Water Quality MAIN Iowa Public Television
Search Help Teacher Resources Contact Us
Web Sites Glossary Careers Explore More Project
Uses Pollutants Issues Viewpoints Water In-Depth Features

Land Applied Chemicals

Household Practices

Business and Industry


Hydrologic Modification

Agricultural Practice

We use water to boat on, fish in, and dip our toes into. Even the water that is not cleaned for our consumption still needs to be clean. Explore more about how recreation affects water quality.

Who controls how much and what type of recreation is allowed on public waterways? How important is it to preserve these areas for future use?

Recreational waters are vulnerable to the same pollutants that threaten all water. Perhaps the biggest threat to the quality of recreational waters is recreation itself.

Threats to Recreational Waters
The sheer volume of boats, jet-skis, and swimmers increases the potential for pollution. Increased activity of any kind can affect sensitive ecological areas including habitat that wildlife relies on for nesting or spawning. The type of recreation can also threaten water quality. While swimming and fishing can be relatively safe and harmless, boats and jet-skis are powered by gas and oil that can leak into the water. They also kick up waves, which speed up the natural erosion of banks, contributing sediment to the waterway.

Although ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) are used on land, they also present a threat to water quality. The powerful vehicles tear up the land, exposing dirt to erosive forces like wind and water. The erosion not only hurts the landscape, but the dirt and sediment can move into waterways, impairing water quality.

What do you think?
What responsibility do people who enjoy land and water-based activities have to preserving the environment and water quality? Is there a way water quality can be maintained while still allowing these activities?



Explore More: Water Quality
Copyright 2004, Iowa Public Television
The Explore More project is supported by funds from the
Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust
and the USDE Star Schools Program.










Jet-skis Banned by the National Park Service
As of April 20th, 2002, the National Park Service is banning personal watercraft (such as jet-skis) from all but 21 of their 379 national parks, recreation areas, and seashores.

Birds and Water
Great blue herons are majestic birds that can trace their ancestors back to the time of dinosaurs. How have they survived for so long? More

Fake Lakes and Navigation
Many hydrologic modifications made to rivers in order to support commercial navigation have affected the functions of natural river systems. Dams were constructed to even out the seasonal changes in water flows, creating vast lakes behind them.

IPTV Market to Market Links

Nonpoint source pollution targeted by EPA
According to the environmental protection agency, or e-p-a, there are more than 20,000 u.s. lakes, streams and rivers that fail to meet current water quality standards, as defined by the clean water act of 1972.