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Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015

Little Lake drains, restoration seen as success

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The state's renovation project at Little Storm Lake wetland preserve has just been completed. The final stage, test pumping of the new water management system, was finished this week, pumping the wetland dry so that native vegetation can regain a foothold.

As of the beginning of the week, there was still a small amount of water in the basin, but with hot, dry and windy weather expected, it could completely dry out by Wednesday or Thursday.

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources say their system - the pump, serpentine channel, rough fish block and dike, are proving to work just as they were designed to in the $1 million-plus effort.

Ideally, state officials would like to see the wetland kept dry for the next two growing seasons. Typically weeds will grow heavily in the first year, while native vegetation woud take over in the second. Of course, nature will have the final say - heavy rains could refill the basin at any time.

One thing environmental officials do not want to see is low water levels on the main lake at Storm Lake. While the area has received more timely rains than in central and southern Iowa, low water levels and rapid warming of water can result in fish kills, and is already causing algae problems in many of the state's water bodies. While no serious water quality issues have yet been seen on Storm Lake, DNR officials say they are concerned and are monitoring the local water closely.

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