Monday, January 30th, 2023
Monday, January 30th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Draining Prairie Rose Lake next step for restoration

Campground, Other Facilities Remain Open While Lake
is Down

HARLAN, IA – The process of draining Prairie Rose
Lake ahead of the $3 million restoration project will begin early
next week. Once the water control gate is opened, the water level
will fall about three feet per week, until the lake is completely
drained sometime after Labor Day. Boat ramps will likely not be
usable after August 1.

Bryan Hayes, fisheries biologist with the Iowa Department of
Natural Resources for Prairie Rose Lake, said the next two years of
the project include modifying the spillway to prevent carp from
entering the lake, fixing the gate valve, placing riprap along
shore to prevent shoreline erosion, and installing fish habitat and
fishing jetties.

“The project has been going on since 2008 but most of the work has
done behind the scenes,” Hayes said. “Beginning next week, the
progress will be much more visible.”

“Our goal is to minimize the time that the lake is down, so the
plan calls for mechanical dredging while the lake is down then
switch to hydraulic dredging in future years. We will hopefully be
putting water in early next summer,” he said. “One important piece
of the puzzle is to put more storage capacity in the wetland east
of the highway so it will function as a sediment and nutrient trap,
as intended.”

The DNR is partnering with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and
Land Stewardship, the Shelby County Soil and Water District and the
Natural Resources Conservation Service on the watershed portion of
the project. David Brand serves as the Prairie Rose water quality
project coordinator. The renovation plan is based on a 2008 lake
study and recommendations from Iowa State University.

“We have worked with landowners in the watershed to install 40
miles of terraces, install grassed waterways, and to better manage
nutrients on the land,” Hayes said. “We purchased a containment
site last year where the dredge material will be deposited,
hopefully beginning in late fall.”

The lake protection features installed in the watershed should
extend the benefits of the in lake work far into the future. “Our
goal is to improve the water quality that will get Prairie Rose off
the impaired waters list and have a sustainable, healthy lake
system,” Hayes said.

Prairie Rose Lake is in one of Iowa’s more popular state parks of
the same name. The lake has an annual economic impact of $3.37
million and the campground hosts more than 21,000 camper nights per
year. The campground and other park facilities will remain open
during the project.

“I know it’s no fun to give up fishing your favorite lake but it is
necessary to get the lake on the right track. We have a number of
examples at nearby parks, of what benefits anglers and park
visitors will see after the work is done. Lake Anita and Viking
Lake are both experiencing excellent fishing and improved water
quality since the projects were completed,” Hayes said.

“We are excited to get this project to the next step, now we will
need some cooperation from Mother Nature to keep us on schedule,”
he said.

The lake will refill in 2012 and be stocked with largemouth bass,
bluegills, crappies and channel catfish. Hayes said they are
collecting adult bass from Prairie Rose this week that they will
hold until next summer to encourage reproduction early on. He said
they will also stock larger fingerling bass and catfish to jump
start the fishery.

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