Water quality and availability is of major importance locally, in the State of Iowa, and the world. Jodi Enos-Berlage, along with a large number of Luther undergraduate students, have been performing water quality research in a local watershed that is impaired for bacteria since 2010, specifically the Dry Run Creek Watershed. This 20,000-acre watershed drains into a common stream that enters the City of Decorah and subsequently empties in the Upper Iowa River. As Dry Run Creek flows through a campground and major recreational area, a bacterial impairment—indicating fecal contamination—raises public health concerns. We have surveyed over 10 sites in the Dry Run Creek Watershed for several years, with the goal of identifying sites that are more prominent contributors of pollution. We assess a variety of physical, chemical, and biological parameters in the field and the laboratory, including dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, nitrogen, phosphorus, E. coli bacteria, and benthic macroinvertebrates, the ‘critters’ that dwell at the bottom of a stream. An urban water quality project in the City of Decorah examines many of these same parameters. Water quality data are evaluated in the context of associated land use, and research results are shared with area landowners and City officials in order to provide information for decision-making and implementation of practices to improve water quality. We also present this research at local, regional, and national conferences, including the annual Iowa Water Conference.
Enos-Berlage, J. L. 2014. Bacteria in Iowa’s water: Risks, Sources, and Strategies. 7-9. In Deborah C. McDonough (ed.) Getting Into Soil and Water: 2014. Iowa Water Center, Ames, IA.
Wittman, J., A. Weckwerth, C. Weiss, S. Heyer, J. Seibert, B. Kuennen, C. Ingels, L. Seigley, K. Larsen, and J. Enos-Berlage. 2013. Evaluation of land use and water quality in an agricultural watershed in the United States indicates multiple sources of bacterial impairment. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 185: 10395-10420.
Enos-Berlage, J. L. 2012. Development of a Water-Quality Lab that Enhances Learning & Connects Students to the Land. American Biology Teacher. 74: 471-478. Associated photo was selected for issue cover.
Badger, E., J. Denney, A. Johnson, and J. Enos-Berlage. 2016. Summary of Dry Run Creek Water Monitoring Research, 2010-2015. Biannual meeting of the Dry Run Creek Watershed Improvement Association, Decorah, IA.
Wittman, Jacob, and Jodi Enos-Berlage. 2013. Expanding opportunities and responsibilities in water resource education. Iowa Water Conference, Ames IA. Presentation awarded 1st place in Poster Competition.
Enos-Berlage, J. 2012. Involving Microbiology Students in a Watershed Project: Reconnecting Students with the Land. Abstracts of the American Society for Microbiology General Meeting, San Francisco, CA.
Wittman, J., A. Weckwerth, and J. Enos-Berlage. 2012. Exploring the Dry Run Creek Watershed: Molecules, Microbes, and Macroinvertebrates. Luther College Biology Colloquium Series, Decorah, IA. (Presentation also performed at the Luther College Annual Student Spring Research Symposium)
Weckwerth, A., J. Wittman, S. Heyer, C. Weiss, J. Seibert, L. Seigley, C. Ingels, K. Larsen, and J. Enos-Berlage. 2012. Exploring the Dry Run Creek Watershed: Molecules, Microbes, and Macroinvertebrates. Iowa Water Conference, Ames IA. Presentation awarded 1st place in Poster Competition.
Weckwerth, A., J. Wittman, and J. L. Enos-Berlage. 2011. Investigating water quality in the Dry Run Creek Watershed. Biannual meeting of the Dry Run Creek Watershed Improvement Association, Decorah, IA.
Siebert, J., C. Weiss, M. Cannon, L. Hieb, S. Heyer, K. Larsen, L. Seigley, and J.L. Enos-Berlage. 2011. Investigating water quality in the Dry Run Creek watershed. Luther College Annual Student Research Symposium, Decorah, IA.