Davis Named New Water Quality Measurement Coordinator

Water quality expert brings experience with state agencies and data management

April 8, 2022, 2:06 pm | Rob Davis

AMES, Iowa – The new water quality measurement coordinator with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is looking forward to combining his water quality experience as a member of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Rob Davis, who started with the university in March, will help with the ongoing effort to make the data and other resources of the Nutrient Reduction Strategy more interactive and available online.

Rob Davis.Davis was previously a program planner with the Field Services Bureau at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and he also helped lead water quality projects during his time at Houston Engineering.

He holds a master’s degree in biology that focused on stream ecology and nutrient dynamics in the two-stage ditch from the University of Notre Dame.

Progress made toward the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy goals has been reported by the strategy management team since 2014. To facilitate public access to data, a web-based dashboard was selected in recent years with the first of the four measurable indicator components going live in 2021. The other three measurable indicators – Inputs, Human and Water – will be implemented in 2022 and 2023.

Davis will use his knowledge of water quality and outreach to continue advancing Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy reporting.

“Water quality is a challenge for all Iowans,” said Davis. “The biggest challenge is understanding what the costs and opportunities are for each Iowan and how those costs can be shared equitably.”

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a collaboration of the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

“Rob Davis brings a wealth of water quality related experience across many sectors to this position,” said Matt Helmers, professor and agricultural engineering specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “I am excited to work with Rob as additional virtual dashboards for the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy are developed.”

Davis is very familiar with cost share programs at the state and federal level, and the many ways Iowans can enact changes that lead to improved water quality. Although the data may not always explain the reasons and motivations for what people do, the data does show the trends.

“We can’t always speak to why someone does something, but we can speak toward the trends,” said Davis. “And the conservation practices people adopt are ultimately going to influence the water quality, typically for the better.”

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a science and technology based approach to assess and reduce nutrients delivered to Iowa waterways and the Gulf of Mexico. The strategy outlines opportunities for reducing nutrients in surface water from both point sources, such as municipal wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities, and nonpoint sources, including agricultural operations and urban areas, in a scientific, reasonable, and cost-effective manner.

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy measurement project was established in 2015 to track and report nutrient reduction efforts in Iowa. Learn more on the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy website.

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