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Iowa's Beaches: Healthy and Fun for All

child on beachIowa'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, and sometimes drinking, advisories that make it impossible to enjoy our beaches and threaten tourism dollars for many communities.  

Health Impacts

Health Impacts


E. coli is just one of several bacteria that can be present in Iowa's waters, but is tracked because of it serves as an indicator species for other bacteria in the water. Learn more about how  E. coli and other bacteria get into our waters and the health impacts of exposure to bacteria like E. coli

Microcystin and Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)

Harmful algal blooms (also known as cyanobacteria) are overgrowths of blue-green algae in water. HABs can produce dangerous toxins that present significant threats to our health, our environment, and our economy. Learn more about how HABs and microcystin get into our waters and the health impacts to humans, pets, and livestock

Beach Monitoring and Advisories

Beach Advisories

The Iowa DNR monitors 39 public beaches during the swim season, typically from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and posts advisories each Friday. 

Learn more about beach monitoring and view our weekly beach tracker

IEC is interested in the health and economic impacts of pollutants and beach advisories. Our analysis of a decade of beach data shows an alarming trend of beach closures.

Weekly Water Watch

IEC sends a weekly email update of beach advisories and other important water-related news all summer long. Sign up to receive this weekly e-newsletter.

Weekly Water Watch PDF

September 6, 2019

August 30, 2019

August 23, 2019

August 16, 2019

August 9, 2019

August 2, 2019

July 26, 2019

July 19, 2019  

July 12, 2019  

July 5, 2019  

Weekly Water Watch News and Reports 

Dubuque Telegraph Herald - Make quality of our water a higher priority