Water levels in oxbow lakes adjacent to the Missouri River are lower than normal going into the summer due to consecutive years of abnormally dry conditions in western Iowa and historic low flows in the Missouri River this past winter. Access to these lakes may be compromised.
Carter Lake (Pottawattamie County), a popular recreational boating lake in the Omaha/Council Bluffs metro area, is three feet below crest. Lake Manawa is in better condition because it can divert water from nearby Mosquito Creek. Its water level has been down between one and two feet all spring. Affected lakes include Blue Lake (Monona County), DeSoto Bend (Harrison County), Snyder Bend (Woodbury County), Browns Lake (Woodbury County), and a host of smaller borrow lakes along the Interstate 29 corridor.
“These oxbow lakes have a hydrologic connection with the Missouri River,” explains Bryan Hayes, Iowa DNR fisheries biologist. “There is a lag time between when river levels are restored and water levels in these oxbow lakes. Trying to predict when water levels will return to normal is difficult.”