Watershed group adds member
KALONA — In a year in which it went from an idea to a fully functioning funded entity, the Kalona headquartered English River Watershed Management Authority (ERWMA)is evaluating 627 square miles (401,000 acres) of watershed with a clear goal of implementing flood mitigation projects to aid both urban and rural populations. Kalona council members at their meeting Monday learned that the ERWMA gained another member, the Poweshiek County Soil and Water Conservation District, bringing membership to 13 out a possible total 26 and has an additional board member, Steve Berger of Wellman.
Jody Bailey, ERWMA coordinator, outlined goals and projects reached in 2013 and ones to be completed by May 31, 2015, including working with the Iowa Flood Center, Iowa City, to develop models to address potential flood scenarios across the watershed.ERWMA fund comes from the members, a Washington County Riverboat Foundation grant and a $150,000 grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
The DNR money has helped with educational materials, a Web site and related items as well as with outreach efforts. The ERWMA attended the Iowa Water Conference March 20, and will do other events, including being at all the county fairs in its region. Additionally, it rotates its board meeting and the next one is set for May 15 at the Wellman City Hall.
Current members are Barnes City, Grinnell, Kalona, Keswick, Riverside, Wellman, Keokuk County, Washington County, Iowa County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Johnson County SWCD, Keokuk County SWCD, Poweshiek SWCD, and Washington County SWCD. It also has received assistance from the Iowa Soybean Association.
Bailey said that the ERWMA plans a water cleanup of the English River along the stretch from Wellman to Riverside this summer. Volunteers will be needed.
In other business, the council:
• discussed a possible ordinance to permit chickens within the city limits, specifically in the city’s three residential districts and limiting it to three chickens. Council members noted that they had not heard a “peep” from residents about the proposal, either in support or opposition. The members agreed that some further information is needed, including reviewing the city’s current livestock ordinance. It will be on the next meeting agenda, noted Mayor Ken Herington, “but not necessarily for passage of an ordinance.” He added that the council would do three readings of the measure;
• learned that the city will do a visual review of Kalona properties Wednesday and Thursday for nuisance and burn barrels. A new ordinance regarding burn barrels takes effect May 10;
• learned about preliminary plans for an addition to the city maintenance shop. Details will be at the May 5 meeting;
• learned that the new sign and gateway entrance for the Sharon Hill Cemetery may be done by Memorial Day. The stone front is being done by Edwards Cast Stone and work is underway;
• learned that cleanup is May 10, possibly from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Kalona City Park; and
• learned that the interest rate for the city’s loan from the State Revolving Fund dropped from 3 to 1.5 percent. Funds are for the sewer project involving a storm sewer extension and a sanitary sewer lining and force main.