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Iowa's Beaches: Outdoor Fun with Risks

Iowa's public beaches are a source of fun for everyone and deliver millions of tourism dollars to communities around the state. Our beaches are threatened by increasing bacterial pollution and nutrient loading, which contributes to harmful algal blooms (HABs) that can create dangerous toxins. 

Bacteria and algae can lead to recreational advisories, and sometimes drinking water advisories, that make it impossible to enjoy our beaches and threaten tourism dollars for many communities.  Learn more about the benefits, impacts, and concerns below.

Beach Monitoring Weekly Water Watch

The Iowa DNR and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers monitor many public beaches during the swim season, typically from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Learn more about what they're looking for and why they conduct this monitoring.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, IEC publishes an email every Friday providing updated beach advisories, as well as other important water related news. Sign up to receive this weekly email.

Tracking Trends Economic impacts of Iowa's Lakes

IEC compiles data provided by the DNR for beach advisories. Looking at historical data reveals trends for Iowa’s beaches and insights into how we can approach water quality improvement for the benefit of all Iowans.

Iowa's beaches aren't just fun, they're a significant source of revenue and job creation for many Iowa communities. Learn more about the economic impacts of Iowa's lakes locally and statewide.
Harmful Algae Blooms E.Coli Bacteria

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are overgrowths of blue-green algae in water. HABs can produce dangerous toxins (called microcystin) that present significant threats to our health, our environment, and our economy. 

 Some strains of E. coli can cause adverse human health effects, but high levels of the bacteria can indicate the presence of other harmful pathogens or disease-causing microorganisms in the water due to fecal contamination.  

IEC's water watch efforts are made possible through your generous support. Please consider a donation to help us continue this important work. Thank you!