Summer Internships at 3 SWCDs, Public Meeting on Water Quality in SE Iowa, Housing Conference Save the Date & More!
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January 2018
Good Evening,

We hope you are staying warm during this Polar Vortex and that his newsletter finds you in good health and spirits!

In this edition, we share a summary of SIDCA, one of the longtime conservation groups for whom Pathfinders provides administrative services. We also share the job opportunity for three new interns at local SWCDs this summer. More information on these paid internships is below. 

Next week, there will be a free, public meeting about Iowa's Nutrient Reduction Strategy and water quality trends in southeast Iowa. We also want you to be sure to mark your calendars and save the date for our Southeast Iowa Housing Conference taking place this spring on May 21st!

If you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to call or email us: 
641-472-6177 or


Anna Bruen
Executive Director
The Southern Iowa Development and Conservation Authority Marks 20 Year Anniversary

For twenty years, Southern Iowa Development and Conservation Authority (SIDCA) has developed and coordinated projects that reduce soil erosion threatening Southern Iowa’s potable water supply and rural roads and bridges. Since 2002, SIDCA has funded over 110 structures providing improved water quality and rural transportation infrastructure.
Soil erosion in southern Iowa degrades the riparian habitat, and severely threatens the region’s water quality with sediment, phosphorus, nitrogen and bacteria in water runoff. Soil erosion also compromises the safety of rural infrastructure, such as roads and bridges. SIDCA addresses these challenges in 10 counties across southern Iowa by sharing project costs with counties. The ten counties are: Appanoose, Clarke, Davis, Decatur, Jefferson, Lucas, Monroe, Van Buren, Wapello, and Wayne. Projects include replacing old bridges with on-road structures, replacing deteriorated wood box culverts, and providing safer shoulder slopes for a greater recovery area for traffic.
Between 2002 and 2011, the Iowa Legislature allocated $2.6 million to SIDCA to install on and off road structures like an erosion structure to protect a 5’ road culvert and prevent rains from overtopping the road. Projects such as these improve transportation infrastructure as well as water quality.
Member counties and existing public programs provide the balance of funds required for the projects. Over $2.85 million has been leveraged in local and federal funds against SIDCA’s state allocation. SIDCA funds are not used for administration costs of the program. Every state dollar allocated goes directly into projects. Pathfinders provides administrative services for SIDCA. For more information, see here.

Summer Internships Available at Soil and Water Conservation Districts

Three local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) are offering summer internships - Mahaska, Marion and Wapello Counties. Interns will assist the SWCD and Division of Soil Conservation & Water Quality Mines and Mineral Bureau in their work developing interest in and commitment to implementation of conservation programs and activities.
The internship positions will be 40 hours per week and last 10 -12 weeks, with compensation of $10.00 per hour. Students currently enrolled in college or recently graduated with majors related to agriculture, conservation, engineering, construction trades, GIS, communications, public relations, urban planning, or environmental sciences are encouraged to apply. Applications must be received by 12:00 noon on Friday, March 8th, 2019.
“These internships offer students a chance for both office and field work,” says Pathfinders RC&D Executive Director, Anna Bruen, who is assisting with the intern hiring process. “The interns will work as part of a local team and independently; they’ll get to be outdoors, traversing the land, working around large equipment and learning to use GPS and GIS tools to document their findings. Part of their time will be spent making visits to Abandoned Mine Land site visits and collecting water quality and soil health data. ”
Surface coal mines that ceased operations before 1977 were not required to be “reclaimed” by the operator once the mining stopped.  This means an area strip-mined for coal was often abandoned with large piles of the overburden that was stripped away so coal could be extracted. The purpose of reclamation is to eliminate the remaining coal mining components that present a danger to the health and safety of the public and result in environmental problems such as water quality and soil health.

To learn more and access a copy of the SWCD Summer Intern Job Application, click here. 

February 7th – Public Meeting on Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy & Water Quality Trends in SE Iowa

On Thursday, February 7th, 2019, a public meeting about the goals of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS) and water quality trends in SE Iowa will be held in Fairfield at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

This event will be held from 1:30 – 3:30pm in the Activities Building (2606 W. Burlington Avenue). The meeting is open and FREE to the public with light refreshments to be served.

Iowa State University Extension’s Matt Helmers will explain the strategy and how it pertains to Iowans, its goals, as well as an update for the past 5 years with the strategy. Chris Jones from University of Iowa’s Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research will bring it home and talk about the nutrient levels in our specific community; the Skunk River.

For more information, visit here

Save the Date!
May 21st-  Moving Forward: Southeast Iowa Housing Conference  

Pathfinders RC&D, University of Iowa and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach are cohosting a Housing Conference in Southeast Iowa this spring!
Join us on Tuesday, May 21st at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center for,
Moving Forward: Southeast Iowa Housing Conference.

This will be a day of presentations from community housing and development experts, as well as hands-on workshops to assess and address participating communities' specific housing needs.

Learn more and Register at:

Questions? Contact Conference Coordinator, Suzannah Schindler at:
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304 South Maple - Suite 101
Fairfield, IA 52556
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Pathfinders RC&D · 304 South Maple - Suite 101 · Fairfield, IA 52556 · USA

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