Volunteers provide “snapshot” of Polk County water quality

Jordan Garvey, an employee at Genus Landscape Architects and a recent ISU grad was a first-time snapshot volunteer.

Jordan Garvey, an employee at Genus Landscape Architects and a recent ISU grad was a first-time snapshot volunteer.

Yesterday, Oct. 7, 34 volunteers participated in the fall Polk County Water Monitoring Snapshot, and took samples of water at 65 stream, lake and pond sites in Polk County. The biannual event, which is in its 12th year, is organized and sponsored by the Iowa Environmental Council, the DNR IOWATER program, Des Moines Water Works, the Des Moines Izaak Walton League, and the Raccoon River Watershed Association.

Samples will be assessed at Des Moines Water Works’ lab and results will be uploaded to the IOWATER volunteer database. Data collected provides a “snapshot” of Polk County’s water quality and allows the County’s water quality to be compared year-to-year. The project gives insight into problem areas, the nutrient impacts from lawns, gardens, golf courses and more, as well as involves the public in the water quality issue here in Iowa. The event uses DNR’s IOWATER equipment and supplies to do field tests and collect water samples.

Several cities in Polk County provide city staff to sample in their communities including Johnston, Ankeny, Clive and Pleasant Hill. The City of Des Moines Parks Department also provides a crew to sample ponds in Des Moines City parks, Polk County Conservation provides staff to sample the lakes and ponds in county parks, Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District helps with sampling of Four Mile Creek, and Wells Fargo provides several volunteers.

The next Snapshot will be held in spring 2016. To volunteer for future events, please Contact Susan Heathcote at heathcote@iaenvironment.org.

Get ready to elevate Iowa’s environment!


Nationally renowned speakers. Leading natural resource, health, climate, agricultural and clean energy organizations. Passionate advocates, professionals, legislators, community leaders and students. They’re all coming together under one roof next Friday, October 2 at Drake University in Des Moines for our 2015 Annual Conference, Elevate: Creating an Environment of Action. Join us: REGISTER TODAY

2013 CNN Hero of the Year Chad Pregracke, author, president & founder of Living Lands & Waters; a non-profit river clean-up organization, will headline the event. He will be joined by a dynamic slate of speakers hailing from across the Midwest, Washington D.C. and Vancouver, who will take to the stage to share their knowledge and expertise during eight thought-provoking sessions. This event has been approved for 3.75 hours of Continuing Legal Education credit. View this year’s agenda.

The day will also feature networking opportunities, top-notch exhibitors and a seasonally-focused lunch.

Discounted registration is available to Council members and students. Scholarships are available for students facing financial barriers.

Questions? Prefer to register via phone? Contact Communications & Outreach Director Katy Heggen at Heggen@iaenvironment.org or 515-244-1194 x210.

Join us for our Annual Members Meeting, open to all Council members, immediately following the conference. Staff will provide a brief overview of the Council’s policy priorities for 2016, after which members are invited to ask questions and offer input as well as other issues for consideration.

Please RSVP to Executive Director Ralph Rosenberg at Rosenberg@iaenvironment.org by Friday, Sept. 25th.

Job opportunity: Polk County Conservation

Polk County Conservation Board seeks a Parks Superintendent.

Position Overview

The Parks Superintendent manages and directs the day-to-day operations of the Polk County Conservation parks, law enforcement, recreational facilities, trails, greenways, wildlife and recreational areas. This person must be a strong leader, work well in a team environment and a dedicated conservationist. Duties include: planning, supervising and coordinating operations of the manicured portion of Polk County’s park system (beach, cabins, campgrounds, shelters, trails, security, park use permits, etc.); participates within the management team in comprehensive county-wide conservation planning: including outdoor recreation, natural resource management, land and water management, wildlife and fishery programs, and supervising professional and technical employees.

About Polk County Conversation Board

Located in central Iowa, Polk County Conservation Board (PCCB) manages over 20 park and wildlife areas that are visited by more than 1.4 million people each year. These public areas cover more than 14,000 acres including 45 miles of paved multi-use recreational trails and 40 miles of soft trails.

Position Responsibilities

The Parks Superintendent will be actively involved with the work of staff and volunteers involved in law enforcement, public safety, maintenance, and recreational and educational programming services (hunter safety classes) provided to the public. This position establishes overall operating standards for law enforcement consistent with the Polk County Conservation Board’s mission/strategic plans. Ability to work a flexible work schedule including evenings, weekends, and holidays is required. Excellent public relations and communication skills are required. This position is a member of the Conservation Agency’s management team participating in strategic and operational planning to increase operational efficiency for park services.

Apply online at http://www.polkcountyiowa.gov/hr/job-opportunities/

Application deadline is Sunday, November 1, 2015, 11:59 p.m. CST

We’re hiring!

This WRP site in Worth County provides the landonwer many hours of outdoor recreation including bird watching and hunting.

Committed to creating a sustainable future for Iowa? Enjoy working alongside colleagues that possess a serious work ethic and a good sense of humor? Passionate about building collaboration and creating last change? We’ve been looking for you.

The Iowa Environmental Council is currently hiring an Agricultural Policy Specialist and a Clean Energy Organizer.

The Agricultural Policy Specialist works with the Water Program Director to ensure the adoption and implementation of appropriate agricultural conservation practices needed to meet water quality standards and ensure the health and safety of Iowa’s water resources.

The Clean Energy Organizer will reach out to targeted Iowa groups to advocate for clean energy solutions during the 2015 Iowa Presidential Caucus campaign process, helping to advance the political debate on clean energy and carbon reduction solutions.

Review job descriptions, required and desired qualification, and learn how to apply on our website.

Home-grown solar reaps opportunities for Iowa

September sunshine provided the perfect backdrop last week for a solar energy tour attended by Congressman David Young and staff for Senator Charles Grassley.

Co-sponsored by the Iowa Environmental Council, the Environmental Law and Policy Center and the Iowa Solar Trade Association, the tour highlighted innovative businesses in Polk County that are taking advantage of Iowa’s solar energy potential.

The Iowa State Capitol overlooks solar panels on PV panels on the roof of the Market One and its adjacent parking lot canopy. The Market One Building  was designed by Modus Engineering, which has developed Iowa’s first commercial office building with a net-zero design.

The Iowa State Capitol overlooks solar panels on PV panels on the roof of the Market One and its adjacent parking lot canopy, one of the stops on the solar tour. The Market One Building was designed by Modus Engineering, which has developed Iowa’s first commercial office building with a net-zero design.

Stops along the solar tour included:

  • Van Meter, Inc: This wholesale distributor of “automation, electrical, datatcomm, lighting, power transmission and clean energy products and services” (including solar panels and products) also cuts its own energy costs with a 3.5 kW solar installation at its Urbandale facility.
  • Hy-Vee (Urbandale Store): Iowa’s largest private employer is quickly growing its alternative energy installations, with electric vehicle charging stations at 30 of its stores, wind and solar powered light installations at 5 stores, and solar installations at 2 stores, including its Urbandale location.
  • The World Food Prize: The organization’s headquarters prove that modern solar technology can fit seamlessly with historic architecture. Rooftop solar panels installed on the LEED platinum facility save the organization nearly $3,300 each year.
  • Market One Building designed by Modus Engineering: By utilizing PV panels on the roof of the Market One and its adjacent parking lot canopy, MODUS Engineering has developed Iowa’s first commercial office building with a net-zero design. The building produces more power than it consumes, allowing excess power to be used by the utility company and customers on the local grid.

By utilizing home-grown solar energy, these Iowa businesses are keeping valuable jobs and dollars in our state: The solar industry supply chain provides jobs to 900 Iowans and supports nearly 50 Iowa businesses.