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There are 6 beach advisories for the week of 7/1

6 Beaches with an E. coli-related Advisory:
Backbone Beach (Dundee, Delaware County, IA)*
Beed’s Lake Beach (Hampton, Franklin County, IA)*
Black Hawk Beach (Lake View, Sac County, IA)*
Lake Darling Beach (Brighton, Washington County, IA)*
Lewis and Clark (Blue Lake) Beach (Onawa, Monona County, IA)*
Lower Pine Lake Beach (Eldora, Hardin County, IA)*

*Data from the Iowa DNR State Park Beach Monitoring Program **Data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District


How One Person's Passion Can Inspire Others to Advocacy and Action

This issue, we share a story from IEC Communications Coordinator, Megan McDowell. She shares her thoughts after attending the Living Lands & Waters Barge Party in the Quad Cities. LL&W celebrated 25 years of cleaning up the water and land. It was a time to celebrate the hard work, dedication, and passion for a mission that has expanded from the shores of Iowa to waterways around the globe.

When Water Program Director Ingrid Gronstal and I went to the Quad Cities in August 2021 to table at Floatzilla, an event hosted by Quad-Cities' based organization River Action, people kept asking us if we had heard about Living Lands & Waters, if we knew who Chad Pregracke was, or if we knew about the Bison Bridge project. You could tell those folks in the area were really proud of Chad, his achievements, and the organization.  

After reaching out to LL&W to learn more, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the annual Living Lands & Waters Barge Party on June 16, which celebrated 25 years of cleaning up America’s rivers. I was rewarded with meeting awesome volunteers and amazing staff pulling off one fantastic party at Schweibert Park in Rock Island, IL. 

The event was well attended, the food was tasty, and the number of items in the silent auction was impressive. The band was lively, as was the crowd. As I explored the area, taking a self-guided tour of the barge where the crew and volunteers live during river clean ups, I overheard many people talking about how they know Chad and how long they’ve known him.  

IEC hosted Chad as the keynote speaker at our 2015 conference, Elevate: Creating an Environment of Action. Back then, his notable stats included 800 cleanups on 23 rivers in 20 states, removing an estimated eight million pounds of garbage. Now, Living Lands & Waters’ website cites an incredible 12,663,579 pounds of trash have been removed! 

Not only does LL&W coordinate cleanup efforts on major rivers around the U.S., it also hosts educational tours and workshops aboard its barge, leads tree planting efforts through their MillionTrees Project, and encourages people to be river stewards with the Adopt-a-River Mile program. Throughout the lifetime of the organization, volunteers have removed invasive species, and continue to do so on a special project in Illinois; during floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes have provided a variety of relief efforts. 


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Register now for IEC's Lakeshore Party in Storm Lake!

Do you live in, near, or want to have a reason to visit Storm Lake? Then join us for our Lakeshore Party in Storm Lake at Sunrise Park Shelter from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 9 for games and camaraderie by the lake. We'll have bocce, giant Jenga, kid-friendly activities, and more! You'll learn more about our recreation-focused program, Iowa Water Watch, and how to join and support our community of recreation enthusiasts.

Registration is free but there is an option to partake in hosted food and beverages starting at 5 p.m. for a minimum $10 donation. All donations go to support the work of IEC's Clean Water and Land Stewardship program. You have the option to donate with your online registration or at the event. Please RSVP by July 7 here

Help us spread the word about this event by sharing this with anyone you know who also might live in, near, or want to have a reason to visit Storm Lake! Thank you for everything you do to support our work!


Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Funding Opportunities

With the passing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) in late 2021, Iowa is set to receive $110 million annually from 2022 to 2026 which will support clean water and drinking water infrastructure improvements across our state. This includes $45 million annually for lead service line replacement. 

Last week, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) hosted two public webinar sessions to get feedback from Iowans on the implementation plans for this funding. DNR staff discussed Iowa's BIL allocations, proposed project funding opportunities, a proposed new 'Disadvantaged Community' definition, and proposed loan forgiveness eligibility criteria and allocation formula. The presentations from the webinars have been posted online.

DNR will take written comments and questions through July 8 about the BIL implementation plans at water-infrastructure@dnr.iowa.gov. We encourage you to share your thoughts on how Iowa should target these dollars to critical needs and communities.

New Report Highlights Need for Restoration & Resilience Along Upper Mississippi River

Earlier this week, a group of researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, Army Corps of Engineers, and other groups published its third status and trends assessment of the Upper Mississippi River System.

The group, called the Upper Mississippi River Restoration (UMRR) program, synthesized 25 years of long-term science to explore what is driving changes to the overall watershed.

The Audubon Society shares how the biggest takeaway from this report is the critical need to focus on both adapting to and reducing the severity of climate change. We are seeing long-term increases in water moving through the river system, which has significant implications for both habitat loss and threats to local communities living near waterways.

High Nitrate This Spring: Where and Why

Differences in land use, soils, topography, and farming practices make for strong regional differences in water quality. Across the state though, we are seeing high nitrate levels in rivers and streams. Des Moines Water Works was forced to use their nitrate removal system for the first time in five years. Prairie Rivers of Iowa's spring snapshot found high nitrate concentrations in streams across Story County. For some streams like the North Raccoon River, high nitrate levels are a return to normal. For some streams, like the Cedar River, current conditions are unusual. 

Meanwhile, Northwest Iowa is still suffering from drought, and that means the Floyd River near Sioux City (which usually has some of the highest nitrate concentrations in the state) is barely flowing and has very low nitrate concentrations. How is this all related?

Read and compare drought maps and charts from Prairie Rivers of Iowa to learn more about how water levels impact nitrate levels in Iowa's waters.  


Share Your Summer with IEC on Instagram

Follow us at @iowawaterwatch

Check out Iowa Water Watch on Instagram and give us a follow. Tag us on your photos using @iowawaterwatch and the #iowawaterwatch hashtag, so we can feature your photos throughout the summer with other readers.

Photo by @ronster_j

Photo by @jenna.peter.photos


What's New in Iowa's Water News

Upcoming Water Events

• Sunset Paddle - Easter Lake, Des Moines - July 2
Terrific Turtles - Central Park, Jones Co. - July 2
• Paddle and Pick Up - Gray's Lake, Des Moines - July 2
Canoeing Skills Training - Boy Scouts Camp Wakonda, Central City - July 2
• Water Ski Show - River Front Park, Bellevue - July 3
• Kids Fishing Derby - Wickiup Hill Learning Center, Linn Co. - July 4
Open Canoe - Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center, Woodbury Co. - July 5
IEC's Lakeshore Party - Storm Lake - July 9
Self Rescue Training - Deep Lakes Park, Muscatine - July 9
• Intro to Stand Up Paddleboarding - Gray's Lake, Des Moines - July 9
Iowa Project AWARE - West Fork of Des Moines River - July 10-15
• Recreation Renegades - Lime Creek Nature Center, Mason City - July 11
• Des Moines River Paddle - Austin Park, Keosauqua - July 16


Follow Us

Iowa Environmental Council
505 Fifth Ave., Suite 850 
 Des Moines, Iowa 50309-2317
515-244-1194 | iecmail@iaenvironment.org

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