Urban Soil & Water Conservation

Loess Hills in Western Pottawattamie County

Urban development is rapidly taking place in the Loess Hills.  The Loess Hills are Western Pottawattamie County's most distinctive landscape and Iowa's most fragile landform in susceptibility to erosion.  When loess soils are disturbed, the thret to surface water is significant.  Soil erosion rates are so high that the amount of eroded sediment carried in streams draining the Loess Hills is among the highest in the United States.


Rain Gardens

Planting a rain garden helps reduce storm water runoff and improves water quality in local creeks, ponds, lakes and rivers. These gardens are designed to capture storm water runoff and hold it, allowing the water to infiltrate through the soil back to the ground water. You will want to place your garden to allow runoff to enter by natural flow or by directing downspouts to the garden.

Rain gardens are designed to be planted with native wildflowers and grasses.  The large, deep root structure of native plants creates a sponge-like area beneath the soil surface allowing for better infiltration.  Native plants are also rest resistant and have adapted to the Midwest weather.  You will be able to find most of the common native plants at your local nursery and garden centers.  More uncommon and unique species are available at nurseries specializing in native plants and seed stock.

For more information on rain gardens

Rain Barrels

A rain barrel is a water tank which is used to collect and store water runoff, typically from rooftops via rain gutters.  The soft "rain water" stored in these barrels can be used for many things including: flushing toilets, washing machines, watering gardens, washing cars or for agricultural use.  In arid climates, rain barrels are often used to store water during the rainy season for use during the drier periods.  Rain barrels are becoming very popular in both rural and urban areas.  They are very easy to build and are now available to purchase from retailers.

Fun Fact: 1 inch of rain on 1,000 square feet of roof yields 623 gallons of water!

Pervoius Pavement

Pervious pavement/ cement is a special type of concrete with high porosity.  It is designed to allow percolation or infiltration of stormwater through the surface into the soil below in turn helping to reduce runoff. 

Contact Paige Volkens; Education Coordinator

for programs of all ages PreK-adult swcdeducoordinator@gmail.com or call 712-482-6408

Provided by National Association of City

Transportation Officials