Category Archives: News

November Transitions Water Trail Activities

Mother Nature has spared us from more of that ongoing rain, rivers are receding to more normal levels, and farmers are harvesting where drainage allows. Warm-weather paddlers may hope to receive one more day suitable for a float. Drysuit paddlers continue on, and may already looking forward to a New Year’s Day float. In either case please observe safety guidelines for cold water/cold weather paddling.

November is a good time to gather cold weather emergency gear in your vehicle. A few items can be very useful to you or others when facing a night in the vehicle, being stuck in a drift, or assisting an ice rescue. Among the items to consider are a shovel, jug of sand, sleeping bag, throw line, PFD, energy snacks, extra hats & gloves.

Additional items for your November Checklist might include  Nov 4, Set clocks back 1 hour; Nov 4, Replace smoke alarm batteries; Nov 6, VOTE!; Nov 11-12, Fly our flag for Veterans Day; Check tire pressure due to lower temps; Winterize lawnmower; Test snowblower; Disconnect & drain outdoor hoses; and Ensure there is no water in your boats!

October Floats Bowing to Unusually Variable River Levels

Fall weather in Iowa continues to be interesting, to say the least. Mother Nature has helped us set several new records relating to total rainfall, days with rain, rivers at various flood stage levels.  Several October Fall Color Floats have been canceled. While some folks are still optimistic of lower water levels with enough sunshine and warmth for one more enoyable float, others are already wondering what we can expect for winter challenges.  Stay tuned. . .

As the end of 2018 comes into view, we have begun gathering info for our 2019 IWTA Planning Calendar. We welcome your input whenever you have firm, or even tentative info about 2019 events.

 

Mid September River Levels Unusually Variable

Some Iowa rivers have returned to normal levels, while others are still moving in that direction. The recent heavy rains, high water levels, and strong currents may have altered some channels, and may have created new sweepers, log jams, or other hazards. We understand that many of you are anxious to enjoy some fall paddling, but be certain your river is ready for paddlers, and be alert for changes along that river.

As we notified you last week, some events had to be canceled due to high water levels. Normal levels have returned to rivers in the north and west areas of Iowa, and levels continue to lower on rivers in the south and east. Depending on the size of their watershed, some rivers drop faster than others, and the longer and larger rivers take longer to clear.

River levels are receding toward normal levelsBirds are migrating. Monarchs are migrating. It’s September in Iowa, a great month to maximize our Iowa Water Trails visits by land or water. Mother Nature continues to alter our plans with occasional storms and fluctuating water levels, but we persevere.

September-Migrations, High Water, Event Cancellations

Linn County Conservation has canceled the three Voyageurs Canoe paddling opportunities and related activities scheduled Sep 7, 9, 10 due to high water levels on the Wapsipinicon River in Pinicon Ridge Park. Continuing rainfall and high river levels may impact additional events across Iowa–please plan accordingly.

Birds are migrating. Monarchs are migrating. It’s September in Iowa, a great month to maximize our Iowa Water Trails visits by land or water. Mother Nature continues to alter our plans with occasional storms and fluctuating water levels, but we persevere.

You might expect that WT-related events and activities would be slowing down at this point in the year, but the number of items in the Sep IWTA Newsletter indicates otherwise. September offers many opportunities to enjoy and support your Iowa WTs. Please note the heads-up to several Oct events, for which space may be limited, and preregistration may be required.

Just a reminder: Iowa Water Trails are not just for paddlers. Although paddlers are among the most visible and most frequent WT users, we would like to hear more from those of you who pursue archaeology, history, geology, angling, birding, photography, biology, etc. in any way related to our WTs. Please contact us if you have an event, activity, or new special interest group to publicize.

August Can Be Great Along Iowa WTs, But Be Aware of Weather & Water Levels

CAUTION: Stay Clear of South Skunk River Near Hannums Mill Dam; Portage Around Dam Washed Out!  Read the details in the Jul 1 or Aug 1 IWTA Newsletter in our Newsletter Archive.

Learn some “Interactive Iowa Paddling Map Tips” in the most recent “SPECIAL” IWTA Email in the News archive The interactive map was recently updated, and these tips will get you started using the new features.

It’s late summer in Iowa, the Water Trails are calling, but Mother Nature is playing games with heat, scattered storms, and variable water levels. Be sure to plan ahead, check river gages, paddle with a partners, use proper gear, hydrate, apply common sense, and, oh yeah–enjoy yourself.

July Brings a Caution, Variable Weather, Plus “Interactive Iowa Paddling Map Tips”

CAUTION: Stay Clear of South Skunk River Near Hannums Mill Dam; Portage Around Dam Has Washed Out!  Read the details in the July 1 IWTA Newsletter in our Newsletter Archive.

Learn some “Interactive Iowa Paddling Map Tips” in the most recent “SPECIAL” IWTA Email in the News archive The interactive map was recently updated, and these tips will get you started using the new features.

It’s July in Iowa, and the Water Trails are calling. Could there be a better time to take a break and treat yourself to some all-natural stress relief?

Mother Nature is giving us an interesting mixture of heavy-but-scattered storms, resulting in an interesting mixture of high/low water levels, standing water, and some spots in the state indicating drought! Water levels in the Iowa Great Lakes are over two feet above crest, topping docks, damaging shorelines, causing officials to issue a 600 ft no wake zone to minimize erosion and property damage.

Some folks believe that the name “Iowa” is derived from an Indian term for “beautiful land.” Some suspect that it actually meant “variable weather.”

Plan ahead, check river gages, paddle with a partner(s), use proper gear, use common sense, enjoy yourself.

June, Water Trails Calling, Kids and Life Jackets

We noticed that it has been 10 years since Iowa implemented its requirement that children under age 13 must WEAR a life jacket while underway on a recreational vessel. When preparing to go out on a vessel, first check that the legally required equipment is on board.

  • All vessels must have at least one USCG-approved wearable Type I, II, III, or V life jacket for each person on board. In addition to the above requirement, one USCG-approved throwable Type IV flotation device must be on board vessels 16 feet or longer except canoes or kayaks.
  • Children Must Wear Life Jackets. While underway on a recreational vessel on any Iowa waters, a child under 13 years old must wear a USCG-approved life jacket unless the child is in an enclosed cabin or below deck or is a passenger on a commercial vessel with a capacity of 25 people or more.
  • Life jackets must have a legible USCG approval tag and be  in good & servicable condition, readily accessible, & of the proper size for the intended wearer.

It’s June in Iowa, and our Water Trails are calling (as water levels allow). Could there be a better time to treat yourself to some all-natural stress reliever?  The second-half-of-June calendar is full of WT-related events and activities, with plenty more scheduled throughout the summer. Check out our most recent IWTA Newsletter and the IWTA Events Calendar.

May is Great for Paddling, but Watch for Bridge Construction Hazards

Please check the May Mid Mo Newsletter for info re two specific river locations which paddlers should avoid due to bridge construction, debris, and temporary dams. Iowa has a lot of bridges, and a lot of bridge projects in the works, by all levels of government. If in doubt, we suggest that you check your route by vehicle, or contact the appropriate county conservation office. If you learn of additional such situations, please forward them, and we will include the info in a future IWTA Newsletter.

Reminder to fly our national flag:
May 19 Armed Forces Day
May 28 Memorial Day (half staff dawn until noon)

A year from now, some of you will be griping about having to install a new boat registration decal, so make plans to get out there this season and get your money’s worth!

April Brings A Lot More Than Just Showers

Our great blue heron arrived back in the neighborhood just before dark on the evening of March 23. He awkwardly fought the blustery winds, swooping close to our window before regaining control to reach the shelter of trees along the nearby creek. Within 24 hours, the ground was covered by over 8 inches of snow, with 40 mph gusts creating occasional drifts up to 2 feet. Do you think migrating birds are capable of experiencing regret? –your editor

April is famous for its showers, and this month’s IWTA Newsletter is a veritable downpour of events and information. Iowa taxes are due this month, so keep the Chickadee Checkoff in mind. Free demo paddles, marsh paddles, and a refuge paddle are blooming, along with the  opportunity to “Cross the Delaware”. Event reschedules include the (now) Apr 12 Iowa DNR Free Outfitter Training and Apr 21-22 IWC Kayak Paddling Class. And watch your local media for Earth Day events the weekend of Apr 21-22.

On the information side, check out a brief interesting video, a reopened AmeriCorps grant opportunity, outdoor photography items, Iowa Trails Summit progress, Voyageurs Canoe programming, Dragon Boat Racing schedule, Citizen Water Quality Scientists, a new paddleshop coming to Cedar Rapids, and more.

March has transition weather, but the IWTA Newsletter is full of things to do!

March–a transition month, when Iowa experiences bits of winter and spring, and everything in between. The Vernal Equinox, the astronomical First Day of Spring, occurs on Mar 20. We get a March bonus this year–two full moons, Mar 1 and Mar 31.

Kudos to the Indian Creek Nature Center “Paddle Day 2018” organizers and the fantastic presenters. With 86 paid attendees and plenty of positive feedback, we’ll look forward to doing it again in 2019. FYI, they might have a couple more signed copies of Nate’s “Paddling Iowa” book (319-362-0664).

This issue is full of indoor and outdoor events, including indoor and outdoor paddling. We also included several items to pique your interest (salamanders in politics, eagle eggs, early Iowa photography) and help you prepare for Iowa adventures (Travel Iowa Guide & Map). We’re particularly pleased to see the return of the Iowa Trails Summit, set for Oct 12 (please complete the quick online survey & mark the date). And congratulations to Elgin, which was selected as the 2018 IRR River Town of the Year!

The IWTA Website 2018 Events Calendar now includes over 180 items, and has some new features. Click on any Full Moon date and you will see a complete schedule of full moon dates for the year. Ditto for Meteor Showers.

SPECIAL THANKS to those groups who have added a link to our IWTA Website on their own website or in their newsletter. We appreciate the benefits of networking!