This project will remove Steamboat Rock Dam in the uppermost watershed of the Iowa River in Iowa. Dam removal will improve the distribution and abundance of several priority mussel species including elktoe, white heelsplitter, flutedshell, creek heelsplitter, monkeyface, pimpleback, threeridge, Wabash pigtoe, mucket, and fatmucket by restoring stream function, increasing access to habitat, and reconnecting tributaries to the river. It will also reconnect almost 30 miles of upstream passage for mussel-fish host species like flathead catfish, channel catfish, silver redhorse, sunfish, shiners, and minnows. In addition to the species benefits, removing this barrier will also reduce flooding at a nearby campground and provide a safer environment for water recreation.

Project Quick Facts:

Project Status

In Development


IA, Hardin County

NFPP Project Funding


Restoration Techniques

Dam Removal


30 Stream Miles Reopened, 800 Acres Reopened

Partner Project Lead

Iowa Department of Natural Resources  

The National Fish Passage Program: Leaders in Building Bridges and Fostering Connections

The National Fish Passage Program is a national leader connecting watersheds and people. The program has decades of experience implementing infrastructure projects with partners. Fish passage project proposals can be initiated by any individual, organization, government, or agency. However, proposals must be submitted and completed in cooperation with a Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office. (Please note that fish passage fish passage
Fish passage is the ability of fish or other aquatic species to move freely throughout their life to find food, reproduce, and complete their natural migration cycles. Millions of barriers to fish passage across the country are fragmenting habitat and leading to species declines. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Fish Passage Program is working to reconnect watersheds to benefit both wildlife and people.

Learn more about fish passage
projects being used for federal or state compensatory mitigation or required by existing federal or state regulatory programs are not eligible for funding through the National Fish Passage Program.) 


200 Million Dollar Investment in Rivers, Wildlife, and Communities

Clean free-flowing waterways are vital to wildlife, people, and ecosystems. But across the country, millions of barriers fragment rivers, block fish migration, and put communities at higher risk to flooding. The  Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) is a once-in-a-generation investment in the nation’s infrastructure and economic competitiveness. We were directly appropriated $455 million over five years in BIL funds for programs related to the President’s America the Beautiful initiative.

Learn more about Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
 , signed in November 2021, included $200 million for restoring fish and wildlife passage by removing in-stream barriers and providing technical assistance under the National Fish Passage Program. 


A person is walks through a large wide culvert that passes under a gravel road. A small river runs through the culvert.
Across the country, millions of barriers are fragmenting rivers, blocking fish migration, and putting communities at higher risk to flooding. Improving fish passage is one of the most effective ways to help conserve vulnerable species while building safer infrastructure for communities and...