Nitrates Before and After: This is what happened

Photo: confluence of rivers with nitrogen loads - This is what happened

Many people are curious about Iowa stream nitrate before modern agriculture became established across the landscape. They want to know what the “natural” level of nitrate was. It turns out we do have some actual data. In 1955, the Iowa Geological Survey published a document titled “Water-Supply Bulletin No. 5, Quality of Surface Waters of Iowa, 1886-1954” (1). Some of these data are shown below (as nitrogen).

Confluence of the … [more…]

Preserve Our Prairies Initiative

photo: prairie preservation areas

The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) is a lush and productive ecosystem of wetlands and grasslands that evolved after the glaciers retreated 10,000 years ago. The PPR has the world’s best waterfowl nesting habitat, producing a fall flight of ducks unrivaled anywhere on earth. Healthy wetlands are crucial for prairie-nesting ducks, providing nutrients for egg laying and nursery grounds for broods.

Tragically, these vital wetlands continue to be drained and degraded. … [more…]