Central Iowans Devote Day to Clean Water

posted on Monday, May 22, 2017 in Council News


Emily Holley
Communications Director
Iowa Environmental Council
515-664-3405 (Cell)
515-244-1194, 210 (Office)

Central Iowa Volunteers to Devote Day to Clean Water

Des Moines – On Tuesday, May 23, 30+ volunteers will gather at the Isaak Walton League Clubhouse in Des Moines to participate in the Polk County Water Monitoring Snapshot, a biannual event dedicated to advancing clean water in Iowa.

Working together in teams, participants will collect water quality information using equipment provided by the DNR IOWATER program from over 70 sites located on rivers, streams, lakes and ponds throughout Polk and eastern Dallas County. Water samples will also be collected for additional analysis by the Des Moines Water Works’ lab.  The data from field and laboratory tests will be uploaded to the IOWATER Volunteer Water Monitoring Database, and will be used to provide a comprehensive overview of the condition of water sources in Iowa’s largest urban area.

“Before the Snapshot, there was very little information about water quality in the small streams and ponds in the greater Des Moines area,” said Iowa Environmental Council Water Program Director Susan Heathcote. “We couldn’t answer questions like ‘How does our water compare to other urban areas in Iowa and neighboring states?’ and ‘How is our water quality changing over time?’ Now, we can compare data from year-to-year and use that data to inform efforts to improve water quality.”

WHAT: Spring 2017 Polk County Water Monitoring Snapshot
WHEN: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 | 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
8:30 a.m. – Volunteer check-in and distribution of sample kits
9-9:30 a.m. – Volunteer training
9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Volunteer teams travel to designated collection sites, return to submit data sheets and samples
WHERE: Des Moines Izaak Walton League Clubhouse, 4343 George Flagg Parkway, Des Moines and locations throughout Polk and eastern Dallas County.

The event is organized and sponsored by the Des Moines Izaak Walton League, Des Moines Water Works, DNR IOWATER program, and Iowa Environmental Council.  Partners include Polk County Conservation, Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District, Des Moines Parks and Recreation, City of Pleasant Hill, City of Ankeny, City of Clive, Wells Fargo Green Team and Voya Financial. 

Members of the media are invited to attend the Snapshot and speak with volunteers. If interested in attending the volunteer check-in and training from 8:30 am – 9:30 am, please contact Communications & Outreach Director Emily Holley at 515-664-3405 (cell). If interested in connecting with a volunteer group during sampling from 10 am – 1 pm, please contact Water Program Director Susan Heathcote at 515-491-8980 (cell).

Started in 2004, the Polk County Water Monitoring Snapshot is held twice a year in May and October. This year’s event begins the thirteenth year of the Snapshot sampling of rivers, lakes and streams in Polk County. The event was originally inspired by a similar program in Scott County. The Scott and Polk County Snapshot programs are among the longest-running consistent, volunteer-organized water quality monitoring events in the state.


The Iowa Environmental Council is an alliance of diverse organizations and individuals working together to protect Iowa's natural environment. Since 1995, the Council has worked toward creating a safe, healthy environment and sustainable future for Iowa, focusing on clean water, land stewardship and clean energy.