Full Agenda is listed below

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Sep 18
Pre-Conference Iowa Water Conference Tour You must register for the Pre-Conference to attend

12:45-1:00 Load Buses, Departing promptly at 1 pm

1:00-1:30 Depart and Travel to Tesdell Farm

NW 2nd St., ½ mile south of 300NW 158th Ave., Slater IA 50244

1:30-3:00 Birth of Batch and Build Agricultural BMPs-hayrack rides

Presenters:  Lee Tesdell landowner and others one of his farmers on Ag BMPs: Cover Crops, Saturated Buffers, Prairie Strips, Bioreactors, Kurnza

3:00-3:30 Travel to Gray’s Station

3:30-4:15 Retrofitting Hundreds of Acres in Downtown Des Moines: Stormwater wetland at Gray’s Station

Greg Pierce-RDG and Patrick- Bean-City of Des Moines

4:15-4:30 Travel to Market District

4:30-5:00 Eightly Biocells to Treat Dirty Water

Craig Clarkson-ISG and Patrick Beane-City of Des Moines

Drive through Market District

5:00-5:30 10 Years in the Making: The Largest Dam Removal in Iowa

Drive through and stop at Scott Ave. Bridge over DSM River for Dam removal and Watertrail-Presenter from Great Outdoors Foundation-TBD

5:30-6:00 Drive to RDG

6:00-7:00 Reception at RDG

7:00 Busses return to Prairie Meadows

Sep 19
8:30-9:30am Poster/Exhibit Set-Up

9:30-9:45am Welcome

Bishop A/B

9:45-10:15am KEYNOTE: Three T's of Confidence for Leaders: Building Lasting Self-Trust

Bishop A/B

Erik Dominguez






10:45-11:30am Award Ceremony: ISWEP, IAWA, Spencer

Bishop A/B

11:30-12:30pm Lunch

Bishop A/B

Breakout Sessions: Climate Change and Water

Skinner A

12:40-1:10pm Cedar River Watershed Water Storage and Climate Resiliency

Bret Zimmerman, Houston Engineering, Inc.
Cody Fox, Cedar River Watershed District

The Cedar River Watershed District is investing in long-term solutions including implementing more than 15 water storage projects for flood mitigation and water quality. Recently, the District completed a study to assess the resiliency of existing infrastructure and identified potential projects to increase community resiliency related to climate change hydrology.

1:20-1:50pm Watershed-scale feasibility assessment for drainage water recycling implementation

Spencer Pech, ISG
Chris Hay, Iowa Soybean Association

Iowa Soybean Association and ISG partnered to identify and map potential Drainage Water Recycling (DWR) sites across four watersheds in Iowa. DWR has great potential to increase resiliency to both excess and deficit water conditions and to reduce nutrient loading from drained cropland by capturing and reusing drainage water.

2:00-2:30pm A Framework for Understanding the Downstream Effects of Tile Drains

Hannah Podzorski, USGS

Simple conceptual frameworks were developed to break down the long- and short-term effects tile drains have on downstream flows at the watershed scale. Understanding how tile drains and climate interact could be used to help mitigate the effects of a changing climate.

Breakout sessions: Green Infrastructure & Planning

Skinner B

12:40-1:10pm Incorporating Green Infrastructure as Part of a Vibrant Community Vision – And Securing the Funding to Make it Happen

Sven Peterson, City of Perry
Ryan Benjegerdes, Bolton & Menk, Inc.
Staci Williams, Bolton & Menk, Inc.

This presentation will highlight how communities are incorporating green stormwater infrastructure as part of larger community visioning, placemaking, and economic development initiatives, while also detailing the creative funding strategies that help make these aspirational plans a reality.

1:20-1:50pm Urban Watershed and Stormwater Planning - Lessons Learned and Looking Forward

Greg Pierce, RDG Planning & Design

This presentation will review several community scale watershed planning efforts completed over the last 15 years. How have methods changed over that period? What useful information was collected? What lessons have been learned and how will that influence future planning efforts?

2:00-2:30pm Working Toward Greening an Underserved Grey Neighborhood Through Outreach

Bridget Osborn, HR Green, Inc.

How do you bring sustainable green infrastructure to a community that has been impacted for decades by pollution and contamination? That question is at the heart of this study. HR Green worked with the City of Minneapolis and members from the Phillips Neighborhood, a historically marginalized community, to listen and gather input.

Breakout Sessions: Stream Restoration

Skinner C

12:40-1:10pm Lake Irving Protection Project - Bemidji, Minnesota

Bridget Osborn, HR Green, Inc.

HR Green designed and provided construction observation for conversion of a drainage ditch to a meandering stream channel that feeds a new extended detention wetland with an iron-enhanced sand filter to protect Lake Irving in Bemidji, MN. The project provides new fisheries habitat, significant pollutant load reductions, and improved aesthetics. The project provides new fisheries habitat, significant pollutant load reductions to the impaired lake, and improves aesthetics for the surrounding open space scheduled for residential development in the near future.

1:20-1:50pm Not Your Typical Oxbow Restoration: Challenges Facing Iowa’s Largest Oxbow Lakes

Charles Ikenberry, HEI

Oxbow lakes are unique and valuable natural resources that have high ecological value but create challenges for those tasked with maintaining systems that meet stakeholder expectations. This presentation summarizes water quantity and quality challenges and management alternatives in Iowa’s largest Missouri River oxbows: Lake Manawa and Browns Lake.

2:00-2:30pm Lower Clear Creek Restoration: A Case Study in Urban Stream Restoration

Reid Stamer, Impact7G
Ryan Benjegerdes, Bolton & Menk, Inc.

This presentation will look at the development of the Clear Creek stream mitigation bank in Coralville. The project includes stream restoration on three separate reaches totalling over 8,000 linear feet. We will discuss conception, assessment, design and implementation, with a focus on challenges of restoration work near an urban interface.

2:30-3:00pm Break

Breakout Sessions: Climate Change and Water

Skinner A

3:10-3:40pm Assessing and Communicating Iowa Agriculture’s Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Future Opportunities

Laurie W Nowatzke, USDA
Dennis Todey, USDA-ARS
Justin Glisan, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

This presentation will present an overview of in-depth climate vulnerability assessments currently developed for the Midwest, results and recommendations from an Iowa vulnerability assessment, and current gaps and needs in the emerging “climate-smart agriculture” space.

3:50-4:20pm Advancing Nutrient Removal Wetland Design in Iowa

Jon Rosengren, Bolton & Menk, Inc.

This presentation will discuss an innovative new method for siting and design of tile zone wetlands that streamlines the regulatory process and reduces the timeline for implementation, ultimately saving costs as well. In addition, we will explore the role of pumped wetlands in moving water quality goals forward in Iowa.

4:30-5:30pm Panel: Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy at 10-yrs: Past, Present, and Future

Matthew Helmers, Iowa State University
Adam Schnieders – IDNR
Matt Lechtenberg – IDALS
Susan Kozak -IDALS

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy was released in 2013. Over the past 10 years there have been many activities and initiatives in support of this effort. This panel discussion will reflect on what has happened over the past 10 years and opportunities for the future.

Breakout sessions: Green Infrastructure & Planning

Skinner B

3:10-3:40pm Houston, TX Regional Detention Basins: Reactions to Hurricane Harvey and Rapid Urban Development

David Braun, HR Green

The Greens Bayou Watershed in Houston, TX is subject to significant damages during frequent and extreme events. The expansion of this complex regional detention basin system provided 1,540 acre-feet of total storage volume to reduce regional flood risks while also improving the environmental and community value of the site.

3:50-4:20pm Lightning Round: Sponsors

4:30-5:30pm Panel : Drought Planning and the 2023 Iowa Drought Plan

Kelly Smith, National Drought Mitigation Center
Justin Glisan, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
Tim Hall, Iowa DNR
Jack Stinogel, Iowa Homeland Security & Emergency Management

A panel discussion on the Iowa Drought Plan by some of its authors and core contributors. They will discuss drought planning processes and resources, drought indicators and levels described in the plan, the plan’s regional approach to vulnerability, sectoral drought vulnerability, and drought mitigation actions.

Breakout Sessions: Stream Restoration

Skinner C

3:10-3:40pm Panel: Field of Dreams Watershed: If you clean it, they will come

Judith E. Joyce, Impact7G

How do we change the way people think about water? First, we must change the way they feel about it. Listening to their individual stories, finding a personal connection and building a community, can lead to making clear water a priority.

3:50-4:20pm Lightning Round: Posters

4:30-5:30pm Panel: Navigating conservation practices and water quality in the Fourmile Creek Watershed, Central Iowa

Lee S Tesdell, Tesdell Century Farm
Alyssa C Gerhardt, Drake University
Gabriel M Johnson, Iowa State University
Chris Hay, Iowa Soybean Association

Panelists will present water quality data and analysis from the Tesdell Century Farm and Alleman Creek in central Iowa. This data will be used to inform future farming and conservation efforts to manage the effects of climate change on this farm.

5:30-7:00pm Happy Hour

Sep 20
8:30am Exhibits Open

Breakout session: Soil & Water Connection

Skinner A

8:30-9:30am Workshop: Concept Design of EOF Practices

Caleb D Rasmussen, ISG

This workshop will outline concept design processes for edge of field practices, including statured buffers and bioreactors. Example designs of saturated buffer with multiple tile and a bioreactor will be used to outline critical components, issues, and challenges.

9:40-10:10am A More Perfect Union….of Water Quantity and Quality

Sandy Pumphrey, HR Green
Mathew Saur, City of Cedar Rapids

For several decades now, many communities have been requiring stormwater detention to compensate for increased impervious surfaces resulting from growth and development. Detention basins have been designed for just the large “100-year” event. However, in recent years communities have been challenged to think more about various size events that flow through their watersheds and their damage potential, along with how detention basins can also facilitate better water quality and habitat. Come join us to learn about a project that is in the process of playing catch up on these issues.

10:10-10:50am Break

10:50-11:20am Drought and Aridity Estimation under the Perennial Ground Cover(PGC) System

Oluwatuyi S Olowoyeye, Iowa State University

Perennial Ground Cover (PGC) is a new system that mimics natural ecosystems, making it possible to have farmland under vegetation cover all year. This presentation highlights efforts to quantify improved drought resiliency in PGC compared to the conventional cropping system.

Breakout session: Women and Water

Skinner B

8:30-9:30am Panel: Women, Land and Legacy: Listening, Learning and Connecting with Iowa's Women

Tanya Meyer-Dideriksen, USDA State Outreach Coordinator
Sophia Campbell, Winneshiek-Howard WLL team co-lead
Alycia Willenbring, Jones-Delaware WLL team lead

Women, Land & Legacy (WLL) is a USDA outreach program that works locally throughout the state to empower women landowners and farmers to be agents of positive change in their communities through active participation, educational sessions and networking opportunities. In this panel discussion, WLL State Coordinator and other WLL leaders will address how the localized outreach approach of WLL in Iowa has elevated the voices of an underserved demographic in agriculture – women landowners and operators.

9:40-10:10am Power of the Unseen

Jodi Enos-Berlage, Luther College

This presentation elevates soil as the ‘life source’ and the world’s largest water purifier. The extreme losses of Midwest soils are exacerbated by climate-change induced extreme weather events. The thesis interweaves the power of the unseen microbes in generating life’s foundation and the power of unseen women landowners to save it.

10:10-10:20am Break

10:20-11:20am Panel: Lessons in Navigation: Open Water Conversation with Women Leaders

Stephanie N Fleckenstein, ISG
Michelle Soupir, PhD, Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering Associate Chair for Research and Extension, Iowa State University
Mary Beth Stevenson, Watersheds & Source Water Program Manager, City of Cedar Rapids
Kate Giannini, Program Manager, IIHR Hydroscience & Engineering, University of Iowa

Join in a group discussion regarding inspiration, tough lessons, successful policies and proposed system improvements for women working in water. While the focus of the conversation will be women, the greatest potential for progress is through a lens of intersectionality. The messages discussed are expected to provide value to people and allies of many identities.

Breakout Sessions: Drinking Water

Skinner C

8:30-9:30am Workshop : Building Confidence Through Responsibility

Erik Dominguez


9:40-10:10am PFAS in Iowa Drinking Water: a State-Wide Surveillance of Source Water Supplies

Matthew Graesch, Iowa DNR

The Iowa DNR has completed a broad survey to ascertain the prevalence of PFAS chemicals in the drinking water supplies of Iowa. The goal was to determine how common PFAS are in the many different types of aquifers and water sources used for drinking water supply, and to draw conclusions about aquifer vulnerability to PFAS contamination.

10:10-10:50am Break

10:50-11:20 Application of Geophysical Methods to Enhance Aquifer Characterization and Groundwater-Flow Model Development, Des Moines River Alluvial Aquifer, Des Moines, Iowa, 2022

Judith Thomas, USGS

U.S. Geological Survey utilized multiple geophysical methods in the Des Moines River, Beaver Creek, and the Des Moines River alluvial aquifer to further refine geologic understanding and provide input data for groundwater flow models.


11:30-12:15pm Keynote: Restoration or Design? Sustaining Freshwater Ecosystems in the Anthropocene

Bishop A/B

We describe freshwaters based on their historic flow and ice regimes. We often attempt to improve freshwater ecosystems through restoration to a prior state. Yet recent events make it abundantly clear that the 1000-year flood, the centennial drought, the boundaries between freshwaters and oceans, and the duration of ice cover are all changing rapidly. To sustain freshwater ecosystems that provide clean and abundant water supplies and continue to support diverse and productive freshwater food webs we will need to think about management approaches that learn from the past but that design for the future. This talk will explore the many challenges freshwater ecosystems face in the Anthropocene and discuss how freshwater science, policy and management might think differently about how we manage freshwaters for the future.

Dr. Emily Bernhardt, James B. Duke Distinguished Professor

Emily S. Bernhardt, PhD. is currently the James B. Duke Professor of Biogeochemistry and current Chair of the Department of Biology at Duke University. First appointed to Duke in 2004, Dr. Bernhardt’s research is motivated by a desire to understand how our use of the land alters energy and nutrient cycling in downstream rivers and wetlands and the extent to which management efforts can reverse, ameliorate or improve aquatic ecosystem structure and function. Dr. Bernhardt has been recognized for her scholarly productivity and impact with the 2004 H.G. Hynes Award from the Society for Freshwater Science; the 2013 Yentsch-Schindler award from the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography; the 2015 Mercer Award from the Ecological Society of America; and a 2015 Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. She has been named a Fellow of the Leopold Leadership Program, the Ecological Society of America, the Society for Freshwater Science, and the American Geophysical Union. In 2023 she was elected to the National Academy of Science.


12:15-1:15pm Lunch