Iowa Environmental Council announces Joe Whitworth, freshwater restoration expert, will deliver keynote at Oct. 11 conference

Address is part of day-long event focusing on speeding up progress for clean water, clean energy in Iowa.

DES MOINES — The Iowa Environmental Council is excited to announce Joe Whitworth, president of The Freshwater Trust in Portland, Oregon, will deliver the keynote address at its annual conference October 11 in Des Moines.

Joe Whitworth
Joe Whitworth

A native Midwesterner who spent summers in Iowa, Whitworth has dedicated the last two decades of his career to dramatically speeding the pace of freshwater restoration through innovative solutions like pollution credit trading.

“Given the trends of freshwater indicators and wild fish populations, it has become clear that the traditional conservation methods engaged over the last quarter century are proving inadequate to demands placed on our ecosystems,” says Whitworth. “We must change course.”

At The Freshwater Trust, Whitworth and his team focus on cooperative, market-based solutions that benefit rivers, working lands and local communities – from working with landowners to keep more water in our streams to creating more effective processes for improving aquatic habitat using a localized approach.

The organization has developed strategies for water quality credit trading programs as well as an innovative, patented online platform to manage the funding, permitting, and implementation of restoration projects. “We’re not a think-tank, we’re a ‘do-tank,’” Whitworth said, “and our singular focus is to provide the  platform for practical conservation. At scale.”

Ralph Rosenberg, executive director of the Iowa Environmental Council, said Iowans share Whitworth’s desire to increase the pace of freshwater restoration. “With extraordinary nitrate levels in drinking water sources, continuing algae blooms, and other consequences of water pollution threatening Iowans’ health and quality of life, it is clear we need to
move beyond past approaches that have been too slow,” Rosenberg said.

The Freshwater Trust’s efforts to invest in protecting nature’s benefits—habitat, filtration of drinking water, supporting food production and recreation, and others—underscore why environmental protection matters to Iowans.

“Iowans know we have some of the mostproductive land in the whole world,” Rosenberg said. “But it is important for us to place value on the whole range of benefits our land and water provide us now and in the future.”

Registration is open now for the Iowa Environmental Council’s Annual Conference, “At the Tipping Point: Creating Momentum for a Healthier Iowa Environment.” Details on the event are available at, or by calling 515-244-1194, extension 210.

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