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Dyersville Named 2023 ‘River Town of the Year’

Community Honored for Various Projects to Enhance River and Streams

Dyersville was named the 2023 “River Town of the Year” on Wednesday. 

The North Fork of the Maquoketa River flows through downtown Dyersville – and while for many years it was viewed by some as an inconvenience due to flooding, the community is now beginning to embrace the river and take steps to improve the riverfront area.

The City was specifically recognized for their successful “One Water” Watershed Vision Plan. Dyersville Mayor Jeff Jacque says it’s an honor.

The annual River Town of the Year Award is presented by statewide nonprofit Iowa Rivers Revival, recognizing an Iowa town or city for outstanding efforts to reclaim riverfronts as anchors for economic development, recreation, and good ecological practices. Luke Hoffman, who serves as the Executive Director, says Dyersville met all of that criteria.

Five communities across the state were nominated by Impact 7G for the award. Iowa Rivers Revival board member Robin Fortney says it’s incredible to have environmental consultants like Impact 7G and other groups who can communicate with communities to improve the river life in their towns.

Judy Joyce with Impact 7G started working with the City of Dyersville in 2017. After finding out that the City was really only interacting with the river and streams when they flooded, she suggested instead making the river and streams a resource for residents and visitors. At the time, funding was available for water quality projects, which led to the town’s first project – the Bear Creek restoration.

Dyersville just wrapped up their second project – a stormwater wetland project on the North Fork north of First Avenue near the railroad bridge. And they’re now trying to get funding for a third project – the Dyersville Downtown Driftless Float Park.

Mayor Jacque, who grew up in Dyersville, says he’s proud to see how his hometown is now embracing the water.

The Dyersville community celebrated their “River Town of the Year” Award during a public ceremony Wednesday at the Westside Park Pedestrian Bridge, with an organizational fair following at the park and an evening reception at Textile Brewery.


photos courtesy of Janelle Tucker/KMCH

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