IA DNR: TMDL & Water Quality Assessments
Statement From Jeff Vonk
On Iowa Impaired Waters List
The new impaired waters list is proof that Iowa’s investment in water quality
improvements is beginning to show positive results.
The first necessary step to improve waters is to diagnose their condition and
determine, scientifically, what needs to be fixed. Because of the significant
increased investment over the past several years in water quality monitoring, we
are able to credibly list specific waterbodies with specific problems that we
can take to Iowans for their help in making improvements.
With nearly 100 active water quality improvement projects ongoing, Iowans are
supporting the need for better care of their water. While this impaired list
gives a clear focus for the future, it does not, however, highlight some of the
real accomplishments. The list, for example, does not include 25 waterbodies on
the 1998 that we were able to take off the 2002 list because of improvements in
monitoring and modeling. An additional 13 were delisted because of a successful
water quality improvement project.
We have streams in northeast Iowa where we are documenting natural trout
reproduction where we haven’t had that before. Some of our lake restoration
projects like Lake Ahquabi have resulted in tremendous water quality
improvements that have also resulted into positive economic development
benefits. At that lake alone, we have been able to document park visitation
increasing more than four-fold since the water quality improvement project. At
Pine Lakes, we have documented a reduction in sediment delivery by 66 percent
and extended the life of Upper Pine Lake alone by more than 100 years. Many of
the waterbodies that have been included on Iowa’s impaired waters list are
undergoing large-scale renovation projects, including Clear Lake and Rock Creek
Lake. We expect these efforts to result in significant water quality improvement
over the next several years.
Still, we know that with more monitoring, we are likely to find new waters in
need of help. Iowans are becoming more attuned to water quality issues, and we
are seeing more and more interest among citizens to do what must be done to
improve water quality all over the state.
Return to 2002 303(d) listing