ASPPH logo


Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Iowa Researchers Report Little Progress against State’s Water Pollution

Iowa researchers assessing voluntary conservation efforts under the state’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy found progress against nutrient pollution remains elusive.

[Photo: Dr. David Osterberg]

The new study from the Iowa Policy Project (IPP), co-authored by University of Iowa professor of occupational and environmental health Dr. David Osterberg, examines water quality in Iowa and the Mississippi River Basin. Other study contributors include the report’s lead author Ms. Sara Conrad, research associate at IPP, along and Mr. Michael Burkart, former U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher and Iowa State University professor.

“All Iowans want to see progress in meeting our goals to improve water quality,” said Ms. Conrad. “Not only do Iowans want cleaner water, but we deserve more accountability than we are getting for our state’s efforts to date.”

Dr. Osterberg noted billions of state and federal dollars have been spent to improve water quality.

“The nation is demanding more progress,” Dr. Osterberg said. “The Mississippi River Basin and the Gulf of Mexico are being damaged by continued nutrient pollution by nitrogen and phosphorus. This is a problem of land management, and no one is requiring the managers of the land to do better.”

The report examines progress toward goals of the 2013 Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS), Iowa’s voluntary approach to the environmental and health effects of nutrient pollution.

The report found:

The full report and a two-page executive summary are available at