Organizers are putting the finishing touches on the " Iowa Rivers Revival " conference that opens in two weeks. Kent Newman, co-chair of the event,says, "We are about helping Iowans restore, protect and enjoy our rivers." The first annual conference was last March and Newman says since then they’ve been working to put the organization together and build its membership.
Newman says the group has several goals. He says they want to develop a variety of tools and resources to help Iowans reconnect with our rivers and see the multiple benefits the rivers provide to the environment, the economy and society. Newman says they’re adding some new things to the second conference.
Newman says they’re starting recognition of a river town of the year and are accepting nominations. Newman says Iowa has 30-thousand miles of rivers and lots of river towns. He says some cities never lost their river link. Newman says they include the river link in their slogans and festivals and things like that. He says other towns, like Des Moines, turned their backs on the rivers with the advent of automobiles, but have since returned to their river roots.
Newman says things like the new riverwalk in Des Moines and other development around rivers and water trails is reconnecting people with the rivers. Newman says the first day of the conference on Friday March 2nd will focus on the economic impact of rivers, water trails, and recreational trails.
That will be at the Lake Panorama Conference in Panora. Day and three the conference moves to the Iowa 4-H Center in Madrid and will feature Chad Pregracke, who has removed tons and tons of refuse from the Mississippi River, will be the lunch keynote speaker and there will also be workshops.