Conservation Efforts

By Caroline van Schaik, Driftless Region coordinator

Cross-border work, stream teams, and on board in Winona, maybe E. coli, the cedar River, and building bridges

Austin, MN and Linn Co, IA Izaak Walton League chapter members continue to prepare for a summer of sampling to learn the status of E. coli in the Cedar River on the Iowa side of the watershed. The effort builds on a campaign by Austin, MN Ikes to understand not just whether there is E. coli but its source. The protocol, developed by the Austin team and fine tuned through hundreds of samples, includes DNA testing to be conducted with a Florida partner. Funding for expensive lab analysis, team training, and sampling supplies is through the IWLA Endowment Program and the Upper Mississippi River Initiative of MN IWLA. See the March report here for some background. And if you live in the Cedar River Watershed in Iowa and would like to be involved through IWLA chapters, please contact Dale Braun, president of the Linn County chapter, at

Sampling season soon

“Soon!” is the operative word and as we reported last month, groups will be small but mighty in adherence with Covid guidelines. Please contact Caroline van Schaik if you are not already receiving her announcements about how to participate in Minnesota Driftless area stream team work.

In the meantime, a reminder that we hope we can offer a culminating half-day IN PERSON streamside training to become Save Our Stream(SOS) certified but it will be open ONLY to those who have completed online ‘classes’ offered by the National SOS folks.

Here’s the details!

The online sections are a Covid response to what typically are in person workshops. They are terrific! And for now, because we don’t know when we can return to full in person training, they are what’s on offer – take a look!

SOS stream monitoring last summer at Whitewater State Park. Photo by Caroline van Schaik