In early 2017, the Story County Board of Supervisors and the Story County Conservation Board partnered to bring on a consulting firm to develop countywide watershed assessments throughout Story County. Looking at watersheds at the smaller level – technically, the Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) 10 and 12 watershed levels – we developed a comprehensive assessment that identifies watershed specific goals and develops implementation strategies addressing education, outreach and water quality improvement goals.
Story County is leading the state as the first county to look at watersheds at the countywide level. We hope this project helps define the health of our watersheds. The final report for the Watershed Assessments can be viewed here (PDF).
Watershed Management Authorities
In 2010, Iowa lawmakers passed legislation authorizing the creation of Watershed Management Authorities. A Watershed Management Authority (WMA) is a mechanism for cities, counties, Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) and stakeholders to cooperatively engage in watershed planning and management, such as:
- Assess and reduce flood risk
- Assess and improve water quality
- Monitor federal flood risk planning and activities
- Educate residents of the watersheds regarding flood risks and water quality
- Allocate funding for watershed improvements
A WMA is formed by a Chapter 28E agreement, does not have taxing authority, and may not acquire property through eminent domain. Story County is currently involved in three WMA's: Four Mile Creek WMA, Ioway Creek (formerly Squaw Creek) WMA, and Headwaters of the Skunk River WMA.
Fourmile Creek WMA was formed in 2012 and developed their management plan in 2015. Ioway Creek WMA formed in 2012 and developed their management plan in 2014. Headwaters of the South Skunk WMA formed in 2018 and their management plan is still in development.