The Cedar River in Mitchell County was selected as the next water trail project to be awarded planning services through an annual DNR grant opportunity. Mitchell County Conservation applied for these services, and a scoring committee composed of three DNR staff and two citizen water trail advocates gave the Mitchell County application a winning score. JEO Consulting Group was selected as the planner for this water trail.
While COVID-19 has certainly made it difficult to bring people together for uninhibited conversation, it has also spawned creative ways to gather virtually. Over two weeks in October, JEO and the Mitchell County Conservation Board hosted two virtual meetings to gather community input and feedback related to the Cedar River.
- Landowner Listening Session: If you missed the meeting, you can find the follow-up information here.
- River Users Listening Session: If you missed the meeting, you can find the follow-up information here.
For any project questions, please reach out to Alyssa Tenorio with JEO Consulting Group at email@example.com.
For both groups, It’s important to understand how Iowa Code is interpreted and applied on non-meandered streams, for which the Cedar River is classified. The term “non-meandered” in this case, has nothing to do with how straight or winding the stream is. Rather, it’s a technical or legal term that simply means that the owners of land next to a stream or river, own not only the land next to it, but also the banks, sandbars, and stream bed to the middle of the river. The water that flows over and through this land, however, is held in public trust for the citizens of the state, and navigation of the water for recreational purposes is allowed.
Landowners might hear the word “trail” and worry that land could be taken from them. But an Iowa Supreme Court case in 1999, East Oaks Development, Inc. v. Iowa Department of Transportation, set precedent by ruling that the State does not have eminent domain authority for the creation of recreational trails (Sullivan & Ward, P.C.).
Attached is a document, highlighting Iowa Code and how it applies to the Cedar River in Mitchell County. It also provides information about who to call for situations you might encounter on the river whether you’re a landowner or someone recreating on the river.