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  • Southwest Iowa will be home to 14 new trumpeter swans on May 9 and 10

    The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will release 14 trumpeter swans at three locations in southwest Iowa as part of the effort to create a self-sustaining population of swans south of Interstate 80. All releases will occur rain or shine.

    • Six swans will be released on the north side of Lake Icaria at the east boat ramp on May 9 at 9:30 a.m., in partnership with the Adams County Conservation Board.
    • Two swans will be released at Viking Lake near the restaurant/beach area on May 9 at 1 p.m.
    • Six swans will be released at Lake Anita on May 10 at 1:30 p.m., in partnership with the Cass County Conservation Board.

    These releases are part of the Iowa DNR’s statewide effort to restore trumpeter swans to Iowa that began in 1993. Trumpeter swans were once common in Iowa, but were gone from the state by the late 1880s. By the early 1930s, only 69 trumpeter swans remained in the lower 48 states.

    It takes six years, on average, before trumpeter swans successfully nest. Last year, Iowa was home to 54 pairs of nesting trumpeter swans; however, only two of those nesting pairs were south of I-80. Dave Hoffman, wildlife research technician with the Iowa DNR, said the goal is to raise that number to eight, which would likely create a self-sustaining population.

    “We are hopeful to get them nesting here in a year or two,” Hoffman said. “We had swans displaying some territorial signs at Lake Icaria, which is encouraging.”

    As the largest North American waterfowl, these all-white birds can weigh up to 32 pounds and have an 8-foot wingspan. The trumpeter swans being released are young and flightless and will imprint on the area where they learn to fly, returning each year as open water is available. The swans were donated to the project from zoos in Cleveland, Kansas City, Green Bay, Wis., Oklahoma City, Bronx, Anchorage, Alaska and Maryland.

    Each event includes a swan and wetland presentation, an opportunity to touch and view the swans up close, and a photo opportunity with the kids. Staff from the Kansas City Zoo will be on hand offering educational activities, and filmmaker Steve Harryman may be at these releases collecting footage for an upcoming documentary “Return of the Trumpeter Swans, in partnership with the Trumpeter Swan Society.

    For more information, contact David Hoffman at David.Hoffman@dnr.iowa.gov or 641-425-0737.

  • Local Iowa Groups Can Receive Financial Assistance To Launch Clean Water Campaigns

    DES MOINES- Iowa groups looking for help implementing innovative, regional and locally led Clean Water Awareness and Education Campaigns can apply for funding from the Iowa DNR Watershed Improvement Section.

    Through a grant program, the DNR looks for proposals that clearly demonstrate an ability to put in place innovative, targeted, impactful and sustainable Clean Water Awareness and Education Campaigns.

    The DNR seeks to award grants to eligible local entities to develop and implement locally led Clean Water Awareness and Education programs. Educational campaigns will improve public knowledge of and promote actions to reduce non-point source pollution and improve water quality. The DNR seeks projects that will use innovative methods for reaching diverse audiences and stakeholder groups.

    Campaigns must be achievable in the grant’s 18-month time frame and within the funding amount requested.

    Applications are due by close of business May 31. Successful applicants will be awarded contracts beginning no later than Oct. 15, 2019, and ending no later than Apr. 30, 2021 (18 months).

    These grants were developed after the DNR contracted with the University of Northern Iowa to survey Iowa’s residents in 2015 to measure their knowledge of water quality and identify potential behavior changes. This is the next step in the Non-point Source Management Plan. (For more details, see Objective 2.5 of Goal 2 of Iowa’s Non-point Source Management Plan and the results of the survey).

    The survey will be repeated when grant-based educational campaigns are completed to track progress. The first round of Education Campaign contracts were awarded in Dec. 2018 and projects are ongoing.

    For more information and grant application materials, visit http://iowadnr.gov/watershed. Contact Steve Konrady, DNR, at 515-725-8388 or  http://Steven.Konrady@dnr.iowa.gov with your questions.