The Resiliency and Improvement Plan is the culmination of over 1 1/2 years of research, public planning, and analysis. The plan puts forth various recommendations for both urban and rural areas to reach the goals stated in the voluntary Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.


In recent decades, communities and property owners in the watershed have been impacted by an increasing number of flood events. The severity of these events have also been on the rise. Each event has caused millions of dollars in damage to homes, farms, and infrastructure. Additionally, heavy rain events wash phosphorus-rich topsoil and nutrients downstream, impacting water quality and habitat locally, and as far away as the Gulf of Mexico.

In 2015, a comprehensive watershed assessment and improvement planning project was completed in the English River watershed. The first phase of the project involved an assessment of the watershed’s strengths and weaknesses. The second phase included development of recommendations (based on the assessment) to guide future improvement efforts. The Executive Summary is the short version of key findings and recommendations from the report. The full report and appendices are here.

 

The Plan

 

The Main Goal: Engage stakeholders and promote water quality improvements in a cooperative manner that encourages voluntary action and collaboration. Click each link to read the whole section.

 

1. Executive Summary

Brief outline of the plan, including key findings and watershed goals.

 

2. Introduction

Learn more about where the watershed is situated within Iowa.

 

3. Watershed Characteristics

Discover what defines the watershed.

 

4. Water Quality & Quantity Conditions

Read up about the state of one our most important natural resources, water.

 

5. Watershed Improvement Goals

Learn more about the goals and recommendations for the English River watershed.

 

6. Conclusion

A summary of the report and the next steps.

 

Appendicies

 

Appendix A – English River Watershed Water Quality Snapshots 2014 – Iowa Soybean Association
 
Appendix B1 – Hydrologic Modeling of the English River Watershed – Iowa Flood Center & IIHR
 
Appendix B2 – Hydrologic Modeling of the English River Watershed – Summary Presentation – Iowa Flood Center & IIHR
 
Appendix C – English River Watershed Landowner Survey 2014 – Bailey & Fixmer-Oraiz
 
Appendix D – Guide to Urban Stormwater Management – Bailey & Fixmer-Oraiz
 
Appendix E – Historic English River Water Quality Summary – IOWATER
 
Appendix F – Iowa Strategy to Reduce Nutrient Loss – Nitrogen and Phosphorus Practices
 
Appendix G – IDALS_IDNR Watershed Improvement Funding Resources List Revised 2.3.15
 
Appendix H – Sample Subwatershed Project Workplan
 
Appendix I – The Straightening of the English River – Dave Jackson – English Valleys History Center

Development of the Plan

 

1. Hire a WMA Coordinator. A coordinator was hired in December 2013.

2. Develop planning teams. The 2 teams included professionals from agencies like the Iowa DNR, Iowa Soybean Association, and the US Geological Survey as well as residents and land owners from the watershed.

3. Inventory the physical environment. A geographic information systems (GIS) database was created and includes data such as land use, geological features, and landownership patterns.

4. Model hydrological conditions. A customized hydrologic model for the English River watershed was created by the Iowa Flood Center (IFC).

5. Measure water quality. The Iowa Soybean Association completed water quality snapshots in 2014 at 20 different subwatershed locations for chloride, nitrate, phosphate, and other indicators.

6. Conduct a social survey. A social survey of watershed residents identified future outreach and education priorities based on responses regarding water resource usage, flooding, and best management practices.

7. Define goals and objectives. Recommendations were informed by extensive watershed assessment and stakeholder engagement.

8. Develop implementation plan. The plan was created to help stakeholders in the watershed identify priority subwatersheds for targeted improvement projects.

9. Implementation of the plan. As grant funding allows, begin implementation of watershed recommendations through voluntary best management practices in cooperation with local NRCS and SWCD professionals and landowners.

10. Ongoing education. Over 10 public events have been held for continued engagement with watershed landowners and residents.