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Picture by Dale Mills - Winnebago River, Portland, IA

Monthly Channel Chat - May 2021

Hello River Lover,

The month of May brings lots of excitement for Iowa Rivers Revival. Today, May 1st, we are celebrating our 2021 River Town of the Year! For the past 13 years, we have presented this annual award to a river community that demonstrates a commitment to reclaiming the waterfront as an anchor for economic development, recreation, and ecological practices, as well as addressing some of the challenges and solutions related to water quality.

Kayakers paddling the South Skunk River

Paddlers kayaking the Skunk River

Centrally located in the heart of Iowa, the City of Ames has secured its position as the 15th River Town of the Year Award. It is a city dedicated to protecting water quality and restoring natural resources like the Skunk River.

The city has treated its river as a community asset by investing time and resources to protect its longevity. Some success include:

  • Providing three water trail access points
  • Getting multiple miles of stream designated as a state water trail by the IDNR
  • Transforming dangerous and deadly low-head dams into recreational assets
  • Stabilizing streambanks by incorporating low-flow improvements
  • Hosting multiple educational programs and stream clean-up events
  • Incentivizing homeowners to install stormwater control measures
  • Installing city wide water quality and quantity management solutions 

Bike and water trails, from South Skunk River Water Trail Plan. Click on picture for more information

Multiple groups have worked together to protect the Skunk River and its tributaries. Some of these groups include Prairie Rivers of Iowa, Skunk River Paddlers, City of Ames, Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority, Headwaters of the South Skunk River, Iowa State University, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. We thank them all for their hard work!

There is a celebration today - May 1st - from 10am-noon with a ribbon cutting ceremony that officially opens the fourth whitewater park in Iowa. If you can't join us in person, we will be livestreaming on Facebook the speaking section which goes from 10-10:30AM. Speakers include the Mayor, Director Ames Water and Pollution Control, Director of IDNR, Director of Ames Parks and Recreation, and us. We hope to see you either in person or virtually!

Until next month, stay well

Sara Carmichael, Executive Director



Fundraising Opportunity with IRR

Purchase some Coors Seltzers from NOW until June 30th and $0.50 will go to protect Iowa rivers. 

Featured River - Skunk River

A tributary of the Mississippi River, the Skunk River is composed of two branches - South (185 miles) and North (129 miles). In June 2020, the Skunk River became the newest addition to the Iowa DNR's Water Trails Programs.

The Sauk and Meskwaki tribes referred to the Skunk River as "Shecaqua" which means anything of a strong smell, such as onions. Wild onions have been found growing near the headwaters of the stream and that is probably where the name originated from.

Many species of fish can be found in the Skunk including smallmouth bass, gar, walleye, catfish, carp, bluegills, sheephead, crappie, and sunfish.


Skunk River with headwaters starting in Hamilton County, passing through the City of Ames, and ending in the Mississippi River.


Our 2020 Annual Report is Live!

Learn about our advocacy, outreach, and educational achievements of 2020. We also dedicate this report to Paul Bridgford, an avid outdoorsman, angler, and talented artist. We thank him, his family, and all his supporters in working to protect our rivers and streams.


Crappie, picture by Paul Bridgford


Iowa Rivers Revival
PO Box 72  | Des Moines, Iowa 50301
515-350-4387 | info@iowarivers.org

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