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Weekly Water Watch

Weekly Water Watch IconWeekly Water Watch  is IEC’s summer newsletter that provides weekly updates on Iowa E. coli  and microcystin beach advisories, important water quality news, and water-related events across the state.   

Weekly Water Watch started in 2018 to increase awareness of Iowa’s recreational lake water quality and make monitoring data more accessible and easy to understand.  

The September 10 Weekly Water Watch recaps notable stats for the summer. Read the September 10 issue of Weekly Water Watch for complete details.

Learn more about beach monitoring.


2021 State Park Lake Tour

Throughout the summer of 2021, IEC Communications Coordinator, Megan McDowell, toured state parks across Iowa and documented lakes and public beaches. Click on the Tour of Iowa State Park Lakes below to see Megan's photos and observations.

Tour of Iowa State Park Lakes 2021


Beaches are updated each Friday with advisories Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

Blue Beach Icon No advisories
Brown Beach Icon E. coli advisory
Green Beach Icon Microcystin advisory
Yellow Beach Icon E. coli and microcystin advisories


2021 Weekly Water Watch Issues

May 28, 2021 June 4, 2021 June 11, 2021 June 18, 2021
June 25, 2021 July 2, 2021 July 9, 2021 July 16, 2021
July 23, 2021 July 30, 2021 August 6, 2021 August 13, 2021
August 20, 2021 August 27, 2021 September 3, 2021 September 10, 2021


Notable Statistics from Summer 2021

  • Total number of E. coli advisories = 88 
  • Total number of microcystin advisories = 23 (up from 12 in 2020)
  • Four beaches recorded advisories for both E.coli and microcystin
  • Of 38 DNR-monitored beaches, 24 total beaches recorded swim advisories this summer. 20 beaches did not record any advisory this year.
  • Backbone Beach was under advisory for E. coli for 11 weeks out of 15 weeks total in 2021 -  the lowest number it has seen since 2014, but still more than any other state park beach. Since 2014, Backbone has experienced the most E. coli advisories at 105.

Crandall’s Beach (Spirit Lake), Rock Creek Lake, and Springbrook Beach in Guthrie County experienced their first advisories for microcystin since 2015.