Conservation Efforts

By UMRI's Outreach Coordinator, Christine Curry and Iowa's Conservation Director, Mike Delaney, and other Iowa Izaak Walton League chapter members

Hello Spring, Photo by: Christine Curry


Come tell us what you think—


The Izaak Walton League is hosting a discussion session to gather your input on what federal agriculture policy should be doing to promote better conservation on Iowa farm and ranches. The League played an instrumental role in the creation of the Soil Bank in 1956, the Conservation Reserve Program in 1985, and the Conservation Stewardship Program in 2002.

Bring your best ideas, help us prioritize solutions, and we will use your insights as we craft the League’s agenda for the 2023 Farm Bill.

Please join us in Iowa:

Monday, March 7, 7:00 pm
Izaak Walton League Des Moines Chapter
4343 George Flagg Parkway
Des Moines, IA  50321

Contact us if you need more information. Please use this link to register so we know how many to expect.

Please join us in Minnesota:

Thursday, March 10, 10:00 am to noon (Central time)
Izaak Walton League Minnesota Valley Chapter
6601 Auto Club Road
Bloomington, MN 55438

Masks requested for unvaccinated attendees. Contact us if you need more information.  Please use this link to register so we know how many to expect.

Zoom link available for those who cannot attend in person.

Duane Hovorka
Agriculture Program Director
Izaak Walton League of America
Office: (301) 548-0150, ext 207
Cell: (402) 804-0033

“Defenders of Soil, Air, Woods, Waters and Wildlife”

Create A Ripple—


UMRI’s LOVE Match Campaign Continues…

Paddling the river—that’s true love! Bill and Lynne Rogers share their love of the water with their granddaughter through the support of conservation efforts. Donate and they’ll match your gift.

Lifetime Conservationists Bill & Lynne Rogers support UMRI in the name of Love…and for future generations to come! Photo provided by the Rogers.


We’re rowing into the spring with our continued efforts of working with our partners in the watershed to achieve healthy soils and improve water quality. As our Executive Director David Zentner states, we aspire to “help bring healthy food production systems and vibrant watershed communities into harmony”.

Give Now to Double the Love—

Put preservation to ACTION…Your gift always supports water conservation efforts throughout the Upper Mississippi River watershed. Right now, your gift does even more.  Lifetime conservationists Bill and Lynne Rogers will match the first $5,000 donated by March 22.  Donate Now, and they will double your gift.

Each gift, of any amount, helps fund: Ongoing water testing
, Public education programs & workshops, Preserving & restoring the Upper Mississippi River watershed. Keep love flowing. Send a gift today. The reward will be sweet.


Watershed advocacy with the League—


Join us Tuesday, March 8th, 2022 ~ 7 p.m. CT 

Register Here! for our March 2022 Series on Soil and Water Conservation “Thinking Like a Watershed” program…After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Conservation activist and self-proclaimed tree-hugger, Mary Ellen will share the League’s connection between advocacy, voting and the state of the river.  She will discuss the work that members are involved with to improve soil health and water quality and how they are working with others in the Upper Mississippi River network to take action for change.

This monthly series is a project of the Upper Mississippi River Initiative (UMRI) of the Izaak Walton League of America, with co-hosts Chris Henning of the Panora Conservation Chapter and Des Moines Chapter Communication Director, Bud Hartley. We feature guests for 30-40 minute presentations that shed daylight on good works done in the name of the Mississippi and its uplands. In this way we uplift our shared goals for a cleaner river, a cared for environment, and kinder communities. Recorded programs are available shortly after they air live.


Photo Competition in the Watershed—


“Walk the riverside trail at Jester County Park while the storm clouds come rolling in” February 2022, Photo by: Robin Fortney


Raccoon River Watershed Association (RRWA) Photo Competition—Judge: Photographer, Ty Smedes

An update from Izaak Walton League’s Iowa Conservation Director, Mike Delaney

We all are photographers now with our phones and digital cameras. Professional photographer, Ty Smedes will select the best photos for the RRWA photo competition that will run from now until April 1st. Awards will be given at the April 9th, 2022 Life in the Raccoon River conference at the DMACC Urban Campus. Digital pictures should be emailed to Ty Smedes. Place “RRWA Digital Photo Contest” in the subject line. All photographs must be taken in the Raccoon River Watershed. Categories will include: recreation, plants, scenic, and wildlife. Each person can submit up to four photos.  Image format must be JPEG only, recommended 300 DPI resolution. Judging criteria—technique, composition, and interest. Please indicate where and when your photos were taken. Photographers agree to allow the RRWA to show their photos at the April 9 meeting and display with credits on the RRWA’s website.

2022 Thinking Like a Watershed programs—


Our February program featured Kelly McGinnis the executive director of the Mississippi River Network which includes 58 organizations including the Izaak Walton League and several of our UMRI partners.

“The POWER of 1 Mississippi & 20,000 River Citizens” Thinking Like a Watershed ~ Kelly McGinnis— February 22nd, 2022 How 58 organizations team up to drive policy—“Can the river count on you?” A call to action…

Kelly shared the power of the Mississippi River Network’s (MRN) use of public outreach and policy advocacy such as the Mississippi River Restoration and Resilience Initiative Act. You’ll find out about the activities of the network, a coalition of 58 organizations dedicated to creating a healthier Mississippi River by working for the well-being of the people, land, water, and wildlife of America’s largest watershed.


Photo by: David Thoreson

Our January program was kicked off with an update from Save Bloody Run. Where we learned the latest details from water policy scientist, Steve Veysey.“Save Bloody Run Goes to Court” Thinking Like a Watershed ~ Steve Veysey— January 4th, 2022  An update from a Dedicated Water Policy Scientist who has turned Radical to Save Bloody Run.


2021 Thinking Like a Watershed Programs—

“Heartland Heroines” Thinking Like a Watershed ~ Robin Moore & Denise O’Brien— June 1, 2021  How two savvy conservationists empower working farm landowners to put their inner land ethic to work.

 “Planting Seeds to Grow Vibrant Communities” Thinking Like a Watershed ~ Chris Deal & Art Cullen— May 4, 2021  How Jefferson, Iowa’s Chris Deal is working with California Rep. Ro Khanna and others to grow vibrant rural communities in the Heartland with perspectives from Pulitzer Prize—winning journalist and editor of The Storm Lake Times, Art Cullen.

“Watershed Bridges— Green to Blue”: Thinking Like a Watershed ~ Vicki Nichols Goldstein & Seth Watkins— April 6, 2021  How improving soil health and water quality in Iowa and other inland states benefit watersheds that provide critical services from land to sea.

— “Local Heroes in Howard County”: Thinking Like a Watershed ~ Neil Shaffer & Hunter Slifka— March 2, 2021  How they have incorporated several thousand acres of land under conservation programs–the largest percentage in Iowa.

“The Accidental Conservationist”: Thinking Like a Watershed ~ Wayne Fredericks— February 2, 2021  How an Iowa Farmer is Improving Natural Capital while Increasing Profits with Conservationist and Farmer, Wayne Fredericks from Mitchell County, Iowa.

Learn more—


Winter Salt Watch
in the works—

Izaak Walton League provides a fun educational outdoor activity for the entire family…
Learn more here!

To help celebrate the Izaak Walton Leagues’ 100th anniversary in 2022, The Des Moines Chapter is heading up an effort to expand the Izaak Walton League’s SOS (Save our Streams) program throughout Iowa.  This is the only nationwide program training volunteers to protect waterways from pollution and to bring information about water quality to their communities.

The IWL’s history: At the turn of the 20th century, uncontrolled discharges of industrial waste and raw sewage, unrestricted logging, and soil erosion threatened to destroy the nation’s most productive waterways. The country’s forests, wetlands, and wilderness areas were quickly disappearing. In 1922, 54 sportsmen declared that it was “time to call a halt” to this destruction. Aware that action – not just talk – would be necessary to solve these problems, the group decided to form an organization to combat water pollution and protect the country’s woods and wildlife. As a reminder of their purpose, they named the organization after Izaak Walton, the 17th-century English angler-conservationist who wrote the literary classic The Compleat Angler.

“Defenders of Soil, Air, Woods, Waters & Wildlife”

Continue to Stay Safe and Stay Engaged…

Save our Streams—On-line training to become a certified Izaak Walton League’s Save Our Stream monitor

Click Here to learn more about Save Bloody Run

— Izaak Walton League’s Outdoor America articles on line. 

—About water quality monitoring and research, check out The University of Iowa’s Chris Jones blog who has published several articles on where Iowa stands with regards to soil health and water quality.

—Wait no longer to watch, re-watch and share PFI’s full-length film, “Livestock on the Land“. Please help us get this to as many viewers as possible – farmers, eaters, citizens and policymakers.

Iowa Farmers Union Events, check out their amazing weekly webinars…

Iowa Environmental Council’s Event page is packed with fabulous opportunities to learn more from their organization and others.