MISSION & HISTORY.
To preserve and enhance the river and its watershed through education, research, community engagement and meaningful partnerships.
The Raccoon River Watershed Association is a group of citizens dedicated to the stewardship, preservation, and enhancement of the Raccoon River watershed. We strive to improve the quality of the river and its watershed so that citizens can safely enjoy swimming, fishing, canoeing, hunting, hiking, bird watching and other outdoor recreational activities. The association also engages in education, networking, cleanup, assessment and policy making to achieve these ends.
The Raccoon River Watershed Association was founded as the North Raccoon Watershed Association in March of 2005. The first meeting was held at the Dallas Center library. The founders were: Mike Delaney, Pete Harris, Mary Hays, Jim Riggs, Doug Steele, Jim Thomas, Gary Tichener and Larry Wilson.
The NRWA had as a mission statement, The North Raccoon Watershed Association is a “grass roots” group of volunteers who are dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the North Raccoon River and its watershed.
The organization merged with the Middle Raccoon Watershed group to form the Raccoon River Watershed Association. Membership grew to over 300 members by 2012.
The RRWA held monthly meetings up and down the river featuring guest speakers who could inform the members about the condition of the river and the landscape. The organization offers Research and Education Grants to faculty and students from regional colleges and universities to learn more about the health of river and land in the basin. Research topics included: water chemistry, benthic macro invertebrates, bees, butterflies, birds, prairie plants, and more. Participating institutions included: Buena Vista University, Drake University and Iowa State University. The results of the research efforts were reported to members and the general public at the Annual Life in the Raccoon River Conferences. In recent years the conference expanded to a two-day affair at the Hotel Pattee in Perry Iowa with a Friday night fund-raiser dinner and an all-day conference on Saturday. Attendance at the conference averaged nearly 100 people year after year.
The accomplishments of the organization in addition to environmental education include: a Raccoon River Water Trail, river clean-up efforts, participation in the creation of the Raccoon River Watershed plan done by Agren of Carroll, lobbying the Iowa legislature, cooperation with the Iowa Environmental Council, Iowa Rivers Revival, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Sierra Club, Audubon and the Izaak Walton League and other groups.