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VOLUME 4:2 Spring 2003


Plan A Trip with IOWATER!    

Brian Soenen, IOWATER Natural Resources Interpreter

Imagine if you will, canoeing through limestone bluffs on a beautiful spring day - sunny skies, calm water, and breathtaking scenery. The sound of paddles dipping gently and methodically into the cool waters, the mysterious but soothing songs of animal bachelors advertising their availability and willingness to secure an evening companion, and the rustling leaves dancing playfully in the breeze, all coming together in Mother Nature's delicate orchestra. The ambiance generates a renewed appreciation and admiration of Iowa's spectacular natural resources - resources that are often taken for granted and selfishly exploited.


Now imagine that what you just experienced occurred on the Maquoketa River during the first week of June 2003. Turn that dream into a reality by taking part in Project AWARE! This first-of-its-kind journey will take place from Sunday, June 1, to Sunday, June 8. Starting at Backbone State Park and finishing at Green Island Wildlife Area, the trip will span nearly the entire length of the Maquoketa River, focusing on watersheds and how they affect water quality. Participants on the trip are encouraged to pick up streamside trash, attend nightly evening programs, and have the time of their lives!

Participation in Project AWARE is open to all Iowa citizens. A limited number of canoes and associated equipment will be available for those who do not have access to such things, and support vehicles will be available to haul gear, shuttle people, and help ensure safety. Tent camping accommodations have been arranged through Delaware, Jones and Jackson County Conservation Boards.

This seven-day, seven-night journey is not limited to only those who can attend the entire week. Project AWARE is a "come and go as you please" event. Registration is free, but it is required for safety and tracking purposes.  An online registration form and information on Project AWARE will be available soon on the IOWATER Web site, In the meantime, if you have any questions please contact me (Brian).

A trip down the Maquoketa River will be beneficial for everyone involved. The event will raise environmental awareness throughout the state, strengthen personal connections with Iowa's natural resources, illustrate the power of volunteerism, and promote advocacy of the environmental ethic. The culmination of all of these components will help future generations of Iowans respect and honor the legacy they will inherit.



What's Inside ...

1. New Standing Waters Training
2. Information 
3. IOWATER Action! 
4. Upcoming Snapshot Samplings
5. Net Notes 
6. Level 1 Workshop Schedule
7. IOWATER Annual Report 
8. Nutrients in 2003
9. International Year of Freshwater 
10. Advanced Training Opportunities



New Standing Waters Training Format

Jacklyn Neely, Interim IOWATER Coordinator

Thanks to suggestions from our volunteers, IOWATER has decided to make a slight change for the 2003 monitoring season. The Standing Waters Module, which includes assessment of lakes and ponds, will be incorporated into IOWATER Level 1 workshops. In the past, the Level 1 program has focused mainly on streams. However, people interested in lake monitoring have routinely attended workshops, only to find out they have to attend a separate workshop in order to monitor lakes. Therefore, the IOWATER Level 1 workshops will now cover both stream and lake monitoring.

If you are an IOWATER Level 1 Certified Citizen Monitor that hasn't attended a Standing Waters Module and are interested in lake monitoring, please feel free to join us for an hour or so after the second day of any of the follow workshops: Cedar Rapids, Harlan, Muscatine, Indianola, Milford, Ionia, Bettendorf, Fort Dodge, Williamsburg, or Grinnell. For specific information such as times and locations please see the Level 1 schedule.

As you know, the second day of an IOWATER workshop involves the outdoor, hands-on training. You are certainly welcome to join us during this time if you feel it would help as a refresher.

If you plan on becoming a certified lake monitor, please call or e-mail me (Jackie). There is no fee required - we just want to be sure to bring enough equipment for everyone who would like to participate.


IOWATER 2003 Level I Workshop Schedule
Date Location To Register, Contact Phone E-mail
April 4, 5 - 9 p.m.
April 5, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Cedar Rapids
Prairie High School, Rm. C224
Jennifer Koopmann, Linn SWCD
3025 7th Avenue
Marion, IA 52302
(319) 377-5960 [email protected]
April 11, 5 - 9 p.m. 
April 12, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Nishna Bend Recreation Area  
Christina Groen
516 Maple Road
Harlan, IA 51537
(712) 744-3403 [email protected]
April 25, 5 - 9 p.m.
April 26, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Muscatine Community College
Dave Bakke, Muscatine CCB
2007 Salisbury Road
Muscatine, IA 52761
(563) 264-5922 [email protected]
April 26, 3 - 6 p.m. Benthic Training*
*Following the Level 1 training on April 26 a Benthic Macroinvertebrate Indexing workshop will be held, the cost is an additional $10. Contact Dave Bakke.
May 9, 5 - 9 p.m. 
May 10, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. 
Warren County
Annett Nature Center
Angela Biggs
909 E 2nd Ave. Ste B
Indianola, IA 50125
(515) 961-5264 [email protected]
May 16, 6 - 9 p.m. 
May 17, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. 
Horseshoe Bend
Barbara Tagami 
1924 240th Street
Milford, IA 51351
(712) 338-4238 [email protected]
May 28, 5 - 10 p.m. 
May 29, 5 - 10 p.m. 
North Tama Activity Center
Mark Manson
507 1st Street
Traer, Iowa 50675
(319) 478-8917 [email protected]
June 27, 5 - 9 p.m.
June 28, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. 
Twin Ponds Nature Center
Dana Dettmer, Chickasaw CCB
1811 240th Street
Ionia, IA 50645
(641) 394- 4714 [email protected]
Aug 1, 5 - 9 p.m.
Aug 2, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Surrey Heights Fire Station
Jeff West
18124 242nd Ave.
Bettendorf, IA 52722
(563) 332-3113 [email protected]
Aug 11, 5 - 10 p.m. 
Aug 12, 5 - 10 p.m. 
Fort Dodge
Bob Heun Shelter, J.F. Kennedy Park
Karen Hansen
1415 Nelson Ave.
Fort Dodge, IA 50501
(515) 576-4258 [email protected]
Aug 15, 5 - 9 p.m.
Aug 16, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. 
Kirkwood College Center
Maria Koschmeder, Iowa CCB
2550 G Ave.
Ladora, IA 52251
(319) 655-8466 [email protected]
Sept 12, 5 - 9 p.m.
Sept 13, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. 
Grinnell College
Judie Krebsbach, Poweshiek SWCD
Hwy 63 N, Box 216
Malcom, IA 50157
(641) 528-2065 [email protected]



  IOWATER Action!

Monitors in the Water

Here are some examples of IOWATER in the news, events, and/or press releases involving IOWATER monitors. Many thanks to all of you for your continued efforts!

  • Audubon County - 1) Audubon County Health Board discussed the IOWATER program at their last public meeting. 2) Kim Subbert and Jennifer Fliflet involved students in Audubon with the IOWATER program. 3) Christina Groen released information on an upcoming IOWATER workshop at Nishna Bend Recreational Area in Harlan.

  • Chickasaw County - Dana Dettmer released information on an upcoming IOWATER workshop at Twin Ponds Nature Center in New Hampton.

  • Delaware County - Mike Flaherty, the Hawkeye Fly Fishing Association, Patrick Henry, the Upper Iowa River Watershed, Steve Veysey, and Lora Friest made significant contributions to the Upper Iowa River, Iowa's cold water trout streams, and the IOWATER program.

  • Grundy and Sac County - Grundy County Farm Bureau and Madeline Meyer of Sac County spread the word about the sponsorship of the IOWATER program by the Iowa Farm Bureau.

  • Howard County - Becky Connolly, Katie Engelhardt and the Crestwood FFA received an Environment First Grant and continued their efforts on Silver Creek. Congrats!

  • Shelby County - The Shelby County Conservation Board released information on an upcoming IOWATER workshop in Shelby County.

  • Tama County - 1) Mike Skopec received a Conservation Teacher Award, while also getting his North Tama High School students involved with the IOWATER program. Congrats! 2) Mike Mason, Dave Stuart, and Dick Dahms hosted an informational meeting about the IOWATER program for the Wolf Creek Watershed Coalition.

Compiled by Jacklyn Neely.


Snapshot Sampling: Coming To a Stream Near You!

Looking for a fun way to get involved with other IOWATER monitors? Did you miss the last IOWATER statewide snapshot sampling? Don't fret! There's still time for you to get in on the action. Several snapshot sampling events are taking place across Iowa in April and May. For more information on the snapshot for your area, contact the coordinator(s) listed. Happy sampling!


Saturday, April 5
O'Brien County

Scott Osborn
(712) 757-3835 
[email protected]

Terry Janssen
(712) 757-5045 
[email protected]

Mark Bohner
(712) 546-8828

Saturday, April 12
Whitebreast Creek Watershed 
(Marion, Lucas, Clarke, & Warren Counties)

Angela Biggs
(515) 961-5264 
[email protected]


Saturday, April 26
Cedar Lake Watershed - Winterset

Lisa Walters
(515) 462-2961 
[email protected]




Saturday, May 10
Middle Wapsipinicon River Watershed 
(Tripoli to Independence)

Vicki Wilson
(319) 827-1690 
[email protected]

Tuesday, May 13
Muscatine County

Matt McAndrew
(563) 263-7944 
[email protected]


Tuesday, May 20
Scott County

Heidi Carr
(563) 391-1403, ext. 3 
[email protected]


Saturday, May 24
IOWATER Statewide Snapshot Sampling

Lynette Seigley
(319) 335-1598 
[email protected]

Sample your site between 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. and submit your data to the IOWATER Web site before May 31. A data summary will be sent to those who submit data; the report will also be posted on the Web site. You may also sample on May 23 or 25 if you are unable to sample on the 24th.



*Date Pending

Cedar County

Mark Fehseke
(563) 886-6214, ext. 112 
[email protected]

Compiled by Lynette Seigley.

Net Notes

Lynette Seigley, Research Geologist

May 24 is IOWATER Snapshot Day. IOWATER is sponsoring another snapshot sampling on Saturday, May 24. We encourage you to sample your sites on that date and submit the data collected to the IOWATER database by May 31. A summary of the May 24 sampling will be sent to all participants and will be posted on the IOWATER Web site by the end of June. Results from the October 18, 2002, snapshot sampling are now available on the IOWATER site.

Chloride Results. If you submit data for chloride, be sure to enter the chloride concentration rather than the Quantab units or the NaCL percent. If you enter a value that is less than 10, recheck your Quantab test strip vial to get the correct chloride concentration. The value entered should be a number greater than 20.

Changes to the Level 1 Biological Assessment Form. Minor changes have been made to the Level 1 biological assessment form. The form now includes information on microhabitats that were present in your stream and which microhabitats were sampled for benthic macroinvertebrates, and is now available on the IOWATER Web site. Click the Online Database. At the bottom of the page you can access the new biological field form. The online database submission page for the Level 1 biological assessment has been updated to reflect these changes.

Coming Soon - A New and Improved IOWATER Web Site. The IOWATER staff has been working on updating and improving the current IOWATER Web site to make it easier to navigate and access information. The new site is expected to be unveiled June 1.

Forgotten your IOWATER Monitor ID or Password? If so, contact me (Lynette) or Jackie.

Update on Sites Registered/Data Submitted. As of March 1, a total of 1,078 sites in 90 Iowa counties (and five Minnesota counties) have been registered in the IOWATER database. There have also been 1,292 biological, 3,581 chemical/physical, 966 habitat, and 378 photographic records submitted. Counties without a registered IOWATER site include Adair, Decatur, Fremont, Henry, Ida, Keokuk, Lee, Mills, and Osceola.

If you have questions or need help using the IOWATER database, please contact me (Lynette). We welcome any suggestions or comments you have for improving the database.



IOWATER Annual Report: Coming Soon!

Brian Soenen, IOWATER Natural Resources Interpreter

IOWATER's Mission:  "To protect and improve Iowa's water quality by establishing and supporting a statewide volunteer water monitoring program."

Today, IOWATER's mission is only partially completed. As you know, the program has been established, and thanks to overwhelming support from folks like you, it continues to be successful. However, the mission is only partially completed because "protecting and improving Iowa's water quality" is an on-going, never-ending process. There have certainly been some great accomplishments and large strides taken towards this process.

Take, for example, the recent events surrounding Buttermilk Creek in Wright County. The foul-smelling creek supported billions of bloodworms that lined the stream's banks. The streambed was no longer visible because it was completely covered with sewage algae (sewage algae isn't algae at all _ it's harmful, filamentous bacteria). Fortunately, IOWATER monitors alerted the DNR and the problem was addressed. Although extreme cases like this are not commonplace in Iowa, protection and improvement of these streams may not occur without the efforts of our volunteers.

In order to determine if protection and improvement of water quality is taking place, the data must be analyzed. When this is done, yearly comparisons of data can indicate the status of Iowa's water quality, and be used to identify trends. Therefore, IOWATER's first "Annual" Report will be completed and mailed to IOWATER volunteers shortly after the start of the 2003 monitoring season. This report will include IOWATER data from its first three years, 2000 to 2002.

Although the mission of protecting and improving Iowa's water quality may never be truly completed, the dedication of IOWATER monitors will continue to uncover problems and raise awareness throughout the state. Enhanced understanding of water quality through IOWATER data may help citizens, lawmakers, and others proactively address these water-quality issues. 



What's New in 2003?
A Focus on Nutrients

One of the biggest environmental challenges facing Iowa today is the overabundance of nutrients in our water bodies. In healthy ecosystems, the natural availability of nutrients such as nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) limits the growth of plants. When nutrient concentrations are increased, plants respond through increased growth. In an agricultural setting, fertilizers and manure are commonly used to add nutrients to the soil and enhance crop production. In aquatic systems, however, increased nutrients are generally not desirable and can create a variety of problems. For example, excess nutrients in lakes can result in toxic algae blooms and in streams can cause low dissolved oxygen levels. These effects can, in turn, harm fish and other biological communities. The problem for Iowa is that we are a naturally nutrient-rich state. Determining what is "excess" or "increased" or "too high" is not as easy as it sounds. Because we didn't monitor our waters until long after we arrived, we have to piece together the picture from data we can gather today.

During the last legislative session (2002), the Iowa General Assembly asked the Department of Natural Resources to conduct a study of nutrients in Iowa's waters. This study (to be completed by the end of 2003) will document the current status and trends of nutrient concentrations in Iowa's waters, the impacts of nutrients in our waters, and will attempt to develop a watershed-specific "budget" of nutrient inputs (animal and human waste, lawn and crop fertilizers, rainfall, etc.) and outputs (crop harvest, losses to the air, groundwater or stream, etc.). Eventually, this study will provide a foundation for the state to build a long-term plan or strategy to address excess nutrients in our waters. Throughout 2003, IOWATER will focus attention on nutrients through articles in the newsletter, "hands-on" learning activities, and special events in order to keep you up to date and informed on what's happening. Remember, your efforts are valuable to Iowa and the data you collect this year on nitrate, nitrite, and phosphorus may help this process! (P.S. don't forget to check your expiration dates.)



UN Dubs 2003 "International Year of Freshwater"

Did you know that 2003 has been declared the "International Year of Freshwater" by the United Nations? Well, if you didn't, you do now! The UN officially announced its plans in New York last December. The aim of the Year is to raise awareness of the importance of protecting and managing freshwater.

One of the main events of the International Year of Freshwater (IYFW) will be the 3rd World Water Forum, to take place in Kyoto, Japan, March 16-23. The Forum is timed to coincide with World Water Day, held on March 22 each year. At the Kyoto meeting, the World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), a collaboration between 23 UN agencies involved in freshwater and hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), will present its World Water Development Report.  This is the first of a planned series of reports on the state of water stress in the world, due to be published every three years. The Report identifies critical issues and problems as illustrated by in-depth case studies of selected, representative river basins.

One of the aims of the Year is to reassert the UN's Millennium Declaration Goal on Water, which pledged "to halve, by the year 2015, the proportion of the world's people unable to reach, or to afford, safe drinking water" and "to stop the unsustainable exploitation of water resources." The goal, endorsed by the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg (South Africa) in August 2002, also set a new target of halving the proportion of people who do not have access to basic sanitation by 2015. It also recognized the key role of water in agriculture, energy, health, biodiversity and ecosystems as well as in combating poverty.

"The Year offers a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness about water issues and to motivate people of all ages to get involved. Schools, the private sector, youth and community associations _ each has something to contribute," says Alberto Tejada-Guibert, the UNESCO Coordinator for IYFW.

How can you get involved?

  • Go to your local library or bookstore; look in the newspapers; talk to people to become more familiar about water, what the issues are, and how this affects your life and the world in which we live.

  • If you have access to e-mail, sign up to the wateryear2003 newsletter by e-mailing [email protected], for updates and information about events happening around the world.

  • For additional information, visit the official International Year of Freshwater Web site at

Some Ideas for IYFW Activities:

In your community

  •  Support youth events aimed at protecting water resources and campaigns by youth for youth.

  •  Organize events to clean your local river banks and beaches. (Project AWARE!)

For teachers and students   

  • Teachers - encourage students to write papers on water issues. Water can be built into any subject - history, geography, politics, even language courses.

  • Be creative! Organize art exhibits, poetry readings with a focus on water. Organize photography contests or poster contests in your area.



IOWATER Advanced Workshops*

 *To participate in an advanced workshop, you must have attended a Level 1 workshop.  

The registration fee is $10 for each of the advanced workshops. This covers all program fees, meals, and testing equipment. To register for any of these modules, please complete and send in this registration form. (It is also a good idea to make a copy for your records.) You will be sent confirmation, maps, and more information when paid registrations are received.  Checks should be made payable to Iowa DNR.

Benthic Macroinvertebrate Module (Indicate the workshop of your choice.)

 ____ April 26                3 - 6 p.m.                Muscatine Community College, Muscatine

Water Ecology Module (Indicate the workshop of your choice.)  

____ July 18                    6 - 10 p.m.              Nishna Bend Recreation Area, Harlan
____ August 22               6 - 10 p.m.              Dolliver State Park, Webster Co. (South Shelter)
____ September 19         6 - 10 p.m.              Kirkwood Community College Center, Williamsburg

Secondary Educators Module (Indicate the workshop of your choice.)  

____ July 19                    9 a.m. - 3 p.m.         Nishna Bend Recreation Area, Harlan
____ August 23               9 a.m. - 3 p.m.         Dolliver State Park, Webster Co. (South Shelter)
____ September 20         9 a.m. - 3 p.m.         Kirkwood Community College Center, Williamsburg

Name: ____________________________ Organization: ______________________

Address: ____________________________________________________________
                    Street or PO Box                                             City, State, ZIP

Phone: (day) ______________________ (evening): __________________________

E-Mail: ____________________________________________________________

Checks are payable to Iowa DNR ($10 for each advanced workshop)

Send To:     Jacklyn Neely - IOWATER
                 Iowa DNR - Wallace State Office Building
                 502 East 9th Street
                    Des Moines, IA 50319-0034


IOWATER Program Address/Contact Information

Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources
Wallace State Office Building
502 E. 9th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319

Jacklyn Neely
Interim IOWATER Coordinator
(515) 281-4476

Brian Soenen
IOWATER Natural Resources Interpreter
(515) 281-6640

Lynette Seigley
Research Geologist

(319) 335-1598

/  Coordinator /  (515)281-6640

/ Field Coordinator /  (515)281-4476

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