DNR begins locally led water quality project

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is employing volunteer “citizen scientists” to monitor water quality. The efforts will be locally-led, delegated from a position that used to exist within the DNR.

Katelyn Weisbrod | July 27, 2017

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has launched a new water quality monitoring program led by local volunteers in communities around the state.

This announcement comes just weeks after the DNR announced several cutbacks as a result of budgetary shortfalls.

Volunteer water quality programs have existed in the DNR since 1998, but the new program focuses more on the local leadership. The old program has been without a coordinator for some time now, and its database has not been updated in two years. The new program aims to delegate the leadership to local leaders, and to keep data in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Quality Exchange.

“Volunteer water monitoring is best able to inform local water quality goals if the decision-making and coordination is locally led,” said Steve Konrady with the DNR’s Water Quality Bureau in a press release. “We can help interested communities, watersheds, counties, and regions get started and have an opportunity to take ownership and derive more value from their locally led volunteer water monitoring programs.”

Those interested in participating as “citizen scientists” can get involved on the DNR website.

“It’s pretty simple in the end. If you’ve ever done … a pH test strip, that’s about as hard-core as it gets for the water-quality tests that we do,” Konrady said to The Daily Iowan.

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