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DANVILLE - The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) started lowering lake levels at Geode State Park in Henry County on October 10 as a part of a lake restoration project to improve fishing opportunities.
Work to restore the functionality of the Lake Geode drainage system, installed in the early 1950s, started late last week. Crews reinstalled the sluice gate on the dam which had been removed over a decade ago during a previous construction project. After letting the drain pipe fill and equalizing the pressure between the lake and drain pipe, crews removed the plate on the in-lake drain pipe. The sluice gate on the dam was lifted, starting the drop in water levels.
The lake is slowly starting to drain. DNR Engineers will closely monitor lake levels and will work with construction crews to make any adjustments needed to the rate of discharge. The goal is to reduce the lake level by no more than a foot per day.
Fishing regulations at Geode State Park (just for Lake Geode, not the surrounding watershed ponds) were relaxed on June 6, to allow anglers to more freely harvest game fish before the lake is renovated. Liberalized fishing regulations will remain in effect through December 31, 2017.
The draw-down, one of the first steps in a large-scale lake renovation, is expected to take at least two months. After a long de-watering and drying period, most in-lake construction activities will start in the fall of 2018. The restoration project includes removing sediment, stabilizing the shoreline and installing fish habitat and angling structures.
Improvements to the lake and park are expected to improve water quality in the lake and enhance accessibility and recreational opportunities in the park.