Iowa fisheries biologist Ben Wallace recently received the American Fisheries Society’s Fisheries Management Section Award of Merit for his efforts in community based watershed management and lake restoration projects.
The American Fisheries Society (AFS) is the world’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to strengthen the fisheries profession, advance fisheries science, and conserve fisheries resources. The AFS Fish Management Section Award of Merit recognizes a singular accomplishment of an individual or group acting as a team or committee for contributions in fisheries management and research.
Wallace is the Iowa Department of Natural Resources fisheries management biologist working out of the Black Hawk Lake Fisheries Management Office for the twelve-county region in northwest Iowa. He has overseen lake and watershed restoration projects at Black Hawk Lake, North and South Twin Lakes and Storm Lake, as well as shallow lake restorations at Lizard Lake and Pickeral Lake.
“Ben has an outgoing personality and ability to work well with a diverse group of internal and external customers to ensure the best possible results with long-term benefits,” said Chris Larson, DNR fisheries management supervisor. “His remarkable leadership skills through these restoration projects have improved fishing opportunities, public access, water quality, and education throughout the region he manages.”
The multifaceted $8.6 million restoration of Black Hawk Lake in Sac County began shortly after Wallace was hired as the district biologist in 2009. The goals of the project were to improve water clarity in the lake by reducing nutrient and sediment inputs to the lake and provide a better sport fishery for anglers. Wallace conducted numerous public and private meetings to communicate project goals, benefits and funding sources to state, county, and city governmental staff, local businesses leaders, watershed landowners and private citizens. These partnerships help build long-term support for ongoing lake restoration projects.
Black Hawk Lake has become a destination for anglers and other lake users. Water clarity has increased and aquatic vegetation has returned. This historical bullhead fishery now has excellent populations of bluegills, yellow perch and walleyes.