June 15, 2021

Gift to be invested in water quality initiatives across 36 proposed Central Iowa Water Trails amenities

DES MOINES, IA (June 15, 2021) – The Great Outdoors Foundation, fiscal agent of the Central Iowa Water Trails Consortium, which includes leadership from Capital Crossroads, Catch Des Moines, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Greater Des Moines Partnership, is pleased to announce a $1 million commitment from the Polk County Board of Supervisors. This pledge is accounted for in the $25 million total private funding raised for the project thus far and has been allocated to water quality initiatives tied to Central Iowa Water Trails improvements.

With many regional investments in water quality already underway, Polk County’s donation illustrates the synergy that Central Iowa Water Trails has generated around improving and protecting Central Iowa’s natural heritage. The Polk County Water Quality Fund will be used specifically for water quality infrastructure, testing and education at 36 proposed amenities and improvements across a dozen or so cities within Polk County. Funding will be used strategically to implement recommendations from local Watershed Management Authorities including

•  Wetland development

•  Streambank, floodplain and oxbow restoration

•  Native plant propagation

“Central Iowa Water Trails isn’t just a visionary project with the potential to change our region,” said Polk County Supervisors Chair Angela Connolly. “It’s a tactical approach to addressing water quality and integrates many of the strategies outlined in the Natural Capital portion of the Capital Crossroads: A Vision Forward.”

From its inception, Central Iowa Water Trails identified environmental conservation as one of its five priority goals. “This isn’t about one site or one improvement,” Hannah Inman, Chief Executive Officer of the Great Outdoors Foundation, the fundraising arm of Central Iowa Water Trails, said. “This is about a system of change with the inherent ability to impact water quality — and quality of life — for generations to come.”

Just last month, a $1 million investment in Central Iowa Water Trails water quality initiatives from the Athene Charitable Foundation was announced. Additionally, $3 million has been allocated to water quality solutions in the Central Iowa Water Trails BUILD Grant sites alone. Already, investments in Central Iowa Water Trails 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.

About Central Iowa Water Trails

The Central Iowa Water Trails project will connect more than 150 miles of water trails and 86 improvements and amenities throughout the region. This multi-year project is led by the Central Iowa Water Trails Consortium. The Consortium is supported by a coalition of regional organizations working together through Capital Crossroads, including Catch Des Moines, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the Great Outdoors Foundation, and the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. For more information, visit centraliowawatertrails.org.