By Larry Weber
It is hard to believe we have reached the end of the Iowa Watershed Approach (IWA). Many positive impacts to people and our landscape have been achieved, leaving a lasting impression for generations to come. All involved with IWA should feel extremely proud; I thank you for your dedication, commitment, and passion to this program to ensure its success. Through our collective efforts, we navigated a complex administrative system to achieve a more flood-resilient landscape and communities, all while experiencing major flooding and a global pandemic. Together, we have earned state and nationally-recognized awards, and Iowa continues to be a standout and leader in the nation for flood resilience.
Foremost, I feel most proud of the increased watershed literacy across our state. The more educated we are about our water resource challenges, the better our decision-making becomes, the more opportunities develop, and positive action occurs. Our IIHR and Iowa Flood Center teams are committed to staying engaged and serving as technical resources for WMAs far beyond IWA. Please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our team members for questions or requests.
Secondly, the WMAs and their coordinators were the backbone of this program. WMAs are the most critical initiative for inter-local government collaboration working to address flood and water quality concerns. WMAs have gained momentum, built trusting relationships, and made significant investments. However, many water resources challenges remain. We must continue to seek real, reliable, sustainable funding for locally-led WMAs if we expect the legacy of IWA to continue having a positive impact on our state’s water resources.
Our work is far from complete. We have a responsibility to the next generation to develop sustainable policy changes that reflect the actual and future risks that many people are experiencing. Together, we can maintain a strong agricultural economy while protecting our water and natural resources, and creating an environment where people are drawn to live, work and recreate.
University of Iowa IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering
IWA Project Lead