Mormann highlights lake and dam projects

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Jones County Conservation Director Brad Mormann gave the board of supervisors an update on the Central Park Lake Restoration Project during the April 10 board meeting.

     Mormann said PCI, the contractor on the lake project, has finished the removal of the dirt on the bottom of the lakebed, and the fish habitats have been placed on the lakebed as well. Mormann shared a lot of dirt was removed, accumulations of 50-plus years.

     Supervisor Wayne Manternach asked how long it would take for the lake to fill up.

     “We’ll see how spring treats us,” said Mormann of the rain.

     PCI also completed construction of the wetland above the lake. Mormann said any seeding would have to wait until the winter weather subsided.

     The next phase of the project is construction of the new beach, with 3,000 tons of sand expected, with about 2 feet of sand spread across the beach.

     “We have until September,” Mormann said of that project. “We’re aiming for an opening event in October.”

     The Conservation Department sought bids for a fishing access sidewalk, which will be awarded within the week.

     “As soon as we have some water we’ll stock the pond,” offered Mormann.

     Mormann thanked the lengthy list of volunteers who helped at Central Park throughout the duration of the lake project.

     Mormann also spoke about a recent Iowa DNR research project concerning fish habitat when removing a dam along a stretch of a river. The study focused on the removal of the Maquoketa River dam in Manchester in 2012. The study focused on three years prior and three years after the dam removal, and how restoring the river to its natural state effected fishing along 3.6 miles of the river.

     Jones County Conservation is looking at a very similar project along the Maquoketa River here in Monticello, “with the goal of maintaining and improving fishing along this stretch of the river.”

     The data gathered offered:

     • Fishermen satisfaction rose 8 percent after the dam was removed

     • The average catch was similar before and after the project

     • Those 16 years and under made up a large percentage of fishermen, increasing by 5 percent

     • Non-fishing recreation increased five times above and below the dam site

     • Bluegill and Smallmouth Bass were the most caught species

     • Common Carp were caught less frequently after the project was complete

     • Largemouth Bass and Rock Bass were more frequently caught after the project was complete

     • The speed at which fish were caught remained similar before and after the project

     “Conclusions from this research project are that fishing opportunities remained steady with an introduction of additional recreational opportunities to this stretch of the river, the river continued to be utilized by fishermen, and catch rates remained similar before and after the project was completed. In addition, attractiveness to this stretch of the river to young fishermen grew while overall fishermen satisfaction improved.”

     Mormann added, “Satisfaction went up and they still has great fishing,” referring to the Manchester river restoration project.

     The recent “Iowa Game & Fish” magazine highlighted the project in Manchester, which included removal of the dam and creation of the Manchester White Water Park. The structure includes drop features across 800 feet of the Maquoketa River. “Anglers also enjoy improved fishing in those areas due to the variety of fish-friendly structures,” the article stated.



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