Mineral Creek Water Quality project was in existence from July 1, 2001 through July 1, 2007, administered by the Jones County Soil and Water Conservation District. Project coordinator was Darcy Keil.
The following information was taken from the project final report of August 8, 2007. For a PDF copy of the 18-page narrative, click mineral creek final report. (The PDF is 14.8 mb.)
The Mineral creek watershed drains 31,425acres of primarily agricultural land into the Maquoketa River. About 90 percent of the watershed lies in Jones county and 10 percent in Jackson County. The Maquoketa River Alliance (MRA) was formed to address water qualify issues in the entire Maquoketa River basin. The most current data from the MRA indicates that Mineral Creek contributes more sediment nitrogen and phosphorus to the Maquoketa River than any other subwatershed in Jones County. The stretch of the Maquoketa River at the mouth of Mineral creek is on the Final approved Iowa 1998 303(d) list for fecal coliform bacteria.
In addition, the Mineral creek watershed includes Central Park Lake, which is also on the 303(d) list. The Nonpoint Source Management program for Iowa dated 1992 and revised in 2000 lists Central Park Lake as one of the 118 significant publicly owned lakes in the state. Mineral Creek would be included as “other water bodies, surface, or ground water that are publicly owned and locally important.” Central Park Lake is listed on the 303(d) list for excessive nutrients, siltation, and aquatic plants. The nutrient impact on Central Park Lake was causing an abundance of algae growth within the lake itself. The segment of the Maquoketa River in which Mineral Creek empties is an area of high use for canoeing, fishing, and other recreational activities. Fecal coliform bacteria is above acceptable levels for this type of human use.
The Mineral creek watershed includes three small communities, two of which do not have waste treatment systems and currently use tile lines for septic tank outlets.
The primary goal of the Project was to improve the quality of the water resources in the Mineral creek watershed and reduce contaminants delivered to the Maquoketa River. A secondary goal was to conserve and improve the unique natural areas in the lower region of the watershed, which include a Great Blue Heron rookery and an area referred to as Seldom Seen inhabited by rattlesnakes. The project proposed to implement Best Management practices-(BMP) for sedimentation, nutrient and pest management programs, public information and education, technical assistance, water quality monitoring, and grant writing assistance for the communities in need of sewer system upgrades.
The watershed residents have demonstrated a great deal of support for the project. Over 100 people attended the original public meeting at the beginning of the project. A watershed council was adopted at that time and 15-20people have volunteered their time to attend monthly meetings for the duration of the project. This council has assisted the Jones County SWCD in setting priorities and helps steer efforts to ensure project success.