Lake Park to dedicate fountain
LAKE PARK, Iowa — Community leaders in Lake Park are hoping a water fountain that will double as an aeration system will help reduce the severity of blue-green algal blooms that accumulate in a sheltered area of Silver Lake.
Named Silver Spring, the fountain will be dedicated in a water breaking ceremony at 7 p.m. Monday on the Second Street bridge overlooking the cove and the lake, just north of Silver Lake Park. The event is hosted by the city of Lake Park and Lake Park Municipal Utilities. Hot dogs will be served from the new concession stand beginning at 6:30 p.m., and the public is encouraged to attend.
Lake Park City Administrator Wade Wagoner said the fountain is just one step in addressing water quality on Silver Lake. Its operation will hopefully build momentum for “bigger efforts to beautify the lake,” he added.
Silver Lake is on the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Impaired Waters list for turbidity and high levels of phosphorus.
Since taking on the role of city administrator in 2013, Wagoner said he has made it his mission to improve lake health for the benefit of future generations.
A water quality study conducted on Silver Lake beginning in late 2012 led to the identification of a 5.5-mile drainage ditch as the primary source for phosphorus and sediment flow into Silver Lake. The ditch, which traverses agricultural areas of eastern Osceola County and western Dickinson County, drains about 11,000 acres of the 17,000-acre Silver Lake Watershed.
“There’s a lot of downcutting, bank slumping and sloughing into this drainage ditch,” explained Wagoner. “Basically, the banks are too steep and they’re not vegetated enough. Anytime you get a heavy rain, all of the sediment gets into the drainage ditch and eventually into the lake.”
Wagoner referred to the drainage ditch as a conveyor belt of sediment that gets dumped into Trapper’s Bay and ends up in Silver Lake.
Once it was known what was contributing to the sediment and phosphorus load in Silver Lake, Wagoner said the city of Lake Park and the Dickinson County Board of Supervisors approved a cost-share plan — each entity contributing $13,000 — toward an engineering study and plan of action. That study is hoped to be completed by August.
What the study will likely suggest is an improvement to the drainage ditch, including widening the bottom and cutting back the sides of the ditch to create more of a gradual slope, Wagoner said. Prairie grass plantings along the sides of the ditch would then help to reduce sediment from getting into the ditch and being carried into Silver Lake.
Wagoner anticipates the project will cost “millions of dollars.” While the city couldn’t afford such a fix, he is hopeful funds can be generated from agencies such as the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Dickinson County Clean Water Alliance and others.
With improvements to the drainage ditch, Wagoner anticipates they could see a 25 percent reduction of phosphorus and sediment getting into the lake.
“We see Silver Lake as the city’s biggest asset,” Wagoner said of the need to address water quality in the lake. “We’ve kind of wrapped our arms around this idea that if people are going to want to come and live in Lake Park, build businesses in Lake Park, our biggest drawing card is that we’re a recreational paradise for sportsmen, which is the main reason we’re tearing into the lake as hard as we are.”
At the same time, Wagoner said the city is embarking on a trap and skeet range, archery and rifle range as added pieces to the conservation puzzle.
As part of Monday evening’s water breaking ceremony, Wagoner invites community residents to join in celebrating Lake Park’s selection as the first-ever recipient of Dickinson County’s Environmental Stewardship award. The award will be presented by self-professed “environmental watchdog” and Dickinson County Supervisor Paul Johnson, who was instrumental in Lake Park’s selection for the award.
“When I see a city or project that merits recognition, I do my darndest to make sure they receive recognition in the public for what they’re accomplishing,” Johnson said Tuesday afternoon.
Through redistricting, Johnson began representing the community of Lake Park last year. It was then, while attending the Silver Lake Improvement Association meetings, that he realized the city was serious about improving its lake.
“We (the Dickinson County Board of Supervisors) compliment the city of Lake Park on these efforts and encourage them to continue with their program on environmental protection,” Johnson said. “They really deserve recognition and encouragement.”
Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.