The Middle Cedar River Watershed (MCWMA) is a 1.5M-acre watershed that spans parts of 10 counties in Eastern Iowa. It encompasses primarily the Iowan Surface landform, characterized by long, gently rolling hills and well-developed stream networks. The MCRW is part of the Cedar River Basin that stretches from Minnesota to Southeast Iowa, where it meets the Iowa River. The MCRW includes some of the richest farmland in the nation. Seventy-three percent of the land is dedicated to row crop agriculture and seed corn production. The MCRW also supports a substantial portion of Iowa’s urban areas, including Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, and Cedar Falls.
In 2013, the MCRW was identified as a priority watershed under the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. The statewide Water Quality Initiative (WQI) selected five HUC 12s in the Middle Cedar for initial implementation of projects aimed at improving water quality. The City of Cedar Rapids helped secure $2M through the USDA-NRCS as part of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) for a program called the Middle Cedar Partnership Project (MCPP). The MCPP leveraged $2.3M in partner contributions. The WQI, MCPP, and IWA projects in the Middle Cedar complement one another and will work together to reduce downstream flooding and improve water quality.
A Middle Cedar Watershed Management Authority (WMA) was formed in 2016 to bring partners together to address watershed concerns.