There are 10 beach advisories for the week of 8/28

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 policy and Iowa

Drinking water contamination continues to be a concern in Iowa. Water treatment technology and testing have advanced over the past century to more easily and reliably provide clean drinking water to Iowans. Despite new technology and tools, it is more cost effective to invest to protect drinking water at the source. Advanced treatment technologies can be expensive to implement. For example, the City of Cedar Rapids estimates expenses of more than $80 million to modernize its water treatment system in the coming years. Customers will pay for these updates through increased service rates. These expenses can fall especially hard on rural Iowa communities where the cost of treatment upgrades is spread over smaller customer bases. 

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.


Source Water and Algae

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.


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Follow us at @iowawaterwatch

Hooper State Game Area, Warren Co., IA
Photo credit: @hawgwild_fishing

Whiterock Conservancy, Guthrie Co., IA
Photo credit: @iowa.views


What's New in Iowa's Water News

Des Moines River ‘essentially unusable’ for drinking water due to algae toxins (Iowa Capital Dispatch)
The High Cost of Algae Blooms in U.S. Waters: More Than $1 Billion in 10 Years (Environmental Working Group)
Public hearing to take comments regarding proposed changes to Chapter 61, Section 401 water quality certification (IA DNR)
Seafood Study Finds Plastic in 100% of Samples (Eco Watch)
Nominate a River Hero (River Network)
Shorebirds flocking to mudflats at Lake Red Rock (IA DNR)

Upcoming Water Events

Stand Up Paddleboard Demo - Cold Springs Park Beach, Lewis - Aug. 29
Des Moines Ikes Fish, Hunt and Outdoors Swap Meet - Izaak Walton League Chapter House, Des Moines - Aug. 29
Ribbit and Slither Take Home Day Camp Out of This World 2020 - Oakland Mills Nature Center, Mt. Pleasant - Aug. 29
Good Morning Cruise - Rock Creek Marina, Camanche - Aug. 30
Family Fishing and Kayaking at Sand Lake - Sand Lake Rec Area, Marshalltown - Aug. 30
Moonlit Paddle - Big Woods Lake, Cedar Falls - Sept. 1 
Virtual Youth Program Water Connects Us All - Online - Sept. 2
Iowa Water Quality: Past, Present and Future - Online - Sept. 2
Kids Free Fishing Tournament - Gateway Park, Marengo - Sept. 5
Stand Up Paddleboard Demo - Cold Springs Park Beach, Lewis - Sept. 5


Iowa Environmental Council
505 Fifth Ave., Suite 850 
 Des Moines, Iowa 50309-2317

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