Watershed Management Authorities of Iowa

Cultivating a Community of Practice for Watershed Management

Submitted by Melissa Miller, Associate Director of the Iowa Water Center

The word is starting to get out on one of our latest Iowa Water Center initiatives: Watershed Management Authorities of Iowa (WMAs of Iowa). This is a statewide organization to unite the ever-growing numbers of Watershed Management Authorities in the state. The goal of this group is to create a network for WMAs to connect with each other, give WMAs a voice in the state, and serve as an information resource for all watershed management stakeholders. WMAs of Iowa helps cultivate a community of practice for watershed management in Iowa.

Let’s be honest here – we did not come up with this great idea. The need for this group came from the WMA stakeholders themselves, and they are the ones who will drive it. Multiple work sessions this winter with the WMA community resulted in a strategic framework that needed one thing: implementation. IWC proposed to act as a catalyst for implementation by offering administrative capacity – organizing meetings, managing a timeline, maintaining a listserv, coordinating all the work that has already gone into creating a presence for this group.

Right now, we’re in the process of inviting WMAs to join us, and we’re looking for board members from those existing and newly forming WMAs to drive the organization forward. We hope to have a board in place by this fall with a website, newsletter, and other outreach and resource activities to follow.

Why is IWC involved?

Great question.

I’ve confessed before to being the president of the WMA fan club, and waxed poetic about the effectiveness of watershed-based planning. I’ve also been using the admittedly odd metaphor that IWC can act as caulk for water groups in the state – we seek to fill gaps and build capacity that connects groups to use resources effectively and efficiently.

By building up WMAs in the state, we’re promoting a research-backed method of natural resource management that will lead to better water resource management and implementation of creative and practical solutions to water resources related problems. That is the reason we exist, you know. (Need proof? Read the Water Resources Research Act as amended in 2006!)

SWCD Internship Available (Greene County)

2017 Greene Soil and Water Conservation District Summer Internships

Duration: 10-12 weeks, 40 hours per week

Locations available: Jefferson, Iowa (Greene County)

Pay: $12.00 per hour

Qualifications: Open to any students currently enrolled in college or recent graduate majoring in a field of study related to agriculture, conservation, engineering, construction trades, GIS, communications, public relations, urban planning, or environmental sciences.

Duties: The Intern will assist the Greene Soil and Water Conservation District and Natural Resources Conservation Service with duties including, but not limited to:

  • Working with local landowners and partners to develop interest in and commitment to implementation of conservation programs and activities
  • Water quality monitoring through the collection of water quality samples
  • Assist field office staff with the development of conservation plans and implementation of conservation practices
  • Working with Palmer Amaranth in CRP plantings.

Work environment: This position includes both office and field work. Successful candidates will work as part of a local team as well as independently, be able to traverse rough terrain on foot, spend time outdoors in the summer months, be able to work with the public including landowners and customers, use GPS/GIS tools, work in extreme temperature or inclement weather as required, work around large equipment, and complete work in a timely manner. A valid driver’s license is required.

Reporting: The Intern will report to the District Conservationist on a day-to-day basis. A background check of the student will be required.

The student Intern will also make a formal presentation at the end of their internship to report on their experience and work completed over the summer. The student is expected to coordinate the planning of this meeting and present findings to interested conservation partners.

Deadline to apply: Applications must be received (not postmarked) by 4:00 p.m. on Monday, May 8th, 2017

Application Process: Submit a Cover letter and Resume or attached application to: Greene Soil and Water Conservation District, 1703 N ELM ST, Jefferson, Iowa 50129

SWCD Internship Available (Boone County)

2017 Boone Soil and Water Conservation District Summer Internships

Duration: 10-12 weeks, 40 hours per week

Locations available: Boone, Iowa (Boone County)

Pay: $12.00 per hour

Qualifications: Open to any students currently enrolled in college or recent graduate majoring in a field of study related to agriculture, conservation, engineering, construction trades, GIS, communications, public relations, urban planning, or environmental sciences.

Duties: The Intern will assist the Boone Soil and Water Conservation District and Natural Resources Conservation Service with duties including, but not limited to:

  • Working with local landowners and partners to develop interest in and commitment to implementation of conservation programs and activities
  • Water quality monitoring through the collection of water quality samples
  • Assist field office staff with the development of conservation plans and implementation of conservation practices
  • Working with Palmer Amaranth in CRP plantings.

Work environment: This position includes both office and field work.  Successful candidates will work as part of a local team as well as independently, be able to traverse rough terrain on foot, spend time outdoors in the summer months, be able to work with the public including landowners and customers, use GPS/GIS tools, work in extreme temperature or inclement weather as required, work around large equipment, and complete work in a timely manner.  A valid driver’s license is required.

Reporting:  The Intern will report to the District Conservationist on a day-to-day basis. A background check of the student will be required. The student Intern will also make a formal presentation at the end of their internship to report on their experience and work completed over the summer. The student is expected to coordinate the planning of this meeting and present findings to interested conservation partners.

 Deadline to apply

Applications must be received (not postmarked) by 4:00 p.m. on Monday, May 8th, 2017

Application Process

Submit a Cover letter and Resume or 2017 Boone SWCD Summer Intern Application to:

Boone Soil and Water Conservation District, 1602 Snedden Drive, Boone, Iowa 50036

For more information about a specific position, contact:

Boone, Iowa (Boone County) – Jayne Smith, Conservation Assistant, 515-432-2316 Ext. 3

Meet the new Science Communications Intern!

Post submitted by Solomon Furious Worlds, senior at the University of Iowa and Science Communications Intern for the Iowa Water Center

Hey, Hi, Hello:

I am the new Science Communications Intern for the Iowa Water Center! I am also the newest contributing author for the Iowa Water Center blog. A lot of new things in my life; however, my interest in water is not new.

When I was in the 5th grade, I went to science camp for a week. It was there that I learned my home state of California was running out of water and the best way to stop our water from running out was conservation. Since that transformative week in my younger days, I have been extremely conscious of my water usage.

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Solomon Furious Worlds, senior at the University of Iowa and Science Communications Intern for the Iowa Water Center

Fast-forward to August 2016, my interest in the environment was refreshed. I was a fellow in the Climate Narrative Project, a program that features 6 to 10 individuals who learn about the various environmental issues plaguing our planet, then create a project centered on one particular issue. I focused on the beauty of woodlands (you can see a video of the project here). My contemporaries focused on climate migration, big oil, marketing the climate justice narrative, and much more.

While participating in this fellowship last semester, I met Hanna Bates and Melissa Miller at the Iowa Environmental Council Conference, two of the nicest people who happen to work for the Iowa Water Center. After a few conversations, a phone interview, and some paperwork, I was hired! I am excited to work with the Iowa Water Center and to learn more about Iowa water management. Over the semester, you will see a number of important scientific observations and discoveries explained in a more digestible fashion. My name is Solomon Furious Worlds and I hope that you find this entry, and many others, entertaining and informative.

Flow forward my friends,

Solomon Furious Worlds

P.S. That is my real name. Stay tuned for more pertaining to this fun fact.

Current Research track now open for the 2017 Iowa Water Conference

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Are you a researcher with ongoing or recently completed research related to water?

The Iowa Water Conference Planning Committee invites researchers from around the state to submit an abstract to present at the 2017 Iowa Water Conference in the Current Research track.

Submissions to this track will undergo a review process by the Iowa Water Center. Selected presenters will have the opportunity to share and discuss their research in a 30-minute slot during the breakout session times at the conference. A total of nine presentations will be chosen for this section of the conference.

“The Current Research track is an opportunity for researchers to discuss ongoing projects and new information,” said Dr. Richard Cruse, Director of the Iowa Water Center. “Providing a platform for researchers to share their work with the public is a critical component of the Center’s education and outreach goals.”

The deadline for abstract submissions is February 1, 2017. The submission process is online at the following link (http://www.aep.iastate.edu/iwc/papers). Questions and inquiries regarding the conference can be directed to Hanna Bates, Program Assistant at the Iowa Water Center (hbates@iastate.edu).

Water Resources Research National Competitive Grants Program Now Open

The 104(g) National Competitive Grants program is one of three grant programs administered annually by the Iowa Water Center in coordination with the National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR).

Funding alert! The National Institutes for Water Resources, in conjunction with the US Geological Survey, has issued their call for proposals for the 2017 104(g) National Competitive Grants program.

Here’s the scoop…

Proposal URL (<——CLICK ME!)

Due Date: Preproposals are due February 15, 2017 **PREPROPOSAL PROCESS IS NEW THIS YEAR**

Submit to: State Water Institute or Center (psst…that’s us – email to hbates@iastate.edu)

Award maximum and duration: 1-3 years, $250,000 maximum. 1:1 match. NO INDIRECT COSTS.

Scope: Proposals must focus on “water problems and issues of a regional or interstate nature.” Collaboration between organizations and agencies (particularly USGS) are highly encouraged; USGS partnerships receive extra weight in evaluation.

2017 Priorities:

  • Evaluation of innovative approaches to water treatment, infrastructure design, retrofitting, maintenance, management and replacement.
  • Exploration and advancement of our understanding of changes in the quantity and quality of water resources in response to a changing climate, population shifts, and land use changes; including associated economic, environmental, social, and/or infrastructure costs.
  • Development of methods for better estimation of water supply, both surface and groundwater, including estimation of the physical and/or economic supply of water.
  • Development and evaluation of processes and governance mechanisms for integrated surface/ground water management.
  • Evaluation and assessment of the effects of water conservation practices, as well as adoption, penetration and permanence.

Other interesting information:

This competition has moved to a preproposal process for 2017. You send us your preproposal by February 15 at 4 p.m., and we send it on to the review committee. This deadline is a real thing. If the receipt on the email is past this time, we cannot forward your preproposal.

The previous application system (NIWR.net) will NOT be used in either the preproposal or full proposal submission process.

Indirect costs (IDC) are not allowed in the federal portion of the budget, but you can (and should) claim the IDCs you would have gotten if they were allowed as matching funds (see Section VIII.E. of the proposal; let us know if you have questions).

If you are a researcher at Iowa State University, a goldsheet is not required to submit a preproposal. 

We would be delighted to discuss potential projects as you write your preproposal.