Pollution Solution - Internet Resources

Farming Today and Tomorrow

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Water Quality

What is nonpoint source pollution?
Nonpoint source pollution (or polluted runoff) occurs when water runs over land or through the ground, picks up pollutants and deposits them in the river, lake, bay or groundwater.

A Primer on Water Quality - What is in the water?

What do we mean by "water quality"?

Multiple rows of trees and shrubs, as well as a native grass strip, combine                               with terraces and other upland conservation treatment to protect Bear                               Creek in Story County, Iowa.

What is groundwater?

Water Quality Assessment: Chemical

Sources of Groundwater Contamination

Groundwater: A Hidden Resource

Water on the Web

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What are Wetlands and Why Protect Wetlands
Describes how wetlands impact soil erosion and process nonpoint source pollutants to improve water quality

What is a watershed?

Wetlands and People
Learn about the important filtering capabilities of wetlands and how wetlands improve water quality.

Wetlands: A Key Link in Watershed Management

Saving Our Watersheds
The Clean Water Act has provided citizens with a powerful tool called Total Daily Maximum Loads (TMDLs) to clean and protect watersheds. The National Wildelife Federation explains what TMDLs are and how you can take advantage of them to have a positive impact on the health of your own watershed.

The Young Scientist's Introduction to Wetlands
This file by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in .pdf format and must be viewed with Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Iowa's Wetlands
Describes the history of Iowa's wetlands, types of wetlands, characteristics of a wetland, and the future of Iowa's wetlands.

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The Effects of Urbanization and Agriculture

The effects of urbanization and agriculture on water quality: Nitrogen

Nonpoint and Point Sources of Nitrogen in Major Watersheds of the United States
Excellent Map

The effects of urbanization on water quality: Phosphorus

Earth's Water - Runoff

Nonpoint Source Pollution: The Nation's Largest Water Quality Problem

Contour Farming

No-till Planting for Corn
Excellent graphic explaining the benefits of no-till in reducing water run-off

Survey: Iowa No-till Holds Steady
Describes the use of conservation tillage and no-till in corn and soybean rotation

Conservation Tillage No-till Systems
Identifies issues related to no-till

Commonly Asked Questions about Riparian Management Systems
The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture provides answers to questions such as:

  • What does riparian mean?
  • Are wetlands really effective in reducing nitrate and other chemicals?
  • Where is the most effective location for buffers in a watershed?
  • How long does it take for a buffer to reach its maximum efficiency?
  • Do buffers really reduce sediment, nitrogen and other chemicals from cropland runoff?

Learn how streamside vegetation affects soil processes important to surface water quality.

Riparian Buffer Systems

Water Quality in Agricultural Watersheds
(This pdf file requires Adobe Acrobat Reader) Describes the nonpoint chemical contamination in agricultural water quality.

What's a riparian area?An area of streamside vegetation including the stream bank and adjoining floodplain, which is distinguishable from upland areas in terms of vegetation, soils, and topography.
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The Watershed Game

Play the Watershed Game

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Maps and Databases

Surf Your Watershed
Use the USGS's Geographic Names Information System or state maps to locate your watershed. Enter your zip code or click on a map to find your home, and the Web site will display water quality information for your watershed.

Watershed Map of North America

National Water Quality Assessment Program

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How Citizens Can Help

Project AWARE

What you can do to prevent nonpoint source pollution?

Wetlands Protection
Multi-species riparian bufferWhat you can do to protect our vital water resources?

Adopt Your Watershed
To encourage stewardship of the nation's water resources the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sponsors an "Adopt Your Watershed" campaign.

How to Adopt a Wetland
Learn how your class can work together to protect and restore a river, stream, wetland, lake, and ground water.

Things You Can Do to Make a Difference in Your Watershed

The Awesome Aquifer Club
The Groundwater Foundation sponsors programs that focus on groundwater education.

What is Volunteer Water Monitoring?
Learn about Iowa's volunteer water monitoring program and how you can help gather baseline information about the health of streams.

Opportunities for Public Involvement in Nonpoint Source Control

Managing Wetlands to Control Nonpoint Source Pollution

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Online Government and Private Resources

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - National Resources Conservation Service

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - America's Wetlands

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey - Water Resources and river corridor and wetland restoration resources.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Iowa Department of Natural Resources - Environmental Protection Division - Iowa Water Quality Bureau

Iowa Department of Natural Resources-Geological Survey Bureau

United States Environmental Protection Agency - Office of Water

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey -National Water Quality Assessment Project

National Agriculture Library - Water Quality Information Center Includes an excellent list of databases to help you find information about the water quality in your lakes, rivers and streams

Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

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Photos courtesy of the Agroecology Issue Team, Iowa State University

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