Johnson County will expand efforts to improve water quality and flood resiliency in the area through the County’s investment of funds received from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
Funding provided by the County will support the development and implementation of an Iowa River Watershed Management Authority (IRWMA). Watershed Management Authorities work to assess and reduce flood risk; educate and engage residents of the watershed; assess and improve water quality; and monitor federal flood risk planning and activities. The development and implementation of the IRWMA will allow for key stakeholders to identify water quality issues, propose solutions, and outline strategies to improve water quality and flood resiliency in the community.
The Iowa River is a tributary of the Mississippi River and passes through a number of counties in Iowa. In Johnson County, it flows through Lake MacBride State Park, the Coralville Reservoir, the City of Iowa City, and the University of Iowa campus, as well as many other local natural and recreational spaces.
The Board of Supervisors voted to allocate $125,000 over the next three fiscal years to support the development and implementation of the authority. Funding for Fiscal Year 2022, which ends June 30, 2022, supports a planning study that will outline next steps for the watershed coalition, including strategies for collaboration and opportunities for future funding.
Johnson County is committed to utilizing ARPA to enhance investments in public services and maximize the impacts of our local fiscal recovery allocation. The County's ARPA Leadership Team has been working since February 2021 to research and discuss the many aspects of this funding. Johnson County solicited public input from May to October 2021 using a series of online surveys and tools as well as six in-person public input sessions that were held throughout the County.
More information about ARPA and how it impacts Johnson County is available at https://www.johnsoncountyiowa.gov/arpa.