USGS study finds waterways have high levels of neonicotinoid in Iowa, Midwest


Nick Fetty | July 24, 2014
The Raccoon River near Water Works Park in Des Moines. Photo by Carl Wycoff; Flickr
The Raccoon River near Water Works Park in Des Moines.
Photo by Carl Wycoff; Flickr

A new study by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) finds that waterways in Iowa and other parts of the Midwest are experiencing particularly high levels of an insecticide known as neonicotinoid.

Farmers and gardeners use neonicotinoids – or neonics – because their effectiveness against a whole range of pests. However, the insecticide has been linked to decreased bee populations as well as a fall in the number of certain prairie bird species.

Neonics – which are chemically similar to nicotine – disolve in water quickly which means they’re susceptible to running off fields and polluting rivers, streams, and other waterways. A 2013 Dutch report found that imidacloprid – one of the chemicals in neonicotinoid – had harmful effects on “a wide range of non-target species.” Similarly, a 2014 Canadian study found neonics to be detrimental on wetland ecosystems.

The use of clothianidin – another chemical found in neonicotinoid – on corn in Iowa nearly doubled from 2011 to 2013. In 2013 the Iowa DNR released a 114-page report examining polluted waterways throughout the state.

Garner nets EPA grant for Sewer Upgrades


Photo by Carl Wycoff, licensed for reuse on Flickr

Thanks to a $485,000 grant from the Environmental Projection Agency, the North Central Iowa town of Garner will complete a much-needed upgrade to its sewer system by Spring of 2011, according to an EPA release.

The project includes replacing undersized sanitary sewers and rehabilitating existing manholes. An existing 12-inch sanitary sewer will be replaced with 2,650 feet of new 24-inch sewer pipe.

With a population of about 3,000, Garner is one of hundreds of small communities in Iowa that have outmoded sewer systems or lack a system entirely, according to a 2005 Iowa Policy Project Report.

That prospect poses dangers to Iowa’s environment and public health, leaving some waste to drain into Iowa’s waters.  Continue reading