College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Boaters, swimmers on Iowa lakes may see cleaner water after ISU study

As summer days get hotter, many lakes around Iowa start to develop blue-green algae that can impair recreation and harm drinking water.

Iowa State University researchers are examining why the algae, known as Cyanobacteria, invade the lakes and what can be done about it.

John Downing, professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, & Organismal Biology and Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, who has led a group that has monitored water quality in 137 lakes around Iowa for more than 10 years, is installing buoys to monitor 16 lakes around the state.

“You tend to get this Cyanobacteria in water where you have a lot of nutrients, and that’s Iowa,” said Downing. “So here is the place to learn how to manage these things.”

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