The Iowa Watershed Approach is a statewide program that encompasses nine watersheds and numerous partners. Questions are bound to come up! Please review the FAQs below to see if your question is addressed here, or check out the IHSEMD FAQs [pdf]. Feel free to contact Breanna Shea if your question is not answered here.
For further information about IWA, visit the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department website.
What is the project timeline?
The Iowa Watershed Approach is a five-year project that will end in September 2021.
Are there stream gauges in each county?
The Iowa Flood Center currently manages a network of 250 stream-stage sensors across the state that measure stream height. Sensor data is available in real-time on the Iowa Flood Information System. Users can view sensors located in their watershed.
What is the definition of “impaired waters”?
If the water quality in the stream or lake prevents it from fully meeting its designated use, it does not meet Iowa’s water-quality standards and is considered “impaired.”
Is “holding back water” the main purpose of the IWA?
The primary goal of the IWA is to reduce flooding and increase community flood resilience. Secondary benefits to the project may include improved water quality, reduced erosion, enhanced wildlife habitat, and new areas for recreation and enjoyment.
How will we integrate the IWA with other federal/state programs to sustain the program beyond the HUD funding?
The work completed through the IWA will serve as leverage for Watershed Management Authorities (WMAs) to seek continued funding for future projects. The hydrologic assessment and watershed plan will provide a road map for the WMAs to continue working toward their watershed goals even after the HUD funding has expired.
How can non-landowners in the communities contribute to the IWA?
Non-landowners can contribute to the IWA in many ways. These include:
- Assist with outreach and education
- Promote and organize field days, workshops, meetings, and events related to the IWA
- Encourage landowner participation
- Actively attend and participate in quarterly WMA meetings
When will the next meetings and trainings occur?
Details of upcoming meetings and events can be found by accessing the Calendar tab on the IWA website.
Will there be regular email updates to stay informed?
To sign-up for the IWA newsletter, visit the Welcome page of the IWA website and fill in the “Get the IWA Newsletter” information. An electronic newsletter will be sent out to share information about upcoming meetings, events, and to circulate stories about the work going on in each of the different watersheds.
Will there be a way for each of the watersheds to stay connected and share information?
The IWA website and electronic newsletter will be great resources for sharing information and communicating about the project. In addition, the IWA has their own Facebook and Twitter page. Follow us!
Will the PowerPoint from the watershed meetings be made available on the watershed website?
Presentations and meeting handouts will be made available on each watersheds individual website page. To access a particular watershed, view the Watersheds tab.
How do you apply for funding for projects?
Project construction will likely not begin earlier than 2018. The hydrologic assessment and watershed plan will help to inform which sub-watersheds to work in and where practices should be placed. At this time, a project coordinator will be hired for each watershed that will help to engage volunteer landowners to implement projects and will provide assistance on how to apply for funding.
Are there funds available for use within the watershed but outside the eligible areas?
The hydrologic assessment, watershed plan, and resilience plan will be completed for the entire watershed. However, money on built projects can only be spent in areas that qualify based on environmental and/or infrastructure unmet recovery needs from Presidential Disaster Declarations between 2011-2013.
What sort of funding is available to address water quality?
Projects constructed through the IWA will provide secondary benefits to water quality by reducing runoff, promoting infiltration, and reducing erosion. In addition, water quality sensors will be deployed in select sub-watersheds that will monitor the benefits of built projects.
Watershed Management Authorities
Who can join the WMA?
All cities, counties, and Soil & Water Conservation Districts that touch all or part of the watershed are invited to join the WMA.
What is the role of the watershed coordinator? Who will hire the coordinators?
The watershed coordinator will work closely with the landowners to engage participation in voluntary enrollment of constructed projects. In addition, the coordinator will act as a knowledgeable resource for answering questions about the IWA, organizing meetings and events, engaging the WMA, and collaborating with local watershed partners.
What kinds of authority do WMAs have?
None. For more information about WMAs, visit the Iowa DNRs website.
Will the IWA help with the development of other new WMAs?
Yes. The IWA will help form a WMA for the North Raccoon River Watershed, East Nishnabotna River Watershed, and West Nishnabotna River Watershed.
How will projects be designed?
Constructed projects will follow NRCS specifications and guidelines and will be required to have a 20 year maintenance agreement.
How will projects be monitored?
Yes. Pre and post construction monitoring will help to assess the benefits of built projects.
Will there be data on things other than nitrates?
Yes. Real-time data from stream-stage sensors, rain gauges, and water quality sensors will be available to the public.
How does IWA define “resilience”?
Community flood resilience is the ability of a social system to respond to and recover from flood events through absorbing impacts, adapting to change, and withstanding disruption. For more information, visit the Flood Resilience Program tab.
What will the impact on low to moderate income areas be?
Areas with fewer resources will be targeted for the activities of the flood resilience programming. We will implement these activities through partnerships with local organizations and communities.