Conference Program

2020 Iowa Water Conference

Wednesday, April 8, 2020Print the program

8:00 AM

Registration desk opens


Exhibitor setup

Research and educational poster setup

Display boards are numbered and spaces are assigned. Check poster listing in conference program upon arrival. There will be a designated area for student contest posters. Only pre- registered posters may display at the conference.

Opening Session
10:00 AM

Welcome and opening commentsMelissa Miller, associate director, Iowa Water Center

10:05 AM

Iowa and climate change: Connecting research to users in the MidwestDennis Todey, director, Midwest Climate Hub, USDA-ARS

Dr. Todey will discuss the causes and impacts of changing climate in the Midwest. One of the largest changes in the Midwest and Iowa is timing and amount of precipitation leading to large changes in agriculture and flooding. He will address the water issues with changing precipitation on soils for agriculture, impacts on cities, runoff and water quality. He will also discuss opportunities for moving ahead with changes in management and collaboration across sectors.

10:55 AM

A Wisconsin farmer-fisherman collaborationMargaret Krome, policy director, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute

Uplands Farmer-Led Watershed Group in hilly SW Wisconsin launched in 2016. That autumn, the group invited fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico to stay on their farms and share a seafood feast at our first Conservation Celebration dinner and at our first farm tour. Subsequent invitations North and South have strengthened this relationship, generating media coverage, resulting in policy initiatives, and changing our farmers' understanding and practices. The group's leaders will share the story.

11:45 AM


IFSMA lunch and membership meeting - "A New Beginning"

IFSMA members will gather in 299 Scheman for a working lunch and membership meeting after going through the buffet line. IFSMA is an organization of professionals whose members are involved in floodplain management, flood hazard mitigation, stormwater management, the National Flood Insurance Program, flood preparedness, warning and recovery. At this meeting members discuss IFSMA activities and events and hold board member elections. For additional information visit

Concurrent session A (select one)
12:45 PM Track: Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management

Does your stormwater model account for soil compaction?Todd Shoemaker, principal water resources engineer, Wenck Associates, Inc.; Eric Osterdyk, water resource engineer , Wenck Associates, Inc.

Soils at construction sites are often unintentionally compacted as a result of excavation, mixing, stockpiling, equipment storage, and equipment traffic. This results in a loss of infiltration capacity and root growth. Stormwater calculations (models) do not often account for effect of compaction. During this presentation, we will present quantifiable methods and recommendations for watershed managers to account for the impact of soil compaction and soil quality restoration.

12:45 PM Track: Role of Streambank Erosion and Sediment Delivery in Meeting Future Gulf of Mexico Targets

Assessing streambank erosion at the catchment scale, an applied approach to sediment budgetingJason Palmer

Accurate identification of sediment sources at the catchment scale is critical to the successful implementation of watershed management efforts. We deployed a strategy of GIS mapping and field reconnaissance to estimate the proportion of streambank erosion to annual sediment loading in the Lake Rathbun watershed, a 350,000 acre watershed in south central Iowa.

Track: Role of Streambank Erosion and Sediment Delivery in Meeting Future Gulf of Mexico Targets

Automated mapping of severely eroding banks across Iowa using LiDAR dataCalvin Wolter; Keith Schilling, state geologist, Iowa Geological Survey; Jason Palmer

A new method to relate bank height and slope was developed from 1-m resolution LiDAR data and used to severely eroding banks mapped in the Rathbun watershed. This method was then applied to streams across Iowa to estimate the extent of bank erosion in Iowa.

12:45 PM Track: The Role and Impacts of Artificial Drainage

Lake drainage in Iowa – 1880 to 1920Joseph Otto, Soil and Water Conservation Society

Part of a larger project on the history of drainage in Iowa, this presentation explores a late-nineteenth century conflict over the right to drain Iowa's natural lakes and farm the lands beneath them. The state's response to the conflict had implications for the formation of the State Board of Conservation in 1919, which preceded the Iowa DNR.

12:45 PM Track: Citizen Engagement in Water

Stakeholder analyses for better collaboration: Application in research and utility for natural resource managersMaggie Norton, farmer outreach coordinator, Practical Farmers of Iowa

This presentation outlines the theory and methods of a stakeholder analysis, describes results from a case study, and explains the utility of the stakeholder analysis framework (SAF) for natural resources professionals’ collaborations. Basic application of the SAF in resource management contexts can help characterize stakeholders’ willingness and capacity to participate in collaborations, leverage relationships between stakeholders, and detect gaps in communication or engagement.

12:45 PM Track: Flood Management and Climate Change

The frequency of flood events and climate changeGabriele Villarini, director, IIHR- Hydroscience & Engineering and associate professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Iowa

This presentation will provide an overview of recent efforts to understand the major drivers responsible for the observed increases in the frequency of flood events across the central United States, and discuss what the projected changes are expected to be based on state-of-the-science climate models.

Concurrent session B (select one)
1:20 PM Track: Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management

What's new in the Iowa Stormwater Management ManualJennifer Welch, urban conservationist, Polk Soil and Water Conservation District ; Gregory Pierce, PE, CPESC, water resource engineer, RDG Planning & Design

The Iowa Stormwater Management Manual is an important tool in the management of stormwater. This talk will highlight updates to the manual in 2019 including frequently used stormwater BMPs, retrofit opportunities, and the measurement standards used to evaluate the management of the quality and quality of stormwater runoff. This session will discuss the history, status and overall approach of using the unified sizing criteria to provide better water quality and flood protection in communities.

1:20 PM Track: Role of Streambank Erosion and Sediment Delivery in Meeting Future Gulf of Mexico Targets

Automated mapping of bank erosion and bar deposition in the Nishnabotna River watershed, southwest IowaPete Moore; Forrest Williams; Tom Isenhart, professor, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University; John Thomas, fluvial geomorphologist, Hungry Canyons Alliance

We created a GIS tool that automatically identifies stream pixels in high-resolution aerial imagery and compares stream locations in sequential images. Differences are combined with high-resolution topography to map erosion and deposition. We demonstrate its use in estimating sediment and phosphorus loss from streambanks in the Nishnabotna watershed.

Track: Role of Streambank Erosion and Sediment Delivery in Meeting Future Gulf of Mexico Targets

Erosion and sediment delivery in southern Iowa watersheds: Implications for conservation planningMatthew Streeter, research associate, Iowa Geological Survey, University of Iowa; Keith Schilling, state geologist, Iowa Geological Survey; Lee Burras, professor, Agronomy, Iowa State University; Calvin Wolter

We quantified total suspended solid export and current sediment delivery ratios in four southern Iowa watersheds and evaluated how historical and potential best management practices have affected sediment delivery ratios. This new analysis provides an exceptional story of conservation progress in our study watersheds over the past four decades.

1:20 PM Track: The Role and Impacts of Artificial Drainage

Agricultural depressions as hotspots of nitrogen lossNate Lawrence, PhD Candidate, Iowa State University

On Iowa’s Des Moines Lobe, extensive drainage does not prevent periodic flooding of many topographic depressions generally referred to as potholes. We found higher rates of nitrate leaching and only modest evidence of greater denitrification in potholes relative to the surrounding landscape. These results suggest potholes can be hotspots of nitrate loss and could be targeted for alternative management to reduce nitrate loads.

1:20 PM Track: Citizen Engagement in Water

A diffusion model for scaling up the watershed approachKarl Gesch, senior conservationist, Iowa Soybean Association; Hunter Slifka, project coordinator, Howard Soil and Water Conservation District

Watershed diffusion is a model to scale up watershed projects by leveraging local knowledge, experience, and expertise of watershed project coordinators, farmers and landowners, and local partners.

1:20 PM Track: Flood Management and Climate Change

Landscape solutions to climate change with the Resilient Land Mapping ToolEmily Martin, coordinator, Conservation Programs, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation

This presentation will explore the role that regenerative farming and landscape solutions can play in both conserving and regenerating Iowa’s natural resources. We will share data and stories from Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation projects that highlight the growing need for resilient landscapes that consider both flooding and our changing climate.

Concurrent session C (select one)
1:55 PM Track: Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management

So you have water flowing everywhere: When to use 2D stormwater modelingTrevor Rundhaug, water resources engineer, EOR, Inc

2D stormwater modeling is a powerful tool, but still has some limitations. As part of the City of Bondurant’s stormwater management plan, an integrated 1D-2D PCSWMM model was developed. The pros and cons of when and how to use 2D modeling for cities is shown in a real-life scenario.

1:55 PM Track: Role of Streambank Erosion and Sediment Delivery in Meeting Future Gulf of Mexico Targets

Roles of the stream channel and floodplain within the total phosphorus budget of Walnut Creek, IowaWilliam Beck, assistant professor, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University

Comprehensive studies which attribute annual watershed P loads to individual sources are rare. In a three-year study, we quantified components of annual P loads within Walnut Creek (Iowa) using field monitoring and hydraulic modeling. Results suggest the stream channel and floodplain play significant roles in annual watershed P loading.

Track: Role of Streambank Erosion and Sediment Delivery in Meeting Future Gulf of Mexico Targets

Contribution of streambank erosion to total phosphorus loads in Iowa agricultural watershedsKeith Schilling, state geologist, Iowa Geological Survey; Calvin Wolter; Jason Palmer; Matthew Streeter; Anthony Seeman

In this two-year study, we answered the following questions: How much TP is exported from Iowa? How much streambank erosion is occurring in the state? What is the average streambank recession rate? What are the typical TP concentrations found in Iowa streambanks? And finally, what is the contribution of streambank TP loads to Iowa TP export?

1:55 PM Track: The Role and Impacts of Artificial Drainage

From drainage district repair to water quality enhancement: A Buena Vista County case studyBethany Brittenham, graduate engineer, ISG

Iowa’s Drainage District facilities ensure productive farm ground by providing the infrastructure for water table management. As facilities age and repairs become essential, landowners have demonstrated interest in incorporating water quality practices to offset costly repairs. This presentation highlights a case study of cooperation between stakeholders.

1:55 PM Track: Citizen Engagement in Water

Using creek signs to build awareness of creeks, lake tributaries, and watersheds in IowaStephen Hopkins, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Through the “Stream Sign Initiative”, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has partnered with Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) to install creek signs at highway bridges in priority areas to raise awareness of Iowa’s creeks, streams, and watersheds. Over 900 creek signs have been installed in Iowa over the past 6 years. DNR intends to study how the installation of creek signs influences Iowans’ awareness of waters and water quality.

1:55 PM Track: Flood Management and Climate Change

13 years going on $30 million: A resiliency vision realized John Petersen, project manager, JEO Consulting Group; Lalit Jha, vice president, water resources, JEO Consulting Group; Lyndon Vogt, general manager, Central Platte Nattural Resources District

A large, multi-year, project providing flood resiliency to Grand Island, Nebraska was completed just before the March 2019 “bombcyclone” flood. The local sponsor and their lead engineer will detail the history of the project, current status, design features of the project, and review its successful performance during March 2019.

Concurrent session D (select one)
2:30 PM Track: Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management

Clearing the path forward: Are progressive stormwater policies a blessing or burden? Aaron Gwinnup, EOR, Inc

This presentation explores various data sets from industry experts and communities across Iowa to shed light on common misconceptions about municipal stormwater policies and provide a clear view for the path forward to reasonable, responsible stormwater regulations.

2:30 PM Track: Role of Streambank Erosion and Sediment Delivery in Meeting Future Gulf of Mexico Targets

Stream bank erosion in Iowa: Lessons learned and future challengesTom Isenhart, professor, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University

Notably absent from nutrient reduction strategies is an estimate of sediment and phosphorus load contribution from stream bed and bank erosion. This presentation will summarize lessons learned from nearly 20 years of stream bank erosion research across Iowa and identify future challenges in addressing the issue.

Track: Role of Streambank Erosion and Sediment Delivery in Meeting Future Gulf of Mexico Targets

Question and answer time

2:30 PM Track: The Role and Impacts of Artificial Drainage

Ecological intensification of agricultural drainageMike Castellano, professor, Agronomy, Iowa State University

Artificial drainage benefits crop production and increases the success of conservation agriculture practices such as reduced tillage and cover crops. However, drainage also promotes nutrient losses to water resources. Mike will discuss how drainage systems can be managed to mitigate nutrient losses, increase fertilizer nitrogen-use efficiency and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

2:30 PM Track: Citizen Engagement in Water

The interpretation of water through the integration of public artDavid Dahlquist, principal, RDG Planning & Design

Where do we turn to tell the “story” about water? Throughout history, we have turned to Art to understand & inspire. The integration of art is the emotional quotient of design across all disciplines. Public Art represents a process to interpret water, reaffirming our connection to each other & the natural world around us.

2:30 PM Track: Flood Management and Climate Change

There's nothing magic about a leveeDennis Harper, Recovery Division Administrator, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management; Jason Smith, program manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District; Bill Cappuccio, NFIP State Coordinator, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Levee and levee systems are not magic force fields that remove all flood risk. Levees can actually increase flood risk in certain circumstances. Many elements contribute to successful levee management including accurate communication regarding flood risk and good processes for maintaining this valuable infrastructure. This panel discussion will include federal, state, and local levee subject matter experts.

3:00 PM


Refreshments available in the 1st and 2nd floor lobby areas.

Research and educational poster session

Poster displays about current water topics will be located in the 2nd floor lobby area. Poster authors will be present during the afternoon break. The full listing of poster topics included in the conference program starting on page 18.

Exhibits and displays

Learn about the products and services available from the exhibits and displays on 1st floor.

Concurrent session E (select one)
3:25 PM Track: Panel discussions

Our perspective: An inter-generational and womxn's panel on water in IowaV Fixmer- Oraiz, founder and CEO, Astig Planning, LLC; Panelists: Ingrid Gronstal Anderson, water program director, Iowa Environmental Council; Mary Skopec, executive director, Iowa Lakeside Laboratory; Maria Perez, stormwater specialist, City of Cedar Falls; Denise O'Brien, founding director, Women, Food and Agriculture Network; Rai Tokuhisa, civil water resources engineer , RDG Planning & Design; Pat Boddy, stewardship director, RDG Planning & Design; Christine Nobiss, director, SHIFT, Seeding Sovereignty

This panel invites the audience to a gender-inclusive, women’s perspective on Iowa’s water story. How have women been included in the narrative and how can we shape the future? We honor the work of those who have come before us and those inheriting the fight by joining together in an inter- generational space. We will tell stories, ask audience questions, and provide opportunities to stay in conversation (and act!) post-conference in order to create an equitable, clean & resilient water future.

3:25 PM Track: Panel discussions

Comprehensive stormwater management that creates resilient communitiesJared Bright, stormwater coordinator, City of Ankeny; Jim Sanders, City of Johnston; Aaron Gwinnup, EOR, Inc

This panel will address the Des Moines Metro initiative to create and adopt post construction stormwater policy that builds resiliency into each community. Data from communities in Iowa that have implemented progressive post construction policies will be presented and the triple bottom line benefits that include positive outcomes on development.

3:25 PM Track: Panel discussions

Decision tools for conservation systems success Mark Licht, assistant professor, Agronomy, Iowa State University; Matt Helmers, director, Iowa Nutrient Research Center and professor, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Iowa State University; Jacqueline Comito, program director, Conservation Learning Group, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach; Jamie Benning, manager, Water Quality Program, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

This presentation, structured as a mini-workshop, will review the newly developed Conservation Systems Best Management Practices Manual and decision tools to increase successful adoption of conservation cropping systems and practices including cover crops, no-till, strip-till, multi-year crop rotations and edge-of-field nitrate reduction practices. Participants will apply the tools in a variety of scenarios and select practices and management methods that will increase practice success for farmers and landowners.

3:25 PM Track: Panel discussions

Is current conservation enough? Untangling the effects of conservation, climate, drainage and manure on Boone and Raccoon River nitrateBonnie McGill, University of Iowa

Iowa farmers implement conservation practices (CPs) to reduce nutrient pollution, but it is unclear which CPs matter at the watershed scale. We will address how the scale of CPs in the Boone and Raccoon River watersheds compare to the scale of other drivers of nitrogen pollution like climate change, tile drainage, and feedlots. We will present results from our SWAT watershed model that incorporates remote sensing of CPs, farmer focus groups, and high- resolution nitrate sensor data.

3:25 PM Track: Panel discussions

The land between two rivers: Improving flood resiliencyWitold Krajewski, director, Iowa Flood Center; Joyce Flinn, Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management; Nicole Gleason, Davenport Public Works

Flood control and mitigation are expensive but reacting to disasters after they occur is even more costly— in dollars, lost economic potential, and human suffering. A panel of experts will discuss topics such as flood frequency estimation; programs and resources available to assist before, during, and after a flood event; the importance of partnerships across disciplines; and how to think outside-the-box to secure funding to implement new ideas and address the grand challenges that lie ahead.

Afternoon General Session
4:30 PM

A vision for a more resilient IowaLarry Weber, research engineer, IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering and professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Iowa

In the last decade, Iowa’s elected officials have addressed flooding and water-quality issues through creation of the Iowa Flood Center, Iowa Nutrient Research Center, and WMAs to expand collaboration. These efforts allowed Iowa to secure a $97M award to create the Iowa Watershed Approach. Despite these efforts, climate change is making it difficult to address our water resource challenges. Weber will share a long-term vision for Iowa with recommendations to guide us to a more resilient future.

4:30 PM

Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) examination

Advance registration is required to take the CFM exam. For more information about the exam, visit the ASFPM website at

5:30 PM

Reception – hosted by JEO Consulting Group

Please join us for a fun time of socializing and networking at the Torrent Brewing Co. taproom in downtown Ames. More information at

Thursday, April 9, 2020Print the program

7:30 AM

Registration desk open


Research and educational posters

Exhibits open

Morning General Session
8:00 AM

Morning announcementsMelissa Miller, associate director, Iowa Water Center

8:15 AM

Minding our Ps and NsJames Houle, research faculty, Stormwater Center, University of New Hampshire

Nutrient management is emerging as a necessary treatment objective for stormwater control. This presentation will cover current technologies and discuss performance and optimization for Nitrogen and Phosphorus Removal.

Concurrent session F (select one)
9:20 AM Track: Workshops

Watershed Community: A simple agent-based model to support social capital building, storytelling, and collaborative action across a watershedLinda Shenk, associate professor, English, Iowa State University; Kristie Franz, professor, Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University; Nick Gans, Iowa State University; William Gutowski, professor, Meteorology, Iowa State University; Arie Sirotiak, undergraduate research assistant, Iowa State University

This interactive workshop introduces our “Watershed Community” simulation model created to support greater community involvement, storytelling, and collaboration in conservation related to water, soil, and biodiversity. We will share how we use it with groups and then devote the majority of the session to hands-on engagement and discussion. Laptops not needed.

9:20 AM Track: Workshops

Water quality awareness and education campaigns: Two Iowa pilotsAllen Bonini, supervisor, Iowa Department of Natural Resources; John Swanson, coordinator, Watershed Management Authority, Polk County Public Works; Jennifer Welch, urban conservationist, Polk Soil and Water Conservation District ; Amy Foster, stormwater coordinator, City of Coralville; Mike Wolfe, City of North Liberty

Polk SWCD and the City of Coralville were each awarded grants from Iowa DNR to build and launch local multi-media water quality improvement campaigns to promote behavior changes. This session will provide background on the DNR program, and grantees will present the process and products utilized to build their campaigns.

9:20 AM Track: Workshops

Breaking through: A decade and a half of stormwater research. James Houle, research faculty, Stormwater Center, University of New Hampshire

This presentation will cover a decade and a half of stormwater research and will discuss the primary question: if the ideal stormwater treatment system design is beyond the reach of what is practical for a community, can we still find simple ways to improve water quality and control flooding?

9:20 AM Track: Workshops

Upstream protection: Water utilities and farming for public healthAudrey Tran Lam, director, Environmental Health Program, Center for Energy and Environmental Education, University of Northern Iowa; Eric Schmechel, director, Watershed Program, Dubuque Soil and Water Conservation District; Michael Kuntz, City of Cedar Rapids; Steven Diers, city administrator, City of Charles City

This mini-workshop will explore the role of water utilities in encouraging upstream land-use practices that solve for a pattern of health (soil, water, and biodiversity enhancements that protect public health). Participants will learn from successful water utility and rural partnerships and will discuss what barriers exist between implementing proven agricultural research and current practice (for both farmers and cities/municipalities)?

9:20 AM Track: Workshops

River Restoration Toolbox Tool for non-engineersMike Steuck, Northeast Regional Fisheries Supervisor, Iowa Department of Natural Resources; Dan Kirby, Iowa Department of Natural Resources; Nate Hoogeveen, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

The Iowa River Restoration Best Management Practice Toolbox Tool, completed in 2018, contains an assessment tool to identify key instability drivers, geomorphic design practice guidelines, and guidelines for successfully designing and executing commonly used structures and techniques used in restoration/stabilization projects. This mini-workshop will help non-engineers utilize this tool to develop and construct projects that improve water quality and aquatic habitat in rivers and streams in Iowa

10:20 AM



Concurrent session G (select one)
10:35 AM Track: Understanding Harmful Algal Blooms

Wicked water problem: Why there will never be a universal solution for mitigating harmful algal blooms Grace Wilkinson, assistant professor, Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology, Iowa State University

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are the consequence of cultural eutrophication, which is a wicked water problem. Recent research on HABs in Iowa lakes will be used to illustrate the ecological complexities of this wicked problem and the unintended consequences when one-size-fits-all management interventions are applied.

10:35 AM Track: Emerging Drinking Water Resource Contaminants

Discovery of neonicotinoid insecticides in Iowa drinking water: Presence, fate, and transformation in environmental and engineered treatment systemsGregory LeFevre, assistant professor, Environmental Engineering, University of Iowa

Neonicotinoids have become the most widely-used insecticides in the world, and are commonly applied in Iowa. Here we report the first discovery of neonics in drinking water, what happens during treatment, and how they may transform in engineered / natural systems.

10:35 AM Track: Meeting Future Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Targets

Baseline estimates of nitrogen and phosphorus transport from Iowa, 1980-1996Stephen Kalkhoff, U.S. Geological Survey; Matt Helmers, director, Iowa Nutrient Research Center and professor, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Iowa State University; Kay Stefanik, assistant director, Iowa Nutrient Research Center

Progress on reducing nitrogen transport to the Gulf of Mexico is evaluated in relation to baseline conditions for the period from 1980-1996. Baseline conditions in Iowa are were modeled using fertilizer and manure application and land use data and were estimated from periodic samples and daily streamflow data.

10:35 AM Track: Social Perspectives on Water Quality

Factors influencing homeowner participation in stormwater management in the Easter Lake WatershedBreanna Marmur, graduate research assistant, Iowa State University; Jan Thompson, Morrill Professor, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University; Julie Perreault, Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District;

We surveyed residents in the Easter Lake Watershed (Des Moines, IA) to investigate knowledge/perceptions influencing participation in stormwater BMP implementation on their properties. Respondents who adopted BMPs indicated having information about the practices and their own beliefs about improving their property and water quality protection were important in adoption decisions.

10:35 AM Track: Watersheds and Floodplain Management

60+ years of watershed districts in MinnesotaTodd Shoemaker, principal water resources engineer, Wenck Associates, Inc.; Chris Meehan, Wenck Associates, Inc.

The Minnesota Legislature authorized the creation of watershed districts in 1955 with the idea that water management policies should be developed on a watershed basis. Wenck has since served for decades as the lead engineer for several Minnesota watershed districts. We will share our first-hand experience of Minnesota watershed management history, evolution, recent trends, and draw parallels to WMAs in Iowa.

Concurrent session H (select one)
11:10 AM Track: Understanding Harmful Algal Blooms

Harmful algal bloom monitoring using UAV captured multispectral imagery and pigment/toxin correlationsSarah Douglas, graduate research assistant, IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering, University of Iowa

Current monitoring methods for harmful algal blooms (HABs) are ineffective for mapping the spatial distribution of the toxins they release. The proposed framework utilizes multispectral imagery in tandem with pigment/toxin correlations to map cyanotoxin distribution in Iowa lakes. We conducted a case study on Green Valley Lake to apply the developed framework and identify the potential, as well as limitations, of the current technology for risk assessment and lake management purposes.

11:10 AM Track: Emerging Drinking Water Resource Contaminants

Sorption of neonicotinoid insecticides to granular activated carbon during drinking water treatmentDanielle Webb, PhD Candidate, University of Iowa; Matthew Nagorzanski, graduate research assistant, IIHR- Hydroscience & Engineering, University of Iowa; David Cwiertny, associate faculty fesearch engineer, IIHR--Hydroscience & Engineering and professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Iowa; Gregory LeFevre, assistant professor, Environmental Engineering, University of Iowa

The widespread use of neonicotinoids has led to their proliferation in waters across the U.S., including drinking water sources. Although neonicotinoids exhibit relatively low toxicity towards mammals, formation of toxic metabolites is an exposure concern. This study was examined the efficacy of GAC for removing neonicotinoids and a toxic metabolite from drinking water.

11:10 AM Track: Meeting Future Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Targets

Nitrogen budgets for Iowa watershedsChris Jones, research engineer, IIHR- Hydroscience & Engineering, University of Iowa

This work evaluates nitrogen fertilizer, manure and fixation inputs, along with nitrogen harvested in the grain and exported by the river, for the 20-year period ending in 2019 for 10 Iowa watersheds. This data will indicate that stream nitrate levels are linked to surplus resulting from fertilizer and manure application.

11:10 AM Track: Social Perspectives on Water Quality

Investigating Iowa farmers’ acceptance of targeted conservation approaches over timeChris Morris, graduate research assistant, Iowa State University

Targeted conservation refers to the use of remote sensing or GIS analysis to locate places on the land that are most vulnerable to soil erosion and water quality impairments. It is beginning to be adopted by agencies and private consultants, but its feasibility and success is dependent on farmer acceptance. This project investigates how Iowa farmers’ perspectives on targeted conservation have changed over time using a combination of Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll data and in- depth interviews.

11:10 AM Track: Watersheds and Floodplain Management

Evaluating opportunities for water detention based on the landscape capacity of a watershedJessica Nelson, graduate student, Iowa State University; Mark Tomer, research soil scientist, USDA-ARS

The Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF), a precision conservation-practice mapping tool, can provide data to evaluate watershed goals to mitigate flooding and attenuate peak flows using water detention practices. Using the ACPF GIS toolset, three HUC12 watersheds in Yellow Medicine River Watershed, Minnesota, were analyzed to demonstrate the varying landscape storage capacities within each subwatershed and compare implementation strategies (i.e. open vs. targeted).

Concurrent session I (select one)
11:45 AM Track: Understanding Harmful Algal Blooms

How Iowans value water quality improvements and HABs reductionWendong Zhang, assistant professor, Economics, Iowa State University

Using 2019 survey data, this presentation will provide new insights into Iowa citizens' awareness and attitude toward HABs and the economic benefits of HABs reduction. Research insights will also be briefly shared related to the role of land tenure and landowners in incentivizing great conservation adoption

11:45 AM Track: Emerging Drinking Water Resource Contaminants

Prevalence and distribution of radium in Iowa groundwater: Managing radionuclides in private drinking water wells and small public water systems Margaret Carolan, graduate researcher, University of Iowa

For Iowa public water systems, radium exceeds the federal "safe limit" in treated drinking water more frequently than any other pollutant. Unregulated private wells lack capacity to adequately treat for radium and users of wells may be at risk of exposure to elevated levels. To fill gaps in available data, a survey of private water sources across Iowa was completed in fall 2019. The results of this study will be shared alongside recommendations for managing radium in Iowa private wells.

11:45 AM Track: Meeting Future Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Targets

Muscatine Nutrient Reduction Alternatives PlanAdrian Holmes, senior project manager, Bolton & Menk, Inc.; Olivia Hunt, Bolton & Menk, Inc.; Jon Koch, director, WRRF, City of Muscatine

Muscatine's wastewater NPDES permit requires nutrient reduction in its Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) effluent, or comparable reductions within the watershed. A plan to maximize watershed projects to improve nutrient reduction was developed. Learn detailed accounting of nutrient reduction and secondary stormwater management benefits, and nutrient offset potential.

11:45 AM Track: Social Perspectives on Water Quality

Water quality perceptions and recreational use of Iowa's waters by anglersJeff Kopaska, biometrician, Fisheries, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

The Iowa DNR conducted a decadal Iowa Angler Survey in 2018. Iowa anglers fished 10.50 million days in 2018, compared to 8.30 million days in 2007. A randomly selected group of more than 1,600 licensed anglers were asked how often they go fishing and where, what species they fish for, their opinions on DNR fisheries management efforts and their perceptions on water quality. Responses were categorized spatially, and by an urban/rural residency split. The results of this survey will be presented.

11:45 AM Track: Watersheds and Floodplain Management

Climate change and watershed managementJoe Waln, senior water resources engineer, Barr Engineering Co.

Citizens are asking about how to adapt to climate change and prevent it from getting worse. This presentation will feature examples watershed districts proactively addressing these issues by doing things like facilitating climate resilience workshops, modeling more extreme flooding events, completing infrastructure vulnerability studies, and designing plant community restorations prepared for invasive species encroachment.

12:15 PM



Closing Session
1:45 PM

The story of Storm Lake: Building resilience from withinArt Cullen, Storm Lake Times; Angela Mesenbrink, science teacher, Storm Lake High School; Advanced Ecology Students Storm Lake High School

Storm Lake, Iowa, has received its share of press in recent years, in part due to Pulitzer Prize winning author Art Cullen. But the story of Storm Lake lies with its people: an increasingly diverse population that value community and their natural resources. Cullen, along with Storm Lake High School science teacher Angela Mesenbrink and her advanced ecology students, will share the intriguing narrative of a community working and learning together to improve their natural resources and what Iowa needs in the future to see real progress across the state.

Closing comments

3:00 PM

Conference adjourns

Post-conference tour
3:00 PM

Load bus for post-conference tour

3:15 PM

Permeable pavers, bioretention cells, rain garden, native turf and native landscaping

3:50 PM

Load bus and travel to agricultural tour stops near Ames

4:05 PM

Agricultural best management practices (BMP) tour stops

5:00 PM

Return to Scheman Building