Letter to the editor: Public welcome at Raccoon River Watershed meeting

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To the editor:

The Raccoon River Watershed Association (RRWA) invites you to join us Saturday, Dec. 5 at 10:30 a.m. at the Hotel Pattee in Perry for a meeting that is free and open to the public.

There will be two speakers, Dr. Chris Jones from the University of Iowa’s Department of Hydroscience and Engineering and Duane Sand from the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. RRWA Vice President Steve Witmer will also report on the results of the water monitoring sampling the group did Oct. 10.

The RRWA hopes you can attend this meeting and learn more about a group that is actively working to improve the Raccoon River.

The Raccoon River is 186 miles long, and its watershed is in 17 Iowa counties, covering 3,600 square miles. In other words, one-sixth of Iowa’s land is drained by the Raccoon River watershed.

It is a large area for wildlife habitat and human recreation.

But this important watershed — the river itself — is in trouble. One of the major threats to the river is water pollution. The Raccoon River is one of the 725 Iowa lakes and streams on the DNR’s Impaired Waters List, meaning it is polluted and may be unsuitable for some recreational activities.

The river and its watershed are used by many citizens for fishing, boating, hunting, hiking, bird watching and camping. The Raccoon River also serves as an important corridor for migrating birds and as a greenbelt for other wildlife the year round.

The RRWA was formed 10 years ago to address the problems of the river and the watershed. It is a nonprofit group that works with other organizations and governmental bodies that share our concerns.

The association is dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the river and its watershed and strives to improve the quality of the river so citizens can continue to enjoy the great variety of recreational activities in the Raccoon River Valley.

The RRWA has given financial support to academic research that will increase knowledge of the river. The members also do a variety of activities, such as annual volunteer chemical sample testing of the water, litter cleanup projects, maintaining a list of biological species, sponsoring recreational floats and many other activities to meet the association’s goals.

Please visit the RRWA website on the internet in order to learn more about us. We hope that you can join us at the meeting Dec. 5.

Ray Harden, Perry

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