The Upper Iowa River Alliance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that exists to promote, protect, and enhance the Upper Iowa River.

The River Alliance was created as an opportunity for representatives of tourism groups, county conservation boards, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Upper Iowa River landowners to have a venue in which to speak to one another to resolve issues and develop opportunities for unique and strong partnerships. This partnership has proved crucial for the development of river resources, and with the state of Iowa’s unique laws regarding ownership rights, it won’t be disappearing anytime soon. Nearly all of the waterways in Iowa are privately owned (non-meandered) but the water is open to public use. This creates a unique and possibly troubling scenario for livery owners and other businesses who are reliant on the Iowa rivers. The opportunity the River Alliance has created for open dialogue has created a strong foundation in which both conservation and tourism focused on natural resources can be built. It is the foundation for win-win scenarios.

What has the Upper Iowa River Alliance been working on?

How can I donate to the Upper Iowa River”?

The alliance is actively seeking donations to complete projects that will work to fulfill the River Alliance’s mission. To make a donation to our 501(c)(3) organization online please complete the online form below, or contact Josh Dansdill, Treasurer, at 563-864-7112 or [email protected].  Below are a few of the projects the Upper Iowa River Alliance is actively working to complete. If any of these projects are of interest to you please make a reference when making your donation!

How can I become a “Friend of the Upper Iowa River”?

The alliance is actively seeking interested community members to become a Friend of the Upper Iowa River. Becoming a Friend of the Upper Iowa River is an easy and great way to keep up with what they alliance is currently working on and be up to date with future projects.
By registering to become a friend of the Upper Iowa River Alliance you will receive a quarterly newsletter and our annual report.

Email Josh at [email protected] to get involved.

Newsletter Signup

Why do we need to help protect the Upper Iowa River?

The Upper Iowa River is located in extreme Northeast Iowa Iowa and is an enormously treasured resource to the region with its valuable natural and economic resources. The Upper Iowa River is the heartbeat in an area of rugged hills, steep topography, and home to a complex network of spring fed coldwater trout streams. The Upper Iowa River is a major contributor to the economic health of the region and the Iowa DNR estimates paddlers enjoying the Upper Iowa River generate over $5 million yearly. Local DNR Fisheries Biologists consider this estimate to be extremely low.

The Upper Iowa River was designated by the 90th U.S. Congress as among the initial 27 rivers to be included in the National Wild and Scenic River System. A portion of the Upper Iowa River has been designated as a High Quality Resource Waters and is explained in the Code of Iowa as a “water of exceptional recreational or ecological significance”. This accolade along with having 64.2 miles being designated by Iowa as State Protected Waters Areas have highlighted ways the federal and state government are working to find the balance between protecting areas of ecological significance and providing access for river users to recreate.

Who is on the Upper Iowa River Alliance Board?

Current UIRA Board members
President: Kirsten Heine
Vice President: Val Reinke
Secretary/Treasurer: Josh Dansdill
Board Members: Barb Schroeder, Lora Friest, Spiff Slifka, MJ Hatfield, Paul Berland, Terry Vonderohe
Ex-Officio: Winneshiek County Conservation, Decorah Park and Rec, Allamakee County Economic Development, Howard County Business and Tourism, Iowa DNR, Howard County Conservation, Allamakee County Conservation, Winneshiek County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Reach out to us at: [email protected]