A 16-million dollar proposal to make Clear Lake clear again was unveiled today. Iowa State University professor John Downing worked with natural resources officials to come up with the plan. Downing says the proposal includes extensive improvement of Ventura Marsh west of Clear Lake, and the dredging of a small western portion of the lake.He says those two actions would help reduce the silt and nutrients flowing in from the lakes watershed. He also recommends enforcing a number of other practices to reduce nutrient flow into the watershed. Another part of the plan includes creating islands in the Ventura Marsh.The islands would keep the wind from stirring up sediment, and provide a habitat for animals and fish. Downing says the changes would make the water much clearer, create fewer algae blooms and less of a need to aerate the water. Downing warns that the proposal is not a quick fix for a problem that’s grown over the past 100 years.He says some changes should be visible within five years, but it could take as many as 30 years to get the lake back to where it was a century ago. Downing says they will also have to address the bottom-feeding fish that stir up sediment on the lake floor and restrict the growth of vegetation. The Department of Natural Resources says it will take public comment on proposals for Clear Lake, with the hope of creating an overall cleanup plan in July.
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