City of Decorah Tree Board Commemorates Arbor Day with Tree Plantings

Decorah, IA (May 5, 2022) – The City of Decorah Tree Board planted 29 trees last Thursday and Friday to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day. Black Hills Energy and Trees Forever have partnered to offer a tree planting program known as “Power of Trees”. Through this partnership, the Tree Board was awarded a grant, which funded the planting. On May 14th, 35 more trees will be planted as part of this grant.

The Decorah Tree Board has been planting trees to replace ash trees that were removed due to the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation. Since 2019, the Tree Board has planted over 100 trees in boulevards/Right-of-Ways (ROW) throughout the City of Decorah. When choosing trees to replant, tree diversity was one of the most important considerations. Diversity among tree species is important to help avoid widespread tree loss due to infectious diseases or a pest infestation. The more diverse the urban tree canopy is, the healthier it is. When homeowners plant a tree, maple and crabapple trees should be avoided. Both are overpopulated in Decorah. The Acer (maple) genus makes up about 50 percent of the City’s urban tree canopy just in the boulevards/ROWs (not counting those on private property).

City Forester Sam Hogenson strongly encourages tree diversity, “Before EAB, our urban tree canopy consisted of about 15 percent of trees from the Fraxinus (ash) genus. Now, only treated ash trees will survive in the boulevard/ROW. The effects of losing so many ash trees has had a significant impact on our community. The removed trees would have offered benefits such as cleaner air, stormwater retention, and lower cooling costs, just to name a few. Since their removal, homes, parks, streets, parking lots, etc., are no longer receiving the benefits once offered by those trees. That was only 15 percent of the urban tree canopy, now imagine if a pest or disease attacked our maple trees and 50 percent of the trees remaining in the boulevards/ROWs were suddenly gone. The effects of losing so many trees would be drastic.”

So, when you decide to plant a tree in the boulevard/ROW or on private property, please consider the trees around you. Chances are, there are several maple or crabapple trees nearby. Choose something less common to plant and help ensure that our urban tree canopy is healthy and here for future generations to enjoy!

Mayor, Lorraine Borowski signs a proclamation for Arbor Day

Today, Friday, April 29 around the world we celebrate Arbor Day.  Mayor Lorraine Borowski signed a Proclamation and urges all citizens to celebrate today by planting a tree and support efforts to protect our trees and woodlands.

April 29, 2022 Arbor Day

City of Decorah Leverages Stormwater Funding for Flood Reduction and Water Quality Improvement

Decorah, IA (April 15, 2022)

In 2016 the City of Decorah began collecting a stormwater utility fee from residents as a part of their water and sewer bill. The nominal fee was created as a means for the City to address stormwater improvement projects throughout the community that would fall outside the scope of normal street and sewer maintenance. Many other communities in Iowa have implemented similar programs as a way of changing the way urban developed areas handle stormwater runoff. To get the most out of funds collected, City officials worked with Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) to assist in project and grant development to strategically leverage stormwater funds. Projects implemented through this project will primarily address flood mitigation and water quality improvements. As a result, the City was awarded $96,000 through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s (IDALS) Urban Conservation Water Quality Initiative grant program and $500,000 from the Iowa Finance Authority’s Watershed Protection Grant program. The City will contribute stormwater utility funds along with other partner contributions to match these two grant programs allowing the City to stretch resident’s contribution via the stormwater utility fee further. The City was also a partner in an additional $500,000 project developed by Winneshiek County Economic Development and Tourism and RC&D for similar projects. All of these projects allow the City and partners to implement additional innovative practices that produce a larger flood reduction and water quality improvement benefit to the community.

The City is practicing innovative strategies for mitigating flood and water quality issues within the community by, not only implementing projects within City limits, but expanding projects upstream into the Upper Iowa River Watershed. Northeast Iowa RC&D employee Tori Nimrod, who also serves as the Upper Iowa River Watershed Coordinator stated, “The City is taking advanced flood mitigation actions by working upstream in the Upper Iowa River Watershed to solve the root causes of Decorah’s surface water issues.” A total of 6 different flood mitigation and water quality improvement practices will be constructed as a part of the City projects. Five of the projects will be implemented within City limits; these projects include an infiltration basin, two oxbow wetlands, bio-retention system, streambank stabilization, and native prairie planting. The City also plans to implement a stormwater wetland and 6 water and sediment basins in partnership with Winneshiek County Conservation Board along Dry Run Creek on County property. These projects will help reduce flash flooding by storing excess water on the landscape and allowing it to slowly release.

These projects come as a result of prioritization towards urban stormwater improvement and flood mitigation by the City, and the implementation of strategic avenues to fund stormwater projects. City Engineer Jeremy Bril noted, “Working with these local partners has been a true collaborative effort that has allowed us to pursue grant opportunities to further extend our taxpayer dollars as we work towards solutions to our watershed challenges.” Project implementation involving the projects described above is expected to take place over the following two years. However, the RC&D will continue to assist the City in using innovative strategies to leverage City stormwater funds and to implement additional projects that continue to mitigate flooding and improve water quality in the City. Nimrod noted, “The City’s stormwater improvement initiative, along with the work of other valuable partners in the community, will expedite the progress towards a more flood resilient community.”

Pool Street Closed March 16 – 17

Water Street Between Court Street and River Street Closed Starting Today

Decorah, IA (March 16, 2022) – The City of Decorah is notifying residents that Pool St will be closed at its intersection with College Drive. It will also be closed at its intersection with Center St. Traffic will be able to turn west on Pool Street from Center Street. A detour will be set up to route vehicles on College Drive through the Decorah Municipal Swimming Pool’s parking lot to allow access to Luther College.

Please call the Street Department at 563-382-2157 with any questions.

Valley View Drive to be Closed Starting on Friday 4/23

Valley View Drive to be Closed Starting on Friday 4/23

Decorah, IA (April 21, 2021) – The City of Decorah is notifying residents that Valley View Drive will be closed starting on Friday, April 23rd. The street will be closed between Highway 52 and the 5th Avenue/Pulpit Rock Road intersection. The closure is to allow for the contractor to start work on the Valley View Drive Improvements Project and is expected to last for 4-5 weeks.

Please call the Street Department at 563-382-2157 with any questions.

This is an official city press release.  Modifications of any kind are prohibited without express written consent of the author.  Any reprint or broadcast of this information must include this entire communication.

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Free Boulevard Tree Giveaway

Decorah, IA (April 14, 2021) 

The City of Decorah is announcing a free boulevard tree giveaway for residents within the City. The City has been gifted 50 trees from the Winneshiek Energy District with the goal of improving the City’s urban canopy. The trees will be planted by volunteers through the Winneshiek Energy District and the City of Decorah Tree Board. The trees range in size from eleven (11) inches to twenty (20) inches in height. Available species include Hackberry and Swamp White Oak. Hackberry trees are fast growing (24” or more per year), have a mature height of 50’-70’, a mature spread of 40’-70’, and yellow color in the fall. Swamp White Oak trees grow at a medium rate (12”-24” per year), have a mature height of 50’-60’, a mature spread of 50’-60’, and a yellow-brown color in the fall. Trees will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis, while also taking to account species diversity.

If you are interested in receiving a tree for your boulevard, please contact City Forester, Sam Hogenson at 563-277-5153 or by e-mail at cityforester@decorahia.org and your boulevard will be assessed to ensure setback requirements are met.

This is an official city press release.  Modifications of any kind are prohibited without express written consent of the author.  Any reprint or broadcast of this information must include this entire communication.

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