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Lake Restoration Program and Water Quality Improvement

Iowans value clean water and desire safe, healthy lakes that offer many aesthetic, natural and recreational opportunities. Clean lakes improve the quality of life for Iowans and help bring economic growth to communities.

The Lake Restoration Program was created by the Iowa Legislature in 2006 (HF2782). It is funded through Restore Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIIF) to improve water quality, habitat, watershed protection, infrastructure and recreational opportunities at Iowa’s publicly owned lakes. The DNR actively works to build partnerships with local stakeholders, private landowners and natural resource professionals to ensure restoration projects are successful. A local commitment to protect lakes and watersheds is important for successful lake restoration projects.


Status of Lake Restoration Projects, State Fiscal Year 2024


Since the program’s inception, funding has been invested at 65 lakes, located across 47 counties.  Major program accomplishments include:

  • More than 26 miles of shoreline protection

  • 5 Million cubic yards (~300,000 dump trucks) of excess sediment removed

  • More than 14,000 acres of shallow lake and wetland enhancement

  • More than 200 watershed improvement practices, such as upland habitat and stream restoration, sediment ponds, terraces, and grade stabilization structures to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution to downstream lakes

  • 45 infrastructure projects, such as dam/spillway repairs, lake outlet water control structures, and fish barriers to prevent migration of fish species that negatively impact water quality (common carp)

  • Increased water clarity at more than 70 percent of projects following restoration, with an average increase of 1.5 feet in water clarity

  • Improved habitat for fish and other aquatic life

  • Removal of several lakes from Iowa’s Impaired Waters List

Lakes and shallow lakes are prioritized within the program based upon a number of socio-economic, water quality and watershed factors. Communities interested in pursuing a lake restoration project are encouraged to reach out to the DNR to determine if their lake is a good fit for the program.

Lake Restoration Program - Annual Report
Each year a report is compiled to document progress on current lake restoration projects and outline potential future restoration projects. Successful lake restoration projects improve lake water quality and recreational opportunities, update infrastructure for the next generation, contribute to community development efforts, and make Iowa a better place to live and work.

Contact Information

George Antoniou

Michelle Balmer

Lake Sugema, Van Buren County