JEO’s Water Resources Team was honored by the Iowa Chapter of the American Planning Association for its outstanding efforts in the development of the East and West Nishnabotna Rivershed Management and Flood Resiliency Plans. The Environmental Planning Award, which recognizes industry excellence on the merits of originality and innovation, plan implementation, integration, community engagement, and overall effectiveness, highlights the project team’s dedication to creating innovative and effective planning systems that maximize stakeholder engagement and community buy-in.
About the Plans:
The East and West Nishnabotna River Watershed Coalitions completed two comprehensive watershed management and flood resiliency plans in 2019. As part of the Iowa Watershed Approach, the plans identify and prioritize projects to address flooding and water quality concerns at multiple levels: watershed, subwatershed, and community. These plans are unique because of their comprehensive focus on multiple goals including flood resilience and water quality through a repeatable and stakeholder-driven process.
The planning process also presented an opportunity to leverage multiple stakeholders’ involvement through Flood Resiliency Tournaments, which were held in each watershed. These tournaments were one of the highlights of the public engagement process and are discussed further in the Engagement section.
With no model to draw from, the planning documents themselves are the first of their kind. The plans address flood mitigation, flood resilience, and water quality in one comprehensive watershed management document. Furthermore, the plans were the first successfully produced and approved plans under the Iowa Watershed Approach (IWA). The IWA is a unique state-wide approach that brings together multiple state and local agencies, local landowners, producers, and the public to blend their diverse goals into a useable document. The document presents a roadmap, in the form of a standalone action plan, for implementation with both short-term and long-term timelines.