The City of Marion, on behalf of the newly formed Indian Creek Watershed Management Authority, has received $187,330 in grant funding to develop a comprehensive watershed management plan. The authority was one of three entities in the state awarded funding.
Using federal funds appropriated for flood recovery, the State of Iowa, through the Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa Department of Natural Resources, has encouraged local governments to form Watershed Management Authorities and establish plans to reduce future flood risks and improve water quality by involving the entire watershed.
A Watershed Management Authority is a cooperative agreement among local jurisdictions within a watershed that provides a framework for cooperation in watershed management for the mutual advantage of the local communities involved. Watershed Management Authorities have the ability to conduct watershed assessments, implement watershed improvement projects, and educate communities about flood risk and water quality concerns.
In fall of 2011, the City of Marion obtained funding from the State of Iowa to form the Indian Creek Watershed Management Authority in cooperation with other local governments and with assistance from the East Central Iowa Council of Governments. The participating local governments within the Indian Creek Watershed include Marion, Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Hiawatha, Robins, and the Linn Soil & Water Conservation District. Increasing communication and coordination within the Indian Creek Watershed is a primary goal for the newly formed Watershed Management Authority. A board of directors representing all participating local governments will guide efforts to improve the watershed.
The planning grant funding will allow for the creation of a comprehensive watershed management plan. The plan will involve an in-depth physical assessment of the Indian Creek Watershed to identify priority projects and a community engagement process to develop local solutions for the watershed.
The Indian Creek Watershed is the 93 square-mile area of land draining to Dry Creek, Indian Creek, and Squaw Creek, and ultimately to the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids. The planning process is expected to take at least 18 months and will result in an implementation schedule for projects to mitigate flood impacts and improve water quality.