Group Talks Future of State’s Water Quality

DES MOINES, Iowa – The state’s water quality has a long way to go. At least, that’s what one might have gathered at the Department of Natural Resources’ Triennial Review meeting in downtown Des Moines Wednesday morning.

Every three years, the Iowa DNR hosts a meeting for water quality stakeholders from across the state to gather and share ideas on how to improve water quality. From this meeting, the DNR will then take part in six meetings at the different regional offices throughout the state in September, before releasing their work plan later in the fall. The work plan is like a “map”, says Rochelle Weiss, DNR water quality standards coordinator; the purpose is to outline where water quality currently is in Iowa, and where they’d like to see it in three years.

This year, a majority of the meeting was spent on one topic: reducing nutrients in Iowa’s water supply. As Weiss explains, Iowa is a strong agricultural state due to its high-level of nutrients in the soil. During heavy rainfall, those nutrients find their way into our water supply, and while nutrients themselves aren’t bad, too much of a bad thing, says Weiss, isn’t good.

“We use nutrients to help promote our products,” she said. “We do have to deal with that. But our wash ultimately goes to the Gulf of Mexico, so we have to consider, ultimately, the best management practices.”

While a resolution to curbing the high-level of nutrients in the state’s water supply wasn’t reached in this meeting, Weiss says the purpose of the review was to get all stakeholder comments and suggestions recorded. From here, the DNR will continue to receive input from the public at their meetings in September, and welcome all comments from the community through that period.

They ask, if you’d like to make a suggestion, to send it to them by October 1, as they hope to close out their “input” phase by then. A written work plan, detailing the DNR’s goals for next three years,  is then expected to be released to the public by the end of November.

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