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There are 9 beach advisories for the week of 7/29

9 Beaches with an E. coli-related Advisory:
Backbone Beach (Dundee, Delaware County, IA)*
Big Creek Beach (Polk City, Polk County, IA)*
Emerson Bay Beach (West Okoboji Lake, Milford, Dickinson County, IA)*
George Wyth Beach (Waterloo, Black Hawk County, IA)*
Lake Darling Beach (Brighton, Washington County, IA)*
Lake Keomah Beach (Oskaloosa, Mahaska County, IA)*

Lake of Three Fires Beach (Bedford, Taylor County, IA)*
Lower Pine Lake Beach (Eldora, Hardin County, IA)*

Prairie Rose Beach (Harlan, Shelby County, IA)*

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

Note: The shallow area adjacent to the shore at West Overlook Beach at Coralville Lake has high concentrations of E. coli. While the result of the composite test of West Overlook Beach was below the advisory threshold, USACE officials advise caution at the shallow areas of West Overlook Beach close to the shore, as those areas are generally where young children who are more vulnerable to E. coli play.

Lake of Three Fires is now open. The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, Iowa DNR, and the CDC have confirmed the presence of Naegleria fowleri in Lake of Three Fires. HHS and DNR recommend that Iowans assume the amoeba is present and take precautions to limit the amount of water going up recreationists noses. Read the full press release.

County and City Beach Advisories:
IEC is now receiving some city and county beach advisory information.
View the map on our website for city and county beaches that exceed the state's advisory threshold for E. coli.

What to know about the "Brain-Eating Amoeba", Naegleria fowleri

A cytospin of fixed CSF showing a Naegleria fowleri trophozoite (arrow). Magnification: 1000x.
Photo credit: cdc.gov

Lake of Three Fires Beach 7-18-22

Following the death of a Missourian infected after swimming in the Lake of Three Fires last month, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Iowa Health and Human Services, and the Iowa DNR confirmed the presence of Naegleria fowleri, or the “brain-eating amoeba,” in the Lake of Three Fires this week. This is the first death caused by the amoeba that has been linked to an Iowa waterway. Naturally, this news has been raising alarms for recreational water users across the state. 

But what are the risks to Iowans? Naegleria is a genus of amoeba (single-celled organisms) commonly found in warm freshwater and soil. Only one species of Naegleria infects people: Naegleria fowleri

Naegleria fowleri is found around the world. In the United States, the majority of infections have occurred in the freshwaters of southern states but, more recently, cases have begun occurring in more northern states, likely due to rising water temperatures associated with climate change. 

The amoeba grows best in warm freshwater between 80 and 115 degrees. In the area near Lake of Three Fires State Park, a weather station recorded high temperatures of around 95 degrees on two consecutive days over the July 4 holiday when it’s believed the swimmer contracted the amoeba. 


Tire Trash Treasure Phenomenon 

This year, Iowa Project AWARE covered the West Fork of the Des Moines River for its annual volunteer clean up event July 10th through the 15th. An average of 200 volunteers paddled the river and hauled out trash for just over four days. In this issue, our guest blogger, and Trash Warrior, Laura Semken documented the event and shares her daily account of the clean up. She shares the smiling faces and power of people coming together united in a purpose to help clean up Iowa's environment.

I have made a discovery. One of universal joy for an unusual subset of people. It rolls like this: find tire, extract tire, smile with tire, celebrate, go find another tire. I have a complicated relationship with tires. Apparently, I am not the only one. Welcome to Iowa Project AWARE: A Watershed Awareness River Expedition.

Iowa Project AWARE just hit the West Fork of the Des Moines River July 10-15: 4.5 days cleaning 61.4 river miles from the Petersburg Access in Minnesota to the River Runner Access in West Bend, Iowa. An average of 200 paddlers spent 6 hours a day enjoying the water that brings life to the people and the land.  200 people x 6 hours = 1200 hours a day cleaning up the river!!!!! Multiply that by 4.5 days and the whopping 5,400 hours of labor and love lifts our hearts like a tire trapped in a log jam that suddenly pops up after being danced upon by a determined tire trash treasure seeker. In addition to that effort, there’s the "staff" volunteers in orange shirts that work the ramp, the sorting, the hauling, the lifting, the feeding, the registration, the education programs each night, and the safety briefs every morning. In this giant community of love for our rivers, the grandest most beautiful gift of all is the children growing up surrounded by this outpouring of generosity. These children are being carefully trained to wrangle tires, corral refrigerators and pry debris all from the river.

The elusive tire trash treasure smiles from Raina Henze and Francesca Dalla Betta. Photo by John Wenck.

Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa plus Green Iowa Americorps volunteered as staff. Back left to right: Blake Eilers, Ben Brehm Stecher, Francesca Dalla Betta, Raina Henze, James Partridge III, Maren Cooper. In front: Natalie Schwarz


Mark your calendar - Iowa Gives Green is next Wednesday!

Close to 30 environmental and conservation non-profits in Iowa will participate in the second annual Iowa Gives Green on August 3, a day of giving for organizations and causes focused on improving and protecting Iowa's environment. Iowans donated more than $25,000 to participating groups in 2021. You can choose to support The Iowa Environmental Council and many others. Visit iowagivesgreen.org to see the full list of coalition partners and make your plans to give generously!


Practical Farmers of Iowa launches a Landowner Coaching Program

Do you, or anyone you know, own farm land in the Raccoon or Des Moines River Watersheds? Practical Farmers of Iowa and partners launched a pilot program that could hold the key to cleaner water in those rivers, lakes, and streams. 

Engaged land ownership is a critical element of implementing lasting change on our land. Many non-operating landowners understand the importance of farm productivity, soil heath and water quality, but may need advice on how to make changes on their farm.

Landowner participants will meet with a professional farm manager for a  free, virtual meeting with to discuss  details and ask specific questions about their farm. Interested farm owners can sign up here.


Use the early bird discount by 7/31 for WSFF and get a free preview film

IEC is hosting our first in-person Wild & Scenic Film Festival at the Palms Theater in Waukee on Sunday, September 11. We'll have a slate of great environmentally focused films, such as A River Reborn and Ghost Ponds, a live panel during the intermission, and all your favorite movie snacks!

Get your tickets by July 31 using code WSFF2022 to save 10% off your ticket price, and as a thank you, you'll receive a link to a free bonus virtual film, "My Garden of a Thousand Bees" when you register. This film has been made available for viewing thanks to the support of HHMI's Tangled Bank Studios, a WSFF National Partner. Don't wait, space in the theater is limited, so get your tickets early to ensure you've got a seat. 


IEC report makes recommendations for improved water quality monitoring 

IEC published a report this month outlining the nearly $100 million in public tax dollars allocated by Iowa legislators since 2013 for water quality improvements for Iowa through the Water Quality Initiative (WQI) to help fund the state's implementation of the Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS). 

Yet the projects receiving funding are not appropriately monitored for outcomes or improvements in the water they are designed to treat. This report makes recommendations to improve water quality monitoring and accountability for outcomes through WQI efforts. IEC is calling on state leaders and those involved with implementing and reporting on the NRS to improve monitoring and make data publicly available.


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 @pgaumer

Photo by @theessentialfarmwife


What's new in Iowa's water news:

Upcoming water events:

• Canoe/Kayak the Shell Rock River - Wunsch Memorial Park, Butler Co. - July 30
Blue Water Bash - West Okoboji Lake, Dickinson Co. - July 30
Clear Lake Iowa Paddlefest - State Park Beach, Clear Lake - July 30
Riverside Stones & Bones - Old Town Park, Macedonia - July 30
Urban Outdoors Summer Series - Hartman Reserve Nature Center, Black Hawk Co. - July 31
Summer Olympics: Kayaking - Jefferson Co. Park, Jefferson Co. - Aug. 2
Summer Olympics: Kayaking - Jefferson Co. Park, Jefferson Co. - Aug. 3
Sunset Eco Cruise - Rock Creek Marina, Clinton Co. - Aug. 4
• Geode Paddle - Jefferson Co. Park, Jefferson Co. - Aug. 5
Paddle in the Park - Kayak - Hartman Reserve Nature Center, Black Hawk Co. - Aug. 5


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

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