OKOBOJI, Iowa (KUOO) – A major project is about to get underway in the Iowa Great Lakes region.
Our news partner KUOO Radio says a wetland area vital to water quality in West Lake Okoboji is about to undergo a restoration.
The Garlock Slough complex is located on the southwest side of West Lake Okoboji. It consists of 246 acres that filters 11% of the lake’s watershed through 41 wetlands.
Chris LaRue, a wildlife biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says the complex has expanded over the past 20 years and parts of it have been seeing some degradation in recent years.
”It’s at the point to where we need to do an enhancement project to not only control the rough fish situation but to enhance that vegetation, and we’re just going to install a small pump system,” said LaRue. “We’ll slowly, with low flow, move the water up into a wetland that’s there and then basically that will slowly move its way back down to the fish trap where we’ll have new screens to keep the rough fish from coming up and, you know, the project will be a really good thing for West Lake.”
LaRue says the project has an estimated cost of $300,000 and will likely also involve Ducks Unlimited.
“We had hoped that we would maybe be at the situation of construction by this fall, but the way things are looking in working on our funding and different stuff, it’s more, I think, going to be a construction project possibly here in 2022, if everything comes together,” said LaRue.
LaRue added the Garlock Slough complex is home to two nesting pairs of trumpeter swans, as well as a number of threatened or endangered species.