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Our Mission

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. 

 Founded in 2005, the association has grown to over 200 members.  Each year, we fund grants to university students for independent research to assess the biologic or chemical health of the river.  Our annual event, “Life in the Raccoon”, is a conference and networking opportunity for you to interact with other river enthusiasts. The event is also an opportunity for that years grant research findings to be reported to the membership. Other topics covered at the entertaining and enlightening “Life in the Raccoon” are presentations by experts in science, history, agriculture, wildlife, and river adventures.  Our members have a seat on numerous external committees and boards that care about the watershed and the environment. Furthermore, we maintain birders and etymology phenology lists each year, and promote prairie and wetlands habitat and studies. 

This year’s grants include:

  • Analysis of bacteria and viral indicators to indicate water quality in the lower Raccoon River watershed, led by Dr. Peter Levi of Drake University.

  • Assessment of cattail and invertebrate diversity at Iowa wetlands, led by Dr. Paul Weihe of Central College.

  • Study of Tipton Prairie plant diversity and abundance led by Dr. Thomas Rosburg of Drake University

We invite you to join us at our monthly meetings, usually a brief business meeting followed by a speaker or a short program, to hear about what's new and exciting and catch up with the River happenings. Your membership helps support our Mission. And if you have a few hours a year - or a month - come on out and join in the river cleanups; prairie seed collections and birdwatching forays and maybe even a fun paddle or prairie walk.

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