Upper Iowa Watershed Management Authority LogoIntroduction

The Upper Iowa River Watershed Management Authority (WMA) was formed in 2015 and is governed by a board of directors who represent cities, counties, and soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) within the Upper Iowa River watershed who have agreed to work together in order to:

  • Assess and reduce the flood risks and improve water quality in the watershed;
  • Monitor the federal flood risk planning and activities;
  • Educate residents; and
  • Allocate monies for purposes of water quality and flood mitigation.


  • Allamakee County: Dan Byrnes, Allamakee County Supervisor
  • Allamakee County Soil and Water Conservation District: Jack Knight (Vice Chair), Allamakee County SWCD Commissioner
  • City of Decorah: Kirsten Olson, City Councilman
  • City of Lime Springs
  • Howard County: Joe Pisney, Howard County Supervisor
  • Howard County Soil and Water Conservation District: Harlan Hickle, Howard County SWCD Commissioner
  • Winneshiek County: John Beard (Chair), Steve Kelsay, Winneshiek County Supervisor
  • Winneshiek County Soil and Water Conservation District: Mark Jensen (Secretary), Donna Rasmussen, Winneshiek County SWCD Commissioner


The Upper Iowa River Watershed is a highly functioning hydrologic system where local, state and federal private and public partners work together across political boundaries to increase human and landscape resiliency.

Watershed Resiliency Plan

The WMA Board worked with partners to develop the Upper Iowa River Watershed Resiliency Plan that they believe will achieve the following Goals.

  • Improve and protect ground and surface water quality;
  • Reduce the risk to and impact of flooding to social, economic and ecological systems;
  • Build human and landscape resiliency.

Upper Iowa River Iowa Watershed Approach Project (2016-2022)

Meeting Minutes

Next meeting May 21, 202 at 5pm in the Winneshiek Courthouse Annex Building

Founding Document & History

The Upper Iowa WMA was formed in November 2015 through a formal 28E agreement.

Upper Iowa River WMA 28E Agreement (PDF)

Formation of the WMA was made possible through action taken by the State of Iowa Legislature in April 2010 in response to extensive flooding that had occurred in Iowa in 2008, including in Cedar Rapids. A portion of the federal funding that had been awarded to Iowa was utilized and allocated to projects through provisions added to Iowa Code 466B, the Surface Water Protection and Flood Mitigation Act, which authorized the development of a State Watershed Advisory Committee and implementation of the Iowa Watershed Approach, which included development of the first Watershed Management Authorities in Iowa and implementation of hydrologic analysis and pilot projects through the Iowa Flood Center. The Iowa Watersheds Approach, which is focused on increasing disaster resiliency by reducing flooding and advancing water quality, was subsequently funded by a Disaster Resilience Grant from U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Funding was awarded to the State of Iowa’s Economic Development Authority Development and ultimately focused on nine Iowa watersheds. Each of the nine watersheds, including the Upper Iowa River Watershed, have developed or are developing watershed resiliency plans and began implementation of targeted practices to achieve the goals of the Iowa Watershed Approach Project (IWAP). The IWAP goals are to reduce flood risk, improve water quality, increase resilience, engage stakeholders, improve quality of life and health and develop a model program for other state.