Jenna Ladd | July 20, 2017
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Johnson County Conservation Board continue moving forward with plans to improve water quality and recreation opportunities at F.W. Kent Park Lake.
Johnson County and the state of Iowa are splitting the cost of the $700,000 project. The state’s money comes from a $96 million ten year plan that was approved by the Iowa legislature in 2014 to restore lakes statewide.
In partnership with the Johnson County Conservation Board and Stanley Consultants, Iowa DNR plans to wrap up the first phase of park improvements this fall, which include restoring and constructing catch basins, adding ADA complaint facilities and installing bio-retention cells to keep storm water run-off from entering the lake.
Kent Park Lake was drained this spring in preparation for lake restoration projects. In this second phase, DNR plans to remove sediments from the lake basin, reshape parts of the bank and lake basin and add fish habitat.
The 27 acre lake is currently on the DNR’s impaired waters list, which is a list of bodies of water that fail to meet federal water quality standards. A central issue in the state of Iowa is the accumulation of nutrients in waterways, which feed blue green algae blooms that produce a bacteria called microcystin. Too much microcystin in water can cause rashes, breathing problems and stomach problems for people and death for pets.
The project aims to provide filtration for these nutrients before they reach the lake. Brad Freidhof of the Johnson County Conservation Board said, “We want the water to settle the soil particulates and nutrients that are in that water to be utilized by plant communities or settle out in the catch basins and that will happen several times before it ends up in the lake” in a report by KCRG.
Project officials will hold a public meeting on July 25 at 6:30 pm at the Conservation Education Center at F.W. Kent Park to discuss preliminary plans for phase two.