Ask a Scientist – What is Groundwater

We ask Keith Schilling, State Geologist and Research Scientist at the Iowa Geological Survey, the question: What is groundwater?… Read More Ask a Scientist – What is Groundwater

Kansas Agricultural Watershed Field Research Facility

Midwestern row-crop agriculture is recognized as being highly productive, but is also cited for impairing surrounding ecosystems and impacting environmental quality. Water quality is a key metric utilized to characterize the health of an agricultural watershed. Therefore, it is important to know how new or alternative management practices impact water quality. With this in mind, the Kansas Agricultural Watershed (KAW) Field Laboratory was created in 2014 to study the effects of agricultural systems on water, sediment and nutrient losses. The goal of the KAW field lab is to evaluate and develop sustainable conservation practices that protect water quality, maintain yield and profitability and provide producers with flexible options for management of crops and nutrients.… Read More Kansas Agricultural Watershed Field Research Facility

The Importance of Groundwater and How to Monitor it From Space

When water from rainfall and snowmelt enters and saturates the soil column, some of that water flows to streams, some evaporates and some is absorbed by plant roots. The rest drains downward to recharge underground aquifers, where it can remain for months, years or even millennia. If you dig deep enough, groundwater can be found almost anywhere, even beneath the Sahara Desert. Groundwater is vital to both people and ecosystems because of the ability of aquifers to store water during wet periods for use during dry periods. It supports domestic, municipal, industrial and especially agricultural usage in places where surface waters are not available, and it sustains streams and rivers, via contributions to baseflow, in between precipitation events… Read More The Importance of Groundwater and How to Monitor it From Space

Managing Construction Stormwater Runoff

Since the implementation of the Clean Water Act in 1972, the Environmental Protection Agency has been able to curtail pollution to waterways from many point sources. However, pollution impacts from nonpoint source stormwater runoff continue to increase. Stormwater management has become an increasingly important topic in the state of Iowa with a large focus on finding ways of improving agricultural runoff, which pollutes streams and rivers with high nutrient and sediment loads. While the vast majority of land in Iowa is dedicated to agricultural production, there is another major culprit to non-point pollution sources: construction sites.… Read More Managing Construction Stormwater Runoff

Building Youth Leadership Capacity Through Project-Based Learning

β€œ The world needs people who can lead others to make a change for the better if anything is gonna change for the better.”

This is a reflection from a Davenport North High School junior, one of the first students to experience environmental science education through a pilot program called β€œThe Watershed Project,” sponsored by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and administered by the Iowa Water Center (IWC).… Read More Building Youth Leadership Capacity Through Project-Based Learning