Iowa is losing the battle for improved water quality. Every time our farm fields are hit with increasingly heavy rains, erosion from running water damages Iowa lakes and rivers. There is at least one heavily polluted lake, river or stream in each of Iowa’s 99 counties – over 600 impaired waterways in all. According to organizations like Iowa’s Water & Land Legacy:
“With 71,665 miles of streams and rivers and more than 161,000 acres of lakes, ponds and wetlands, it may seem as if Iowa has a wealth of water resources. Yet, less than one percent of the state’s land area is covered with water. It is vital that this limited resource, both above and below ground, be protected and available for Iowans to use for drinking water, recreation and industries.”
Yet, despite these dangers to our safe drinking water supplies, our state budget continues to place a low priority on water quality and natural resource programs. These are programs that prevent soil erosion, improve water quality and protect our resources throughout rural and urban Iowa.
In fact, the 2010 water quality survey conducted by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources found that 40% of Iowa waterways monitored by the DNR were considered poor or very poor and 0% were considered excellent. 94% of Iowa waterways rated a “C” grade (Fair) or below.
View Iowa Impaired Lakes 2010 in a larger map
Excellent Research on Public Opinion & the Environment
The Language of Conservation: How to Communicate Effectively to Build Support for Conservation – 2009 – Dave Metz & Lori Weigel [Download]
Survey of Polling on Water Quality & Environmental Issues [Link]