Algae blooms across the United States is raising nutrient awareness in Iowa.
Ostensibly, the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is all about algae in the Gulf of Mexico's hypoxic zone. The strategy encourages Iowa producers to adopt voluntary practices to reduce nutrients heading to the zone, which is now roughly the size of Connecticut.
Des Moines Waterworks CEO Bill Stowe says, "The hypoxic concern is a legitimate one, and an important one, and it's realistically the only reason that Iowa's nutrient reduction strategy was ever devised."
But he says the emphasis on the Gulf is too much, "Certainly there has not been enough attention on things like nitrate concentrations, ammonia concentrations, algal blooms; all of which are of great concern to us as surface water providers."
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says rehabilitating Iowa's waters will take a while.
"There's a lot of work to do. It's not going to be done in a day, or it's not going to be done in a year, or even ten years. But we're in the process of making improvements and I think it will get a lot of people's attention, the closer those kinds of issues get to home."