The recent Watershed Management Authority (WMA) work is a prime illustration of our region’s outstanding collaboration. The Iowa legislature authorized the creation of WMAs in 2010 as a mechanism for cities, counties, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and stakeholders to cooperatively engage in watershed planning and management. Central Iowa now has three active WMAs in place. The Fourmile Creek WMA launched several years ago, while the Walnut Creek and Mud, Camp, and Spring Creek WMAs formed more recently. These three WMAs are working to address issues of both water quality and quantity.

The Fourmile Creek WMA has completed its study, and the board is set to consider the approval of the report at their regular meeting on April 23rd. As part of this effort, infrastructure and policy working groups of technical experts and local stakeholders were formed to provide input and technical direction for the planning process. The WMA used their feedback to set recommendations for implementation. The plan includes an implementation focus on monitoring for success, engagement with rural and urban partners, adoption of a greenway system to the 500-year flood, and several infrastructure improvements to reduce flooding and improve water quality.

The Walnut Creek WMA involves 11 entities. This WMA secured an Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) grant to create a comprehensive watershed management plan and is now working with a consultant team to do just that. They currently are in the background and research phase and are preparing for an April 29th open house.

The Mud, Camp, and Spring Creek WMA also secured an Iowa DNR grant to develop a comprehensive watershed management plan and is moving forward with its work. They have selected a consultant team and have finalized the scope of the project. Work on the stakeholder process and Land and Water Resource Inventory will be the initial work efforts of the plan. The anticipated completion date of the plan is April 2016.