CARD researchers to join EPA study

Cathy Kling, director of CARD, and David Keiser, assistant professor of economics, will act as two of the principal investigators on a US EPA study examining the value of water quality improvements in Midwestern ecosystems. The project study was awarded an $800,000 grant from the EPA and will include researchers from Iowa State University, Michigan State University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

The three-year study will help to gain insight into how the public understands and values the attainment of water quality criteria and help support efforts to improve the design of federal and state water quality programs.

Water quality issues related to human activities have become more high-profile in the last few years—in 2014 a second “dead zone” was discovered in the Gulf of Mexico, and in August of that same year 400,000 residents of Toledo, Ohio were advised not to drink water originating from Lake Erie due to a toxic algal bloom. Locally, in 2015 excessive nitrate levels in the Des Moines River have led to the Des Moines Water Works bringing a lawsuit against three northwest Iowa counties. The lawsuit, which alleges drainage districts are acting as conduits for nitrates to flow into a Des Moines River tributary, is expected to go to trial in August of 2016.

“Unfortunately, human activities can have an adverse effect on water resources. It’s important to understand the costs and benefits of federal and local water quality programs and make sure those programs are effectively designed and executed. I’m excited to have CARD be part of a project that will have an impact not only on national, but local water quality issues,” Kling said.

(Released June 2016)