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Watershed Improvement Review Board (WIRB)

Watershed Improvement Review Board (WIRB)

Brushy Creek, a tributary of the Raccoon River in Carroll County, which is a regular source of drinking water for over 500,000 Iowans, has been monitored by Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance (ACWA) and Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) since 2000. ACWA data originally identified water quality issues in the area, and over many rain events, has shown the stream to be highly impaired for coliform bacteria and nitrate.

Due to a fish kill in 2005 that resulted in Iowa Department of Natural Resources enforcement actions against several livestock producers in the watershed, Brushy Creek was placed on the 303(d) impaired waterbody list. At the time, no formal watershed group existed. To help watershed improvement efforts, DMWW applied and was successful in obtaining a Watershed Improvement Review Board (WIRB) grant in 2008.

The purpose of the program is to award grants to improve water quality and flood prevention. Local watershed improvement committees, soil and water conservation districts, county conservation boards and public water supply utilities are among the eligible applicants for the grants. The Iowa Legislature makes yearly appropriations to the Watershed Improvement Fund, which is administered by the WIRB.


  • Enhance nutrient and manure management to reduce agricultural inputs to the stream. Agricultural land use in the Upper Brushy Creek Watershed exceeds 83 percent of the total acreage with rolling hills susceptible to runoff. Cooperation with livestock producers to improve their operations and manure management will enhance water quality.
  • Water monitoring. The second goal is monitoring of the Brushy Creek and Raccoon River water basins to illustrate the relative effectiveness of various programs, practices and structures to enhance water quality.
  • Assess the impact of untreated human waste originating in Roselle and other dwellings on Brushy Creek water quality. Approximately 50 percent of the dwellings in Roselle discharge untreated human waste into the Brushy Creek watershed. The impact of this untreated waste on water quality is not well known, and some of the monitoring will attempt to quantify the impact.
  • Increase awareness in the watershed of the stream’s role as a source of drinking water and recreation. The participating groups will work to establish a functioning Watershed Improvement Association led by local residents to help ensure future progress.


Brushy Creek Watershed Map

Raccoon River Subwatersheds Map


WIRB Water Quality Monitoring Report: 2009-1

WIRB Water Quality Monitoring Report: 2009-2

WIRB Water Quality Monitoring Report: 2010-1

WIRB Water Quality Monitoring Report: 2010-2

WIRB Water Quality Monitoring Report: 2011-1

WIRB Final Report 2012



Patrick Corey, NRCS

Gordan Brand, DMWW

Anthony Seeman, ISA

Claire Hruby, IDNR