Information from the first year of a study of Iowa’s 132 lakes is in, and it confirms some of what’s long been suspected. Iowa State University Professor John Downing is leading the study.The first year study shows Iowa’s lakes are rich in nutrients. One newspaper account of the study said the results show Iowa’s lakes are “filthy.” Downing says that’s wrong.He says Iowa doesn’t have any “filthy” rivers, they’re just “nutrient rich” due to a variety of factors. The samples taken from the state’s waters show heavy concentrations of nitrates and phosphorus in some lakes. Downing says it’s far too early to put any label on the lakes. He says that will come once the study is complete.The study is designed to identify the lakes that need some restoration, and the ones that’re doing alright. He says it’s important to have five years of data to draw any conclusions.Iowa has a variable climate and the amount of water in lakes varies over time, so it’s important to get a five-year average of conditions. Downing says the study isn’t easy.They’ve already made some 150-thousand measurements in the lakes and will make as many over the next four years. This is the first study of its kind done on Iowa lakes.
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