Starting in 2008, a watershed technical advisory team was formed to discuss water quality improvement efforts at the lake. The NRCS received a development grant in 2008 to determine critical areas within the watershed for restoration and complete a land use assessment. In 2011, Iowa State University also received a planning grant to develop a watershed management plan for Hickory Grove Lake. This plan outlined strategies for managing bacteria levels at the beach and included recommendations for goose control, lake draw-down, sediment removal and a fishery renovation.
View the Hickory Grove Lake Action Plan here (PDF).
SCC received a WIRB (Watershed Improvement Review Board) grant and partnered with the DNR Lakes Restoration team to complete a handful of needed improvements in the watershed:
- livestock exclusion from main tributary
- grade stabilization
- streambank stabilization
- replacement of unpermitted septic systems in watershed (cost-share program)
These projects were completed in 2016 and helped minimize new sediment and nutrients being delivered to the lake.
These efforts along with continued partnership with the NRCS for watershed water quality and awareness significantly reduced the amount of sediment and bacteria entering the lake. Once addressing issues in the watershed, it was time to focus efforts on water quality improvements in the park prior to beginning a lake renovation.
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