Driftless program adds first Iowa staffer

Cameron Aker has joined the Driftless Area Restoration Effort team as the engagement coordinator in Iowa.

Cameron Aker joins team as Iowa engagement coordinator

As the Iowa Driftless Engagement Coordinator for Trout Unlimited, Cameron Aker helps connect growers, landowners, anglers, volunteer groups, and government agencies to help restore the cold-water habitats of Iowa.  

Cameron has spent the past 17 years of his career in the Ag Industry, where he worked with growers, researchers, and other partners to help identify and implement solutions for growers.  

Much of his work has been in ag research, where he focused on various input effects on crop performances as well as cropping systems. In these roles, Cameron managed projects between partners and the budgets and deliverables between them.  

Cameron is originally from west central Indiana, where he gained his love for the outdoors. After moving to Iowa in 2016, he began fly fishing, which has quickly become an obsession. Cameron is a member of many conservation focused groups, including Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and Hawkeye Fly Fishing Association.  

Cameron and his wife Vivian live in Ames, Iowa. They enjoy hiking, canoeing, camping, and many trips to the beautiful Driftless Region of Iowa together. Cameron also enjoys hunting, fly fishing, and fly tying, whenever possible.  

Cameron started with TUDARE in mid-April and has already been connecting Trout Unlimited with many partner groups and visiting potential project sites with landowners. Cameron has also been working with the Iowa Trout Unlimited Chapters to build momentum with the Wise H2O project on water quality and listening to concerns and ideas around member engagement.  

The Driftless Area Restoration Effort team is also thrilled that this year’s Jeremy Brooks Memorial Internship recipient, Kyle Kamm, will begin in early June and will conduct habitat work, river and stream assessments and culvert inventories from St. Croix County in Wisconsin.  

Finally, we have hired returning summer field crew leaders Maggie Dremsa and Ernie Luedke to lead our culvert inventory work across Wisconsin’s Driftless. We are also engaging some volunteers and two Iowa DNR seasonal technicians in this work to help us assess stream fragmentation across the Driftless.   

By Mark Taylor. A native of rural southern Oregon, Mark Taylor has lived in Virginia since serving a stint as a ship-based naval officer in Norfolk. He joined the TU staff in 2014 after a 20-year run as a newspaper journalist, the final 16 as the outdoors editor of the Roanoke Times. A graduate of Northwestern University, he lives in Roanoke with his wife and, when they're home from college, his twin daughters.