IOWATER is a volunteer water quality monitoring program for Iowa, created as a cooperative effort with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The program’s goal is to use the efforts of volunteers to help identify problematic sites on rivers and other bodies of water, which could pose risks to the environment and human health.
Of particular concern are bodies of water with high phosphate levels. High enough phosphate levels in a body of water can cause eutrophication: a great increase of algae and other aquatic plant life, resulting in a loss of biodiversity, decreased aesthetic appeal and toxicity of the water. Agriculture run-off and untreated sewage are primary sources of phosphate pollution, and Iowa is prone to suffer from this due to its abundance of farms and its small towns lacking proper sewage treatment.
The presentation will examine the effectiveness of the IOWATER program at combating water quality issues, with a focus on phosphate levels. Afterward, a study on the effectiveness of IOWATER and the effect of phosphate levels on the state’s water quality will be proposed.
David Elston, ’13
Majors: Environmental Studies, Politics
Sponsor: Brian Nowak-Thompson