Millions of dollars go toward improving Black Hawk Lake - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Millions of dollars go toward improving Black Hawk Lake


Iowans love spending time at the lake. According to officials at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, about two thirds of people in the state visit lakes. That's why the DNR is pouring millions of dollars into restoring Black Hawk Lake in Lake View, Iowa.

"We know that this lake, just like all the other lakes in Iowa are important to people. And, we want to make sure that this lake is in a state that is safe to recreate in," Iowa DNR Fisheries Biologist Ben Wallace said.

The first phase of the restoration project is set to take five years, but Wallace said more than 50-percent of the goals were reached in just one year.

"The two major changes we've seen since the fish renovation last fall has been the increase in water clarity and the change in the aquatic vegetative community," Wallace said.

But, one of these changes, the increase in algae, is not ideal for boaters.

Louie Smith spends every weekend in Lake View in the summertime and said, "[the algae] just slows you down a little bit. It's hard to motor through that algae out there."

"I stopped my boat three different times and had to clean my prop off, but after I got through that, it was fine," Chris Brotherton, of Lake View, said.

"This filamentous algae that people are seeing, it's not uncommon, so it doesn't surprise us, although it's hard to predict what you're going to see" Wallace said.

Even though Wallace said they were expecting some kind of response from the restoration project, which involved them clearing the whole lake out, including all of the fish, they weren't sure exactly what it was going to be. He said he hopes the algae is replaced by some kind of plant that's more beneficial for the lake in the near future.

For now, Wallace suggests boaters beware of the algae being sucked up into the engine cooling systems and getting wrapped around the propellers. He said the best option would be to try to boat around it.

Wallace added, "this algae isn't toxic, so it's not a health risk." He said it's an indication that the water is actually improving.

Wallace said some of the other vegetation is thriving and there are several kinds of fish that were put into the lake.

Although, the algae may cause him to stop his boat every now and then, Brotherton is delighted with the progress of the project.

'I've been able to walk out on my dock daily, see the bottom of the lake, see fish swimming around the dock, I've lived there for four years and I've never seen it," Brotherton said.

Over the next 10 years, the DNR estimates they will spend about 14 million dollars restoring Black Hawk Lake.

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