In 2014 a $96 million dollar 10-year plan was established to renovate dozens of Iowa lakes in order to provide cleaner water for the state and safer recreational use.

“The project will clean out chemicals released by blue and green algae. The algae are bacteria that form when there are extra nutrients in the water that bloom during warming months. People can become sick from the toxins, and pets could die from it.”

Kent Park, named after photographer Fred W. Kent, is part of the state-wide renovation project aimed at addressing problems with chlorophyll, turbidity, and bacteria. In the summer of 2017, the lake at Kent Park was drained as part of the renovation which will also include landscape modifications around the lake designed to assist in cleaning the water that flows to the lake and downstream.

Further Reading

  • Fishing regulations to be relaxed at Kent Park Lake in Johnson County,” Iowa DNR, 21 Feb 2017 at 3:20 PM. Excerpt: “Kent Park Lake is one of the lakes in the state selected for lake restoration work designed to improve water quality because of the potential economic return for the investment. Poor water quality has impacted the fish population and affected all water based recreation at the lake. Implementation of water quality improvement practices in the watershed are currently underway. Public meetings during the past few years have explained various aspects of the project.” [More…]
  • Iowa DNR relocates Kent Park Lake’s fish before draining,” by Ethan Fickau, KCRG-TV, 24 April 2017 at 6:39 PM. Excerpt: “The Department of Natural Resources and Johnson County Conservation Board caught loads of fish at Kent Park Lake today. They are moving the fish to other ponds and lakes so that they can drain Kent Park Lake. This comes after weeks of loose fishing regulations in an effort to clear out the fish to move on to the next phase of the lake restoration project. An official with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says it helps balance other local aquatic ecosystems.” [More…]
  • Kent Park Lake closes for the summer,” by Stephanie Johnson, CBS2 Iowa, 1 May 2017. Excerpt: “Right now, the Kent Park Lake in Johnson County is closed for the summer while it undergoes a restoration project. The project will clean out chemicals released by blue and green algae. The algae are bacteria that form when there are extra nutrients in the water that bloom during warming months. People can become sick from the toxins, and pets could die from it according to the Johnson County Conservation Board. There are two phases to the restoration project. Phase one will restore existing catch basins and construct additional basins in the watershed of the lake. Crews will also clean around it and add more plant life to filter out toxins. According to the conservation board, phase one will cost roughly $1.26 million. In phase two, crews will drain the lake and remove existing sediment. Then the lake will be renovated to improve the water depth and habitat for fishery. This phase will cost between $1.8 and $2.3 million. [More…]
  • Kent Park Lake restoration project will lessen blue algae problems and maintain healthy ecosystem,” by Ethan Fickau, KCRG-TV9, 15 Feb 2017 at 5:42 PM. Excerpt: “‘We want the water to settle the soil particulates and nutrients that are in that water to be utilized by plant communities or settle out in the catch basins and that will happen several times before it ends up in the lake’ said Brad Freidhof of the Johnson County Conservation Board. If the nutrients collect in the lake, things like blue green algae can form. That can make people and animals sick if they’re exposed to it. The blue algae can cause skin rashes, nausea, and liver problems if ingested in large amounts. The backhoes at the site are digging out the old dirt so the catch basins that act as a water filter can be cleaned out and restored – that’s phase one. Phase two will involve creating more catch basins and lowering the water levels of the lake.” [More…]
  • Phosphorus in sediments of Kent Park Lake, sedimentation ponds, and upland soils in Johnson County Kent Park, Iowa,” USGS, 13 Dec 2016 at 1:33 PM. Excerpt: “Kent Park Lake, a popular recreation lake located in Johnson County east central Iowa near Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, IA. The 27 acre lake is used for fishing and swimming and is the centerpiece of the 1,000 plus acre county park, but is listed on the Iowa’s 303d list as impaired for chlorophyll, turbidity, and bacteria. Kent Park Lake was formed by damming a small intermittent tributary to Clear Creek in 1968. The Kent Park Lake watershed was formerly farmed and was mainly used for pasture because of the relatively steep slope. Much of the park area was reforested after acquisition by the Johnson County Conservation Board.” [More…]

Johnson County Conservation Newsletter

Below is an excerpt from page 5 of the Johnson County Conservation newsletter for Spring 2017.