Articles from July 2016

Close-up of new corn plants growing amidst stalks from last year's crop

Does Federal Farm Conservation Spending Work?

More than $500 per every U.S. citizen that has lived since 1937 has been spent trying arrest soil erosion. Did it work?

Ebb and Flow

Nitrate levels in Iowa streams ebb and flow with the calendar and the weather.


In the Raccoon River watershed, 50% of the annual precipitation falls from April through July. About 60% of the annual streamflow and 70% of the annual nitrate load (total mass) also occur from April-July. So, what’s the explanation behind these numbers?
View of the Raccoon River in Des Moines. Jason Mrachina photo

Is Weather the Cause of Poor Water Quality?

Many times here in Iowa we hear that weather is the cause of poor water quality in our lakes and streams, especially in discussions about stream nitrate. Is there merit to this idea?