Archived Activities

~~ 2013~~

May 28, 2013Congressman Dave Loebsack tours Rathbun Lake Watershed

Pictured L-R: Those participating in the watershed tour include Rathbun Land and Water Alliance President and Rathbun Regional Water Association CEO John Glenn, Congressional Aide, Dien Judge; Congressman Loebsack; RLWA Board Member and Wayne County Supervisor, John Sellers; Protect Rathbun Lake Project Coordinator, Velvet Buckingham; RRWA Environmental Management Specialist, Marty Braster; and Wayne and Lucas County DC, Mark Fehseke.

"The Rathbun Land and Water Alliance is a shining example of how local, state and federal agencies can work hand in hand with private landowners to make a real difference. This group is improving the water quality in Rathbun Lake and preserving our precious Iowa topsoil. I look forward to continuing to work with the Alliance to foster this cooperative and assist in any way I can." ~~Congressman Dave Loebsack

May 6, 2013
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey tours Rathbun Lake Watershed
Secretary Northey praised the efforts of those working on the water quality projects in both the Fox River and Rathbun Lake watersheds. “It has been encouraging to see everything that is being done in both of these watersheds to protect our drinking water and it’s beginning to grab the attention of the public,” said Northey. “We need to continue to do what we know how to do and that is protecting our soil and water."

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey, on Monday, May 6, 2013 toured portions of the Rathbun Lake and Fox River watersheds to view the conservations practices that have been installed to protect water quality in Rathbun Lake and the Fox River.

Tour participants included staff and board members from the Rathbun Land and Water Alliance’s Protect Rathbun Lake Project and Fox River Water Quality Project, area landowners, county supervisors, and representatives from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship– Division of Soil Conservation, Army Corp of Engineers, SIDCA, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and Natural Resources Conservation Services.

After a morning tour that began in Van Buren County, the group stopped at Island View Park at Rathbun Lake before viewing the best management practices installed in Wayne County, which occupies a large portion of the Rathbun Lake watershed. Wayne County farms included on the tour were those of Dale Spinlers, Jim Cory, Joe Dent, Grandpa Bob Brown, the late Jimmy Carpenter, and Bills Enterprises.

The final tour stop was at a newly constructed grade stabilization structure located two miles north of Corydon on Highway 14. The structure was built last fall on land jointly owned by Darrell and Wendy Coddington and Terry and Sharon Jost as part of the Protect Rathbun Lake Project and was partially funded by the Iowa Watershed Improvement Review Board.
While the Coddingtons and Josts aren’t related, Darrell says they have been very good friends for years. In addition to the structure creating a beautiful landscape to enjoy Coddington says they installed the large pond for a variety of reasons.
“Rathbun Lake is very important to us. We want to make sure the water is clean for people in the area who drink it and to leave the land as good as or better than when we had it. Plus there’s a lot of good wildlife here. Everyone wins,” said Coddington.
The structure benefits 421 acres and reduces sediment delivery to Rathbun Lake by 568 tons each year and reduces phosphorous delivery by 1,306 pounds.


Watershed tour participants stop at a recently constructed WIRB structure. Pictured left to right: Matt McDonald, IDALS SE Iowa Field Representative; John Glenn, Rathbun Regional Water Association CEO and Rathbun Land and Water Alliance President; James Martin, IDALS Basin Coordinator; Brandon Dittman, IDALS Field Representative; Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture; Brian DeMoss, PRLP Coordinator Chariton office; Darrell Coddington, landowner; Velvet Buckingham, PRLP Coordinator, Wayne County office; Jamie Carpenter, NRCS Assistant State Conservationist; Kristy York, NRCS Program Specialist; and Vince Sitzmann, IDALS–DSC Field Services Bureau Chief.

Photo Caption Watershed Tour participants stopped at Island View Park at Rathbun Lake before continuing on to Wayne County. Pictured L-R:
Neal Smith, Appanoose County Supervisor;
Velvet Buckingham, Protect Rathbun Lake Project (PRLP) Coordinator;
Dean Kaster, Appanoose County Supervisor;
Marty Braster, RRWA water quality management specialist;
Steve Siegel, Wapello County Supervisor and SIDCA Board;
Margaret Cope, Appanoose and Monroe County District Conservationist (DC);
Kristy York, NRCS Program Specialist;
Phil Brown, US Army Corps of Engineers, Rathbun Lake Manager;
Brian DeMoss, PRLP Coordinator;
Jamie Carpenter, NRCS Assistant State Conservationist;
Brandon Dittman, IDALS Field Representative;
John Glenn, RRWA CEO and Rathbun Land and Water Alliance (RLWA) President;
Mark Fehseke, Lucas and Wayne County DC;
Tammy Eakins, Bloomfield Federal Technician (NRC);
James Martin, IDALS Basin Coordinator;
Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture;
Dale Taylor, Davis County Supervisor;
Matt Griener, Davis County Supervisor and Fox River Ecosystem Development Board (FRED);
Susan Knapp, Davis County SWCD Commissioner;
Felicia Campbell, Fox River Water Quality Project (FRWQP) Coordinator;
TJ Mathis, Van Buren and Lee County DC;
Alicia Bales, FRED Board;
Vince Sitzmann, IDALS–DSC Field Services Bureau Chief;
Eric Bales, Fox River Landowner;
Ralph Alshouse, RLWA Board;
Charles Scott, Davis County SWCD Commissioner;
Ron Bride, Davis County Supervisor and SIDCA Board;
Lane Collins, NRCS Assistant State Conservationist;
Craig Foster, FRWQP Coordinator; and
Matt McDonald, IDALS SE Iowa Field Representative.

~~ 2012~~
RRWA awarded $5,000 CoBank grant
~funds to support water quality protection activities 

Rathbun Regional Water Association has received a $5,000 grant from CoBank, a member of the Farm Credit System, which provides financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states and more than 70,000 rural borrowers in 23 states.
RRWA CEO, John Glenn, says the grant will support the Rathbun Land and Water Alliance's activities aimed at protecting Rathbun Lake, which is RRWA's only source of raw water for the water treatment plant.
“The CoBank funds will be used together with RRWA's contribution of $10,000 to support the Alliance's Rathbun Lake Protectors' landowner outreach program,” Glenn explains.
The grant is part of CoBank’s Sharing Success Charitable Contribution Program - a matching grant awarded to non-profit organizations such as Rathbun Regional Water Association.
Robert B. Engel, President and CEO of Co-Bank says shared success has always been a hallmark of the cooperative business model. "Cooperatives like RRWA are working to not only provide value to members but to improve the quality of life in their local communities," says Engel.
Headquartered out of Denver, Colorado, CoBank will accept applications for the matching grant program through December 31, 2012 or until the $3 million matching fund is exhausted, whichever comes first.

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Contact:  Dustin Vande Hoef
Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012                                                        
515-281-3375 or 515-326-1616 (cell)

Iowa Watershed Improvement Review Board grants the Rathbun Land and Water Alliance $97,790

DES MOINES – The Watershed Improvement Review Board recently approved twelve applications totaling $946,952 in grants to support projects that will improve water quality or reduce flooding in the state - the Rathbun Land and Water Alliance received $97,790.
The grant funds will be matched by recipients, who will provide $7,176,469 in funding from the local communities to support these projects.  As a result, $8.1 million will be going to improve priority watersheds throughout the state.
“These projects are a partnership between federal, state and local organizations that are committed to improving Iowa’s water quality,” said Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture.  “By supporting projects that address runoff and drainage, sedimentation, urban stormwater, groundwater pollution, flooding, and a number of other issues, these projects are focused on issues that directly impact the state’s waterways and water quality.”
The approved projects have already completed watershed assessments that identified critical water resource areas and will focus on implementing specific water quality or flood reduction improvements.  The projects will start after a grant agreement is signed between the applicant and the Watershed Improvement Review Board. Soil and water conservation districts, public water supply utilities, counties, county conservation boards, cities, and local watershed improvement committees were eligible to apply. Individual projects could request up to $100,000.
The Watershed Improvement Review Board is comprised of representatives from agriculture, drinking water and wastewater utilities, environmental organizations, agribusiness, and the conservation community along with two state senators and two state representatives.  It is anticipated that another request for applications will be announced later this year. To receive more information or ask questions, contact Jerry Neppel at 515-281-3599.

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May 2012 - Governor Terry Branstad Visits Watershed

June 2012 - WHO Radio Great Annual Tractor Ride

Rathbun Land and Water AllianceWHO Radio's Great Iowa Tractor Ride 2012
More than 450 tractors arrived in Centerville, Iowa on June 24, 2012 for WHO Radio's 2012 Great Iowa Tractor Ride which ran through June 27. On the second day of the three day ride, they traveled around Rathbun Lake and stopped at the Rathbun Regional Water Association's water treatment plant for an afternoon break.

As a special tribute to Mark Pearson, co-founder of the popular tractor ride, who passed away several weeks prior to this year's ride, the Rathbun Land and Water Alliance attached tribute flags to each of the project signs located along the tractor route.

At left: WHO Radio's, Bob Quinn, host of The Big Show, interviews Rathbun Regional Water Association CEO and RLWA President, John Glenn.

To see more tractor ride photos, click here.

Click on slideshow to enlarge.

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WHO Radio's The Big Show
co-host, Mark Pearson and
John Glenn

WHO Tractor Ride to return to Rathbun Lake Watershed
Mark Pearson, co-host of WHO Radio's The Big Show and John Glenn, president of the Rathbun Land and Water Alliance discuss the 2012 Great Annual Tractor Ride following the on-air announcement Friday that the popular farm show selected Centerville and the Rathbun Lake Watershed as this year's tractor ride location.
This is a return trip to the area for WHO, as Bob Quinn, co-host of the daily agricultural show selected the Rathbun Lake Watershed for his fall color tractor ride in October 2011. Quinn said he liked the area so much they decided to return for the multi-day tractor ride, which is expected to draw 650 tractors the last week of June.
Rathbun Lake Watershed landowners who have been recognized by the Alliance for their actions to Protect Rathbun Lake are featured quarterly on The Big Show - which is located at 1040 on the AM dial.

Also attending the announcement event at the Iowa Machine Shed in West Des Moines on Friday were RLWA Board member, Chuck Moore, Centerville Chamber Director, Joyce Bieber and Bill Burch. 

~~ 2011~~
Iowa Department of Natural Resources Awards 319 Watershed Improvement Grant to the Protect Rathbun Lake Project

Iowa DNR Press Release - dated December 21, 2011
2011 DNR AWARDS WATERSHED IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Hopkins, DNR nonpoint source program coordinator, 515-281-6402 or 
DES MOINES – Six contracts with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Division of Soil Conservation for five watershed improvement projects and one water quality-farming education project were approved Dec. 20 by the Environmental Protection Commission.
The projects are funded by Section 319 of the Clean Water Act Amendments for nonpoint source management programs through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Nonpoint sources of water pollution are usually caused by rain or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the water moves, it picks up and carries natural and human-made pollutants that end up in lakes, rivers, wetlands and ground waters.
The projects were selected by grant proposals and a DNR committee review process. Each selected watershed project is part of a wider effort with other partners to work within an approved Watershed Management Plan.
Approved watershed projects:
Water Quality in Rathbun Lake 2011 ― $290,055 to enable Rathbun Lake Project staff to target four new sub-watersheds to reduce debris and phosphorus delivery from priority land used primarily for row crop production from Jan. 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013. Project activities will assist landowners to apply best management practices including terraces, grass waterways, grade stabilization structures and debris basins.
Clear Lake Enhancement and Restoration Project ― $384,320 to work with watershed residents to switch to practices that reduce phosphorus and debris going into Clear Lake for the purpose of improving water clarity. Funding will also partially pay for a watershed coordinator position and public outreach activities. This project is part of a larger effort to restore and enhance Clear Lake. 
Black Hawk Lake Watershed Project Phase 1 ― $454,332 to target farm, urban and public lands within the watershed to adopt practices to reduce phosphorus loading to Black Hawk Lake by 12.5 percent. Terraces, water and debris control basins, pasture management, grass waterways, stream bank stabilization, no-till, managing fertilizer so it stays in the soil and rain gardens are some of the practices that will achieve this reduction. A Black Hawk Lake project coordinator position will also be funded.  
Duck Creek Watershed Management Plan ― $177,640 to reduce E. coli bacteria loading to Duck Creek through cost share to help priority urban areas with projects that help absorb rain in the ground and a pet waste disposal campaign. Funds will also pay for a Duck Creek watershed coordinator position. Additional project funding will be provided by Partners of Scott County and the cities of Davenport and Bettendorf.
Price Creek Watershed Project Phase 1 ― $366,453 to accomplish about 30 percent of the best management practices that will help with bacteria problems and reduce soil and debris erosion. Target practices are reducing livestock access to waterways, managing fertilizer to stay in the soil, using terraces, methods to keep soil in place, and vouchers for septic cleanouts, among others. Funds will also be used to provide funding for a Price Creek watershed coordinator position.

Iowa Learning Farms: Building a Culture of Conservation — Farmer to Farmer: Iowan to Iowan ― $132,636 for an Iowa State University educational project that uses farmer volunteers in five primary soil regions in Iowa to demonstrate and discuss innovative conservation practices on their farms that minimize nonpoint source pollution. Among the practices to be demonstrated include cover crops, no till, strip till, perennial plantings and wetlands.  
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Rathbun Lake Watershed area enjoyed by tractor ride participants
Bob Quinn, host of WHO Radio's The Big Show took the lead during his second annual Fall Color Tractor Ride. Tractor ride participants came from 29 communities to drive the 40 mile route around Rathbun Lake.
Bob Quinn takes the lead over the Rathbun Lake Dam. 

Riders enjoyed unseasonably warm temperatures and picture perfect fall colors.

At left, Bob Quinn and wife, Ann, cross the one mile Rathbun Lake dam followed by tractor ride participants.

WHO Radio tractor ride particpants take a break at the Rathbun Lake Marina.

Second Annual Bob Quinn Fall Color Tractor Ride

Tractor ride participants were encouraged to count the
Protect Rathbun Lake signs (behind tractor by corn field) as they traveled the 40 mile for a chance to win prizes at the end of the ride.
Bob Quinn prepares to interview Rathbun Lake Operations Manager, Phil Brown and RLWA Board member and Appanoose County Rathbun Lake Protector, Chuck Moore. The Big Show was broadcast live during a break in Bob's annual fall color tractor ride.

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The Rathbun Land and Water Alliance's Protect Rathbun Lake Project was featured recently on the Agribusiness Report with Ken Root on WHO TV13. Root traveled to the Rathbun Lake Watershed area to interview those working on the project, including John Glenn, RLWA President and Rathbun Regional Water Association CEO/CFO.
Click here to watch interview.

Pictured L-R: RLWA President, John Glenn, Agribusiness Report, Ken Root, and WHO TV13 photographer, Nathan Matta.

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