History

Iowa Rivers Revival is a statewide organization focused on protecting and restoring our state’s most precious natural resources – our rivers and streams.

Our priorities include:

  • Education and Advocacy Programs
  • Being Nonpartisan
  • Inclusive and Collaborative
  • Increasing free-flowing, healthy rivers for recreation opportunities and safe drinking water

History Timeline:

March 2006 – A coalition of individuals, state agencies, and nonprofits organized the inaugural “Iowa Rivers Revival” conference. The need for a statewide organization committed to river advocacy, conservation, and education was affirmed.

2006-2009 – After the conference, a dedicated group of volunteers continued to meet monthly to develop the mission and vision of a new river organization.

2007 – Webster City named River Town of the Year

2008 – River Rascal’s program was created to provide an opportunity for local youth to experience their local river. Elkader named River Town of the Year

March 2009 – Iowa Rivers Revival received federal nonprofit status. Coon Rapids named River Town of the Year

2010 – Hired first Executive Director. Cedar Falls was named River Town of the Year

2011 – 1st annual report created. Charles City named River Town of the Year.

2012 – Delivered first Master River Stewards Program to 22 participants in Des Moines River Watershed. Successfully advocated for $1M for IDNR Dam Mitigation and Water Trails.

2013 – Successfully advocated for $1M for IDNR Dam Mitigation and Water Trails. Successfully encouraged the Iowa Legislature to convene an Iowa Rivers and Waterways Interim Study Committee to explore the need for a statewide river restoration program. Central City named River Town of the Year and Dubuque named River City of the Year.

2014 – Received the “Environmental Impact Award” for the development of the Master River Stewards Program. Created the REAP funded “Iowa Low-Head Dam Modification Success Stories” booklet. Successfully advocated for $2M for IDNR Dam Mitigation and Water Trails. Decorah named River Town of the Year.

2015 – Hosted the River Village at the first-ever Hinterland Music Festival. Successfully advocated for $1.75M for IDNR Dam Mitigation and Water Trails. Hired the first Assistant Director. Manchester named River Town of the Year and Council Bluffs named River City of the Year.

2016 – Successfully advocated for $1M for IDNR Dam Mitigation and Water Trails. Worked on changing the IDNR rules to protect Iowa’s wild turtles by limiting the number and time of year that can be commercially harvested. The rules apply to common snapping turtles, spiny and smooth softshell turtles, and painted turtles. Created the Service Squad, a volunteer group that conducts stream clean-ups. Developed a ‘River Roadshow’ program that allows partners to paddle with community leaders and elected officials. Stops this year included Eldon, Waterloo, Mason City, Johnston. Hired the second Executive Director. Clinton named River Town of the Year.

2017 – Created the Technical Advisory Committee that provides an invaluable source of information for river restoration. Continued the River Roadshow program with stops on the Cedar, Turkey, Des Moines, and Raccoon Rivers. Hosted first Streambank Stabilization Technical Workshop with IDNR. Clive named River Town of the Year.

2018 – Successfully advocated for $500,00 for IDNR Dam Mitigation and Water Trails. Hosted first Women for Water event. Created and launched first IDNR River Restoration Toolbox and trained 32 professionals. Elgin named River Town of the Year.

2019 – Successfully advocated for $500,00 for IDNR Dam Mitigation and Water Trails. Hosted two Green Iowa AmeriCorps members. Guttenberg named River Town of the Year.

2020 – Conducted a 3-year strategic plan to create overarching objectives and a new Mission/Vision statements. Successfully advocated for $250,00 for IDNR Dam Mitigation and Water Trails. Created online materials for the Master River Stewards Program. Hired the third Executive Director. Have trained over 100 professionals in the IDNR River Restoration Toolbox workshops.