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All News and Pages Related to "Raccoon River"

Ripe as a Roadkill Raccoon

Posted on June 3rd, 2020

Hydrologists classify watersheds using a hierarchical system that “nests” watersheds within one another, an idea that resembles a broad oak tree with the trunk being a large river such as the Mississippi and the countless branches its numerous tributaries. Each watershed or branch is given a number—a Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) with the larger branches […]

Cry Me a Raccoon River

Posted on December 2nd, 2019

Note: the title was not my idea, but I have permission to use it.  I suppose we all experience certain days when events crystallize our ideas in ways such that the day and the ideas will both go unforgotten. November 14 was one of those days for me. That day I conducted a presentation at […]

This is why we can’t have nice things

Posted on May 30th, 2019

You may have heard that our country’s administration is in a trade dispute with China. The US has imposed tariffs of 10 to 50% on a variety of Chinese goods including steel, aluminum, solar panels and clothes washing machines. China responded by imposing a 25% tariff on US soybeans and some other US products. China […]

Where have you gone, Dale Maffitt?

Posted on May 23rd, 2019

Over the past 16 years, I’ve had access to an embarrassment of riches when it comes to water quality data. For example, when I worked at Des Moines Water Works (DMWW), I came upon a closet of old data logs dating back to 1916 in the musty basement of the Fleur Drive filter plant. This […]

Drain Baby Drain

Posted on May 8th, 2019

The Landscape of Capitalism by former University of Iowa professor Robert F. Sayre (1933-2014; also, his is the featured image for the post) is an excellent short history of Iowa agriculture. I read Sayre’s essay many years ago and had all but forgotten it, but it was restored to my memory recently by a conversation […]

This is what happened

Posted on February 12th, 2019

This is What Happened (Note: the nitrate value for the Des Moines River at Des Moines was changed from 5.0 in the original posting to 3.6, based on information I received from a colleague at the University of Illinois.) Many people are curious about Iowa stream nitrate before modern agriculture became established across the landscape. They want […]

Tale of Two Raccoons

Posted on July 9th, 2018

I have 44 years of rock solid Raccoon River nitrate data measured at Fleur Drive in Des Moines, courtesy of Des Moines Water Works. In looking at historical water quality data, it is interesting and fun to divide your record into pieces. 44/2 = 22, so let’s do that. I’m looking at monthly averages of 4 things […]

Raccoon and Des Moines River Nitrate: 2017 overview

Posted on April 13th, 2018

Clear back in February of 2017 I wrote this in a blog post: “January is only one of 12 months, but in fact it is not a bad predictor of where the annual average Raccoon River nitrate will settle 11 months from now. This January, nitrate levels have averaged about 6.7 mg/L. When January nitrate was between […]

Raccoon River nitrate: Jan-Jun vs Annual

Posted on July 12th, 2017

Load is the total mass of a pollutant transported by a stream over a defined time period. The graph below shows Raccoon River nitrate loads (metric tons) from January through June (blue bars) versus the annual load (red bars). The years are arranged according to the magnitude of the Jan-Jun load. You can see where each year was […]

April Historical Nitrate: Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers

Posted on June 8th, 2017

  Just posting some graphs of recent data here of the last two months and historical perspective.