The project started after the City of Manchester proposed the construction of two stormwater wetlands located within the city limits on land owned by the Good Neighbor Society and Wes Schulte. The City reached out to Limestone Bluffs Resource Conservation and Development for assistance with writing the grant for the project. They successfully received funding from Water Infrastructure Fund (WIF) and Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship (IDALS).
The project targets the unnamed tributary that flows in the city through a senior care community, a park, and several residential neighborhoods and empties into the Maquoketa River, which eventually flows into the Mississippi. The Maquoketa River in Manchester provides a white-water park that is utilized for kayaking, fishing, and bird watching, among other recreational activities. This project will aid in decreasing excess nutrients from urban and rural landscapes from entering local surface and groundwater prior to emptying into the Maquoketa. Added project benefits: 1) The wetlands are a natural, sustainable low cost means to decrease nutrients into the source water of Manchester’s municipal water supply. Currently, Manchester utilizes nitrate removal systems for three of five public wells. It is anticipated the proposed wetlands - located in the most critical municipal well’s capture zone - will decrease nitrate levels over time in the public wells and aid in decreasing the cost of operation of the system. 2) The wetlands will decrease the nitrate and phosphorus runoff into the Maquoketa, which eventually empties into the Mississippi River. This is a direct correlation to the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy’s goals. 3) The wetlands are located within the floodplain and will work to decrease flooding impacts on the City’s residential areas, downtown businesses, and Baum Park.
With these two stormwater wetlands installed, they will aid in the reduction of nutrients in ground and surface waters and make allowances for increased loads from future development while reducing nutrients and lessening the quantity of flood water flowing into the Maquoketa River. The reduction of nutrients will benefit aquatic life and recreational users throughout the watershed area. Delaware County’s Secondary Roads Department will realize reduced maintenance on 190th Ave., a gravel road adjacent to the project area that consistently experiences washouts from heavy rainfall events. The wetlands’ location will also work to reduce surface runoff that causes soil erosion and increases nutrients into the floodplain where the high nutrient water sits during flood events and is eventually pulled into the municipal wells’ capture zone areas.
This stormwater wetlands installation is poised to be the foundation for a large-scale comprehensive environmental and recreational area that pairs the reduction of surface water nutrients, provides source water protection, and offers flooding mitigation with an aesthetically pleasing public area with ample educational opportunities as an outdoor classroom. Support of this wetland’s restoration will help the City of Manchester leverage future funding for related projects. Community discussions have also included the addition of a public bikeway/walkway trail in the area that will connect the new wetlands to the city’s already popular park and trail network. The Manchester Stormwater Wetland Restoration Project is the first phase of a larger, more detailed, comprehensive plan for the area that will provide multiple benefits to both the environment and residents.
The project partners include: City of Manchester; Landowner, Good Neighbor Society; Landowner, Wesley Schulte; Limestone Bluffs Resource Conservation and Development; Iowa State Extension Delaware County; Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Maquoketa River Watershed Management Authority.