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The Maquoketa River Watershed is one of 11 tributaries to the Mississippi River, and drains water from 1870 square miles within the Mississippi River Basin. The watershed is located at the eastern part of the state of Iowa and includes 80 townships and 9 counties (Delaware Jackson, Jones, Dubuque, Clinton, Buchanan, Fayette, Clayton, and Linn Counties).

In 2010, the Iowa legislature passed Iowa Code section 466B, which authorized the creation of Watershed Management Authorities (WMA). A WMA enables cities, counties, (in our case) a benefitted lake district, partners, stakeholders and Soil and Water Conservation Districts to collaborate on watershed management and improvement in an area within a HUC-8 watershed. All eligible political subdivisions within the watershed area may participate in the WMA. WMAs are governed by a Board of Directors and adopt by-laws.

The Maquoketa River Watershed Management Authority (MR WMA) applied to the state in 2017 and was officially recognized on October 24, 2017.

In 2020 the MR WMA partnered with the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities from the University of Iowa. Through this partnership, graduate students from the School of Planning and Public Affairs developed a watershed management plan (WMP) that that serves as a guidebook and vision to achieve broad goals to improve watershed planning and management.

In 2022, a continuation of the WMP was completed. The Phase II of this plan was completed by University of Iowa Planning Students. 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. 

Our Mission: " Members of the Maquoketa River Watershed Management Authority work in tandem to address water quality, water quantity (flooding), soil health as well as other environmental issues associated with the Maquoketa River and its watershed area with projects and concerns that cross jurisdictional boundaries."

This map shows all of the HUC-8 watersheds in Iowa.  Our watershed is outlined in blue.

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This map shows the outline and major towns and county boundaries within our watershed.

Enjoy this 5 minute short film as an introduction to the Maquoketa River Watershed...

This film was made possible through a partnership between the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC), a program of the University of Iowa, and the Maquoketa River Watershed Management Authority. We wanted a video that would both introduce a general audience to the idea of watershed management and convey the importance of improving water quality and mitigating losses from flood events. 

Andrew Senneff, a filmmaker enrolled in Cinematic Arts at the University of Iowa helped shoot footage and edit the short film.  Obtaining footage required several visits to the Maquoketa River Watershed and stops in multiple towns and locations.  Andrew used a drone to capture cinematic aerial footage and conducted interviews of key individuals. Andrew even recruited his brother to produce an original audio score for the short film.  


The film script was written by IISC Director Travis Kraus and narrated by MR WMA watershed coordinator Erin Erickson. The IISC/MRWMA partnership is funded by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) via sub award of a grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Our goals

Protecting Local Drinking Water
Reducing Flooding
Supporting Positive Soil Health Practices
Promoting Recreation
Improving overall water quality
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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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