CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - Water quality is important, especially when you live by or are in close proximity to a gem like Clear Lake.
The Association for the Preservation of Clear Lake has one main goal: to protect and enhance North Iowa's most valuable resource.
In 2001, the Clear Lake Diagnostic and Feasibility Study was published by Dr. John Downing, who is now the Director of the Sea Grant College Program at the University of Minnesota Duluth. The study, which was formed after a two-year research project, had a list of recommendations to improve and strengthen water quality, such as dredging Little Clear Lake of sediment, directing and directing fertilizer away from the lake in order for sediment to drain out, and one of the key pieces, restoring the Ventura Marsh.
"That was a huge nutrient source to the lake, and the restoration up there and ongoing maintenance of that marsh by the DNR and the CLEAR Project has been really instrumental in decreasing the amount of phosphorus, which is the element we worry about the most into the lake."
At the Association's picnic on Sunday, Dr. Downing talked about the results and carrying out of the report's recommendations, which have had positive repercussions globally, and most importantly, thanking the public for their continued support.
While significant progress has been made, he adds that there are things to look for in the future.
"Paying attention to the nutrients and making sure there are no new sources that are amping up. Also, as the lake gets warmer and warmer, it's going to react in a greater and greater way and give worse water quality for even the same kind of background conditions, so we're going to have to watch for the global climate change kind of questions. There are lots going on. Paying attention to some of the invasives that are coming around. There is going to be invasive blue-green algae that could be a problem. I don't think they are yet, but they want to keep an eye on them."
To accomplish the project's goals, numerous agencies such as the Iowa DNR, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the NRCS, and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, among others, have all contributed.