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ONAWA – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will host a public meeting at 6 p.m., March 31, at the Lewis and Clark State Park’s Visitors Center to discuss ongoing lake restoration efforts at the park, including a hydraulic dredging project slated for the 2022 open water season.
Restoration activities planned for the park will be presented at the meeting, along with an opportunity for the public to ask questions about the dredging operations and potential impacts to the park throughout the construction season.
Over the past decade, members of the community have worked with DNR and other project partners to develop and implement a comprehensive lake restoration plan to improve water quality and recreational opportunities at Blue Lake. Hydraulic dredging is a significant step in the restoration process for improving water quality in the lake.
The dredging project at Blue Lake wildlife area is being completed in two phases: phase one, completed in 2021, constructed a sediment containment site for holding dredge materials from the lake, and phase two will hydraulically remove approximately 434,000 cubic yards of sediment from the main basin of the lake to minimize sediment resuspension and improve water clarity. For more information about the Blue Lake Restoration project, check out the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAlqglIxTBU
Blue Lake was added to the State’s list of Impaired Waters in 2004 due to poor water transparency attributed to sediment resuspension within the water column. A water quality improvement plan (TMDL) was completed for the lake in 2009, but water quality remains poor. Restoration planning efforts began in 2011 to address sediment resuspension within the lake and better manage water levels and nutrient inputs at Blue Lake.
Lewis and Clark State Park is a very popular recreation destination with more than 40,000 visitors each year. The campground is consistently one of the busiest in Iowa. The park is a popular place for boating, camping, relaxing, hiking or walking the trails, and fishing.