Watershed Plan

3.1 Increased Flooding Frequency

By |2019-08-01T12:00:01-05:00June 11th, 2019|

In the UWR Watershed, the intensity of precipitation events has increased and the number of people who have been impacted or know someone who has been impacted by flooding is significant. First-hand perspectives include: a family who survives a single flood event that destroyed their home; a business owner who loses all or part of [...]

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3.3 Watershed Resiliency

By |2019-07-30T22:29:33-05:00June 11th, 2019|

A member of the population's "resiliency", or ability to respond to and recover from the impacts of flooding, differs greatly depending on a variety of factors including income, financial and social capacity, age, mobility, cultural and linguistic isolation and constraints, local public support systems, physical and psychological challenges, and other factors. These factors can reduce [...]

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3 Challenges and Opportunities

By |2020-12-02T10:45:13-05:00June 11th, 2019|

Unique physical and geologic characteristics, human/landscape relationships, and changing climate conditions create complex challenges for UWR Watershed residents and resource managers. For better or worse, humans have altered nearly 100% of the UWR Watershed landscape in some way. [...]

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2.4 Soils

By |2019-12-10T14:39:26-05:00June 11th, 2019|

Soil is one of the most significant components of the UWR Watershed, impacting ground and surface water quality, agricultural productivity, environmental stability, economic vitality, and overall watershed health. The depth, type, health, natural and artificial drainage, management practices, slope, biological and chemical makeup, and other characteristics of soil, influence its water holding capacity, infiltration rates, [...]

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2.2 Geography and Geology

By |2019-08-12T11:52:29-05:00June 11th, 2019|

The unique physical and geologic attributes of the Upper Wapsipinicon River Watershed add interest and complexity. It is important to understand the physical characteristics and geology of the UWR Watershed and how it compares to other parts of the Midwest because they influence the watershed's hydrology, scientific [...]

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2.3 Land Cover & Land Use

By |2019-08-09T15:41:51-05:00June 11th, 2019|

Photo courtesy of Jessica Rilling Current and potential land use in the Upper Wapsipinicon River Watershed are important considerations for landowners and watershed residents. Current land use is greatly influenced by physical characteristics that can be measured, quantified, mapped or observed, such as soil type and soil health, the presence or absence of karst features [...]

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2.6 Unique Species and Ecosystems

By |2019-11-14T10:30:06-05:00June 10th, 2019|

Although the majority of the land in the Upper Wapsipinicon River Watershed is farmed, there are public natural and recreational areas throughout the watershed. Natural areas in the corridor of the Wapsipinicon River have been targeted for public acquisition and management by city, county, and state partners. As a result, the [...]

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2.5 Stream and River Designations

By |2019-08-12T11:55:24-05:00June 10th, 2019|

There are many different state and federal designations for the surface waters in the Upper Wapsipinicon River Watershed. These designations recognize the significance of the natural and recreational resources in the watershed and can impact various regulations and requirements associated with farm operations. Some [...]

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4 Upper Wapsipinicon Subwatersheds

By |2023-02-10T10:21:16-05:00May 28th, 2019|

The 1,003,356 Acre Upper Wapsipinicon River (UWR) Watershed can be subdivided into subwatersheds with each individual subwatershed representing either an area of land that flows to a stream that is a tributary of the UWR or an area of land directly adjacent to and draining directly into the UWR. The US Geological Survey (USGS) has [...]

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2 About the Watershed

By |2019-11-14T10:42:58-05:00May 6th, 2019|

The Upper Wapsipinicon River Watershed is a 1,003,356 acre watershed that extends from Southeast Minnesota into and through Eastern Iowa to Anamosa, Iowa. It encompasses a gently rolling landform region called the Iowan Surface where beautiful family farms, quaint rural communities, natural and recreational areas, produce and provide food, energy, [...]

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The Wapsipinicon River

The Wapsipinicon River stretches over 290 miles from the Iowa/Minnesota border all the way to the Mississippi River near Clinton, Iowa. Although it only extends two miles into Minnesota, the Wapsipinicon River is the fifth largest Iowa tributary of the Mississippi, being surpassed in length only by the Des Moines, Cedar, Iowa, and Skunk rivers. It is a long narrow watershed that for 180 miles averages barely more than 15 miles wide and thus it has no major tributary.


Even though it is narrow, this watershed covers 4.5% of Iowa. The Wapsipinicon River boasts the longest, continuous stretch of natural and scenic river corridor in the Iowan Surface Region of Iowa. Much of that river corridor is in public ownership and dominated by wooded wetlands and riparian forests that provide habitat for birds, reptiles and other animal species, as well as birders, boaters, paddlers and anglers.

The Upper Wapsi

The Upper Wapsipinicon River, or Upper Wapsi, is a section that includes the 270 miles of river above Anamosa, Iowa. The Upper Wapsi Watershed drains over 1 million acres and encompasses all or portions of 11 counties, 27 communities, 17 unincorporated villages, 120 lakes and 8 major rivers and streams totaling over 2,000 river miles.

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