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Public Meeting Monday To Discuss Virgin Lake Restoration Plans

By Staff | Aug 11, 2011

Officials of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will host a public meeting this coming Monday to discuss their plans to restore Virgin Lake.

The meeting is set for Monday, Aug. 15, at 5 p.m. at the Lost Island Prairie Wetlands Nature Center at Lost Island Lake, north of Ruthven.

The DNR plans to restore Virgin Lake, a shallow, 220 acre natural lake located south of Ruthven, in order to stimulate beneficial plant growth in the lake, as well as the elimination of carp. The restoration is part of an on-going effort by the DNR that began in 2004. The restoration of shallow natural lakes focuses on improving the lakes’ ecological health.

“We have had tremendous successes on projects such as those at Diamond Lake, Jemmerson Slough, 4-Mile Lake, Big Wall Lake and others,” said Bryan Hellyer, Wildlife Management Biologist for the DNR. “More sites are scheduled for restoration across northwest, north central, and central Iowa. Virgin Lake is one of these sites.”

The renovation plan includes a drawdown of the water, which will stimulate plant growth, eliminate common carp, and compact bottom sediments.

“A drawdown simply replicates the actions of a natural drought period. After the drawdown, the lake will be refilled and stocked with sport fish,” said Mike Hawkins, Fisheries Bbiologist for the DNR.

The project will provide healthier fish and wildlife habitat, but the overall goal is clean water

Survey and design phases of the project were completed last month. Monday evening’s public meeting will provide an opportunity for the public to see the progress and specifics of the plan and to learn more about shallow lake and wetland management, its benefits for water quality, plants, fish, animals, and public use.

A similar restoration project was conducted at Rush Lake in southern Palo Alto County several years ago, as well as at Dan Greene Slough, west of Lake Center in Clay County.

The meeting is open to the public.