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Beach Monitoring: Safe to Swim?


When Does Monitoring Occur?

From approximately Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources conducts weekly monitoring of 39 state park beaches. 

What is Being Monitored? 

  • Microcystin (a toxin produced by harmful blue-green algae blooms), and
  • E.coli

About Swim Advisories

Due to health risks, when microcystin or E.coli levels exceed certain standards/thresholds, DNR posts swim advisories telling beach-goers to stay out of the water. 

The Iowa Environmental Council tracks these weekly beach monitoring reports/swim advisories, as well as advisory trends from year-to-year.  Click here to view our trend data.

Current DNR Beach Monitoring Report (Week of June 14, 2019):

  • # of Beach Advisories Issued for E.coli = 1
    • Beaches with an E.Coli-Related Warning/Advisory:
      • Backbone Beach  (Dundee, Delaware County, IA)

  • # of Beach Advisories Issued for Microcystin = 0
    • Beaches with a Microcystin-Related Warning/Advisory

Note:  The Monitoring data provided above is from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Many other public and private beaches that are not monitored by DNR are also susceptible to blue-green algae blooms. A map showing DNR's most up-to-date beach monitoring information can be found on the DNR’s website. You can also call the DNR Beach Monitoring Hotline at 515-725-3434 for weekly updates.

Weekly Water Watch

Every Friday IEC sends our Weekly Water Watch, an e-newsletter with beach updates and other important water news. Sign up to receive this e-newsletter.