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Detailed plan finalized to improve Walnut Creek

A recently adopted plan lays out actionable, measurable steps that local governments, developers and farmers can take to improve the Walnut Creek watershed that runs through rural and urban parts of central Iowa.

The Walnut Creek Watershed Management Plan was adopted last month by the Walnut Creek Watershed Management Authority (WMA), which was formed in 2014 to address environmental concerns including high nitrate levels, high bacteria levels, high turbidity, flash flooding and stream-bank erosion. Walnut Creek is a tributary of the Raccoon River, which is a source of drinking water for the Des Moines metro area.

“It is critically important to demonstrate that meaningful progress is possible through regional collaboration,” said Clive City Council member Susan Judkins, who is the chair of the Walnut Creek WMA.

Judkins, who recently led a group of central Iowa leaders who accepted a challenge from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to “think big” on water quality in Iowa, said WMAs are an effective mechanism for all interested parties — public and private, rural and urban — to collaborate on improving water quality in Iowa.

Walnut Creek Watershed Management Plan

WMA_Master Plan Final – Part 1
WMA_Master Plan Final – Part 2

WMA_Master Plan Final – Part 3
WMA_Master Plan Final – Part 4

Walnut Creek Watershed Plan Fact Sheet
Walnut Creek WMA presentation — Watershed Master Plan in Progress

Plan highlights

Adopt and use newer statewide stormwater design guidelines in urban areas to create ponds, wetlands, and other practices that capture and use water as a resource. Such systems would reduce the potential for poor water quality, streambank erosion, property damage and flash flooding.

  • Promote the use of bioreactors, saturated buffers and other agricultural management practices to sustain topsoil health and decrease pollution levels in runoff, using Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction strategy as a guide.
  • Improve implementation and enforcement of pollution prevention measures at construction sites. In so doing, the sediment load to Walnut Creek may be reduced by approximately 4,500 tons per year.
  • Protect the 100-year floodplain by maintaining flood storage capacity, restricting new development within the floodplain, and reserving open space where flooding or stream movement is expected.

For more information, visit, email or call 515-334-0075.