East and West Nishnabotna River WMC seeks Engineering Services

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On behalf of Fremont County and Mills County, Iowa, the East and West Nishnabotna River Watershed Management Coalition (WMA) Board of Directors is requesting qualifications to provide engineering design and construction services to implement a watershed improvement project funded through the Iowa Watershed Approach.

To review the Request for Qualifications, please click here.  For further information, please contact Cara Morgan via email at cara.morgan@goldenhillsrcd.org.

Working to improve water quality

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Landowners and residents in the Middle Cedar Watershed can learn about conservation practices that can improve their farming operations and communities, while minimizing flood impacts and enhancing water quality.

‘We have a problem’: Flooding has slammed every Iowa county since 1988, some as many as 17 times

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The state has incurred 951 federal flood-related disaster declarations over nearly three decades, slamming every county in Iowa.

Josh Stai, English River WMA Technician conducting a prescribed burn

Get to Know Josh Stai

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In March, the English River WMA added to their staff, meet Josh Stai.  Josh will serve as the watershed technician for the English River WMA, and assist Jody Bailey (English River WMA Project Coordinator), with education, outreach, and development of public and private cost-share partnerships.  The English River WMA covers, Iowa, Johnson, Keokuk, Poweshiek and Washington Counties.

Josh’s education includes an Associate of Applied Science in Parks and Natural Resources from Kirkwood Community College and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management from Columbia Southern University.  His professional experiences includes employment with Kirkwood Community College as a natural resources specialist and as an adjunct instructor; multiple seasons with the Johnson County Conservation Board; and as a seasonal  Park Ranger at Coralville Lake.

Josh is married and has two wonderful teenage daughters, and they reside in Kalona, IA.

 

We caught up Josh to discuss his position:

 

Q: Where did you work before you took this position?

A: Kirkwood Community College – Conservation Grounds Worker/Adjunct Instructor

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in this position?

A: To spend as much of the grant cost share dollars as we can, by installing as many soil and water BMPs on the ground as possible!

Q: How did you hear about the opening and what was appealing about the position?

A: After interviewing for a position with a different agency, an individual on that interview panel encouraged me to apply for a new technician position that was going to be posted soon. Once I heard the job description of the new technician position, I became much more interested in the technician position because of the exciting opportunities that I could be involved with. It also made it easier to like the technician opportunity because the project’s office is located in my home town!

Q: Is there anything you would like to tell the English River WMA and IWA partners?

A: I am very excited to be apart of the ERWMA and looking forward to meeting all of you!

Q: What is a hobby of yours?

A: I really enjoy working on and restoring old muscle cars.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: A Sand County Almanac

Q: What’s your favorite food?

A: Easily- Godfather’s taco pizza!

Q: Where would you like to go that you’ve never been?

A: I think it would be an amazing adventure to do a cultural history tour of Israel or Japan

 

 

IWA Partner, HSEMD Posts a Job Opening

IWA partner, Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, has a job opening for a Program Planner 3.

A full job description can be found here.

IFC Hydro Stations Provide Weather Data Farmers Need

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For farmers, timely information is vital. The Iowa Flood Center (IFC) at the University of Iowa is deploying new hydrologic stations that provide real-time weather information that farmers can use. The stations measure rainfall, wind speed and direction, and soil moisture and temperature. A shallow groundwater well also provides information about the water table. And the IFC makes all the data publicly available on the internet.

Father and son Stewart and Jared Maas farm about 1,800 acres 25 miles west of Iowa City. Their home farm is the site of one of the new IFC hydrologic stations. “We try to do everything the right way,” Jared explains, and data collected by the IFC hydro station can help. As Stewart and Jared prepare for spring fieldwork, they can check the online sensor data to learn when the soil is ready to plant, the best time for field applications, and how to plan for changing weather conditions.

“It helps a lot,” Stewart says. One example is the application of fertilizer in the fall. Farmers are encouraged to wait until soil temperatures are 50 degrees F or colder to limit nitrogen loss. Stewart and Jared now have facts on which to base their decisions — a real advantage for big operations like theirs. For Stewart and Jared, the data provide peace of mind that they’re doing things “the right way.”

Stewart has been working with University of Iowa researchers for years. “The university has been really good to us here,” Stewart says. “I’ve got a lot of respect for the hydrology department.”

IIHR Research Engineer, Jim Niemeier, explains the data the hydro station collects

Besides providing vital information for agriculture, sensor data also support IFC activities for the $97M Iowa Watershed Approach (IWA) statewide program focused on reducing flood risk in nine watersheds across Iowa. The Maas farm is in the Clear Creek Watershed, which is part of the IWA. John Rathbun, project coordinator for the Clear Creek Watershed, says that interest in the IWA is growing among landowners in the basin. “It’s really all about building relationships,” he explains. Participation in the IWA is entirely voluntary for landowners, and farmers get a 75% cost share if they choose to build a conservation practice such as a farm pond on their property.

With funding from the IWA, the IFC will deploy a network of 20 hydrologic stations this year. The new sensors represent an expansion of the IFC’s current network of nearly 50 similar rain gauge stations statewide. This growing network of hydrologic stations is helping the IFC reach its goal of 100 stations deployed in Iowa—one in each county. This network will help researchers and stakeholders better predict floods, assess droughts, and manage water resources. In addition, Iowa’s farmers can use the information to support their crop management systems and potentially boost yields.

The Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS) online tool provides real-time information on watersheds, precipitation, and stream levels for more than 1,000 Iowa communities. Data collected from the hydrologic stations can be accessed at ifis.iowafloodcenter.org/ifis/app.

“Farming doesn’t pay very well,” says Stewart. But, he adds, “It makes farming fun, getting involved in some of these things.”

North Raccoon River WMC seeks Watershed Planning Services

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Buena Vista County in Iowa is requesting proposals for watershed and flood resilience planning services to assist the North Raccoon River Watershed Management Coalition (NRRWMC) with a multi-level, FEMA-compliant, comprehensive watershed planning effort to address factors that contribute to flooding and water quality in the North Raccoon River Watershed.

To review the Request for Proposals, please click here.  For further information, please contact Marius Agua, North Raccoon River Watershed Coalition Project Coordinator at magua@bvcountyiowa.com