Cleaner water for The Iowa Great Lakes
Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and other partners are working to complete land protection and restoration projects that are expected to significantly improve water quality in West Lake Okoboji.
When fully restored to wetlands and prairie, the new natural areas will filter much of the silt load entering West Lake Okoboji from one of the most damaging subwatersheds. This will reduce nutrient loads of nitrogen and phosphorus, which are blamed for causing blue-green algae in the lake.
Area fisheries and wildlife — from butterflies to migrating waterfowl — will also benefit from improvements to habitat.
The land will be opened for public recreational use when the projects and restoration are complete.
Staring soon, the Okoboji View Golf Course will feature two new wetlands as part of the effort to restore more than 350 acres that drain into West Lake Okoboji. Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, US Fish and Wildlife Service, local and private partnership and the golf course are collaborating on the project.
The owners of Okoboji View Golf Course would like to ease flooding problems on the course located about a half-mile off the lake. In effort to also help protect the lake’s water quality, they granted permanent easements on 12 acres to INHF and the DNR for construction of wetlands.
The reconstruction of 22 wetlands on the grounds will slow runoff, which will reduce drainage and flooding problems on the 125-acre course. It is also estimated to reduce the amount of sediment reaching the lake by 91 percent, phosphorus by 90 percent and nitrogen by 72 percent.
While underway, the project will require additional private fundraising. Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation is currently accepting donations.