A 16-million dollar restoration project at Lake Darling State Park near Brighton (southwest of Washington) is nearly complete.
Chad Dolan, a fisheries biologist in the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, who manages the property, says the gate for the lake’s dam was set in mid-February.
Lake Darling was named for “Ding” Darling, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Des Moines Register cartoonist who founded the National Wildlife Federation. Darling himself set the gate for the lake’s original dam in 1950.
The lake was drained in 2008. Dolan says workers removed 309,000 cubic yards of silt from the lake bed.
Officials say 80 percent of surrounding land owners have installed terraces, planted grasses and created retention ponds on their property to prevent soil and fertilizer from flowing into the lake once it refills. Other improvements have been made to the surrounding parklands, including a new road, a new campground and a new lodge. Dolan expects the park to reopen July 1st. Dolan made his comments during a recent appearance on Iowa Public Radio.