The local Lake Improvement Commission unanimously approved another year of vegetation management on the lake’s heavily-used public areas at their meeting on Tuesday.
The LIC, which is made up of representatives of the City of Storm Lake, City of Lakeside, and Buena Vista County government, started looking at a management option two years ago after seeing considerable algae growth in the shoreline areas. A plan was made in partnership with the DNR to apply aquatic herbicide to about 37 acres in the areas of Awaysis, Kiwanis, and University Beaches, as well as the King’s Pointe docks and Casino Beach marina.
The LIC met with DNR Fisheries Biologist Ben Wallace to review the first two years of application. Wallace said that while management has been successful, Storm Lake was more turbid over the last season, which he said would limit vegetation growth compared to times when the water is clearer. Wallace doesn’t see a need to expand the treatment area under current conditions.
Wallace said it’s difficult to predict vegetation growth for the coming season, but said it would probably take a “major event” to drastically change the situation from what it was last summer. Wallace said the lake level will inevitably come back up at the end of the current drought cycle, which could have some impact on factors like vegetation and zebra mussel population.
Wallace said there’s been some interest in additional projects from the local volunteer Lake Preservation Association including additional shoreline rip-rap armoring and a potential gauging station. A gauging station would measure real-time data on such factors as lake level and temperature to create an ongoing database, as well as a website the public could access.
Wallace recommended that the Lake Improvement Commission prioritize any future projects so they can be considered for funding since DNR funding for projects is typically determined via a five-year plan.
(thanks to Dana Larson with the City of Storm Lake)