Achievements and Completed Projects

Promise Road: A Travelling Exhibit


Lincoln Highway Traveling Exhibit

We created a travelling exhibit with both visual and audio elements that continues be displayed in communities on the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway.  Promise Road tells the story of how the Lincoln Highway knit together the nation in the early days of the automobile and helps communities grow.  

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NFWF: Water quality and endangered pollinators


Conservation Practices Field Day

Many conservation practices benefit wildlife and water quality!  Funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation allowed us to map opportunities to do both, help homeowners to plant pollinator gardens, and continue our conservation work with landowners in the Ioway Creek and South Skunk River watersheds.

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Ten-Year Water Monitoring Plan for Story County


Water Quality and Invertebrate Monitoring

After Iowa DNR ended their volunteer monitoring program, we facilitated meetings of nine local partners to write a plan for how we could work together to support a long-term, locally-led water monitoring effort that included both volunteer and lab testing of streams and lakes.  We also researched and wrote over 70 pages of supporting documentation to show how water quality data could be interpreted and support conservation efforts.

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Water Quality Initiative project: Ioway Creek Watershed


Bioreactor under construction

We organized field days and connected farmers with cost-share, leading to 3,500 acres of cover crops, over 3,700 acres of no-till, and a woodchip bioreactor.  This big project (funded by a grant from IDALS) also included water monitoring and community education.  A related project focused on small farms and acreages in the watershed.

Watershed and creek signs in Story County


We helped Story County Conservation design and order 50 road signs marking watershed boundaries and 105 signs marking creek crossings.  Signage is an important part of awareness campaigns around water quality and land stewardship.

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Mapped locations for conservation projects


Using the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) we mapped suitable locations for conservation practices in 43 small watersheds (HUC12s) to support watershed projects and conservation staff in Story, Boone, Hamilton, Plymouth, and Calhoun counties.  We even created an interactive web map to view the Story County results.

Watershed Awareness Month Videos


City Of Ames Smart Watershed Video

As part of an awareness campaign, we partnered with media services staff at the City of Ames to create a pair of videos on the South Skunk River Watershed and stormwater runoff.  We supplied most of the footage and wrote the scripts, they did the editing and production.

Watershed Locator Map


Watershed Locator

Where does you land drain?  Click anywhere and Iowa and get your complete “watershed address” with our interactive map.  When the resources we wanted for environmental education aren’t available, we make our own!

Soil as Sponges awareness campaign


Part of a soil health awareness campaign, we would demonstrate our rainfall simulator and give away these sponges at fairs and community events.  The sponge includes a link to a website explaining the many ways a healthy soil can act like a sponge!

Outdoor Learning Environments


With funding from REAP and the Iowa Living Roadway Trust Fund, we assembled an advisory group, wrote a report, and organized a conference to share best practices for designing, maintaining and using outdoor classrooms to promote environmental literacy and restore native Iowa habitats.

Watershed Planning for Ioway Creek


While watershed projects are a team effort, Prairie Rivers has been the driving force behind a lot of the activity in the Ioway Creek watershed (formerly Squaw Creek), including facilitating meetings, writing several chapters of the watershed plan, and applying for grants to implement the plan.

Watershed Planning for the South Skunk River


South Skunk Headwaters

We laid the groundwork for the Headwaters of the South Skunk River Watershed Management Authority by facilitating planning meetings and using GIS to map suitable locations for conservation practices.