Funded Project

2022 | Boone River Watershed


Applicant Organization: The Nature Conservancy

Contact: Karen Wilke



The Boone River Watershed Partnership, partnering with The Nature Conservancy, Iowa Rivers Revival, Iowa Soybean Association, Wright County SWCD, and Fishers and Farmers, has exciting, ongoing plans for revitalizing the watershed in the Boone Creek: Restore multiple oxbows, prevent further erosion, conduct fish surveys, host educational field days, and create partnerships with local farmers and conservation groups to support upkeep. The restoration of oxbows provides water quality benefits, filtering an estimated 42% of nitrates from the two drainage tiles that feed into the site. Oxbows in the Boone River Watershed are of particular interest because of their potential for hosting endangered Topeka Shiner, a tiny silver fish that is a food source for regional birds and fish.

Karen Wilke, coordinator of the oxbow project stresses that each initiative on Boone Creek is planned to provide “multiple, maximum benefits”. Each project is conducted using best management practices for best results in water quality and fish habitat. The potential for oxbows to host endangered Topeka Shiners underscores the importance of habitat restoration for conserving imperiled species. By creating varied water depths and incorporating native seedings, the restoration efforts aim to enhance biodiversity and create suitable habitats for a variety of species.

In collaboration with Fishers and Farmers Partnership, The Nature Conservancy has completed 37 oxbow restorations over the past 11 years, with an additional 13 scheduled this fall, demonstrating a commitment to long-term conservation and restoration efforts in the region. Karen Wilke anticipates that there will be over 400 restoration sites identified, ultimately benefiting both aquatic life and human communities downstream.