Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has donated $500,000 to help fund improvements at Birdland Marina as part of the Iowa Confluence Water Trails initiative. The Great Outdoors Foundation announced the Wellmark investment on Thursday. The company’s contribution will activate a canoe and kayak launch as part of the ICON Water Trails improvements at the marina, and will happen in conjunction with the city of Des Moines’ master plan. The plan is projected to move forward during early summer 2023, and when complete it will serve as the main put-in location for the future downtown whitewater course, according to a news release. ICON Water Trails will connect more than 80 improvements along 150 miles of waterways in Central Iowa. The $125 million initiative is a regional collaboration among a dozen local government partners working with the private sector. A capital campaign is more than 75% complete, with about $26 million already raised. Maggie McClelland, ICON Water Trails director, said accessibility is at the heart of the initiative. “Wellmark’s investment is another demonstration of the value this community places on making our waterways available, approachable and usable for everyone,” she said in the release. Cory Harris, Wellmark president and CEO, said the company is “excited to partner with the ICON board of directors and the countless community leaders working together to make this transformative project a reality.”