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Lake restoration project underway at Center Lake

SPIRIT LAKE – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will begin another phase of work on Center Lake this fall to improve habitat and water quality on the 257-acre lake southwest of Spirit Lake.

Project partners began the restoration project in 2013 by installing a series of urban conservation practices including bio-swales, rain gardens and other low impact development practices in the watershed to slow rainwater and filter out sediments and nutrients. Other improvements on agricultural lands have been ongoing.

Two rock barriers were constructed earlier this year to block common carp from entering wetlands on the south side of the lake where carp typically spawn, helping to keep their numbers in check. Carp can have a severe impact in shallow lakes such as Center Lake and adjoining wetlands. Iowa DNR fisheries staff will conduct an enhanced analysis of the common carp population in the coming years to develop and implement reduction strategies.

Plans for the current phase of the restoration project includes stabilizing more than 1,100 feet of shoreline along the north shore, constructing a permeable rock fish barrier between Center Lake and West Okoboji Lake to limit common carp entering the lake, and improvements to two wetlands between Center Lake and West Okoboji Lake to improve the water quality flowing to West Okoboji Lake. Construction on all components will be completed by the fall of 2017.

To facilitate and provide construction access to the steep shoreline work on the north side of Center Lake, project partners will attempt to temporarily lower the lake approximately one foot this fall. The lake will only be lowered long enough to complete the shoreline work.

Past and ongoing work on Center Lake is being funded by the Iowa Lake Restoration Program, Okoboji Foundation, Dickinson County Water Quality Commission, Iowa DNR (EPA 319 Program), Center Lake Improvement and Protection Association, Iowa Watershed Improvement and Review Board, City of Spirit Lake, Lakes Regional Healthcare and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.  The project has also been supported by the Okoboji Protective Association and the Iowa Great Lakes Association.

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