Low stream flows impact water recreation across Iowa

Photo by Sara Cady, Flickr.

The drought has led to low stream flows in Iowa. As a result, water recreation has been limited in many parts of the state.

Lots of Iowa’s rivers are so low that paddlers find their vessels stuck on shoals far more often than most years. Additionally, some companies that rent out tubes, canoes and kayaks have had to curtail their business due to the low stream flows.

Barges in the lower Mississippi River have not suffered too much from the low stream flows, but they have had to lighten their loads to lower the risk of hitting shoals.

Read more from The Gazette here.

Iowa DNR offers safety tips for cold water paddlers

Photo by Kate e. did, Flickr

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is reminding paddlers not to be fooled by Iowa’s unusually warm temperatures.

Although temperatures across our state are in the 70s this week, the water remains frigid. The Iowa DNR recommends that paddlers dress for the water instead of the air by wearing wetsuits or dry suits.

The Iowa DNR also offered these tips:

      • Do NOT paddle alone. Use the buddy system preferably with a few other people who have cold water experience.
      • Take a dry bag with plenty of dry clothing.
      • File a float plan, even if it’s just telling friends and family where you are paddling and when you can be expected back.
      • Don’t wear cotton as it absorbs cold water. Make sure to use a proper layering system underneath or on top of your wetsuit/dry suit.
      • Always wear your lifejacket. A properly fitted lifejacket will keep you above the water surface. Hypothermia causes the loss of coordination and movement becomes limited. A lifejacket is necessary to stay afloat.

For more information, read the Iowa DNR’s full press release here.

Debate rages in Iowa over proposed rebuilding of Lake Delhi dam

The Maquoketa River. Photo by djblock99, Flickr

A debate is raging in Eastern Iowa over whether or not the Lake Delhi dam should be reconstructed. This dam was located on the Maquoketa River before heavy rain caused it to fail in 2010. As a result, many homes and other buildings were damaged, and the lake created by the dam was emptied.

Those opposed to rebuilding the dam cite the cost of the project – nearly $12 million – and how it would disrupt the natural flow of the Maquoketa River.

Environmental groups contend that a natural flowing river will lower the disturbances to fish migration, and water recreational groups argue that the natural flow will lead to better paddling, bird-watching and fishing.

Many of the residents that live along the former location of the lake want the dam back largely because their property value is much lower without the lake.

Read the Des Moines Register’s full article on this issue here.