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  • DNR releases draft 2018 impaired waters list, open for public comment

    MEDIA CONTACT: Roger Bruner, DNR Supervisor of Monitoring and Assessment Section, Roger.Bruner@dnr.iowa.gov.

    DES MOINES — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on the newly released draft impaired waters list. Data released by the Iowa DNR today shows 27 impairments are recommended to be removed from the 2018 impaired list, once approved by the EPA.

    This report identifies surface waters that do not fully meet all applicable state water quality standards for their intended use and that need a water quality improvement plan. Of the 1,421 water segments studied, which include portions of rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, and wetlands, 363 segments fully met the Iowa water quality standards for their intended use, while 523 segments were identified as waters in need of further investigation and 767 segments did not fully meet the standards needed for their intended use and were impaired.

    “An increase or decrease in impaired waters does not necessarily mean that the water quality in the state is worsening or improving. It often is a reflection of the additional monitoring we are conducting, changes in water quality standards, and changes in assessment methodologies,” said Roger Bruner, supervisor of the DNR’s Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment section. “Impaired segments are often used for recreation and fishing, among other uses, so impairment doesn’t mean that the segments are unusable or that they necessarily will cause illnesses.” 

    3-Step Process for Impaired Waters Study

    The DNR uses fixed station river monitoring, lake monitoring and beach monitoring, wadeable stream biological monitoring, fish tissue monitoring and wetland/shallow lakes monitoring. Several other data are also analyzed before determining whether a water segment does or does not meet the requirements like the Iowa DNR’s Fish Kill Database, along with federal (Army Corps of Engineers and US Geological Survey) and municipal (drinking water supplies) data and surrounding states’ data. 

    The department’s process is to compile all available credible data in the correct time frame. The data is then pulled together into a common format. Then the individual results are compared to the appropriate criteria. The assessment for each segment is a compilation of all these results (2,435 assessments in this report). 

    All Iowa waters are designated for both aquatic life protection and water contact recreation. Others also may include one or both designations for drinking water and human health protection. 

    “The DNR has a long history of working with Iowans across the state to help address our water quality challenges,” said Adam Schnieders, acting DNR Water Quality Bureau Chief. “The importance of this collective, persistent work is clear and will continue to be a priority for the DNR.”

    Public comment is welcomed now through December 28, 2019 and should be sent to:

    Iowa Department of Natural Resources
    Attn: Dan KendallWater Quality Monitoring & Assessment Section
    Wallace State Office Building
    502 East 9th Street
    Des Moines, Iowa 50319

    For more information, click here:

    https://www.iowadnr.gov/About-DNR/DNR-News-Releases/ArticleID/2731/DNR-releases-draft-2018-impaired-waters-list-open-for-public-comment

  • Jefferson County Conservation and Iowa DNR Water Trails Events

    Birmingham, with the State Hygienic Laboratory, allows participants to carefully touch
    or closely investigate the fish from the river.

    With Bike Van Buren drawing people to Van Buren County, Jefferson County Conservation and the DNR Water Trails planned two additional programs to enhance the weekend. On Friday, August 16th the Full Moon Float was held at Lacey-Keosauqua State Park on the lake. Saturday morning, August 17th was the Aquatic Life of the River program at the Boat Ramp at Bonaparte along the Des Moines River.

    Naturalist, Brittney Tiller led the Full Moon Float as she discussed the stories of the night sky. The sky was overall cloudy but there were enough breaks in the clouds to see several different constellations. Nineteen people attended the paddle with an even mix of kayaks and canoes. Tiller led participants across the lake, stopping several times. With each stop, participants heard stories of various constellations, stars, and planets.  Participants were able to see the Big Dipper, Cassiopeia, and Jupiter. Tiller shared stories of the constellations even though they were not able to be seen through the clouds.   The stories behind the constellations spanned several thousand years and many different cultures. Participants were held captive by the oral history of the stars, much like the people groups who created the stories or the nations that once called the Des Moines River home.

    The following morning, Mike Birmingham and his team from the State Hygienic Lab brought their equipment to sample the river. They used various techniques to sample the river, but the most exciting was the electroshocking boat. While using this boat, they were able to net several different fish species such as flathead catfish, walleye, bigmouth buffalo, smallmouth buffalo, quillback, shortnose gar and sturgeon. After shocking the river, the boat returned to shore to allow participants an up-close view of the fish. Over forty participants were able to watch from the boat ramp as Mike brought up the different species of fish. Participants from various ages, locations, and backgrounds all attended the program.

    Overall both programs were successful at educating the public on two different topics both while getting people outside.

    Article provided by Jefferson County Conservation