Stormwater Education

Regional Urban Stormwater Demonstration Site 

101 E. Greene St. Postville, Iowa

Northeast Iowa offers a unique landscape unlike any other in the state of Iowa. Steep limestone bluffs and rolling hills offer unique interactions between humans and the watershed they live in. The Stormwater Demonstration Site introduces urban stormwater conservation by demonstrating best management practices like rain gardens, bioswales, infiltration trenches, native plantings, and many more. Water that lands on the site during a rain event is treated through infiltration before entering the City Stormwater system, or held in the landscape, improving water quality and reducing flooding within the watershed.

Regional Urban Stormwater Demonstration Site Brochure

For Educators         For Communities         For Students




Watershed Guardian Grant Program Extended to September 2021!

Check it out here!

Watershed Guardian Grants for trees are still available to educators who bring their students to the Urban Stormwater Demonstration Site in Postville, Iowa or who watch the Virtual Site Tour! 

Stormwater Demonstration Site Virtual Tour is Here!


Implemented Watershed Guardian Projects


Decorah Middle School Dry Run Creek Project

Grant Award: $5,000

Decorah Middle School used Watershed Guardian Grant dollars to improve the Dry Run Creek stream bank that runs directly behind the school. With assistance from IDNR Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, they implemented stream improvements through bank shaping and stabilization, and strategically placed boulders for cross vane and student access to the stream.  After the construction, the bank was seeded with eco grasses, native plants and cordgrass by students. Over 250 students were involved with the project. Students created designs for the outdoor classroom with appropriate plant and animal needs for the landscape, they researched various habitats that were needed to support aquatic organisms, and they investigated specific plants native to Iowa. Students also assisted in the labor of creating the space, by laying rock in the bed of the stream, clearing weeds and debris from the streambank, and planting native plants. The Dry Run Creek project resulted in an invaluable hands-on learning tool that middle school students will be able to use for many years in the future. 


Clayton County Conservation Board Osborne Pond Improvement Project

Grant Award: $4,935

Clayton County Conservation Board used Watershed Guardian Grant dollars to install rock check dams to reduce erosion and slow down runoff entering the pond, and to plant trees and native plants around the pond area. Osborn Pond was recently repaired and dredged. The installation of these practices will help protect it from sedimentation in the future improving the overall ecosystem of the pond. Despite complications with COVID-19 during the implementation period, several students from Starmont and Central School Districts volunteered to plant trees. To ensure success of the project and safety of students, Conservation Board college-age seasonal staff planted the native plugs and seeded the other native plant species. The park will be used by area schools to study watershed science and water ecosystems in the future. The area will also be used for future Clayton County Conservation Board educational activities. 


Fairbank Elementary Rain Garden Project

Grant Award: $1,000

Fairbank Elementary School used Watershed Guardian Grant dollars to install a rain garden along their outdoor basketball court to reduce erosion from upland areas, and to reduce the amount of water that runs onto the court preventing them from using it after heavy rain storms. Thirty-five Wapsi Valley 5th grade students helped develop the project. Due to the closing of Iowa Schools and health hazards associated with COVID-19 adult volunteers and a couple of students helped with the planting of over 250 native prairie plants and mulching of the rain garden. In the future, students will help to maintain the rain garden by pulling weeds and watering as needed.  The school will be able to use the area for education on plant identification, monarch tagging, pollinator and watershed science education. 


Readlyn Elementary and City of Readlyn Wetland Project

Grant Award: $4,930

The City of Readlyn received funding from the State Revolving Fund and IDALS Water Quality Initiative funding to improve water quality runoff by converting agricultural land on the south side of town into a wetland. Runoff water from two thirds of the City of Readlyn and several acres of farm land drains into the newly constructed wetland. Fifth grade students from Readlyn Elementary School were awarded a Watershed Guardian Grant to improve the City wetland project by planting Native Prairie plugs. Prairie plug planting will speed up the establishment of native species and help reduce erosion on the newly constructed wetland. Twenty-five 5th grade students were involved in developing the planting project including species selection and placement. Twenty-four students along with over 20 adult volunteers form a variety of organizations helped plant over 4,000 native prairie plants as part of a community planting event. Fairbank Elementary teachers and County Conservation Board Naturalists will continue to use the site for educational purposes such as plant identification and monarch tagging. 

This publication was developed under Assistance Agreement No.97761401 awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It has not been formally reviewed by EPA. The views expressed in this document are solely those of Northeast Iowa RC&D and EPA does not endorse any products or commercial services mentioned in this publication.