If you're on Instagram, check out the Coe page - CWQL students are featured! If you're not on Instagram, you can see it here.
Good overview of the water quality situation in Iowa from Chris Jones, University of Iowa IIHR Research Engineer, on Iowa Public Radio. Take a listen to his interview, or, better yet, read the paper in PLOS One that the interview is based on. The work quantitates Iowa's contribution to the nitrate load which ends up in the Gulf of Mexico - and we're doing more than our share. It's worth your time.
We're off and running with another season of water monitoring! We completed a snapshot sample last week with the Iowa Soybean Association in the Middle Cedar. Together we sampled 60 sites in the watershed, where the city of Cedar Rapids has focused a great deal of attention on educating and assisting farmers with implementing best practices for reducing nitrate loss. We'll be doing monthly snapshots this summer in this watershed. Update: Adam Kiel of iowa Soybean Association put the results into a story map - take a look. This is a great tool for sharing this type of spatial data.
One more publication from our collaboration with scientists from IIHR - “Subsurface Nutrient Processing Capacity in Agricultural Roadside Ditches”, Keith Schilling, Matthew T Streeter, Martin St Clair, Justin Meissen, Science of the Total Environment, 2018, 637-638, 470-479. The paper presents some interesting possibilities regarding using roadside ditches to reduce nitrate levels in tile drainage.
Congratulations to Christina Brown, Danielle Hollingshead, and Joanna Funkhouser on their graduation from Coe! They are pictured with CWQL alum Maddy Jensen. Christina will be working for a year prior to grad school, Maddy is finishing her first year in the Sustainable Water Development program at the University of Iowa, Danielle will be joining Maddy at Iowa, and Joanna will be heading out west to work in Colorado State's Center for Contaminant Hydrology.
Nice shout-out from Coe (and CWQL) alum Amy Burgin on Twitter: "I started sciencing at the Coe Water Quality Laboratory (@CoeCollege), which has a new website: https://cwql.weebly.com/ Check it out if you're curious about the high quality, hands-on science training that can happen at SLACs - and recruit their students for your grad programs!"
Congratulations to Kendra (MIner) Markland (also CWQL alum), who successfully defended her masters thesis at the University of Iowa in environmental engineering this morning. She'll soon be starting a job with Stantec, a consulting firm who does environmental and natural resource assessment.
And just to confirm Amy Burgin's statement - in one week, Mareena Franke ('19) received a Goldwater Fellowship, and three Coe students received NSF Graduate Research Fellowships (GRF): Spencer Roth (Coe '13 - and CWQL!) is working on a Ph.D. in environmental science at Rutgers; Andrew Koehler (Coe '17) is currently on a Fulbright fellowship in Sri Lanka, but will be beginning a Ph.D. in environmental engineering at Colorado School of Mines; and Dahlia Baker, a current Coe student in physics.
We're gearing up for a new sampling season - continuing long term monitoring at many of our sites as well as adding some new projects. We'll be doing monitoring at the Etzel Sugar Grove Farm, which is owned by the Indian Creek Nature Center. They're planning on installing a wetland to remove nitrate from the largely tile fed stream which goes through the property, and we'll be helping them assess the effectiveness.
We're also working with Chris Jones, at the University of Iowa's IIHR, to assess the effectiveness of a new citizen science tool. Chris has an NSF grant to use Hach nitrate test strips, along with a smart phone app, to better measure nitrate concentrations in the field. In essence, you use the smart phone's camera to quantiate the color of the test strip to measure nitrate. Results are geolocated and uploaded to the cloud. We'll simply add the test to our field routine and compare to our measurements of nitrate with IC. This project got a mention on the NSF website and was on the front page of the Gazette.
Last, but not least, one of the collaborations begun during sabbatical with IIHR and IGS in 2016, has resulted in a publication. Check out "Effectiveness of a Newly Reconstructed Floodplain Oxbow to Reduce NO3-N Loads from a Spring Flood" coming soon to the Journal of Environmental Management. Authors are Keith E. Schilling, Bryce J. Haines, Christopher S. Jones, and Martin St. Clair.
The Middle Cedar Watershed Management Authority is developing a Watershed Management Plan (using some of our data). This plan will include an analysis of the landscape and strategic implementation priorities. Volunteer landowners may be eligible to receive up to 75% cost-share assistance on flood control and water quality practices.
They will be holding an open house Tuesday, January 9th from 4:00 to 6:30 pm at the University of Northern Iowa Center for Energy & Environmental Education, 8106 Jennings Drive Cedar Falls, Iowa. Find out more at their web site, http://www.middlecedarwma.com/.
While few artists utilize the medium of white board and dry-erase markers, it can be a very effective and expressive mode of communication. In this work, Joanna Funkhouser expresses the day's adventures, which involved measuring flow (utilizing two different devices) while simultaneously being attacked by hordes of giant snakes. (Well, maybe this isn't actually to scale...and there may only have been one or two snakes...and they may not have actually had glowing red eyes.) It is reminiscent of earlier work by Maddy Jensen. (Another interpretation of the snakes by Natalya Vrana.) The liberal arts live on in the Coe Water Quality laboratory.
Nice article from the Iowa Soybean Association about our recent snapshot sampling of the Middle Cedar River. The city of Cedar Rapids organized the Middle Cedar Partnership Project, which brings together a wide range of partners to improve water quality upstream of Cedar Rapids. We coordinated with the Iowa Soybean Association to carry out a snapshot at 53 sites within the Middle Cedar to help identify sub-watersheds for implementation of BMPs.
Marty St. Clair is a chemistry and environmental studies professor at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.