Listen to a broadcast from Monday, July 21, of Talk of Iowa on Iowa Public Radio discussing the state of water quality in Iowa. The interview includes Keith Schilling (who spoke at Coe some time ago) and our Lime Creek collaborator Dick Sloan. Dick's section on the Lime Creek watershed starts at about 14:15, and he mentions our involvement at about 16 minutes.
It was great to see CWQL alum Erin Ridley on Friday (July 18) - she was passing through from the Twin Cities on her way to St. Louis for a wedding. She just completed a licensure program at the University of Minnesota, and will be starting to teach chemistry at a charter school in the fall. Good luck,Erin!
And Adam Becker stopped by on Tuesday - he has finished his fieldwork for his masters degree at Portland State, and is looking to (eventually) continue for his Ph.D. It's great to see former students come back for a visit, and hear about the work they're doing.
From the Iowa DNR:
IOWA'S JUNE RAINS RANKED FOURTH WETTEST MONTH IN 141 YEARS
June rainfalls brought precipitation during the first half of 2014 to above normal levels for the state. The June statewide average rainfall was almost ten inches, and for the most recent two weeks the rainfall of 4.3 inches was nearly double the normal of 2.2 inches.
Although most of Iowa received very wet weather during this period, there were exceptions: the far northwest portion of the state received a welcome reprieve from mid-June flooding, and in far southeast Iowa a few areas - centered on Van Buren County - consistently missed heavy rains.
Stream flows are either normal or much above normal for the majority of the state. In some locations stream flow levels are beginning to drop as excess water continues to move downstream.
Shallow groundwater is back to normal or near normal levels for July. Even wells located away from streams and rivers began to improve within a week of heavy rains received since June 11.
For a more thorough review of Iowa's water resource trends, go to http://www.iowadnr.gov/watersummaryupdate.
Congratulations to Amy Bouska (urban conservationist in Johnson County), who just received a grant from the State Soil Conservation Committee for a project titled "Comparing and Contrasting the Use of Bioretention Practices in Iowa". The project will gather quantitative data on a variety of practices (rain gardens, enhanced rain gardens, bioswales, and bio-retention cells) to evaluate their relative effectiveness in slowing down storm water - very relevant considering recent weather here in eastern Iowa. We will be collaborating on looking at the water quality effects as well as sharing data on our rain garden.
We have a data-logging rain gauge on top of Peterson Hall, and it recorded 3.93 inches of rain - between 11 PM and midnight on June 29th. Total rainfall for the day was 4.68 inches. This was followed by another downpour the next day, which also had high winds associated with it. (That's the view from the loading dock of Peterson to the left.) Needless to say, many of our sampling sites are way up again. Check the Iowa Flood Center site to see just how high the streams are.
Marty St. Clair is a chemistry and environmental studies professor at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.