Focus Group/Technical Meetings
The Northeast Iowa RC&D UIR WMA Planning Team hosted targeted focus group/technical meetings that brought together specific professionals to provide input and recommendations to the UIR WMA Board. These meetings were by invitation only and included very specific, facilitated technical presentations and discussion as well as facilitated group decision making and recommendations. The Upper Iowa River Watershed has a rich history of multi-agency and organizational watershed collaboration and partnership going back to the 1990s, which has created a cadre of highly educated and experienced partners who have developed invaluable technical expertise.
The UIR Watershed Technical Committee, a group of more than 50 professional partners, primarily local, was the largest of the groups that met to provide input and recommendations for the WMA Board regarding subwatershed targeting, planning and project implementation. The UIR Watershed Technical Committee is comprised of representatives from soil and water conservation districts, county conservation boards, county engineering departments, county emergency management, USDA NRCS, Iowa Homeland Security, local colleges, Iowa DNR Fisheries, Iowa DNR Wildlife, ISU Extension, IDALS, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Iowa Flood Center, IIHR, the Iowa Watershed Approach, and local private conservation groups such as Pheasants Forever, Iowa Coldwater Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, Clayton County Conservation Awareness Network, Friends of the Decorah Hatchery, the Upper Iowa River Alliance and others. Based on selection criteria the group self imposed and facilitated discussion among members, this group ultimately made recommendations to the UIR WMA Board regarding selection and targeting of three specific subwatersheds for Implementation Funds provided by the Disaster Resiliency Grant.
In partnership with the Iowa Watershed Approach Resiliency Team, and Luther College Office for Sustainable Communities, the Northeast Iowa RC&D UIR WMA Planning Team also met with a focus group comprised of emergency responders from the Upper Iowa River Watershed including county emergency managers, emergency response personnel, law enforcement officers and others to discuss flood-related emergency response challenges and to consider emerging opportunities to work together to mitigate flooding and flood impacts.
In additional to larger group meetings, the Northeast Iowa RC&D UIR WMA Planning Team met with and discussed specific issues and gathered input through technical conversations with subsets of like professionals such as county engineers, geologists, fire department personnel, city officials, public health officials, state partners and others, to specifically to gather their expert opinion regarding the history of the watershed, past projects, the impact of flooding, landowner relations, project implementation challenges, current and emerging conditions within the watershed and other topics. Some of these watershed partners also provided data and information that was directly incorporated into the plan while others informed plan content.