Squaw Creek Watershed listening session set

STANHOPE – The first of four listening sessions will be held to hear from landowners about what they are doing on their land to improve water quality and reduce water quantity in the Squaw Creek Watershed.

Two of the sessions will be held on from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., on Monday, at the Stanhope Community Center; and from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Gilbert City Hall.

The purpose of the listening sessions is to hear from landowners and inform the Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority Board about ideas and concerns they have about the watershed.

“The WMAB is developing a 10-year watershed plan for the Squaw Creek Watershed,” said Penny Brown Huber, executive director of Prairie Rivers of Iowa and a sub-consultant on the project. “Our focus in the planning phase is to engage the public so we can hear about their interests and concerns for the watershed.

“For example, the board would like to hear about what landowners are currently doing to reduce nutrients from their farm and what type of assistance they think will be needed in the future.

“In addition, the listening sessions will inform the planning process in order to create a plan that will lead us over time to make improvements in water quality while we address flooding and water quantity issues.”

There will also be informational material available at the meeting. Two other listening sessions will be held in late April and announced at a later date.

Emmons and Olivier Resources Inc. from Oakdale, Minn., was contracted to facilitate the planning process. EOR is a water resource-based engineering and environmental consulting firm that specializes in watershed planning, water resources engineering and modeling, biological surveying and ecological restoration, and sustainable site design.

The Squaw Creek WMA involves a team of people from rural and urban areas in the counties of Boone, Story, Hamilton and Webster.

There has been much research conducted over the past 10 years in this watershed culminating in the formation of the Squaw Creek WMA.

Those serving the organizations include Paul Toot, chairman and a Story County supervisor; Tom Foster, a Boone County supervisor; Kevin Griggs, of the Boone County Soil and Water Conservation District; Ann Campbell, mayor of Ames; Bob Kindred, assistant city manager of Ames; Erv Klaas, of the Story County Soil and Water Conservation District; Travis Sonksen, Mark Scott and Mike Nepereny, all from the city of Stratford; Leah Maass, of the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District; Suzi Moore, of the City of Stanhope; Keith Dencklau, a Webster County supervisor; and Jonathan Popp, mayor of Gilbert.

For more information on the Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority and this project, contact Leanne Harter, Story County Planning and Development at lharter@storycounty.com.