Iowa DNR plans next step in nutrient-budget rules
March 26, 2010

One of the main issues in water-quality management in the Midwest is the management of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus which migrate into the water largely due to runoff from fertilized lands like farms and fertilized lawns. The same nutrients that can encourage plant growth on land can have mixed effects when they migrate into the water, where they can cause an imbalance between the naturally-occuring fish and aquatic plants. Among other things, the nutrients can cause algae blooms which can choke off the oxygen and sunlight that reach lower levels of lakes, putting them into serious imbalance. As part of its review of nutrient rules, the Iowa DNR is convening a "technical advisory committee" composed mainly of scientists from Iowa universities to advise the DNR on what standards should be used. According to some previous guidance, a majority of Iowa's lakes qualify as "impaired" by high nutrient levels.

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last revised March 2010