Category Archives: Environmental Change

Way back when before the Saylorville Dam – #Throwback Thursday

It’s another Throwback Thursday. Saylorville Lake and Dam are located in Central Iowa northwest of Des Moines, Iowa. The Saylorville complex was built to help with flood control and as a drinking water source for surrounding communities. At normal levels, the Saylorville reservoir stores 21.1 billion gallons of water with capacity at flood levels to hold 204.1 billion gallons of water.

Below are several resources if you are interested to learn more about this important structure north of Des Moines:


This year we are celebrating 50 years of the Landsat earth observing satellite mission. Landsat data helps us observe changes in our communities and environment over time.


Traveling Way Back – Landsat Images From Aprils Gone By

Welcome to another Throwback Thursday. Today we are going back into the archives to compare imagery from the first five Landsat satellites (all images are featured in natural color). Click on each image for a closer view.

  • Try to notice the differences in resolution and image quality between the different years.
  • Another thing to note is the wide seasonal variation between the images. All the images were from the same three week period in April. Some images are have snow while other years are very green.
  • Observe that the Des Moines River is swollen in the Landsat 4 -1983 image.
Landsat 1 – April 5, 1976
Landsat 2 – April 3, 1975

Landsat 3 – April 21, 1980
Landsat 4 – April 15, 1983
Landsat 5 – April 12, 1985

You can explore the raw images using this web app: https://arcg.is/0XrG4f. Happy exploring.


This year we are celebrating 50 years of the Landsat earth observing satellite mission. Landsat data helps us observe changes in our communities and environment over time.


Thanks for stopping by and keep observing the world around you!

Brushy Creek: The Birth Of A Reservoir – #Time Lapse Tuesday

Today’s time lapse video is highlighting the damming of Brushy Creek and the creation of 690-acre Brushy Creek Lake, Iowa’s deepest artificial lake.

Watch the dam development begin around 1994 and then the lake begin to fill around 1998. The Brushy Creek State Recreation Area is a 6500-acre park located in north central Iowa. To read more about the park at the Iowa Department of the Natural Resources Brushy Creek page: https://www.iowadnr.gov/portals/idnr/uploads/parks/parkmaps/brushycreekmap.pdf


This year we are celebrating 50 years of the Landsat earth observing satellite mission. Landsat data helps us observe changes in our communities and environment over time.


#TimeLapse Tuesday – Spot the Change – Urban Growth of Ankeny, Iowa

What changes do you notice in this Landsat time lapse video?

1) The areas of purple and white in the image are urban areas. Throughout the video they fill in the area from the bottom to the center. The pink areas are farm land.

2) Did you notice the increase in the number of retention ponds (dark blue specks in the urban areas) over time? Retention ponds are used to prevent flooding and provide for water storage in urban areas. As areas become urbanized there is often more surface covered in concrete, parking lots and buildings. There are fewer places for the water to flow directly into the ground.

3) Did you spot the golf course on the northern edge of the city?


This year we are celebrating 50 years of the Landsat earth observing satellite mission. Landsat data helps us observe changes in our communities and environment over time.


This video was created using Google Earth Engine. You can create your own time lapse videos by visiting: https://emaprlab.users.earthengine.app/view/lt-gee-time-series-animator.

Announcing the Golden Jubilee of the Landsat Mission

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of the first Landsat satellite (July 23, 1972). To celebrate fifty years of earth observation, IowaView will be posting various images and gif documenting Landsat in Iowa and around the world. Check back regularly for new images and articles. #TimeLapseTuesday #ThrowbackThursday

Landsat: Launching into A New Year

USGS just released a Story Map summary wrapping up 2021 and the exciting developments with the Landsat mission including a newly launched satellite and 10 million scenes in the archive mark two high points.

Here’s the link to explore it yourself: https://geonarrative.usgs.gov/launching-into-a-new-year/

Greetings from Camp Landsat: Cities and Suburbs

Greetings from Camp Landsat!

Postcards From Camp: Cities & Suburbs
Are you exploring any cities this summer? Rain or shine, urban planners use Landsat to take stock of city growth and its environmental impact. The front of this postcard features a natural-color Landsat 8 image of Ocean Flower Island in Hainan, China acquired May 6, 2020.

This week’s camp theme is Cities and Suburbs and focuses on the growth of cities and urban areas as seen over time through Landsat images. Urban growth has impacts on the surrounding environment. Visit Camp Landsat to learn more and experience a time-laspse video of urban growth in Qatar, a storymap about urbanization of vacation towns, and learn about urban heat islands in Minnesota. This week’s camp crafts include Color by Number Image Classification and creating a bird house with a “green roof.” Thank you to our friends at NASA for making this fun summer camp possible!

Release of Cover Crop ID Toolbox and Handbook

IowaView staff have released the Cover Crop ID Toolbox and Handbook. This toolbox allows users to quickly identify possible cover crop fields using three Sentinel-2 images from the fall, early spring, and late spring downloaded from the Earth Explorer website based on field boundaries supplied by the user. On the project webpage you can download the toolbox which works with both ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro as well as the Cover Crop ID Toolbox Handbook that provides additional details about each step of the tool.

Seminar Alert: Reducing Nutrient Loss At Arkansas Discovery Farm

Today, Mike Daniels from the University of Arkansas will be presenting about how the Arkansas Discovery Farm is reducing nutrient loss, defining and building soil health, improving irrigation efficiency and edge-of-field monitoring of runoff. His statewide Extension efforts encourage agricultural producers to adopt conservation practices to protect natural resources and improve agricultural sustainability.

Here is the registration link: https://bit.ly/35AVFMt. The session will be recorded and are available on the Iowa Nutrient Research Center (INRC) website. For more information about the upcoming INRC seminar events: https://www.cals.iastate.edu/inrc/events/list?tid=304.

Earth Science Week – Day 3: Earth Observation Day

Happy Earth Observation Day!

Today we are celebrating remote sensing, the study of the earth using secondary observations from instruments such as planes, kites, drones, satellites as an exciting and powerful educational tool to help us show changes over time.

This year the AmericaView/NASA team has put together a fun and beautiful educational poster!

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