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Navigating in Woods

Watershed Management Plan

Executive Summary: 

The purpose of the Maquoketa River Watershed Management Authority (MRWMA) is to improve water quality and mitigate flooding through a holistic approach to watershed planning and management. With the increasing frequency and intensity of flood events and persistent water quality issues, the WMA has been working diligently to improve water resources. A watershed plan was developed through a partnership with the IISC in 2020-2021 that serves as a guidebook and vision to achieve broad goals related to these issues. The Watershed Management Plan Phase II: Sub-watershed Implementation takes planning efforts further by providing insight into where resources should be directed to meet the WMA’s goals based on a technical analysis and continued engagement with local stakeholders. 

Phase I

Phase II

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The 2020-21 University of Iowa, graduate planning team sought to create a regional community-driven plan with the goal to identify, prioritize, and address water-related issues such as water quality and flood mitigation. The plan serves as a guidebook and vision for the future for the member cities, counties, and Soil & Water Conservation Districts, offering a long-range perspective and ways to improve water quality and mitigate flooding throughout the watershed. The topics that the plan addresses include but are not limited to agricultural practices, water quality, present & future flooding, improved recreation, protection of the river ecosystem, and conservation practices.  A significant portion of their planning process focused on public outreach to learn about existing attitudes, behaviors, and practices related to watershed issues in order to develop goals, objectives, and strategies.

The 2021-22 University of Iowa, planning team continued the work started by the previous group, further developing the plan and continuing engagement with the public and local stakeholders.

The bulk of this plan focuses on subwatershed analysis, prioritization, and plans. In the Sub-watershed Analysis, variables related to each of the four key issues are broken down to the HUC-12 level in order to examine spatial trends of existing conditions. Results showed that the conditions in the northern half of the watershed currently contribute to issues more than other areas.

The 56 HUC-12 sub-watersheds were prioritized based on a survey given to the WMA Technical Committee in which they ranked issues and associated variables. Of these 56, the five highest priority subwatersheds are located in the northern half of the watershed. Each of the priority HUC-12s has an individual plan to provide more detailed information about why it is a priority, where existing and potential agricultural best management practices are, and a list of goals and objectives to help improve conditions.

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Phase I 

Subwatershed Analysis

HUC 10 Profiles

The plan recommends that the WMA, communities, and residents should select cost-effective projects that address plan Phase I goals and objectives by following guidance included in the Plan Implementation section. Criteria such as the strength of improvement, negative impacts, and project cost need to be thoroughly considered when selecting specific sites for a range of management practices. To engage with communities across the watershed, the WMA should not only follow priority sub-watershed plans, but also focus on lower priority HUC-12s for planning and project implementation. Every five years, the WMA should reassess the success of this plan by examining key issues and metrics used in the sub-watershed analysis to account for the ever changing conditions and impacts from conservation practice implementation.

Interactive Map

As part of the ICIGO student organization within the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences, students created an interactive GIS map for the Maquoketa River watershed. The students used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools to make a user-friendly map showing important features of the watershed. 

 ICIGO students designed an application that generates reports based on a point or area selected by the user, providing useful data at the subwatershed (HUC-12) level.  The tool currently shows static information using, in part, data and analyses conducted by graduate planning students for the development of the Maquoketa River Watershed Management Plan. 
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PO Box 421

Mechanicsville, IA 52057

Don Schwenker, Chair

 Mick Michel, Vice Chair

Steve Leonard, Secretary/Treasurer


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