The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has added a tool on its website that provides a snapshot of aquatic life in Iowa’s interior streams and rivers.
BioNet is an online database that stores, analyzes, and reports the activities of the Biological Monitoring and Assessment program of the DNR. Users can enter a stream name or use the interactive map to find and select a location to view the sampling history at that site. There, they will have an opportunity to learn about stream biology, habitat, and water quality, view local watershed information, and much more.
BioNet is available on the Iowa Department of Natural Resources website at https://programs.iowadnr.gov/bionet/
A stream sample report includes the types and numbers of fish and other aquatic organisms such as insects, clams, crustaceans, leeches, and snails. The report also includes biological health scores from 0 to 100 for both the numbers and types of fish and other aquatic species collected, and also an explanation of the scores. Higher scores indicate a more diverse aquatic community and overall better water quality.
The biological monitoring program began in 1994 and nearly 900 stream sites have been sampled to date. Sites are linked to the Water Quality Assessment Database (https://programs.iowadnr.gov/adbnet/
), providing more information on the status of the stream. Results from the 2013 samples, currently being collected until mid-October at roughly 50 sites, will be available next year.
BioNet’s reports and analyses provide data for the biennial Water Quality report, as well as information for watershed coordinators and citizens interested in learning more about the health of their stream.