Howard Soil & Water Conservation District


311 7th Street SW Suite 2, Cresco, IA 52136


Neil Shaffer


563.547.3040 ext. 3




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Founded on February 11, 1952, Howard Soil & Water Conservation District provides leadership and education for protecting, enhancing and utilizing the soil and water of Howard County, Iowa.

Silver Creek Watershed Project

A major tributary to the Upper Iowa River, Silver Creek is located in Howard and Winneshiek Counties in northeast Iowa.  The watershed consists of row crops, grassland, timber and the city of Cresco (pop. 3,868).  The land area is 22,410 acres (13,104 acres in Howard County and 9,306 acres in Winneshiek County).  Silver Creek is on the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) 303(d) “Impaired Waters List” due to high bacteria levels.  The Howard SWCD in cooperation with the Winneshiek SWCD have been awarded an Iowa DNR Section 319 project grant to improve the water quality of Silver Creek.

Turkey River & Chihak Watershed Project

Howard SWCD was awarded an IDALS planning grant for the development of a future watershed quality project.  The watershed encompasses the North Branch Turkey River and Chihak Creek.  The planning grant implementation began during the spring of 2015.  Hunter Slifka, District Technician, has been spearheading the local project.  A land use assessment of all 41,530 acres was completed in May 2015.  Visual data for tillage, planting method, residue level, crop rotation and native cover were collected in order to generate soil loss maps of the entire watershed.  A survey sheet was sent out to all of the land owners and operators of the watershed with a large number of surveys returned.  A RASCAL stream assessment was completed by walking 38 miles of the stream and the larger branches.  This assessment documented stream corridor conditions including: water clarity, stream bank stability, stream bottom, habitat conditions and existing buffer width.  A fish survey was also conducted on both Chihak and the Turkey River Branch.  Information gathered from the surveys will help determine what practices are needed, setting goals and a timeline for writing an implementation proposal in the future.

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  • 8:00am – 4:30pm Monday – Friday
  • Closed all Federal Holidays

Categories: Cresco Agriculture