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Watershed Management Authorities in Iowa

In 2010, Iowa lawmakers passed legislation authorizing the creation of Watershed Management Authorities. A Watershed Management Authority (WMA) is a mechanism for cities, counties, Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) and stakeholders to cooperatively engage in watershed planning and management.

The Iowa Watershed Approach
More information on Iowa's newest WMAs, winners of US Department of Housing and Urban Development's National Disaster Resilience Competition.

The WMA is formed by a Chapter 28E Agreement by two or more eligible political subdivisions within a specific eight-digit hydrologic unit code watershed. A board of directors governs the WMA, which may undertake the following activities:

  • Assess and reduce flood risk;
  • Assess and improve water quality;
  • Monitor federal flood risk planning and activities;
  • Educate residents of the watershed regarding flood risks and water quality; and
  • Allocate moneys made available to the Authority for purposes of water quality and flood mitigation.

A WMA does not have taxing authority and it may not acquire property through eminent domain.

Additional Information:
+ Requirements of a Watershed Management Authority
+ Benefits of forming a WMA
+ Understand the issues
+ Consider potential short- and long-term outcomes
+ Invite others to participate in the WMA
+ Funding Resources
+ Technical Assistance
WMA technical assistance:

Western Iowa River Basins
Kyle Ament

Eastern Iowa River Basins
Josh Balk


Learn how Watershed Management Authorities are reducing flood risk and protecting Iowa water quality.