8 Beaches with an E. coli-related Advisory: Backbone Beach (Dundee, Delaware County, IA)* Lake Darling Beach (Brighton, Washington County, IA)* Lake Keomah Beach (Oskaloosa, Mahaska County, IA)* McIntosh Woods Beach (Clear Lake, Ventura, Cerro Gordo County, IA)* Nine Eagles Beach (Davis City, Decatur County, IA)* North Overlook Beach (Lake Red Rock, Pella, Marion County, IA)** Union Grove Beach (Gladbrook, Tama County, IA)* Whitebreast Beach (Lake Red Rock, Pella, Marion County, IA)**
2 Beaches with a Microcystin-related Advisory: Lake Darling Beach (Brighton, Washington County, IA)* Union Grove Beach (Gladbrook, Tama County, IA)*
*Data from the Iowa DNR State Park Beach Monitoring Program **Data from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District
Note: Lake Macbride Beach and Pleasant Creek Lake Beach were not sampled this week. Note: Oak Grove Beach at Saylorville Lake has a blue-green algae bloom. Microcystin testing results from August 24 came back at 6 µg/L, slightly below the 8 µg/L advisory threshold. USACE will retest early next week.
Source water protection is a relatively inexpensive way to ensure communities have clean, reliable drinking water. Source water refers to a lake, river, stream, or underground aquifer that serves as a source of drinking water. Source water protection practices include agricultural conservation practices such as cover cropping, saturated buffers, and wetlands, and best management practices such as storing potential contaminants securely and away from drinking water sources. New policies that focus on source water protection would help to combat threats to the health and safety of all Iowans who rely on clean drinking water.
Earlier this year, IEC published a white paper on source water protection efforts, including policy recommendations.
This week Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) switched water sources from the Des Moines River to the Raccoon River due to elevated microcystin toxins. DMWW monitors for microcystin daily and switches sources if necessary - not something most other communities in Iowa can do. The microcystin threshold for drinking water is much lower than the swim advisory threshold - just 0.3 µg/L - and DMWW has seen levels above this for several days recently.
Algae at Oak Grove Beach at Saylorville Lake
Oak Grove Beach, Saylorville Lake Polk City, IA Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Oak Grove Beach at Saylorville Lake currently has a blue-green algae bloom. USACE photos from earlier this week showed bright green, sludge-like algae growth across the beach. Although microcystin testing results from August 24 came back at 6 µg/L, slightly below the 8 µg/L advisory threshold, the toxin levels can change quickly. IEC advises you: “when in doubt, stay out” if you visit Oak Grove Beach or other beaches with visible algae this weekend.