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There are 14 beach advisories for the week of 8/11

12 Beaches with an E. coli Advisory:
Backbone Beach (Dundee, Delaware County, IA)*
Crandall's Beach (Big Spirit Lake, Spirit Lake, Dickinson County, IA)*
Emerson Bay Beach (West Okoboji Lake, Milford, Dickinson County, IA)*
Lake Darling Beach (Brighton, Washington County, IA)*
Lake Keomah Beach (Oskaloosa, Mahaska County, IA)*
Lake Macbride (Solon, Johnson County, IA)*
Lake Manawa Beach (Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, IA)*
Lower Pine Lake Beach (Eldora, Hardin County, IA)*
McIntosh Woods Beach (Clear Lake, Ventura, Cerro Gordo County, IA)*
North Overlook Beach (Lake Red Rock, Pella, Marion County, IA)**
Prairie Rose Beach (Harlan, Shelby County, IA)*
Whitebreast Beach (Lake Red Rock, Pella, Marion County, IA)**

2 Beaches with a Microcystin Advisory:
Brushy Creek Beach (Lehigh, Webster County, IA)*
North Twin Lake East Beach (Rockwell City, Calhoun,  IA)*

5 City and County Beaches exceed the state’s advisory threshold for E. coli.*
View the map on our website to see where they are.

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

Ver avisos en Español


IEC calls on DNR to deny latest Supreme Beef NMP

This week, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) took comments and held a public hearing on Supreme Beef’s latest attempt at a Nutrient Management Plan (NMP). The new NMP comes after a Polk County District Court reversed the DNR’s approval of the feedlot’s February 2021 NMP due to what the judge called “illogical” interpretations of the law.  

Unfortunately for Supreme Beef, the new NMP has many of the same problems as previous NMPs. It does not comply with Iowa Administrative Code requirements. IEC’s statement to the DNR at Tuesday’s public hearing, and our written comments, included significant concerns that Supreme Beef: 

• makes unfounded assumptions regarding manure nutrient content; 
• proposes over-application of manure; 
• does not properly address conservation practices; and 
• will pose a threat to water quality in this vulnerable, ecologically unique region of Iowa.  

Each of these deficiencies independently provides a basis for DNR to deny the NMP, but together there should be no question of denial. IEC will submit comments to DNR next week with more thorough explanations of the issues. If you would like to request a copy of the NMP or make comments, contact kelli.book@dnr.iowa.gov.


Spirit Lake Suffers Major Algae Blooms 

Just in time for the Okoboji Blue Water Festival, reports and images of algae blooms around Spirit Lake have been circulating the past two weeks. IEC received the left and center photos yesterday from a local resident with a home on the East side of the lake; the third photo was posted Monday in the Spirit Lake Protective Association group on Facebook and also on Twitter. While the beaches are reporting negative for microcystin, it is always best to avoid water that looks like this, or shows other signs of a harmful algae bloom. When in doubt, stay out!


Gulf Dead Zone measures smaller due to less rain and runoff

The 2023 annual Gulf Hypoxia Dead Zone measurement cruise concluded last week and reported the hypoxic zone to be more than 3,000 square miles, about the size of Yellowstone National Park.

Although the 2023 measurement is smaller than predicted earlier this summer, experts say the slight decrease is largely due to low water flow on the Mississippi River and fluctuating ocean temperatures, rather than ongoing efforts to reduce harmful runoff.

Image courtesy of NOAA.

Midwest drought will take more than a few rains to right

A hot summer and dry spring have brought drought to a large part of the Midwest. The lack of moisture has far-reaching implications, including on agriculture and water levels on the country's largest rivers.

According to experts, if rainfall increases to normal amounts, the Midwest will see relief for corn and soybean crops this season. But it takes much longer for groundwater reserves to recover.

Read the full story

Eurasian Watermilfoil confirmed in West Lake Okoboji

In a news release this week, the Iowa DNR confirmed the discovery of the invasive Eurasian Watermilfoil in canals on West Okoboji Lake. None was found in the main lake of West Okoboji or other lakes in the Iowa Great Lakes chain. 

The DNR says it is working with local stakeholders and communities to develop a plan of action, and is also asking boaters and other users in these areas to be extra vigilant to help prevent the spread of these invasive aquatic plants elsewhere in West Okoboji or the other lakes in this chain.


What's new in Iowa's water news:

What caused pink & purple slime to appear in Buffalo Run at Big Spirit Lake? (KITV)
Sioux Center sees historic flooding (N'West Iowa)
Supreme Beef seeking approval for new manure management plan (Iowa Public Radio)
• Cedar Rapids buys land near Cedar Lake for $10M (The Gazette)
Wetlands project hopes to stop nitrate from entering water supply (KCRG) 
An Ankeny wetland is in the works (Axios DSM)
• 5 ways to care for the river while enjoying it (Friends of the Mississippi River) 

Upcoming water events:                              

• Okoboji Blue Water Festival – Dickinson Co. - August 12  
• SELF - Hydrology the Study of Water – Sioux Co. - August 15 
Voyageur Canoe Trip – Clinton Co. - August 15   
• Public Canoeing at Rodgers Park – Benton Co. - August 17 
Rock Hunting Boat Cruise – Clinton Co. - August 17 
• Sunset Eco Cruise – Clinton Co. - August 17
Kayaking Beginners Class – Webster - August 17


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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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