Johnson County Soil and Water Conservation District

Current Rapid Creek Water Quality Info

Rapid Creek is one of three sub-watersheds of the drainage area that flows into the impaired segment of the Iowa River in between the Coralville Lake dam and Burlington Street dam (8.75 miles) that is listed on the 2004 Iowa 303(d) list for excessive indicator bacteria.  Clear Creek (132 square miles) and Muddy Creek (10 square miles) are the other sub-watersheds draining into this impaired segment of the Iowa River.  

At its mouth to the Iowa River, Rapid Creek has a drainage area of 33.81 square miles while at the confluence with Sanders Creek drainage area is approximately 33.35 square miles.  The Rapid Creek watershed is 21,645 acres in size. Rapid Creek is 15 miles long and its tributaries and perennial flowing ditches contribute an additional 30 miles.  


Rapid Creek is located in Johnson County and has been a priority of the Johnson County Soil & Water Conservation District (JCSWCD) Soil Commissioners since 2008.  Assessment data from 2008 reveals the watershed suffers from excessive levels of sedimentation, diminished water quality, and high bacteria loading.  In 2010, a JCSWCD formed a board of interested stakeholders and targeted high priority areas within the watershed. In 2012, a Watershed Management plan was developed.


Our Nutrient Management and Reduction Meeting can now be viewed on City Channel4!
On March 2nd we held a very successful event on nutrient management and reduction. To view the presentations through City Channel4 you can visit for showtimes or to watch the programs online.

The first annual newsletter of the Rapid Creek Watershed Project is in! 
Please click here to access the newsletter. If you live in the watershed you'll be receiving a mailed paper copy soon. 

Bill Northey to speak at Nutrient Management and Reduction Meeting
On March 2nd the Rapid Creek Watershed Project will hold a Nutrient Management and Reduction Meeting for producers at the Johnson Co. Extension Building in Iowa City. The event will be held from 9:30-12 and will feature Iowa Secretary of Ag. Bill Northey, Greg Brenneman with ISU Extension, Heath Ellison with the Iowa Soybean Association, and Eric Hurley with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. RSVP now here.

Rapid Creek Watershed Project receives $55,000 Water Monitoring Grant

August 15th, 2014 -- Rapid Creek Watershed Project and the Iowa Geological Survey receive $55k in funding from the Iowa Nutrient Research Center!

The Rapid Creek Watershed Project partnered with Keith Schilling of the Iowa Geological Survey to submit a funding proposal to the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Center for in depth monitoring of the effectiveness of stacked nutrient reduction best management practices (BMPs) over the term of the three year project. Some of these practices include cover crops, buffer/filter strips, wetlands and bioreactors. The funding will help pay for one nitrate sensor and two bridge sensors along with operation and maintenance, which will be installed this fall in two sub-basins of the watershed. The data collected will provide a unique opportunity to better understand the potential of water quality improvements from these BMPs. Stay tuned to our website for updates on this exciting partnership

Rapid Creek Watershed Project receives $247,650 WIRB Grant

June 1st, 2014 - The Johnson County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) recently was awarded a grant of $247,650 from the Iowa Watershed Improvement Review Board for a project to address water quality issues in Rapid Creek.


The Johnson County Soil and Water Conservation District is a partnership among conservationists and soil technicians from Johnson County government, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) that provides leadership for the enhancement of the county’s natural resources and quality of life. Johnson County’s Soil and Water Conservation Specialist Kate Giannini secured the funding.


“Our project will address water quality issues by implementing best management practices, funding a coordinator, and providing education and outreach to landowners,” said Giannini.


“This is a critical project that we’ve been working on since 2008. We’ve completed a detailed assessment of the watershed, identified priority areas and conducted water monitoring and analysis. The grant funding will allow us to implement our Watershed Management Plan and focus on nutrient reduction best management practices. During this three-year project, which is expected to kick off in July, we will work with private landowners to encourage voluntary implementation of cover crops, ponds, filter strips and other conservation practices. Thanks to the grant, landowners will be eligible to receive up to 75% financial assistance for installation,” Giannini explained.

Contact Us

Do you live in the Rapid Creek Watershed and have a resource concern? 

Interested in being on the Rapid Creek Watershed Board? 

Please email Watershed Coordinator Justin Bisinger for more information on how you can be involved in this innovative project!

Project Partners

We are very appreciative of our following partners: NRCS, FSA, IDALS, ISU Extension, IIHR, Versaland Farm, Wall Family Farms, and many others. 

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