The Winneshiek Soil and Water Conservation District has a long history of successful watershed projects throughout the county. Continue reading to learn more about the variety of projects that have been completed.
Demonstration of Urban Conservation Projects at NICC-NIDF - 2016
This project focused on implementing conservation practices that integrated the agricultural component of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy in an urban setting. The project addressed uncontrolled stormwater runoff from about one acre of the surface area of the livestock buildings at Iowa's Dairy Center, which previously lacked stormwater controls (i.e., gutters). With an average of 34 inches of precipitation annually, this amounts to more than 750,000 gallons of stormwater runoff that is now controlled. This project further adds to the wide array of conservation practices at the site including no till, cover crops, bioswale, stormwater wetlands, grassed waterways, sediment basin, pond restoration, conservation planting, shelterbelts, native tree planting and butterfly garden.
Utilizing FLEVAL in the Upper Iowa River Watershed Project - Started in 2006
This project was the first of its kind in Iowa to utilize a tool for calculating fecal bacteria loading from feedlots and the corresponding reductions achieved through the implementation of Best Management Practices. It also successfully reduced bacteria loading from small feedlots to one of the most recreationally significant rivers in Iowa. Improvements included the development of 10 manure management systems, 3 heavy use protection areas, 1 deep-bedded hoop building and critical area plantings.
Coldwater and Pine Creek Watershed Protection Project - Started in 2005
Problems in these watersheds included livestock manure and high levels of fecal bacteria in the water, excess nutrients from cropland runoff to karst features and priority water bodies, sediment loading from tributaries to the Upper Iowa River and over-grazed riparian corridors and pastures. A combination of 16 practices were applied including nutrient management on 2000 acres, 2 miles of riparian fencing, 7 manure management systems and 90 acres of filter strips.
Twin Springs Water Quality Project - Started in 2003
Twin Springs is one of the most heavily used cold water streams in Iowa. To improve water for trout fishing and other uses, project purposes were to reduce polluted runoff from barnyards and feedlots, sediment from cropland erosion and from eroding stream banks/gullies and nutrients/pesticides from cropland runoff. Practices applied include more than 7 miles of terraces, 4 grade stabilization structures, 140 acres of rotational grazing, 250 acres of woodland management and 1/2 mile of riparian fencing.
South Pine Stream Watershed Project - Started in 2001
The ecological significance of the watershed is that it has the only remnant population of wild brook trout known to exist in Iowa. The existence of brook trout depends on pristine water with temperatures in the upper 40s and a high aquatic insect forage base. Nutrient management, riparian corridor fencing, manure management, stream bank stabilization, no-till farming and a number of other Best Management Practices have been implemented by landowners to address sediment and animal waste problems.
Bear Creek Watershed Project - Started in 1999
Miles of trout water in North, Middle and South Bear Creeks are stocked each year with more than 35,000 trout. North Bear now boasts a population of naturally reproducing brown trout. The project continues the federal PL-566 project, concentrating on reducing sediment and nutrient influx into the creeks. Practices applied include almost 20 miles of terraces, 28 grade stabilization structures, more than 1 mile of stream bank protection and 9 manure management systems.
Trout Run Water Quality Protection Project - Started in 1992
The watershed provides the source of water for Siewers Spring, which is the water source for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources' Decorah Fish Hatchery where more than 100,000 trout are reared annually. Excess manure, agricultural chemicals and upland sediments were entering the stream. The project included 16 manure management systems, 2 cattle crossings, 10 nutrient management plans for 2000+ acres, 2 livestock watering systems off-stream, 21 acres of tree planting, 31 acres of rotational grazing and 4 grade stabilization structures.
Rock chute wetland and pond restoration at Northeast Iowa Community College - Calmar Campus