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Iowa’s lakes are an incredible and important water resource. They support excellent fisheries, provide a home to numerous plants and animals, create recreational opportunities for Iowans and tourists, and in some cases, supply Iowans with drinking water. State wide water quality monitoring is important so that we can better understand the health and status of our lakes.
In 2000, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Section began its ambient lake monitoring program. The Ambient Lake Monitoring program samples over 130 lakes in Iowa each summer. Each lake is sampled three times throughout between May and September: once in early summer, once in mid-summer, and once in late summer/early fall. Data from this project is used to assess the health of our lakes and target individual lakes for restoration and watershed improvement activities.
The Ambient Monitoring Monitoring Program currently focuses on monitoring of 138 SPOL’s (Significant Publicly-owned Lakes) in the State of Iowa. Starting in 2014 and continuing through 2016, 138 lakes around the state of Iowa are sampled three times between May and September. Sampling target many parameters measured in the field and laboratory. The program plans to monitor these lakes into the future in addition to new lake sites in Iowa.