Articles from May 2017

A stream bank with green grass

Economics of reducing nitrate loss

Friday, May 26, 2017
More than 90 percent of the nitrogen transported by Iowa streams is in the form of nitrate (NO3-N).
Four people standing in a bulldozed area

Morgan Creek Oxbow Restoration

Thursday, May 18, 2017
When Iowans straightened rivers and creeks in the 20th century, they likely didn’t understand the chain reaction they had set in motion. They simply wanted to make their land easier to farm. But according to IIHR Research Engineer Chris Jones, the straightened dredge ditches of today are disconnected from the floodplain and have lost much of their ability to process nutrients. The water moves faster, eroding downward and increasing the flood risk downstream.
A river flowing between trees

#Nitrate is Trending

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Determining trends is tricky business. You’re looking into the past at water quality data to see if you can discern what has happened. Then you try to see if these changes correlate with something else: local, state, and federal policy; land use changes; advances in technology. The problem we have with this approach here in Iowa is that year-to-year weather variations are large, some would say extreme.
Areal photo of a river leading to a town

Raccoon and Des Moines River 1st Quarter Nitrate

Monday, May 1, 2017
First Quarter nitrate levels in the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers (at Des Moines) were above average in 2017 compared to the historical record.