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The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Jones County Conservation Board plans to begin drawing down Central Park Lake near Center Junction in Jones County as early as September 26th a part of a lake restoration project to improve fishing opportunities.
The restoration project includes dredging soft sediment from the lake bottom, stabilizing the shoreline with rock riprap, renovating the fishery and numerous park amenity upgrades. Fish habitat structures will be installed throughout the lake for better sport fishing. The project is expected to be completed as early as spring of 2018, with the goal of returning the lake to full pool in the spring and early summer of 2018.
Fishing regulations at Central Park Lake were relaxed on September 3, to allow anglers to more freely harvest game fish before the lake is renovated this fall. Liberalized fishing regulations will remain in effect through December 31, 2016.
Central Park has been the hub of Jones County Conservation’s recreational opportunities for over 50 years and has an estimated positive economic impact of $7.84 million annually. The Jones County Conservation Board began working with local residents and conservation partners to reduce nutrient and sediment runoff from the watershed prior to in-lake restoration.
Watershed improvements already made include a 79 acre acquisition in the watershed to create a buffer around the lake, installation of new septic systems within the park and construction of two wetlands. Additionally, a seven acre pond adjacent to the lake was completed in 2016 to provide additional protection to the lake and more fishing opportunities for community anglers.
The Jones County Conservation Board continues to work with the Iowa Department of Natural Resource’s lake restoration program to pursue funding sources such as the Parks to People Grant Wood Loop, Hawkeye Fly Fishing Association and private donors. Improvements to the lake and park are expected to improve water quality in the lake and enhance accessibility and recreational opportunities in the park.