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Start a Local Watershed Effort

Bringing residents together is an important part of putting together a watershed effort.Individual Iowans make the difference when it comes to improving our state's water. You can make an even stronger impact by coming together as a group at a local level to improve your hometown stream, river or lake.

Iowans that form a organized local watershed project can receive planning guidance, project funding and other assistance from agencies like the DNR.

What a watershed project does
An organized watershed effort assesses problems, creates solutions and works with local landowners and residents to make changes on the land. Those changes on the land help prevent pollutants from reaching lakes, rivers and streams. An organized project can provide financial assistance to landowners to use conservation practices, which are ways to manage the land for better water quality. Projects can also organize different volunteer and community events to help improve water quality and generate community support.
- Taking the first step: Local efforts 
- Read about watershed success stories

Getting started
If you have a local stream, river or lake that is of concern, needs its good water quality maintained or is included on the state's impaired waters list, your group can be eligible for grant funding from a number of sources.

If that's the case, have your group meet with your local Soil and Water Conservation District, your Basin Coordinator (see below) or the DNR to put together an application for a DNR Watershed Planning Grant. This grant funding will help you assess the problems in your watershed and create a plan for improving the watershed.

Receiving a DNR Watershed Planning Grant will help you with the next steps: creating a watershed management plan, applying for funds to get the project running and make a real difference in your local stream or lake.
- Understanding Watershed Management Plans

In short, here are the six steps in getting started:
1. Create a local group interested in improving your stream or lake
2. Meet with your Basin Coordinator or the DNR
3. Apply for a DNR Watershed Planning Grant
4. Develop a Watershed Management Plan
5. Apply for funding to put the plan in action
6. Use funding to install conservation practices and raise awareness

Additional information on creating a watershed project is available from the DNR or your Basin Coordinator.

Getting Started: Resources