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.
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.