The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is seeking input to improve the quality of the Raccoon River, which runs from northwest Iowa into Des Moines. Chris Van Gorp, with the DNR, says cleaning up the river will take some time.
"The Raccoon didn’t become impaired overnight, and it’s going to take a while to improve the water quality there," Van Gorp says, "I don’t think there’s one single easy fix for this situation." Van Gorp is organizing four meetings next month to explain the agency’s findings from a study of the Raccoon River.
He says the main focus of the meetings will involve what types of practices need implemented to improve the watershed and quality of the Raccoon River. Van Gorp says 90 percent of the water quality problems in the Raccoon River come from "nonpoint sources," or sources the DNR doesn’t regulate.
"We do have some very high nitrate levels in the Raccoon, probably the highest in the state," Van Gorp says, "and that’s largely due to the agricultural nature of the watershed and the application of fertilizers." The four public meetings will be held on November 7 and 8 in the towns of Guthrie Center, Jefferson, Sac City, and West Des Moines. More details about the meetings can be found on-line at the Iowa DNR’s website.