Silver Lake West

Protect and restore water quality at a shallow glacial lake in Palo Alto county.

This shallow glacial lake with poor water quality is becoming a focus for restoration in Palo Alto county. The 185-acre property on the west side of Silver Lake catches and filters nearly 30% of all water flowing into the lake. The preservation and restoration of this wet meadow, remnant prairie, CRP and wetland landscape will be a huge step in improving water quality and keeping wildlife habitat intact.

Silver Lake West

Silver Lake is a shallow glacial lake sitting in the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture Priority Area. While the lake itself is a Sovereign Lake, owned by the State of Iowa since its founding in 1846, the public conservation of shoreline areas has only recently become a priority.  Residents around Silver Lake have become increasingly concerned by the lake’s poor water quality ratings. The Iowa DNR has decided to take action, implementing an extensive restoration program for Silver Lake over the next five years. 

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Management and restoration

Almost 30 percent of all water flowing into Silver Lake travels through this newly-acquired 185 acre property located on the lake’s western side. There are already eight established wetlands — two will be preserved and six will undergo renovation. Two other wetland depressions that are now dry will also be restored. Wet-loving sedges, rushed, grasses and flowers like Blue Flag Iris and Monkey flower have already been found in the pieces of remnant wet meadow.

A large portion of the property is already enrolled in CRP. Porcupine grass, Leadplant and Silver Leaf Scurf Pea have been seen in the grasslands. About 30 acres of the property will be restored to prairie, with the existing grasslands maintained by the Iowa DNR upon transfer of ownership.