On The Radio – Majority of Iowa waterways exceeded nitrate levels after May rains


Data from the Iowa Water Quality Information System
Data from the Iowa Water Quality Information System
Nick Fetty | May 30, 2016

This week’s On The Radio segment discusses high nitrate levels detected in Iowa waterways after heavy precipitation in early May.

Transcript: Majority of Iowa waterways exceeded nitrate levels after May rains

Data from the Iowa Water Quality Information System showed that more than half of Iowa’s waterways being monitored exceeded the nitrate threshold for drinking water after a week of heavy rains in early May.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Weeks of warm spring temperatures followed by consistent rain throughout the state may have contributed to a spike in nitrate in Iowa’s waterways. The nitrate was washed out of fields where it had previously been applied in fertilizers, either as part of the planting process or in the form of anhydrous ammonia in the fall. Nitrate is a pollutant that must be removed at water treatment plants before water can be suitable for drinking, sometimes at great cost to the plants.

For more information about the Iowa Water Quality Information System and a useful tutorial on the program, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research, I’m Betsy Stone.

On The Radio – New online tool provides users with data for Iowa’s streams and rivers


An icy section of the Raccoon River near Columbus Park in Des Moines. (Michael Leland/Flickr)
An icy section of the Raccoon River near Columbus Park in Des Moines. (Michael Leland/Flickr)
Nick Fetty | February 15, 2016

This week’s On The Radio segment looks at a new interactive tool created by researchers at the University of Iowa that allows users to access data about Iowa’s streams and rivers.

Transcript: New online tool provides users with data for Iowa’s streams and rivers

An innovative tool developed by scientists at the University of Iowa will give Iowans a wealth of easily accessible water quality information.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

The Iowa Water Quality Information System, or IWQIS (“eye-kwis”), is a web-based tool that offers access to real time water quality information including nutrient data, flow rates, and water temperatures for Iowa’s streams and rivers. IWQIS uses data from sensors deployed by IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering at the University of Iowa and the United States Geological Survey along most streams and rivers in the state. This information is available in an interactive map that’s accessible on any web browser.

By helping Iowans understand the transport of nutrients in the state’s waterways, IWQIS is a valuable tool to help policy makers evaluate the success of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Users can easily see the total amount of nutrients being carried along a waterway at a certain time and compare those levels to previous years.

For more information about IWQIS and a tutorial on how to use the site, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research, I’m Betsy Stone.