Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know
Project AWARE Cleanup, 2015

Stream Care

There are many ways for you to help get involved with stream care. The Rivers Programs at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is involved with not only recreation, but preservation, conservation, restoration, low head dam modification and stream bank stabilization. It is important that we all become good stewards of our streams and lakes. Learn more about protected water areas, river clean-ups around the state and what you can do to help.

Iowa's Protected Water Areas

Protected Water Areas (Scenic Rivers) are land areas adjacent to five rivers in Iowa. PWA areas were legislatively authorized and are designated by the commission after an in-depth study for permanent designation.five protected water areas

Five areas were designated with public input as having outstanding cultural and natural resource values from 1985-1990 in accordance with Iowa code. These are some of Iowa's most scenic natural areas. Under the REAP program in the early 1990s, the PWA program became voluntary public land acquisition fund for more than a decade. 

Five Protected Water Areas
(With PWA designation in parenthesis)

  1. Wapsipinicon River  (Sweets Marsh to Mississippi)
  2. Middle Raccoon River  (Panora to Redfield)
  3. Upper Iowa River  (Kendallville to Highway 76)
  4. Little Sioux River  (Spencer to Linn Grove)
  5. Boone River  (Brewers Creek to Des Moines River)



Iowa’s Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program

Iowa’s Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program is a locally-led initiative to connect citizens with watershed projects and other conservation organizations and collectively increase knowledge of local water quality. Through the program, local leaders are equipped with the skills and tools to engage citizen volunteers for water quality testing in their region.

Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment

The Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Section of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is responsible for the design, implementation and management of Iowa's Ambient Water Monitoring Programs. The purpose of these programs is to provide consistent, unbiased information about the condition of Iowa's surface and groundwater resources so that decisions regarding the development, management, and protection of these resources may be improved.

Leave no Trace

  • Dispose of waste properly. Never litter. Always pack out your trash. A good habit to develop is to always take a mesh trash bag so you can pick up around the access points. Always leave it cleaner than you found it.
  • Use a portable toilet or other approved method to pack out solid human waste and paper products. Dispose of liquid waste 200' from water and away from camps and trails.
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces whenever possible. Minimize impacts to shore when launching, portaging and scouting.
  • Avoid building campfires, except in established fire rings or in emergencies. Building a fire on sandbars is fine as long as you leave no trace of it the following morning.
  • Respect wildlife by observing from a safe distance. Leave artifacts and natural features undisturbed.