Water levels reach historic lows at Saylorville Lake

Photo by Rastoney, Flickr.
Photo by Rastoney, Flickr.

Continuous drought conditions have reduced Saylorville Lake to its lowest recorded levels since 1989.

According to the Army Corps of Engineers’ website, the lake is currently at 832.19 feet – just below the 1989 record of 832.23 feet.

For more information, read the full article at the Des Moines Register.

Iowans to clean up Raccoon River this weekend

Photo by Jason Mrachina, Flickr

The Raccoon River will be getting a makeover on Saturday, thanks to the River Run Garbage Grab.

The annual event, which is sponsored by the DNR and City of Des Moines, allows volunteers to pick up litter from the river itself or on the surrounding trails.  Volunteers will walk or row from Saylorville down to Yellow Banks Park.  They’re welcoming hikers, bikers, canoers, rowers and people of all kinds to help.

The event starts at 9 a.m. with a post clean-up celebration for all volunteers starting at 6 p.m.

Visit riverstewards.org for more information or to register for the event.

Iowa’s rising flood risk

The Iowa River. Photo by Jim Malewitz

Thanks to changes in Iowa’s weather patterns, landscape, cities and farms, some of the state’s most trusted flood prevention safeguards outmoded and inadequate, a review by The Des Moines Register shows.

That includes the state’s system of dams – including Saylorville upstream from Des Moines – which were designed to meet climate conditions and a lay of the land that some scientists say haven’t existed for decades.

That leaves Iowans, their homes and their businesses increasingly at risk for the sort of devastating floods that ravaged the state in 1993, 2008 and again last year, causing damage in the billions of dollars.

The Register report details much of what we have reported here – like that rainfall in Iowa has increased in frequency and intensity and that man-made changes to the landscape lead to increased runoff and streamflows.  Continue reading