Conservation-The Blackhawk Creek Watershed Coalition By: Kevin Williams, Grundy County Conservation Director
April 14, 2017
This past Friday, April 7, I attended a meeting of people interested in improving water quality, reducing flooding and its impact. Conversation also included recreation and wildlife habitat. It focused on these things and how they relate to a stream we have close to home – the Blackhawk Creek. Now, I have attended a multitude of similar meetings over the years but this one was different. It was initiated by a “private joe”. More correctly, he is a “private Clark”. Mr. Clark Porter manages Porter Family Farms with some of that located in Grundy County along the Blackhawk Creek. He doesn’t wear a conservation uniform identifying with a county, state or federal conservation agency, yet he is concerned about the health of the Blackhawk Creek watershed. And believe me, the Blackhawk Creek watershed is large. Some 217,000 acres encompass the area that drains into that creek from its beginnings as far west as near Wellsburg to where it enters the Cedar River in Waterloo. Mr. Porter contacted me looking for a location where people and organizations with an interest in the watershed could begin a discussion. He called it the Blackhawk Creek Watershed Coalition. That meeting was held in the Grundy County Heritage Museum meeting room in Morrison. About a dozen folks were present for this meeting. There were representatives from the Grundy County and Blackhawk County. The SCS, NRCS, County Conservation, and the DNR. Landowners in the watershed and people working on similar watershed efforts in other parts of Iowa. The most exciting part that I took away from this meeting was the fact that a private landowner was recognizing some of the needs that are present in this watershed and wanting to do something to address them. Truly a grass roots effort unfolding right before our eyes. From the start, Mr. Porter stated that he knew this was just the start of a bigger group of interested people that should be ultimately sitting at the table. Discussion centered around awareness, education, voluntary actions – positive actions that would impact the Blackhawk Creek watershed. The group of about a dozen left with a decision to meet again. To focus on some funding that may be available to get the coalition going. There will be more people sought out and invited to the table. The next meeting is scheduled for May 17 once again in Morrison. If you find yourself interested in learning what part you might be able to play – let me know. I was encouraged. I came away thinking that this could be something. I hope that it is.
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