        The hydrology of Squaw Creek has been significantly altered. Flashy: Peak flow rates in the stream can be as much as 100x the base flow. ·        Monitoring data indicates that there are very high levels of nutrients (P and N) and bacteria. Boom/Bust dissolved oxygen cycles. ·        The manner in which past monitoring has been done makes it difficult to detect any trends. Recommendation is to focus effort at one or two sites along the creek and take more frequent baseflow and storm event samples. ·        Stream is NOT healthy: unstable, degraded habitat, carries large sediment load (without flushing it downstream)  ...
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Raising Awareness and Educating with Real Time Information for the Squaw Creek

Education and awareness are key components when trying to raise awareness on any topic, this is especially true when talking about the Squaw Cree Watershed. The Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority is trying to do those exact two things, educate the public and to bring awareness to the situation. They have gone about this by hosting several listening sessions in Stanhope, Gilbert, and Ames. Here the public came to ask questions about the group and what they are trying to achieve with this 20 year plan they are looking to develop.   As the Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority continues to educate and raise awareness to the situation a great resource to use to keep up to date on the Squaw Creek in your area is the one-stop web-platform from the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS). Through this site you can access real time community flood conditions, forecast and visualizations, among other great information.   There are different settings and layers you can apply...
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Squaw Creek Watershed listening sessions – April 28th from 4:30-6:00pm at the Ames City Hall, Council Chambers and April 29th from 4:30-6:00pm at Iowa State University, Oak Room in the Memorial Union

First of Two Listening Sessions to be Held to Discuss the Squaw Creek Watershed start today at Ames City Hall (515 Clark Ave).   Two listening sessions will be held to discuss the Squaw Creek Watershed on April 28th from 4:30-6:00pm at the Ames City Hall, Council Chambers and then again on April 29th from 4:30-6:00pm at Iowa State University, Oak Room in the Memorial Union. We are asking people to come and talk about the watershed and to ask questions to our board. There will also be informational material to read on the watershed.   Penny Brown Huber, Executive Director of Prairie Rivers of Iowa and a sub consultant on the project says, “Our focus in the planning project will be to engage and educate the public about the watershed.  We want to hear from all the residents in our watershed in order to create a plan that will lead us over time to make improvements in water quality while we address flooding...
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First of Two Listening Sessions to be Held to Discuss the Squaw Creek Watershed

Two listening sessions will be held to discuss the Squaw Creek Watershed on March 10th from 3:00-4:30pm at the Stanhope Community Center and then again on March 11th from 3:00-4:30pm at Gilbert City Hall. We are asking people to come and talk about the watershed and to ask questions to our board. There will also be informational material to read on the watershed.   Penny Brown Huber, Executive Director of Prairie Rivers of Iowa and a subconsultant on the project says, “Our focus in the planning project will be to engage and educate the public about the watershed.  We want to hear from all the residents in our watershed in order to create a plan that will lead us over time to make improvements in water quality while we address flooding and water quantity issues. ”   Emmons and Olivier Resources, Inc. (EOR) from Oakdale, Minnesota was hired to facilitate the planning process.  EOR is a water resource-based engineering and environmental consulting firm that...
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Iowa’s “Master River Stewards Program”

With being involved with the Squaw Creek Watershed Management we have been on high alert when it comes to water. In making contact with Story County Conservation District, this great program was brought to our attention and we want to share it with you. Iowa Rivers Revival will bring it's third year of the “Master River Stewards Program” to the Iowa River Watershed in the Spring of 2014. The program will be based out of the Iowa City area. Registration deadline is April 15, 2014.  Please respond to jdreier@iowarivers.org with interest and contact information. 2014 Master River Stewards Schedule-Iowa River Watershed The program will focus on: Watershed awareness Paddling and navigating skills River and stream dynamics Aquatic habitat Water quality and water monitoring Policies related to floodplains River protection and restoration Visit IRR’s website to view an outline of last year’s program:  http://iowarivers.org/education/river-stewards/ Registration Cost: Participants will pay a fee of $50 which will include program materials. Participants will be expected to attend each session and there will be “homework” assignments following...
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