Environmental Conservation

Our waterways are the reason our region was developed nearly 200 years ago, and it’s our responsibility to protect and steward them for future generations. Learn how ICON is working with other conservation leaders to ensure the project is safeguarding our precious natural heritage.


Multifaceted. Dynamic. Collaborative. ICON and its partners are working to improve water quality on all fronts. Most importantly? All sites within the ICON system include water quality improvement features or infrastructure. In fact, millions of dollars have been allocated to water quality solutions within the downtown sites alone.


It’s no secret that there is room for improvement within Iowa’s waterways. Just last year, the Raccoon River was named to the American River’s list of most endangered waterways. The good news? ICON implements many of the ways identified as methods for confronting climate change and improving endangered rivers. These strategies include:
• Advocating for federal safeguards and funding
• Restoring damaged floodplains
• Partnering with jurisdictions to address water management
• Removing dams that are no longer necessary
• Providing educational opportunities


Investments in ICON are being used as in-kind support for grants that leverage additional federal funding for landowners and farmers to improve water quality through voluntary conservation practices on private land. So far, an additional $20 million in federal funding has been realized through two public-private partnerships co-led by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance. Beyond activating federal and state dollars for water quality initiatives, ICON will increase Central Iowan’s awareness and advocacy for the waterways in their own backyards.

We need your help to make our vision a reality

The $125 million ICON Water Trails project is funded by local municipalities, the state and the federal government. Most important, it’s funded by generous people like you. Be a part of bridging the gap and creating a legacy for generations to come.