The Upper Iowa River Watershed has been recognized on local, state and national levels as an important natural and economic resource. Recognizing the importance of water quality in this sensitive watershed, local agencies, organization and landowners united to form the Upper Iowa River Watershed Alliance. Their mission is to improve the water quality in the Upper Iowa River and its tributaries, and improve the health of the Upper Iowa River Watershed. The Alliance has conducted research, and recruited other to conduct research, throughout the watershed.
The Upper Iowa River Watershed Project through the RC&D began to receive funding in 1999 and continues through 2005.