DNR requesting input from ag producers on water quality plans

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking producer input on water quality improvement plans being developed for 16 lakes, rivers, or streams in 2005. The two largest watersheds for which plans are being prepared are the Cedar River in east-central Iowa and the Big Sioux River in northwest Iowa.

Water monitoring on the Cedar River shows elevated nitrate levels exceeding the drinking water standard of 10 milligrams per liter (mg/l). Monitoring of the Big Sioux River shows high numbers of bacteria coming into the river from the watershed.

Producers and other members of the public are encouraged to comment at the following informational meetings. These meetings are also an opportunity for local citizens and groups to share information and data they may have regarding the Cedar and Big Sioux rivers.

Meetings scheduled for the Cedar River

  • Monday, June 6, 10 a.m., Hawkeye Community College, 106 Tama Hall, Waterloo
  • Monday, June 6, 2 p.m., Kirkwood Community College, Amana Room-Iowa Hall, Cedar Rapids
  • Tuesday, June 7, 2 p.m., Charles City Public Library, Charles City

Meetings scheduled for the Big Sioux River

  • Friday, June 17, 1:30 p.m., West Lyon Community School, Vocational Agriculture Classroom, Inwood
  • Tuesday, June 21, 1:30 p.m., Farmers Cooperative Meeting Room, Sioux Center
  • Tuesday, June 21, 7:30 p.m., Hawarden Community Center, Hawarden

Additional meetings will be scheduled for the other 14 water quality plans being developed.

Look for details in local newspapers or contact the DNR at (515) 242-6149 for the latest meeting notices. Or check the DNR website.

Algal growth

Algae overtakes an Iowa lake. (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service)

Figure 1 shows the locations of impaired waters with water quality plans scheduled to be developed in 2005-2006. With agricultural land making up more than 90 percent of the Iowa landscape, it's not surprising that agriculture plays a major role in affecting our waters. Table 1 lists the identified water bodies and their impairment.

Water quality plans are developed as part of the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) process. One step in developing a TMDL is to determine the amount of pollutant(s) a waterbody can have before violating a water quality standard or limit. Public input and participation are needed to solve problems that have been identified in the watershed.

Iowa water bodies scheduled for TMDL

Figure 1. Iowa waterbodies scheduled for Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) development, 2005-2006

Table 1. Iowa waterbodies scheduled for Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) development, 2005-2006

Map ID

Year Waterbody Name Impairment
1 2005 Beeds Lake indicator bacteria
2 2005 Big Sioux River indicator bacteria
3 2005 Black Hawk Creek indicator bacteria
4 2005 Camp Creek biological
5 2005 Cedar River nitrate
6 2005 Iowa River indicator bacteria
7 2005 Little Wall Lake algae, turbidity
8 2005 Littlefield Lake algae, turbidity
9 2005 Maquoketa River indicator bacteria
10 2005 N. Fork Maquoketa biological
11 2005 Ottumwa Lagoon algae, chlordane, turbidity
12 2005 Silver Lake algae, turbidity
13 2005 Spring Lake turbidity
14 2005 Trumbull Lake algae, turbidity
15 2005 Volga River indicator bacteria
16 2005 Williamson Pond turbidity
17 2006 Carter Lake algae, indicator bacteria, PCBs
18 2006 Des Moines River indicator bacteria
19 2006 Des Moines River nitrate
20 2006 E. Fork Des Moines indicator bacteria
21 2006 Mississippi River arsenic
22 2006 North Raccoon River indicator bacteria, biological
23 2006 North Raccoon River indicator bacteria
24 2006 Raccoon River copper, indicator bacteria, nitrate

This article originally appeared on pages 90-91 of the IC-494(10) -- May 16, 2005 issue.

Updated 05/15/2005 - 1:00pm