Hewitt Creek Farmer-led watershed
Improvement Project bus tour

Join us on a bus tour of the Hewitt Creek watershed and learn what made this voluntary, farmer-led project a model for Iowa and the Midwest.  (RSVP below.)

The tour will start on Wednesday, August 5, 2015, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. from the
Jeff Pape Farm
31406 Floyd Rd, Dyersville

Tour schedule

1:00 pm Board the air-conditioned tour bus and travel through the watershed to our first stop.  On the way, we will view some of the practices installed during the 10 years of the project.72f2c4e9-2a31-46ba-9783-5b8317acb232

Stop 1 will be near the stream that has been monitored annually for the last 10 years. Here we will discuss the process, challenges and accomplishments of the farmer-led approach. Special emphasis will be on how this approach primed cooperators to work more proactively with NRCS to utilize federal conservation programs to fund larger scale projects.

Stop 2 will be at one of the watershed’s denitrifying bioreactors where we discuss nitrogen reduction strategies being utilized in the watershed.

Travel to the next stop will take us through the livestock dense watershed and past several large scale projects that have been implemented using Mississippi River Basin Initiative project funds in partnership USDA-NRCS. Watershed farmers have leveraged state and federal programs to invest millions of dollars to protect water quality during the last 10 years.

Stop 3 will be at one of the many cattle feedlots in the watershed where we will hear how nutrient management has changed for this producer and many others locally. Watershed leaders will summarize all the ways this project has been successful and how it has changed how local farmers think about nutrient management.

Prior to 5:00 pm Return to the Pape farm for a light, late afternoon lunch and a short Q & A opportunity.

Click here to RSVP.


The watershed

Hewitt Creek watershed consist of 23,005 acres, with primary land use being agriculture.  The watershed is located in Northeast Iowa outside of Dyersville. The Hewitt Creek Watershed group formed in 2006 when residents were informed of the streams impairment.  With funding from Iowa Farm Bureau and the Iowa Water Improvement fund the council gave incentives for practices targeted at improving water quality.

For more details on the Hewitt Creek Model please visit:


End of season cornstalk nitrate sampling video

A brief how-to video on collecting cornstalk samples for end-of-season nitrate nitrogen analysis. Links mentioned in the video:

ISUE publication PM 1584: https://store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/pm-1584

ISU agronomist John Sawyer’s article “Corn stalk nitrate interpretation”: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/CropNews/2010/0914sawyer.htm

The multi-state Sustainable Corn Project: http://www.sustainablecorn.org

Manure spreader calibration video

Determining how much manure is being applied is the first step to efficiently utilizing a valuable on-farm resource. Calculating valuable nutrient credits from solid or semi-solid manure applications will help you to determine how much additional, if any, commercial fertilizer is needed to produce the crop.

Links mentioned in the video:

ISUE publication PM 1941: https://store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/Calibration-and-Uniformity-of-Solid-Manure-Spreaders

ISUE publication PM 1948: https://store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/Calibrating-Liquid-Tank-Manure-Applicators

Iowa Manure Management Action Group (IMMAG): http://www.agronext.iastate.edu/immag/

Field Day held on cover crops

The Hewitt Creek cover crop field day, hosted by the Iowa Learning Farms and Practical Farmers of Iowa, was moved inside the New Vienna community building due to morning rain showers in the area.

Jack Smith, a Hewitt Creek watershed cooperator, talked about his experiences with cover crops following the field day program.


Wisconsin’s decade of Discovery Farms

For more information on research at the University of Wisconsin and Extension’s Discovery Farms, see Watershed News.

USGS monitoring data available for combined Hewitt, North Fork and Bear Creek watershed

The U.S. Geologic Survey now includes information on the Maquoketa River North Fork on its National Water Information System web interface site.

The USGS monitoring site carries a Hydrologic Unit Code 07060006 and is located at latitude  42°28’14”, longitude  91°07’20” NAD27. Drainage area is 122  square miles.

• Hewitt Creek Watershed map.


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