Water Quality Resources
Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy - Aiming to Improve Water Quality
Nutrient pollution threatens our drinking water supply, diminishes water quality in lakes and streams, increases algal blooms that can cause beach advisories, decreases housing values, and diminishes enjoyment for residents and visitors. Learn more about the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy efforts to improve water quality in Iowa.
Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy - Frequently Asked Questions
The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is focused on reducing nitrogen and phosphorus in Iowa waters. Farmers, landowners, municipalities, agencies, conservation organizations and everyday Iowans are collaborating to make changes to help meet nutrient reduction goals. This publication addresses some frequently asked questions regarding the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
A Closer Look: Harmful Algal Blooms
What are algea? They’re not plants. They’re not animals. They’re simple aquatic organisms that are most often found atop ponds, lakes, and still water in Iowa. When conditions are right, algae will “bloom” or rapidly replicate. Not all algae are harmful, but the most common harmful algal blooms in Iowa are comprised of blue-green algae—also known as cyanobacteria.
A Closer Look: What Drives Conservation Decisions in Iowa?
Iowa’s fertile soil has helped the state become a global agricultural leader. However, that same soil and the fertilizers used to boost crop production contribute to water quality challenges when nitrogen and phosphorus leave through drainage, runoff and erosion. The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy set statewide goals for reducing nutrient losses through a variety of practices.
A Closer Look: Iowa Farmland Ownership and Water Quality
Nearly 75% of Iowa’s landscape is farmland. This rich, fertile soil has helped Iowa become an agricultural leader in corn, soybeans, eggs and pork production. However, soil amendments that boost production and livestock waste contribute to water quality challenges when nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus leave the farmland. Land management and conservation practices utilized by farmers and landowners play a key role in improving water quality by reducing loss of nutrients to waterways.
A Closer Look: Stream Delivery of Nitrogen and Phosphorus
The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy identified the delivery of nutrients to water bodies by point sources and nonpoint sources. Point sources, like wastewater treatment plants, industry and urban areas, contribute 8% of the nitrogen and 20% of the phosphorus to the stream. The remaining 92% of nitrogen and 80% of phosphorus delivery comes from nonpoint sources like agricultural land. This illustration shows the relative stream delivery of nitrogen and phosphorus from each source, with the arrows sized proportionally.
Drinking Water Resources
Where does your drinking water come from?
Two new infographics from the Conservation Learning Group take a closer look at that question and how nitrogen and phosphorus move on our landscape.
A Closer Look: Drinking Water - Source to Tap
This publication was produced by the Conservation Learning Group and is based upon research conducted at Iowa State University under USDA NIFA award number 2014-51130-22494. The full project report, Economic Benefits of Nitrogen Reductions in Iowa (Chuan Tang, Gabriel E. Lade, David Keiser, Catherine Kling, Yongjie Ji, and Yau-Huo Shr).
A Closer Look: How Does Nitrogen and Phosphorus Move?
This publication was produced by the Conservation Learning Group and is based upon Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy, work done by Iowa Learning Farms and research conducted at Iowa State University under USDA NIFA award number 2014-51130-22494.
Water Quality Matters To Us All
Water Quality Matters To Us All provides insight into the attitudes and practices of agencies and stakeholders involved in protecting Iowa's water quality. Based on listening sessions between 2008-2011 with farmers, urban residents, Soil and Water Conservation District commissioners, and field staff from Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the book details the institutional, community, and individual impediments towards water conservation and curtailing nonpoint source pollution.
Download a PDF of Water Quality Matters To Us All here.