I am quite impressed with the Dickinson County Clean Water Alliance. They are certainly a model for the rest of the state when it comes to clean water. I attended the Dickenson County Issues Forum on October 8. The topic was "The Water Cycle, You and Government." They are upgrading their sewer system so that the effluent will be "swimmable and fishable" when it comes out of the pipe and into Mill Stream. Something we all should aspire to, in my opinion.
They had some fantastic data of their watershed - topographical data at 1 foot resolution that they can animate in 3D, maps showing concrete and rooftop vs. green space, etc. They are using this information to protect the beautiful lakes that are foundation of their economy, especially by making adjustments to planned development to handle storm runoff. The data was collected with LIDAR, which uses lasers to get data similar to radar data.
The parking lot has a bioswale to collect and filter storm water before it reaches the lakes. It was raining so we got to see that in action, and the permeable pavement that allowed water to soak thru it.
I asked Mike Hawkins of the DNR if it was true that Iowa had some of the worst water in the nation. His specialty is lakes, and his reply was that we have some of the most nutrient rich lakes in the nation, which is a problem.