At the Iowa Environmental Council, we never lose sight of the fact that poor water quality in Iowa’s lakes and rivers has a real effect on people’s lives.
Sheryl Paul is one Iowan affected by poor water quality. We met her at a recent meeting of the Dickinson County Clean Water Alliance, where she told us about algae blooms that look and smell terrible at Center Lake, where her family lives. (You can share your story, too.)
She provided us the photos below, from 2011 and 2012, and she told us:
My goal with these pictures is to bring awareness of the degree blue green algae exists in Center Lake and the desperate NEED to clean our lake. Center Lake empties into West Lake Okoboji at Hayward’s Bay, so it is vital our lake be healthy to protect the precious clean water in West Lake Okoboji as Lake Okoboji has a big economic impact on tourism and recreation of Iowa.
Like many Iowa lakes, Center Lake is considered “hypereutrophic,” meaning nitrogen and phosphorous levels there are high enough the lake is prone to very poor water quality and frequent algae blooms. This is what those conditions look like. We are unable to convey the smell.
The Iowa Environmental Council recently filed a petition with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources calling for water quality standards at Iowa’s lakes to focus pollution efforts on preventing these conditions before they occur.
If you have a story to share about how Iowa can better protect its waters, or if you are working to protect waters where you live, we invite you to share your story with us.