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The Iowa Grotto

Iowa Chapter of
the National Speleological Society

The Iowa Grotto is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to
the exploration, preservation, and study of Iowa caves since 1949.

Click here to learn more about the National Spelelogical Society, the parent organization of the Iowa Grotto.

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The Coldwater Cave Project

The Coldwater Cave Project has been exploring and mapping Coldwater Cave, and other related caves in Winneshiek County, Iowa, since 1976. The project is open to all cavers who are interested in participating in the ongoing survey and study of Coldwater Cave and other caves in the county. To date over 17 miles of cave passages have been explored and mapped in the Coldwater Cave System.

In addition to exploration and survey, project work includes resources inventory, photo documentation and photo monitoring, restoration/conservation activities, and support of research in the main system and other related caves in the area. Project trips occur on the third weekend of every month. Work conducted includes survey, photo documentation, restoration and research support. For additional information on the Coldwater Cave Project, please click on the link below.

The Coldwater Cave Project

The Iowa Small Caves Survey Project

In cooperation with private landowners and public land managers, members and friends of the Iowa Grotto have methodically documented Iowa cave and karst features for the past 55 years. The Iowa Small Caves Survey Project has successfully mapped over 950 caves across the State and continues to survey 50 to 100 caves each year, applying contemporary survey standards to all of Iowa.

The shared commitment to update older cave maps (some dating back to the 1950s) has also been met with resurvey efforts designed to update cartographic views with more detailed information. Survey and leadchecking trips go out regularly. Those interested in learning more about this and other ongoing efforts are encouraged to contact the Iowa Grotto.

Small Caves Survey Project Graph

The Iowa Biospeleological Survey Project

As part of the Iowa Small Caves Survey Project notes were made on animals observed in the caves surveyed. In 2010 this was expanded into the Iowa Biospeleological Survey Project with organized surveys for bats. Today observations are recorded for all organisms observed in Iowa caves. Although many small organisms (e.g., mites, insects, etc.) can not be identified to species, recording observations of these organisms provides a source of baseline data for Iowa's understudied cavernicolous fauna.

Other Projects

Many additional cave-related projects are currently in progress. Please contact the Iowa Grotto for more information. For contact information please click on the Contact Us link in the menu at the top of the page.

Copyright © 2005. The Iowa Grotto, P.O. Box 228, Iowa City, Iowa 52244, All rights reserved.
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