Monica McFadden Live-stream

Visualizing Iowa’s Pesticide Use: Improving Accessibility to Public Data  

Monica McFadden, PhD Candidate, Sustainable Water Development, IIHR, Hydroscience and Engineering, University of Iowa

Monica McFadden is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Sustainable Water Development Environmental Engineering program at the University of Iowa. Monica’s research assesses the environmental fate and transformation pathways of herbicide safeners, a family of inactive ingredients commonly included in commercial herbicide formulations. Monica also works to connect the public with science through creating pesticide monitoring maps, hosting Rooted: Iowa City’s Sustainability Podcast, and advising on high school research projects.

Learning objectives:
• Participants will learn how to operate the VizIPU interactive map.
• Participants will be able to understand the difficulties in assessing the extent of environmental pesticide burden in Iowa.
• Participants will be able to explain the datasets involved in the map.


Although a lot of time and resources are invested in rigorous monitoring and estimation efforts of pesticides by federal and state research agencies, these data are often difficult to access or interpret. The VizIPU tool seeks to improve access to publicly available databases by translating pesticide monitoring data into meaningful information for use by stakeholders at the local scale.

This visualization tool provides an interactive, intuitive platform for analyzing spatial and temporal pesticide application trends across Iowa. The visualization uses publicly-available county-by-county pesticide application estimates from the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project. Tableau database and mapping technologies were used to organize, store, analyze, and visualize pesticide loading data and chemical and toxicological properties. The VizIPU can be found at

By visualizing applications of active pesticide ingredients, environmental and public health professionals can also understand where “inactive” ingredients are applied, which is an often-overlooked aspect of the environmental burden of chemicals.

This presentation is made possible by the partnership of the University of Iowa’s CHEEC and UNI’s Farming for Public Health initiative, a goal of which is to increase the visibility of pesticide use in Iowa, and to point to robust, ecological alternatives that improve environmental and human health.

Due to technical problems, Monica McFadden’s presentation is in two parts.  The first part begins at timestamp 31:21 and continues at timestamp 59:30

Resource Links:

Visualizing Iowa’s Pesticide Use Website