New watershed management coalition comes to Floyd County
By Molly Ann Howell, Special to the Charles City Press
Back in 2010, the Iowa Legislature authorized the use of watershed management authorities across the state in response to the 2008 flooding.
In 2012, there were six WMAs across the state, but now there are 27, with the addition of the newly formed Shell Rock River Watershed Management Coalition that covers the northeast part of Iowa.
Floyd County has almost 179,000 acres in the Shell Rock River Watershed, which also includes parts of Worth, Butler, Cerro Gordo and Mitchell counties.
The Shell Rock River Watershed Management Coalition had its first meeting back in July, but members have got big plans for 2022.
WMAs bring local leaders together to assess flood risk and water quality, monitor federal flood risk planning, educate residents about their watershed area, and allocate funding for their projects.
In an interview, coalition Chairman Ken Nelson said that the group is currently working on applying for a grant with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources so they will be able to hire a coordinator who would help them write a five-year comprehensive water management plan.
The grant application is due Dec. 30, and it would be for $100,000. Nelson said the coalition would match 25 percent of that amount for a total of $125,000.
He explained that if they receive the grant, they would hopefully be able to hire a coordinator, and that person would begin drafting the plan by June or July.
Nelson explained what he saw as his role as the first chairman of the coalition.
“My main job right now is just to get the groundwork and the framework set up so the organization can move on, whether we get the grant or not,” he stated.
Even though the plan isn’t written up yet, Nelson still explained his ideas and the probable goals for the coalition, saying that they would include water quality, flood mitigation, resources, and recreational use.
The coalition may just be starting, but Nelson encourages people to come out and see what the organization is all about.
“The more people we have, the more ideas, the better,” he said.
He urged people to come to the coalition meetings to get an understanding of what they’re doing. He also noted that people could donate money to their cause, and eventually, people will be able to volunteer at events they host, such as river clean-up days or field days on local farms.
To get involved with the coalition, people can contact Nelson or the vice-chairman Mike Miner. Nelson’s number is 641-430-7420, and Miner’s is 319-239-3965.