Government

Share your voice on Cedar River Watershed goals and practices

Upcoming meetings welcome public feedback

The view of the Cedar River from the overlook on the Cedar Cliff Trail at Palisades-Kepler State Park in Mount Vernon on Monday, Jun. 26, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
The view of the Cedar River from the overlook on the Cedar Cliff Trail at Palisades-Kepler State Park in Mount Vernon on Monday, Jun. 26, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

It’s been a decade since historic flooding washed over the state, yet topics of water quality and flood mitigation remain at the forefront of discussion for many Iowans.

Area residents interested in the rivers and streams that most directly affect them — those within the Cedar River Watershed — can learn more in two upcoming public meetings.

The watershed covers nearly 7,500 square miles of land spanning from Austin, Minnesota, to the Cedar River’s outlet at the Iowa River near Columbus Junction. The watershed is divided into six smaller units and includes Mason City, Charles City, Cedar Falls, Waterloo and Cedar Rapids.

Cedar River Watershed Coalition 2018 fall symposium

On Sept. 6, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Cedar River Watershed Coalition meeting — at the Hartman Reserve Nature Center, 657 Reserve Drive in Cedar Falls — will focus on the state of the watershed since the 2008 flood, including breakout tracks and presentations highlighting progress in water quality and flood mitigation, as well as areas where action still is needed.

The event is free and open to the public, and will include discussions on monitoring water quality trends, grassroot engagement of landowners and residents, flood mitigation and improving watershed resiliency and aligning watershed planning goals and objectives.

In addition to sessions hosted by coalition members Iowa Sen. Rob Hogg, Shane Wulf and Vern Fish, other speakers will include officials with the Iowa Soybean Association, United States Geological Survey, University of Iowa, City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Black Hawk Creek Soil and Water Coalition, according to a news release.

The event’s keynote speaker will be Larry Weber, executive associate dean at the University of Iowa.

Details can be found in the Events section of the Cedar River Coalition’s Facebook page, facebook.com/CedarRiverCoalition.

Middle Cedar River Watershed public meeting

Members of the 26-member voluntary board for the Middle Cedar Watershed Management Authority also will be hosting an open house in Cedar Falls.

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The open house will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Sept. 10 at the University of Northern Iowa Center for Energy and Environmental Education, at 8106 Jennings Drive in Cedar Falls.

Board members hope to gather input from the public and provide feedback on the coalition’s goals and objectives, which include reducing flood risk, ensuring watershed streams have clean water, enhancing recreational areas and updating local regulations for new development.

“Cities, counties, fields and private property all have boundaries invented by humans,” Grundy County farmer Clark Porter said in an Aug. 24 news release, “but a watershed is defined by geology and hydrology. It is imperative to bring together a diverse collection of people and organizations for a planning effort like this one. The results will only be as effective as the process is collaborative.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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