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Squaw Creek Watershed
Squaw Creek Watershed Management Plan Adopted - December 2014
Leanne Harter
County Outreach and Special Projects Manager

Nevada, IA  50201

Ph: (515) 382-7247

The WMA adopted the Watershed Management Plan in December 2014.  You can view the plan here as one large document or review it by chapter by clicking on the links below.

Entire Document

Table of Contents
Section 1 - Introduction
Section 2 - Watershed Characterization
Section 3 - Stream Health
Section 4 - Pollutant Sources
Section 5 - Goals and Objectives
Section 6 - Implementation Strategies
Section 7 - Monitoring Plan
Section 8 - Funding Sources
Appendix 1 - 28E Agreement
Appendix 2 - Listening Session Input
Appendix 3 - Recreation Use Assessment
Appendix 4 - Agricultural Conservation Practices Framework Findings

Mission Statement

The mission of the Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority is to engage, educate and encourage all citizens to improve the health, stewardship and resiliency of our watershed resources.

  • Goal #1  Increase people’s awareness and understanding of the individual connections and efforts within the watershed
  • Goal #2  Improve water quality in the watershed.
  • Goal #3  Reduce the effects associated with altered hydrology (heavy flows, diminished base flow) within the watershed
  • Goal #4  Increase the variety of habitat for animal and plant life in the watershed
  • Goal #5  Create outstanding recreational opportunities in the watershed
  • Goal #6  Work cooperatively to identify stakeholders and resources and facilitate partnerships to implement the watershed plan

Key Findings Presented
At the Squaw Creek WMA Board of Directors meeting on May 15, 2014, the following points were highlighted.  In details summaries may be accessed in the links below:

Key findings of the water quality and stream assessment:

  • The hydrology of Squaw Creek has been significantly altered. Flashy: Peak flow rates in the stream can be as much as 100x the base flow.
  • Monitoring data indicates that there are very high levels of nutrients (P and N) and bacteria. Boom/Bust dissolved oxygen cycles.
  • The manner in which past monitoring has been done makes it difficult to detect any trends. Recommendation is to focus effort at one or two sites along the creek and take more frequent baseflow and storm event samples.
  • Stream is NOT healthy: unstable, degraded habitat, carries large sediment load (without flushing it downstream)

Stream Assessment 
Water Quality Summary

CLICK HERE to view the presentation given by Pat Conrad at the listening sessions of the WMA.

CLICK HERE to view the presentation given by Pat Conrad with EOR to the Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority.

The Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority involves a team of people from large and small communities, rural and urban areas in the counties of Boone, Story, Hamilton and Webster who share an interest in Squaw Creek. There has been a great deal of work conducted over the past ten years in this watershed culminating in the formation of the Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority (SWMA).

The Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority has identified a definite interest in improving the quality of Squaw Creek and its tributaries.  With financial support from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the time has come to develop a comprehensive watershed management plan to provide guidance for watershed activities over the next twenty years.

The Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority was created in 2012.  With this foundation in place, the next step is to create a watershed management plan.  Emmons and Olivier Resources, Inc. (EOR) from Oakdale, Minnesota was hired to facilitate the planning process.  EOR is a water resource-based engineering and environmental consulting firm that specializes in:  watershed planning; water resources engineering and modeling; biological surveying and ecological restoration; and sustainable site design.

Pat Conrad, EOR Water Resources Specialist will oversee the project planning effort. 

“The first step in developing an effective watershed management plan for Squaw Creek is to conduct an assessment of the watershed and its waters.  It’s really important for us to have a realistic view of the watershed and the challenges facing the Creek such as contaminated runoff and flooding in Ames.  We want to make sure our plan is based on solid science.” 

Protecting water is not a new concept but watershed management is a new approach in Iowa. The planning process will take about one year and it will be addressing extreme variations in flow, erosion and sedimentation, elevated nutrients levels (nitrate and phosphate), loss of biodiversity, elevated “coliform” bacteria levels and trash in the watershed.

As the planning process proceeds, there will be an effort to engage different personal and public interest in the watershed.  Penny Brown Huber, Executive Director of Prairie Rivers of Iowa and asubconsultant on the project says, “Our focus in the planning project will be to engage and educate the public about the watershed.  We want to hear from all the residents in our watershed in order to create a plan that will lead us over time to make improvements in water quality while we address flooding and water quantity issues."